About two hours northwest of London is Warwick—pronounced “WORR-ik”—home of Warwick Castle.
Warwick Castle was built by William the Conquerer in 1068 (just two years after his famous 1066 victory over the Anglo-Saxons at the Battle of Hastings) on a cliff overlooking the River Avon. Initially, the castle was a wooden structure of the motte-and-bailey design—a raised mound (the “motte”) with a walled courtyard on top (the “bailey”). The wood was replaced with stone in the 1100s.
The castle then entered several centuries as the center of royal power struggles and high-profile imprisonments. By the time Queen Elizabeth visited the castle in 1566, it was already 5 centuries old—and crumbling. Renovations began in the 1600s, and by the late 1600s, Warwick Castle had been converted into a “country house” belonging to a wealthy family. That status didn’t change until 1978, when The Tussauds Group (of wax-museum fame) purchased the castle, renovated it and opened it to the public as a tourist attraction.
Today, groups can see not only the fully restored castle but also the world’s largest and most powerful trebuchet (catapult, above), capable of firing big rocks very far and very fast.
Warwick Castle is included on certain EF Educational Tours to England.