Knight’s Village at Warwick Castle Review – Staying in a Knight’s Lodge

knights lodgeLast weekend the family and I whizzed off for a mini break full of Medieval fantasy and Knightly charm. Sit back and enjoy our Knight’s Village at Warwick Castle review complete with a mini video tour of a Knight’s lodge!

Staying on a weekend in the middle of the Summer holidays at a hugely popular tourist destination might seem a bit mad but that’s the beauty of Warwick Castle, no matter how busy it is (and it was!) there’s always plenty to see with outdoor displays such as falconry or jousting and most of the indoor areas require no queueing. There’s also the brand new outdoor Horrible Histories maze which is definitely worth a visit. To see some of our favourite attractions take a look at some of my previous posts.

horrible history maze

Checking In

The Knight’s Village has its own dedicated parking area within the large main car park which is brilliant if you’ve just had a long drive. Check in is technically from 3pm but every overnight stay comes with two days entry to the castle so it’s worth getting there early and checking your bags in at reception so you can enjoy a full day of fun. The Knights village also has its own priority entrance into the castle which means no queues!

jousting warwick castle

After a long hot day we were all very tired as we bumbled back to the village. We were met at the gate where staff asked for our name and immediately gave us our lodge’s keycard (no waiting at reception as we’d arrived early).

The Knight’s Lodges

Inside the lodge

The lodges are all semi-detached buildings hosting up to 5 guests in two bedrooms plus an en-suite wet room. Note. There are larger lodges available for bigger parties.

Every lodge boasts an outdoor deck with medieval style bench. Ours faced straight towards an open area with huge trees and a large wooden wagon, it was perfect for keeping an eye on the kids as they played.

Each lodge has a theme of either Archer or Falconer, ours was a Falconers and was decorated with Falconry equipment hanging on the wall.

knights village at night

The interior decoration is wonderful and really enhances the experience of staying by the castle, it also seems to excite children exponentially! The beds are also really really comfy.

On a personal note I was impressed with the Elemis toiletries in the bathroom and having the wet room to wash off my grimy mini knights definitely helped!

Take a look at just how great the lodges our in this mini video tour.

The Entertainment

knights village entertainment

To be honest the kids hardly needed any extra entertainment. The Knight’s Village was pretty full and it seemed that every child was out of their lodges/tents and making friends. Our three immediately knew the names of every child staying nearby and at every available opportunity they were all outside playing. It was a huge gathering of miniature knights and princesses and they all had a fantastic time and didn’t want to leave their new friends.

knights lodge wagon

As for the organised entertainment there’s have a go archery (with long bows) which is amazing!

Knight’s Training Camp which all the children loved!

There’s even a school for Jesters!

vird of prey experience

We also paid a little extra (the rest of the activities are free) to get up close and personal with a bird of prey experience where we got to fly some of the castles falcons. This has to be my favourite activity as I’ve always wanted to try it.


knights villagefood
We didn’t eat in the Knight’s Village, instead opting to walk into Warwick for Fish and Chips but the staff were supremely helpful even providing a map and recommendations.

In the morning breakfast was an all you can eat buffet with continental and cooked options, fruit, cereals and even freshly cooked pancakes. I love breakfasts like this because they suit everyone no matter how picky.

Could our stay have been improved in anyway?

falconry warwick castle

I could only think of teeny tiny mini niggles but here goes.

The Lodge only had two mugs inside – considering that it will almost exclusively be families staying it seems a bit bizarre to only provide two of the guests with drinking facilities. Kids get thirsty quickly and access to a glass of water would have been helpful. Thankfully we’d taken bottles with us. However I’m sure you could request extra cups from reception as we requested soya milk and extra teabags and were immediately accommodated. I just think they ought to be there as standard really.

If you find you can’t get the TV to work (we couldn’t at first) it’s probably because of the fabulous gold frame around the outside, a quick change of position solves this though.

Would I recommend staying in the Knight’s Village?

