30 June 2012

Solo Adventure: Part 6 - Warwick Castle, Warwick

Little bit of introduction about Warwick Castle; a place I visited on my fifth day in the UK. Once used for fortification until the early 17th Century, when Sir Fulke Greville converted it into a country house. Owned by the Graville family who later became the erls of Warwick in 1759 & lasted for 219 years.

The castle served as a symbol of power & was traditionally belonged to the Earls of Warwick. Taken by Henry II in 1753, it was then used to hold prisoners. Under the ownership of the Kingmaker, the castle was used to imprison the English king; Edward IV. It has undergone structural changes since it was built in the 11th Century. Originally composed of motte-and-bailey it was rebuilt to stone in the 12th Century. 

Tussauds Group purchased the castle in 1978 & opened it as a tourist attraction. It is protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument & a Grade I listed building. Ok enough of intro, let's move to my story. 

I boarded the train to Warwick at Snow Hill Train station early in the morning. 
I bought the return ticket via online; weeks prior arriving the UK. Collected it at the counter; by just showing the email & the credit card used. Or any identification document to prove that u're the person whom purchased the ticket. 
In the train...I was 10 minutes early. So boleh berperasaan bergambar sakan di situ.
Malaysia should consider this kind of facilities in our coaches. Very convenient indeed. Specially for a long hours journey. Kalau setakat LRT tu ndak payah lah. 

In case it rained before the train arrived, sila berteduh di 'bilik kaca' itu ya. 
It took less than an hour to reach Warwick from Birmingham. Once out from the coach, just follow the sign to the castle. Gerenti kau ndak kan sesat...sebab direction to the castle sangat banyak. 
Once nampak this sign, memang sah kau di jalan yang betul. Like I said, just follow the sign. Really, it's not far from the railway station. I took barely less than 10 minutes walk to reach there.
As I arrived the castle before its opening time, I killed time wandering around the entrance area. 
10a sharp the castle is open for visitor. Ticket I printed at home. With this paper I don't have to join the queue to buy the ticket. All I have to do is go to the turnstile & scanned the barcode. And voila! Sila masuk dengan senyuman lebar. 
Open air castle yet still...aktiviti merosakkan jantung anda tetap di-banned.
View of the castle once u passed the entrance gate. Time ni excited-ness melampau sudah. 
Dungeon Castle consists of 10 rooms. If u have very brave soul, dare urself to go inside. I preferred to help Merlin in the Dragon Tower instead. Erm NOT that I have weak soul just that I kinda NOT appreciate 'horror & frightening' things in the morning. 
Panoramic view of the castle. L-R: State Apartment, Merlin Tower, The Mound & Ramparts Tower. 
Bought the 1030a ticket to enter Merlin: The Dragon Tower. Kunun aku join Merlin quest to aide Arthur to fulfill his destiny. That white screen in the picture will show the Great Dragon & u will have the chance to speak with him. 
Si Merlin; Kizzy's favourite.

Out from Merlin Tower, u will directly headed to the main apartment block. Where all the exhibition is open for the public. 
The Great Hall first built in 14th Century & rebuilt to its present form in 1871. It is located at the Ground Floor of the apartment building.
Horse clad in the 16th Century equestrian armor. 

