We got up and got out of the house later than we'd like, of course, but by noon we were sitting on a train bound for Warwick Castle. This was one of the places Hubby and I had visited 11 or so years ago, and knew the kids would probably like. It was one of the things that was important to me NOT to bump off the itinerary, and I also wanted to do it on one of the days Hubby wasn't conferencing and could go with us. The castle is an hour and 45 minute train ride north of London, and though Pat very generously offered his car, figuring out how to drive for just the one day hardly seemed worth the stress and effort. Since we're practically train/tube masters, and it causes less trouble when Hubby sleeps on the train than when he's driving, we decided to just do that.
We had a very nice train ride up.
The castle grounds have been added to quite a bit since we were there before. Now there is a big playground on one side, and there is a "Princess Tower" exhibit in one of the castle towers. Obviously for little kids, but it's kind of fun. There are two major sections set up with period furniture and wax people, one section is some historical Earl of Warwick stuff, showing how the castle folk are getting ready to go fight for the king of their choice in the War of the Roses.
The other section is more 1800 stuff, with identifiable people (whom I didn't know most of), Countess This and Lord That and Their Friends. Though I do know at least one, this is Thing 2 with Queen Elizabeth.
The girls got a kick out of it, I think. We climbed a couple of towers and battlements, which freaked the kids out a little because the stairs were so narrow and twisty. It didn't help that there was a movie going on at the bottom of one of the towers, sending spooky sounding muted noises up the stairwell. The girls were absolutely sure the place was haunted.
Unfortunately we had misunderstood what time the gift shop closed, and made it back to that end of the castle grounds half an hour after it closed. The girls were quite upset not to get their souvenir, which is by far the most important part of any excursion for them. We compromised after we got back into London by taking them to a couple of touristy shops in Oxford Circus that Pat had told us about. We had one of our few real dinners out, Hubby found a place called Vapiano, which was quite a good, fun place, if you're in Oxford Circus or Regents Park (look at me name dropping!) I recommend it.