Most definitely, it was more than just a stay, it was a real experience and one which we will all remember. The kids are asking to go back and I think visiting during a busy time when there are lots of other little ones to play with is actually an unexpected bonus. From a parents point of view it’s great to be able to sit on your deck watching the kids with a cup of tea and let them have that little bit of independence while keeping a close eye.

We have always loved the castle anyway and there’s more than enough to fill two days, so staying overnight really enhances your visit. It actually allowed us to take a leisurely pace and really enjoy all the exhibits rather than rushing about trying not to miss anything.


For more information pop over to Warwick Castle’s website

My most memorable childhood holiday!

When I was little, my brother and I idolised Timmy Mallett. We longed to be contestants on Mallett’s Mallett a popular segment of his TV show Wacaday, but alas we were too young. We took photos making the Wacaday sign, my brother was an accomplished Ninja Whinger and I squealed with delight every time the show started.

It was therefore hard to imagine how Timmy could possibly become a part of our family holiday to the Scottish Isle of Mull. We were staying in a beautiful castle stood proud atop a hill, nothing especially wacky about that! But there was a big secret we knew nothing about….

We had gone on holiday with Pat and Paul, some friends of my parents. Pat had worked with my Dad, but Paul (whose back I am riding on here) had a very familiar surname… Mallett! My parents had conveniently forgotten to mention this fact, probably because had we known, Paul would have been hounded daily with questions about his famous brother Timmy.

The secret was only revealed when we returned home from a walk in the gorgeous Scottish countryside and spotted a red sports car sat in the driveway. Intrigued we walked over to take a look and there right bang smack on the side was a black mallet!

You can probably guess where I am going with this :D, we ran inside, or at least my brother and I did, my parents probably sauntered. Timmy was sat quite calmly on our sofa, eating our biscuits. The shock was beyond belief, it’s always exciting to meet someone you admire, but to find one sat in your lounge waiting for you is a step further I’d say!

Timmy coped beautifully with my shock and awe, I was so excited I squealed and squirmed the entire time, it was just too much! My brother who has always had a calmer disposition coped with far more grace. Timmy made up a story which included us both as the main characters (although my character was reduced to a blob of goo, in large part due to my inability to speak). There is a video lurking about my parents house which details the entire tale and our reactions.

Perhaps the funniest part of this story is the reason that Timmy had come to see us in the first place, Paul had forgotten his jeans! The holiday was not merely memorable, it was a childs wish come true! I’ve never forgotten the excitement, shock and awe I felt and top it all off Mull was very nice too 😛

This post is my entry into the Butlins childhood holiday memory competition. Competition sponsored by Butlins Holiday Parks, helping your family make memories.

SpyZone – Gulliver’s Kingdom Matlock Bath

I was recently asked if I would like to review the brand new SpyZone at Gulliver’s Kingdom in Matlock Bath, Derbyshire. With three little budding spies I was more than happy to agree.


For energetic kids with big imaginations, enter the hidden headquarters of Gulliver’s Spy Zone, the base-camp for budding secret agents!
Fun, adventure and action packed challenges await you on a unique journey of discovery and surprise!
As a spy apprentice you will combine skills with thrills as you scramble through secret shafts from one spy challenge to the next, all against the clock!
You will learn to steer a steady hand, crack codes and dodge security lasers as you train to become a top spy!
Only then will you be ready to set off on an undercover top secret mission…
Whenever your country needs you…
Whenever the time comes…

Debrief Room - SpyZone

I’ve never visited Gulliver’s Kingdom before (despite several pleas during my own childhood) so the only idea I had about the site was from reviews I’d read online. Many are quite scathing about the site’s location (on a hillside), however the SpyZone is located by the car park and before the actual theme park, so no steep climbs. We visited on the hottest day of the year so far, fortunately I chose to wear shorts (the SpyZone is not the place for skirts!) The kids were all very excited as you might imagine, which does add an extra pressure for the attraction (living up to expectations).

