Tuesday 24 March 2015

Time Tower at Warwick Castle

The weather is starting to brighten up and the cold days are relenting giving way to warmer trips outdoors, so when my little family were invited along the Time Tower un-veiling at Warwick Castle over the weekend, we were very excited to spend the day at one of our favourite local attractions.

We have visited the historic grounds a handful of times over recent years, and each time a little bit more is opened up to us as Leo is that little bit older. The last time we visited especially to meet the one and only Mike the Knight and we dedicated a whole day to the activities that were on offer, this time are purpose for visiting was to be one of the first people to see the brand new attraction. Time Tower.

Time Tower is the brand new attraction to Warwick Castle,  it is unlike anything else that is currently on offer to visitors of the historical grounds, and offers a sophisticated technical time travel experience for families to hurtle right from 914AD, right through to modern day, combining all of the stories from the middle ages, War of The Roses, The Tudors and the Victorian Era. There are so many myths and legends surrounding Warwick Castle’s past, and for the first time…ever. The true story of Warwick Castle’s dark history of death, treachery and bloodshed will be told in full in the Time Tower.  I’ll elaborate on this exciting development a little later on!

We arrived at the castle around 11:00am ready for an exciting day of discovery, and with Leo leading the way (only dropping behind occasionally because his feet hurt…) we were ready for a day full of family fun. We were directed to the Conservatory which is nestled on the Castle grounds overlooking the beautiful gardens, it’s a new venue that will be opening to the public very soon for food and beverages. We were lucky enough to get to enjoy some of the delicious cakes that will be on offer, and between the 3 of us, we wolfed down the entire selection! If you are visiting Warwick Castle soon, I must insist that you pop in and enjoy a cake (or two!) while looking out at the beautiful gardens.

It was here that the rest of the press group were gathering ready for our Time Tower preview, so after everyone had over indulged in the rather generous selection of goodies available, we were shown over to the Time Tower.

We all lined up and were split into smaller groups to accommodate for the audience sizes, and group by group we were lead in. Our group was the last group to get inside, and once we went through the gates we found ourselves in a room with screens and seating. Everyone sat down and looked ahead… patiently waiting. Leo was on his best behavior, he sat on the bench next to me and curiously asked questions about what was going on. Within a few moments the screens in front of us sprung to life and we were walked through the history of the castle in a series of clips, video footage and graphics. I for one learnt a thing or two that I didn't know before!

With the introduction over you make your way out of the back of the room and head up some windy spiral stairs (typical castle staircases!) to another room that features a model of the grand Castle. This is what really impressed me, how the model castle was used to demonstrate the destruction and peace that has been part of Warwick Castle’s past. This is where the technical aspects make Time Tower a visual master piece, and I couldn't take my eyes off the model castle as the history unfolded right before my very eyes. Leo was asking so many questions and watching the model so intently.

Figment Productions who are the creative team behind the LEGO Factory Toy Experience at LEGOLAND Discovery Centres and Octonauts at SEA LIFE, has used their 3D Scanning and modelling experience to create a scale model of Warwick Castle, that transforms through the times with projection mapping and 4D effects. This is all complimented by Green Screen filming, CGI and visual effect techniques! 

Time Tower may be aimed at older children, but there is nothing stopping younger children going along and enjoying the experience all the same.

When your time finishes in this room you head down a further stair case where you come across a number of portraits (screens). The portraits reminded me of what you would find in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and given the castle settings I didn’t think that was too farfetched! Once the group has assembled again, the portraits walk you through more of the castles colourful history, and just like Harry Potter, the occupants of the portraits can move among each other and even communicate! Certainly a magical experience for the children in your group!

I won’t go reveal much more of the details as I don’t want to give too much away, but Time Tower is visually stunning, informative and really interesting. It is going to make a fantastic addition to the already jam packed itinerary at Warwick Castle, and I think it is safe to say that it is going to be greatly received by the general public when it opens its doors on the 28th March 2015.

The rest of the day was spent enjoying the castle grounds and climbing the Ramparts, this was a first for Leo as each visit before had seen us bringing the pushchair, and we didn’t want to risk climbing the 530 steps only to find Leo wanted carrying! So on Saturday, Leo…My 3 year old climbed the 530 steps to the very top. He saw it more of an adventure than something he had to do, he absolutely loved it. He maneuverer around Guys Tower like a boss, and pretended to shoot the rather big gun out of the watchman’s tower.

We enjoyed a very lovely lunch in the State Room, which is right within the castle itself. As you can see from the photos, it’s absolutely gorgeous and we had a real feast. After lunch we informed Leo that Mike the Knight was indeed in the building (Or should I say Castle!) that day, and we made our way over to the meet and greet.

We saw so much more of the castle on this occasion and we had such a lovely family day together. Leo always has the most amazing time when we visit, so we will be sure to come again in the not so distant future.

Disclaimer: We were invited along to Warwick Castle for the press preview of Time Tower. All views and opinons expressed are completely honest and my own.

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