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.
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.
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.
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?