Warwick Castle: Is the Dragon Slayer event worth the money?

Warwick Castle's annual Dragon Slayer performance is breathtaking, but is it worth the money...

Warwick Castle The Dragon Slayer illustrated by castle with projected colourful dragon on
(Image credit: Dionne Delves)

Warwick Castle and the Dragon Slayer is a mind-blowing annual event, kicking off each August for a limited time, find out if it's for you and your family.

This epic nighttime full-length theatrical spectacular can be a great thing to do with the kids (opens in new tab), once you've exhausted the Gruffalo Trail (opens in new tab), enjoyed a family day out in London (opens in new tab), and have shared all the fun facts for kids (opens in new tab) that you know.

We ask if the Dragon Slayer is worth the money and Mum-of-three Dionne Delves answers for us after she took her husband Matt and three kids; twins, Edith and Harriet, aged 8, and Hayden, almost 12.

Dionne tells us "The Dragon Slayer follows Guy of Warwick on his quests to save his love, Felice. It's set in the castle courtyard, where you take your seat in this sunset-drenched show of medieval fantasy jam-packed with live action, a fire-breathing dragon, fated romance, majestic horses, and action-packed story-lines. Not forgetting the illumination as the skies explode with fireworks as the finale of the legend of the Dragon Slayer. It  really was a brilliant attack on the senses. 

She adds; "The show itself was fantastic! I couldn’t keep the kids in their seats, it was so interactive with characters arriving from all sides and projection up onto the castle walls. They were constantly jumping up squealing about something else they'd spotted.” 

The Dragon Slayer is by Merlin Entertainment, and runs for select nights throughout August, so be sure to book yours ahead of time, they sell out fast. 

Warwick Castle: The Dragon Slayer

Is it really worth the money?

Pros and cons

Specifications

How long was performance?: 90 minutes
Was there an interval?: Yes, one for 30 minutes
Price of tickets?: Start from £19 pp

Reasons to buy

+
So engaging from start to finish
+
Amazing effects and acting
+
Accessible water fountains to fill up bottles
+
Nicely spaced seating

Reasons to avoid

-
Gates opened at 616pm, was a wait until 815pm
-
Need more toilets as didn't feel there were enough
-
Food inside was a bit pricey

What age is it best for?

I saw a huge range of ages. My girls have just turned 8 and my son is almost 12 and for both these ages, it was amazing. They could follow and understand the story-line and weren’t scared by any of the special effects dragons or fire. 

Warwick Castle illustarted by over excited child

(Image credit: Dionne Delves)

And behind us, there was a family with a toddler, and she was mesmerised by the colours and sounds - shouting, horses hooves - she sat through the whole thing. So I think it hits all ages, it was so captivating for me and the husband too! There was one 30 minute interval which was a great time to get them all to the loos and back.

How long could you spend at Warwick Castle: The Dragon Slayer?

This isn’t like a normal ‘day out’ at Warwick Castle, there’s no mooching as such. You’re there for the event and after that, you all leave. You can’t really pop out of the performance and back again as some of it happens in the aisles! And it’s worth noting that there was a bit of hanging around at the start, with none of the Castle open. So either bring games to keep your kids entertained or aim to get there a little bit later to avoid the war cries of ‘I’m bored’, and especially if your kids are younger. 

Warwick Castle The Dragon Slayer illustrated by family shot

(Image credit: Dionne Delves)

What’s Warwick Castle: The Dragon Slayer like for families?

It literally caters to all with food and entertainment, once the show started. Though it was seated so if you’re little one lost interest it would be tricky to keep walking about and coming back. 

What’s Warwick Castle: The Dragon Slayer like for disabilities?

 They have an adult changing room and accessible disabled toilets in certain areas across the site. 

Can you visit Warwick Castle: The Dragon Slayer on a rainy day?

