Warwick Castle is an interesting case study of the competing aims of conservation and modern use and income stream generation. And this just one of the UK’s hundreds of thousands of protected historic sites. Many of the readers of these blogs will have visited historic sites open to the public where you are guided from ticket office to shop and only then to the site. Once inside some parts of the site might be dedicated to other income generating activities. Sometimes the overtly commercial nature of these approaches detract from the site itself which just becomes a pretty back-drop. However, without such diverse income streams in a time of stretched grant funds and local government cuts these monuments of our past, and the stories of the people who built, lived and worked in them, could be lost in our generation. Perhaps the ability to buy ice cream and jars of chutney is worth putting up with, then?
It’s five years since I visited Warwick Castle. I spent a long day visiting Kenilworth and Warwick. Kenilworth was my priority, but since I was in the area visiting a friend at the University of Warwick it seemed like a good opportunity to visit Warwick Castle.
The contrast between the two is stark. Whereas Kenilworth is the pride of English Heritage – with high visitor numbers, guided tours, a spectacular great tower, sprawling ruins – Warwick is a business. The cost of entry if near enough £25 for an adult, and that’s if you don’t want to visit the dungeon. But what’s the point of going if you’re not going to at least see the dungeon?
The courtyard at Warwick Castle is a bustling place and there are regulars shows of one sort or another: archery, birds of prey, guided tours, and sometimes jousting. When I visited this was interesting…
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