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Inside The Haunted Castle

Muddy boldly goes in search of the scariest thrills for Halloween at Warwick Castle on a family day out.

Never mind The X Factor, Warwick Castle has well and truly nailed the fear factor this Halloween!

I shrieked my way around the latest new attraction, House of Wax, with two hysterical nine-year-olds girls clinging to each hand – I’m not sure who was more creeped out.

The Castle’s sedate waxworks have been transformed into a ‘living’ scare maze. As you weave in-and-out of pitch black or candle-lit stately rooms inside the castle walls you’re not quite sure if the wax models are live actors and vice-versa, until they jump out at you. The actors are very convincing, be warned, and to add to your sense of confusion there’s disorientating strobe lighting!

The Witches Tower

We all breathed a huge sigh of relief to be out in the open air and slowly regained our composure on a boo-tiful Sunday afternoon. Under the blue sky on The Dead Stage in the main castle courtyard we watched an entertaining Wizard School for kids followed by a Medieval-style Thriller Dance. The girls loved helping to create a potion for eternal youth in an all-new show inside The Witches Tower and discovering spooky woodland trail, The Haunted Hollows.

The Haunted Hallows

Also new for 2018 is the Escape Room – an actor-led attraction for ages 6+ set within the medieval gaol – which challenges friends and strangers to work together against the clock on a quest to save a tortured soul from the Wars of the Roses (an extra £5). I’d advise booking this in advance as it was completely sold out on the first weekend.

Children over 10-years-old only are recommended to experience Outbreak 1369 and The Castle Dungeon.

Outbreak 1369: The Black Death has returned to Warwick but this time contagion is instant with shocking results. Are you daring enough to brave the risk of contagion?

Like a Medieval version of The Walking Dead, Outbreak 1369 drags pitiful plague victims from their medieval resting place in the castle to torment the living; while The Castle Dungeon, a live-actor experience, plunges volunteers from your group to become victims into the deathly darkness of the Middle Ages, when the people of Warwick were at the mercy of the plague, malevolent monks and unscrupulous ‘surgeons’.

The Castle Dungeon

But maximum fear factor apparently belongs to sonic performance Séance – after House of Wax I don’t think my nerves could take this theatrical attraction – that uses innovative binaural spatial audio technology to share spirits’ stories of life on ‘the other side’. In that case: prepare to be petrified!

This half-term also sees the return of fire jousting, promising an awesome display of horseback heroics out on the River Island arena in a skilful showdown, the Mighty Trebuchet will be firing twice daily, and birds of prey will be circling overhead. An impressive array of spooktacular shows!

Warwick Castle’s Haunted Castle runs until November 4 and will be open until 10pm on selected dates (check online).

££: The Haunted Castle costs from £20 per person for daytime entrance and from £18 per person for evening entrance (from 5pm to 10pm). The Castle Dungeon costs an additional £9 per person and Séance costs £5 per person. Book entrance and accommodation online at warwick-castle  

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