A replica model of Queen Elizabeth II.
The State Room has elaborately decorated plaster ceilings & panelled walls. Many unique paintings could be seen in this room. I personally love the lighting in this room. 
The bed was brought to the castle in preparation for a visit by the Queen in 1704. Although the visit was cancelled, the bed remained in the castle.
Ceiling decoration in the room. My kinda thing. 
The State Dining Hall commissioned in 1763. Designed & built by English finest craftsmen in the 18th century.
The basement of Caesar's Tower placed the dungeon; Gaol. A small, damp & lightless pit below the grille called The Oublitte. A claustrophobic & insanitary space where the wretched prisoner was usually forgotten. This particularly destined for harsh treatment. 
Basement of the castle is Undercroft or The Kingmaker. In this section, the exhibits illustrating the life of the castle during the period of The Kingmaker; Richard Neville.
During the reign of Henry IV, Richard was the most powerful man in England. 
His eyeballs move around like it's alive; memang bikin terkejutkan. 
Life-size wax figure showing medieval craftsmen at work.  
Mr Cobbler or Shoe Repairer.
The housekeeper. 
Enjoying my meal in the dining room.
I later entered the first floor of the main apartment block where the Royal Weekend Party was held. It's a series of 12 bedrooms, furnished as it was in the Victorian times around 1890. Secrets & scandals were a common occurrence throughout this castle.  
One of the corner once I stepped in the room. The exhibits here portrayed the castle during a party where royalty were entertained. 
Lamp decoration in the Music Room. 
During the party, tea was served in this room as well.
Entertained by the famous soprano singer of the time; Clara Butt. 
In 1898, Frances Countess of Warwick; better known as Daisy hosted the weekend party whom the main guest was the Prince of Wales. Later known as King Edward VII. She was a British socialite & the long time mistress to this King. Daisy was an interesting character...go read more about her here
PINK bedroom is what truly raised my mood. 
Camwhoring in someone's bedroom...buat macam rumah sendiri lah kan.
Lord Brooke; the 4th Earl of Warwick whom Daisy married in 1881 & had 4 children with him.
Jeeves was the one who prepared the bath for Daisy. Fyi, air tu real ya. 
Iron dulu2. Ntah berapa lama lah dorang tunggu iron tu panas...and baju tu selicin sutera without any crumples. 
The 2nd last room before exiting the apartment. Truly a room filled with scandalicious air. The audio u hear right after entering this room will certainly makes u so itchy to know what's going on behind that blue-green curtain. Well, I did feel curious. As I was alone at that time, I tried to flip the curtains but to my disappointment...they are sewn very neat that not even a tiny hole was there for me to peek. Memang lah tanda busy body ndak bertempat kau sana kan Bie.
Ok, after the failed attempt to peek...I walked out from the apartment & made my way to this entrance. Prior continuing the journey up to the tower, there was this blue sign placed next to the entrance. A sign to warn visitors that it's a one way walk. A very tiring walk it will be. 350 steep & narrow steps to go up. Guy Tower isn't really a place for the elderly & also for people who have heart condition. Even the school children who climbed the steps with me shouted "Guy, I don't fancy how u built ur tower". 
Beginning of the journey. Uneven steps. But I can't give up & back off already, it's too late to do so. Therefore I decided to gathered all the energy left in me & just get myself up to the top of the tower. Belum lunch ok. Tenaga I gained from my breakfast sudah habis guna meronda castle yang lain. 
Once I got to the top; enervation vanished right away upon seeing this laid in front of me! Hijaunya bumi Allah! Damainya alam. Subhanallah. 
View from the Rampant Tower. Before getting down. On the right is The Mound. One of the oldest part of the castle. First built in 1068, it played the most important part in the defence system. 
River Avon flowing across the castle. Most famous used of the river was by 5th Countess of Warwick in the 1890s who housed her exotic unusual animals. 
Super tired with the steep steps, now it's time to enjoyed my lunchbox. Of course packed by the kindhearted hostess. I had my lunch on a bench facing the green grass...how soothing was that. 
After lunch, I sat down a little while on the bench...delighting God's creation of beauty nature before I made my walk out from the castle & stopped by at the Victorian Rose Garden. I could smell the fragrant of roses filled the air as I entered. After the World War II, this garden was lost when a tennis court was laid on top of it. But were restored to its original in 1986 after Marnock's *the garden designer* original drawings about the garden were discovered. And a new English rose named 'Warwick Castle' was bred to commemorate the restoration of this garden.  
I super love my visit to the castle. Every cents incurred are all worth it! If given the chance go here again, I would be more than glad to revisit. Cinta pink sama castle ini!