 I wouldn’t recommend it as there was no shelter and all the chairs were on grass, could get pretty muddy. Though Warwick Castle do offer 'Rainy Day Promises' as part of their 'poor weather pledge', so worth checking when you book if your day is eligible. As you could return for free within the next 60 days.

Can you take a picnic into Warwick Castle: The Dragon Slayer?

Normally you are welcome to bring a picnic but as this is an actual event, no you can't take a picnic in, nor bottles of drink. There are food trucks and water fountains dotted around. The coffee and food was a bit pricey, but to be expected to be honest. 

Warwick Castle Dragon slayer illustrated by kids enjoying doghnuts beforehand

(Image credit: Dionne Delves)

What would you recommend other families take to Warwick Castle: The Dragon Slayer?

I would recommend taking anything that might make your family more comfortable both there and back. Such as; 

  • Layers - it doesn’t start until 815pm so does get a little chilly
  • Umbrellas - just in case it rains
  • Packed lunch - to eat in the car on the way there if you don’t want to spend too much money while there
  • Snacks - to eat in the car on the way home
  • Games/Ipad - for if you arrive at 615pm, as it’s a bit of a wait before the show starts

Were there many queues?

There were queues, as to be expected around the intervals for the loo and the water fountains, but not out of the ordinary.

Warwick castle in background of kids at entrance

(Image credit: Dionne Delves)

Is it pushchair friendly?

It was a dry day so the ground was fine for pushchairs, though I can imagine on wetter days it would be harder to navigate.  

Are there any additional charges at Warwick Castle: The Dragon Slayer?

You can’t take a picnic and the food trucks sold things like burgers, starting at £4.

Parking started from £6 depending on where you parked, some had a 10-minute walk to the entrance. You would pay up to £10 for the main castle entrance parking.

How to get to Warwick Castle: The Dragon Slayer?

The Castle is well signposted, and less than two miles from junction 15 of the M40. 

The address we used was: Warwick Castle, Warwick, Warwickshire, CV34 6AH. The site also suggest using what3words, the entrance to the main carpark is ///acid.decks.speaks 

Is there free parking?

No, parking starts from £6. And many of the locations are a walk to the actual castle, which Warwick know and agree is annoying. On their website they say; “Many of our guests tell us our car parks are too far away from our main entrance. We agree! However, the castle and grounds are protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and are Grade I listed. We're committed to conservation and want to maintain the castle and grounds as they were originally designed.” 

Warwick Caste looking amazing with projection image on it

(Image credit: Dionne Delves)

My overall verdict of Warwick Castle The Dragon Slayer:

The whole thing was just over 90 minutes of pure entertainment, there were knights, evil dukes, fire-breathing dragons, and giant trolls it was a completely immersive experience that kept us all gripped to the end. There were groans when intervals were announced because the kids didn't want it to end.

While I know the tickets aren't cheap, you really do get what you pay for. The price is well worth what you get on the night. My kids were on a high all the next day, still talking about it. "It's going in my school holiday diary."

It was planned so well, it wasn't until the second part, after the interval, when it got darker that the amazing projections really kicked off.

Oh, and the jousting was amazing! Warwick castle joined forces with Knights of Middle England who are a professional jousting and stunt display team. 

What the kids said:

Harriet, 8 years old:"My favourite part was when Princess Felice rode on her horse through the show, I loved seeing the horses so much. I was worried that they would be scared by the noises and crowds but the man that worked there told me they are well looked after, and they actually really enjoy it because they're trained to do it."

Edith, 8 years old: "I was terrified but excited when the huge troll came on the stage, then Guy killed him with a massive stab."

Hayden, almost 12 years old: "I loved the fireworks at the end and seeing all the graphics on the castle with projected images."

When are tickets available for the next Warwick Castle Dragon Slayer?

Go to the Warwick Castle site (opens in new tab) and sign up to their newsletters to receive more information on when tickets go on sale for next year. 

Also go to Merlin Entertainment (opens in new tab) for direct tickets. 

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