Wonderful Warwick Castle’s Zog trail is a fire-breathing adventure for the whole family
It’s been a while since we’ve ventured out of the house as a family for the whole day.
While lockdown has helped us discover some lovely country walks, we’ve stayed local since October and haven’t been further than a few miles from home.
So four very excited under-11s were ready to spread their wings to sample the brand new Zog and the Quest for the Golden Star Trail on the very first day lockdown was lifted.
The incredible castle, in the heart of historic Warwick is host to an magical outdoor activity trail based around Julia Donaldson’s cute dragon character Zog.
We were greeted on our visit by Warwick the Kingmaker on his real horse, the first of many costumed actors that really help to bring Warwick Castle to life.
Beginning as soon as you walk in through the grand castle entrance, the Zog route takes you through all the castle’s best bits. Children are given a card to stamp for every one of Zog’s five years at dragon school that they manage to complete before becoming a fully-fledged dragon.
Among the tasks, visitors are asked to learn to breathe fire, capture a princess and how to fight. At the end of the trail there’s a chance to meet the main man himself and have your picture taken with him.
The indoor attractions and the towers and ramparts at Warwick aren’t yet open and the popular Falconers Quest Birds of Prey show begins a little later in the season so staff have worked hard to make sure there’s something on offer for everyone, and day ticket admission prices are lower to reflect the fact everything is outdoors.
The brilliant Horrible Histories Maze is open as normal and you can climb the magnificent Conqueror’s Fortress which has incredible views for miles around.
There are plenty of places to sit and eat but not all of the food outlets were open on our visit so if you wanted to take your own lunch, the Great Lawn has been set up as a giant picnic area to make sure everyone has somewhere to rest their feet.
Our kids watched two real armoured knights get involved in a three-way battle while we sat and had a coffee.
We spent hours walking around the breathtaking grounds that straddle the River Avon. We ate lunch in the grand Conservatory Tea House with peacocks at our feet. There was barely any wait for either a table or for our food and the staff were happy to squish six of us on a table for four.
We’d been a little worried about social distancing and keeping out of the way of other visitors but there was no need - there was plenty of room, and the only time we queued was for five minutes to meet Zog. The loos and other facilities were very clean and there was hot water, soap and hand wash in all the facilities we visited.
The castle has reduced the number of visitors allowed in to ensure social distancing rules are followed and it’s booking only so you can’t just turn up on the day. It felt incredibly safe and much quieter than on a normal spring day out.
Some gift shops were open (always one of the highlights for my kids!) although they are currently taking cards only.
Warwick is only about an hour from most parts of our county and is well worth the drive, which is largely on major routes.
If you fancy staying longer, the Knight’s Village accommodation is currently bookable for one-household groups with a takeaway food service operating.
We always have a great day at Warwick but this one reminded us of how much we’ve missed going further afield and having space for the kids to run around and have new experiences. They’ve already asked when we can go again!
Address: Warwick Castle, Warwick, Warwickshire, CV34 6AH
Open from: 10am – 5pm daily
Admission prices: Child tickets from £8 and Adults from £12, when booked in advance. Special Parent & Toddler ticket (toddler – children up to 5 yrs of age) £12 – when booked in advance. Available on Mon-Thurs between 19th April – 13th May.
Book: on the website