Of knights in shining armor and princesses fair, that is the romance of castles. There are Disney castles (Prince Charming and Cinderella) and then there are real castles.
One of the gems of England is . . .
Warwick Castle. It started as a motte-and-bailey castle (the remains of which is across the lane from Blue Row) -- with a mound, wooden buildings and enclosures. But then stone fortress towers were built, then curtain walls became added and then it was developed into a lavish palace.
Warwick, for most of its history, has been home to the Earls of Warwick until 1978 when it was sold by the 8th Earl of Warwick to The Tussauds Group, who undertook major restoration work on the buildings and furnishings. Under their management, Warwick Castle has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Britain. (Think a permanent Rennaissance Festival).
It was Saturday and the castle was full of children waiting in line to go to the Princess Tower or the Scary Dungeon.
We toured the State Room and found in one of them . . .
Henry VIII and his wives . . . (or at least part of them!)
The grand dining room which was set up for a wedding that was to take place this afternoon.
And on the grounds . . .
One of the peacocks. There was a whole garden devoted to them!
We then headed five miles away to another castle --
Kenilworth. Which lies in ruin. For Kenilworth, which also started out as a Motte and Bailey, for most of its history, was the King's own castle in the region. Thus it provided a base from which the King could watch over his barons, both in Warwickshire and other parts of the Midlands. Because Warwick was a provincal castle and Kenilworth a royalist one. Kenilworth suffered a different fate.
The gatehouse, which was somehow spared, and which became a private residence. It no longer is and is open for tour and exhibits.
The very livable "living room" of the gatehouse.
After tromping around two castles, it was time to stop for tea. The Stables at Kenilworth was the perfect spot for a "cuppa".
And with the tea came a piece of cake . . .
A chocolate, strawberry mint cake. Which actually was quite good. Especially with a reviving pot of tea!
Castles are magical -- whether they are Disney castles or real castles. It was fun to be part of the magic today!