Bringing History to Life at Tamworth Castle

Last Friday my daughter’s homework included a reading book all about castles and palaces. Ah, one for me! We enjoyed reading through it together and discussing each of the pages as I helped her to put it all into context. It then occurred to me that I should build on her enthusiasm and make something more of this interest (it’s not like I want her to really enjoy history, or anything…!) so I suggested we take a trip at the weekend to find out more and check to see whether her book was correct. She was thrilled, and kept double-checking that it would be a ‘real-life castle’. Yes, yes, a real life castle, as I decided to introduce her to Tamworth Castle.

Tamworth Castle

I used to go to Tamworth Castle quite often as a child, and I’d paid the odd visit during my twenties, too, but I’d yet to take the kids. We go to National Trust properties regularly, so Boo is used to looking round at old properties and great houses, but none have dated quite as far back as the Norman times. She was excited.

There is so much to see and do there, I was impressed. I’d deliberately chosen this castle as it’s relatively small (we’re not that far from Warwick Castle, which is huge in comparison) and often quiet so we could stroll round it without it feeling at all overwhelming. We looked out for things that we’d learned about in her book, and read about how each of the rooms would have been set up and used.

Visiting Tamworth Castle

The castle took us through the ages, from Anglo Saxon to Victorian, and there were activities dotted about throughout for children. Boo particularly enjoyed writing her name in runes, the brass rubbings, looking out over the battlement, and holding a sword.

Boo at Tamworth Castle

Now I’m all for books, as regular readers will no doubt know. I’m very passionate about reading, both for myself and the kids. But sometimes books will only take you on a part of the journey. In this case, a book sparked a conversation, sowed a seed of interest, and then we were off on an adventure. I’m sure she’ll remember the feel of the stone walls, the weight of the sword and the atmosphere of the castle in the months and years to come, more so than the book. I hope to continue to instil within her a love of history, and of course books, after all, it started with a book…

Where have your books taken you recently?

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10 thoughts on “Bringing History to Life at Tamworth Castle”

  1. What a fun way to learn.
    We have also taken this kind of approach with the home-schooling.
    It’s so much more interesting for them to experience things first hand occasionally,
    makes a change from trying to visualise scenarios from a book.
    Glad Boo had a lovely day 🙂 x

    1. It definitely is. I like to take the lead from books, as they often spark the imagination, but then it’s great to get out there and experience it. Thank you x

  2. One of the things I absolutely love about the UK is the amount of history we have – and with that the amount of castles. That one looks like a really great day out x

  3. Hi Jocelyn, how fascinating for Boo to get the chance to wander round a real, live castle! To be able to touch the walls and wonder who else may have touched them and to hold a sword and know that’s part of history. I still remember going on a school trip to a church that had been desecrated by Oliver Cromwell and his men during the civil war. It was creepy, yet fascinating, to be able to run my fingers over the wood carvings that has been gouged and damaged by his men all those years ago.

    I hope Boo continues to show an interest in history, which I have no doubt you will encourage greatly.

    I’ve not had a book take me anywhere recently, but again as a youngster I remember getting my Dad to take us to a place called Moonfleet after reading a book about smugglers and pirates. I got a real bee in my bonnet about finding the places that were mentioned in the book…. My Dad is a patient man!


    1. She loved it, as did I. Oh, I’d have loved that, I find Cromwell and Charles I fascinating, an interesting and emotive time. I hope she does, too, I can only share and see whether it inspires.
      That sounds like a wonderful adventure, and a wonderful father! x

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