I’m sure that at some point in everybody’s childhood we have all rummaged for boxes, cushions, blankets and goodness knows what else, with the intention of building a den or fortified castle of our very own.
I have fond memories of pulling the settee away from the wall and piling cushions at one end that served as a doorway or portcullis, and then requesting a password from my sister before she was allowed in. Once I had established that she was indeed an ally and not a conniving little spy, together we raided the linen closet to collect materials for the construction of the new West Wing. This was accomplished by placing two chairs back-to-back and pulling them slightly apart and then draping the largest sheet we could possibly find to form a large tent-like structure. We smuggled more pillows, food and snacks (in case of a harsh winter) and even set about kidnapping our baby brother and holding him hostage. At the very end of the West Wing we had emptied the contents of Mum’s ottoman and it served as a successful turret, where my sister was later banished for treason.
As you can see I was more Darth Vader, than King Arthur.
Now, whether it was for playtime or generally somewhere you and your
minions siblings could plot against your evil parents for making you go to bed early on a school night, the thrill and excitement of building a base is a truly awesome experience for any child. For my poor brother and sister it was probably a place of tyranny and fear (although if they just did as they were told and obeyed me without question, they would have seen a lot less of the dungeon I can tell you) but for me it was a super sanctuary where we could protect ourselves from the invasion of Mother the Tyrant and Daddy the Dreadful who came armed with pyjamas, toothpaste and telling us to get ready for bed.
Luckily my brother and sister didn’t have the resources or common sense to start an uprising and revolt against me, so my reign went unchallenged until 8.30pm. It was then that I was stripped of my crown and banished to bed for crimes against humanity, my own relatives being the worst of the victims. My trial took place, they gave incriminating evidence against me and ultimately they betrayed me, their beloved Sovereign. The Democratic Republic of Mum and Dad seized my Kingdom and immediately sentenced me to an early night. Looking back its safe to say that the power went to my head and I had acted a little extreme, but I’m sure that hundreds of years ago, the Kings and Queens of old had far more dangerous threats to protect themselves against – that and most of them didn’t have any teeth to brush before bedtime anyway.
If, like my own mother, you can’t stand the mess and would absolutely flip at the idea of the kids turning your living room into a bloody battle ground that makes 1066 look like afternoon tea, then you’ll be glad to know that the British Isles are home to great number of impressive and fantastic castles. Many of these historical monuments, such as Warwick Castle, the Tower of London and Dover Castle to name but a tiny few, are fantastic days out for the whole family. Steeped with rich and sometimes bloody history there’s lots to see and do and I guarantee that these wonderful attractions will really set kids’ imaginations running wild.
Warwick Castle offers brave Knights going to head to head in sword fights, and even the traditional medieval sport of jousting contests to watch! There are also eagle and vulture falconers who provide impressive demonstrations with fantastic birds of prey. And if medieval weaponry and giant catapults are your thing then don’t miss the firing of the world’s largest Trebuchet everyday! Finally, what’s a little King (or Queen) without their sword? Don’t forget to visit Excalibur, as King Arthur’s legendary sword in the stone is available for guests to try their luck and try to remove the fabled blade from its rocky hold. Legend tells that whoever can pull the sword from the famous stone will be crowned as the rightful King or Queen of England!
On the downside, all of this historical and architectural inspiration may well encourage them even more to go home and build their own castles with your ornaments and various bits of furniture from around your house. In situations such as these I would suggest sending the kids to their grandparents’, because if they’re anything like mine, Granddad will draft plans and orchestrate the entire construction and help out so that it’s big enough for him too, and Nan will see that her royal guests are well fed!
With the amazing Kids Go Free offer throughout August, don’t miss out on this fantastic day out for the whole family at Warwick Castle this bank holiday weekend!