REVIEW: Halloween at Warwick Castle

Photo supplied by Warwick Castle.
Photo supplied by Warwick Castle.

As someone who is not a fan of horror movies or things that go bump in the night I tend to steer clear of any Halloween events.

To be frank I have always been a bit of a scaredy-cat and I became much worse two years ago after I was sent to stay the night in a haunted castle for a Halloween feature in my previous job.

The Haunted Hollows.

The Haunted Hollows.

Ever since my brush with ghostly goings-on I have avoided anything remotely ‘scary’ on Halloween.

However when I was offered the chance to go to Warwick Castle and partake in some of their Halloween activities I thought why not? It can’t be that bad, if anything it will be fun.

After accepting the offer I told my boyfriend where we were going at the weekend.

At first he was delighted that he would get to go to the castle and then I dropped the bombshell that we would be sampling some of the special Halloween events.

The entrance to the Castle Dungeon.

The entrance to the Castle Dungeon.

Let’s just say that we were both a little bit worried about what the weekend would bring.

The castle staff had kindly given us tickets to both the dungeon and the seance event, which thankful both had time slots during daylight.

After having a nice walk around the grounds, taking part in the Horrible Histories Maze and watching the Flight of the Eagles bird display, it was time for us to enter the dungeon.

This had been worrying me because I am not good with darkness or with situations where people jump out at me and I had no idea what to expect.

The Castle Dungeon. Photo supplied by Warwick Castle.

The Castle Dungeon. Photo supplied by Warwick Castle.

Taking the plunge we joined the rest of our group and we were led into the dungeon by a ghoulish-looking jester.

In the interest of not spoiling too much of the experience, I will tell you that the dungeon event takes you through several different rooms, where you learn about the gruesome history of the castle.

There are actors taking on roles, picking on unsuspecting people in the group for demonstrations or simply to be mean and all you could do was hope it wasn’t going to be you.

Thankfully I wasn’t one of the chosen ones but I did try my best to disappear in the crowds where I could.

Warwick Castle.

Warwick Castle.

It turns out that you learn a lot about your relationship when you are in that sort of situation. We found that in a time of crisis and fear I use my boyfriend as a human shield.

I mean he is 6ft and I am 5ft 4ins so it is easy to hide behind him. I am sure he didn’t mind... especially when someone else also noticed he was tall enough to hide behind.

Throughout the journey through the dungeon you find yourself jumping out of your skin and often screaming because something came to life.

And yes that means I screamed a couple of times like a little girl during my dungeon tour but I found solace in that I was not the only one screaming or trying to hide at the back of the rooms.

The dungeon was fun and scary at the same time and even a wimp like me enjoyed it.

After being released from the dungeon we had a few minutes to waste before we were due in the seance.

Plague victims from Outbreak 1349. Photo from Warwick Castle.

Plague victims from Outbreak 1349. Photo from Warwick Castle.

We decided to go into the Great Hall and as we walking in a group of people were coming out of the room where the seance was being held and one of them came out crying.

To me that felt like a sign and clearly it did to my boyfriend as well when he remarked that we could just not do it.

Fighting my instinct to walk away we joined the line for the seance, where it became apparent we were at the front of the queue. Great.

When we were told to head to the room I tried my best to manoeuvre a way to make my boyfriend suddenly appear in front of me but he was wise to what I was doing and made sure it was me this time facing the room head on.

The seance room was really quite simple you sit at a long table, which had a white tablecloth on it and in front of you there is a pair of headphones.

Once everyone is seated a historically dressed member of castle staff explains that the room will be going dark and that you will be putting on the headphones.

Again without spoiling too much of the experience, the seance is certainly intense.

It is very clever how it is done and it is very easy to get caught up in it all and in times of silence I could hear my own heart racing.

The best way to describe it is that it is very much a sensory overload.

It was a very intense experience but one I would recommend. I would be lying if I said there weren’t moments where I wanted to just leave but I persevered through it and we came out the other side.

After facing our Halloween activities we went through the Haunted Hallows and walked more around the grounds but by late afternoon the wind from Storm Brian was getting stronger and the rain was starting to come in.

Despite wanting to stick around to watch other people being chased by plague victims in Outbreak 1349 and the fire jousting in the evening but the storm was picking up so we decided to call it a day.

Being honest we were nervous about our activities at the castle but after getting a bit of a fright we did also enjoy our activities, as much as they tested our resolve.

I do think my boyfriend fared better than I did but in some instances he had very little choice given I was using him as a shield.

The Haunted Castle experience was a fun day out and would be great for those who love Halloween.

There are three stages of challenges available for the event meaning that you can to do something more light-hearted to break up the scarier activities if you want to.

Thank you to the staff at Warwick Castle for the opportunity to experience the Haunted Castle.

The Haunted Castle runs until October 31 and the fire jousting, which is part of the Haunted Castle, will run until October 29. The castle will also be open until 9pm during this period.

The Witches Tower. Photo by Warwick Castle.

The Witches Tower. Photo by Warwick Castle.