Tuesday, June 26, 2001
Warwick Castle and Shakespeare — Heritage Day
Today is “British Heritage Day”!!
Doive picks us up at 930am to head for Warwick Castle. It’s yet another warm and bright day in the Midlands, and the drive up is very pleasant. Doive drops us off right at the gates. John and Marianne meet us, our tour guide Ann leads us through the gates, and our journey back through time is underway.
The castle walls and towers are impressive from the outside. The grounds in front are being prepared for a festival. As we walk to the main gate, Ann tells us the moat about the castle wasn’t filled with water, but rather debris and other waste/refuse that made any seige attempts a nasty and difficult venture. Passing through the main gate’s twin portcullis and “murder hole” defenses, we step into the castle interior. Peacocks and peahens roam the grounds, lending a “royal feel”.
We start off with the “Kingmaker” exhibit. Ann certainly knows her stuff, and we learn a lot! Next up is “the Victorian weekend” exhibit, telling how the castle was used in British society in the late 1800s and early 1900s. A young Winston Churchill attended parties here. We pick up a pair of freeloaders on our paid “private tour”, but Ann effectively shakes them!
Next up is the spooky “Ghost Tower“! It’s a really neat section of the tour and reaaaaaaally creepy!!! 🙂
After a yummy lunch at the converted stables, we split up to hit one last sight each… Kathy and Angie to the rose gardens; Dad, Russ, and Marianne to the Dungeon; Mom and John to relax at the stables; and me to the upper castle walls! 532 steps later, I have lots of memories and pictures to go with my exhausted legs!! Meeting everyone at the gate, we load up and head back to Stratford!
We have yet another historical treat ahead of us. Stopping at the Shakespeare birthplace, we get a tour of the archives, including viewing original copies of “First Folio” collections of the Bard’s works, dated about 1600-1619.
The director, Roger Pringle, leads us through the vaults and on to the actual birthplace building itself. It’s amazing to be in structures that old and that historic.
We return to Alveston Manor to rest and prepare for the evening. We’re off to see “Hamlet” at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.