Inside the building you are greeted by ‘Secret Agents’ who take your tickets and ask you to wait in a comfy lounge while your training is prepared. This is also where the parents of older kids can wait while their children train (under 10s must be accompanied by an adult in the SpyZone). There are lockers to store your handbag etc, take advantage of these as you will be climbing and crawling.

Next you are invited through to a debrief room where a head spy explains the training ahead. Everyone is fitted with a bag containing gadgets such as blacklight torches, bug detectors, pens and paper. Once everyone understands the rules you are sent through a small tunnel where you climb up a shaft and into your first training room.


Listening to audio instructions

The basic premise is that you enter 8 training rooms, each with code words that need to be cracked. In one you must send teammates into a tunnel while you jump about pressing symbols (never touching the floor) and the kids in the tunnel shout back the letters you have cracked. In others you must scan the room for bugs (finding one reveals a codeword) or flip switches on a reactor.

Obviously this is very much a kids attraction but forget the kids…. I had a wonderful time!! So did my husband, it’s sort of like playing a cross between the Crystal Maze, Jungle Run and Knightmare (remember that one!) Teamwork is essential, so is speed (each room has a time limit) and it’s just seriously good fun! So if your kids are over 10, find a younger child to take to give yourself the excuse to go as well!


Launch Control

As for the kids, they all loved it. My daughter did have one ‘moment’ in a corridor full of laser beams where she froze in the middle terrified of setting off an alarm. Quick as a flash a Master Spy appeared and helped her through (I really appreciated the attentive nature of all the staff). This was perhaps my least ladylike moment as I hopped, limboed and scrambled across the floor 🙂 My youngest (4) was un-phased by the laser beam corridor, so it’s not a given that your child will be scared.


Scanning for bugs

When you finish your training you embark on a daring mission to save Queen and Country. I would tell you more about this mission, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but you’ll be leaping and code-breaking aplenty trying to disarm a bomb.

When you finish you give in your Spybook (where you recorded your codewords etc) and receive your final score. We managed Secret Agent status, hurrah!

Would I recommend SpyZone?

It’s probably no surprise that I would! We all had a wonderful time and it’s so different from your average attraction. There’s something quite magical about entering a world you can normally only find on TV. Plus I think it has a secret educational benefit:

  • They have to practise teamwork
  • They are decoding and spelling words
  • They must listen attentively to instructions
  • Read extra instructions
  • Write down codewords
  • Plus the physical aspect of crawling and climbing

I should also mention the wonderful staff who were friendly, patient and genuinely seemed to enjoy their work and helping kids have fun.

Could it be improved in anyway?

No, although I hope they will update the codewords and/or rooms periodically so that we can visit again in future and have just as much fun. It would be a real shame if it was a one time attraction. Perhaps posting up on the web when changes happen so parents can check before a return visit.

As I said earlier skirts/dresses are a no no really. You need to visit being prepared to climb, crawl and generally scramble about.


The Kids gave me their own review scores (with Spy names of course):

Agent Ninja – 10/10 because it was very exciting and when I grow up I’d like to build my own SpyZone

Agent J – 9/10 because little kids might get scared (although ours didn’t!)

Agent Storm – 10/10 because it was really fun and great

Agent Little – 10/10 because I loved it!


SpyZone is open all year round after school, at weekends and all school holidays.

It costs from £7.95 per junior spy.

SpyZone is included for Gulliver’s Gold Passport holders.

For full details and to book click on the SpyZone website here.

Abi Day Gulliver's Kingdom

We also popped into Gulliver’s Kingdom after the SpyZone (the child in me was pleased!) and saw dinosaurs, bobbed about on water rafts and rode runaway horses. The site is indeed steep, so if you have a pushchair start at the top and work your way down. However a themepark especially for kids (and those of us who don’t love massive rollercoasters) is a wonderful idea. We had really good fun and would be happy to visit again (perhaps on a slightly cooler day).