Easter is my favourite annual celebration, far better than Christmas in my opinion. The evenings are lighter, the days a warmer (sometimes), blossom is peaking through and there are plenty of ‘days out’ to plan with the children.
With entry prices of family attractions increasing like everything else, the word ‘free’ instantly grabs my attention. So, when I see ‘Free Easter Trail at Medway heritage attractions’ pop up on my insta feed I’m immediately drawn in. Upnor Castle is somewhere we haven’t visited in some time, so this seemed the best place to start our Easter Trail. Ok, so it turns out it wasn’t completely free as admission prices still apply, but £7.70 for an adult and £3.30 for a child, and free parking seemed fairly reasonable to me.
Parking was available in a public car park in the village where there was plenty of space available. The castle itself can be found at the bottom of Upnor High Street, a quaint cobbled high street lined with an eclectic range of pretty houses, dating from Tudor, Victorian, Georgian to modern day. Plus, I must also mention, that even though the high street takes perhaps only 2 minutes to walk from start to finish, there are two pubs! (mental note was made to return on a sunny day for hydration in their pub gardens).
The staff in the castle ticket office were extremely friendly and welcoming and were more than happy to explain how the trail worked. There were two variations of the trail for different age groups with cute Easter illustrations. We were given a lanyard passport and an A4 tick sheet where we needed to record our findings.
The path that leads to the castle was very well kept, as were the grounds with a number of benches available to sit and stare out to sea (ok to the River).
Walking through the portcullis, we hit bingo and found the first clue and an enticing staircase. We climbed the tower, stopping at each level to look for more clues and check out the rooms including one which housed the workings of the clock tower. Reaching the top, we were rewarded with a magnificent view across the River Medway, where we stopped and pondered for a while.
The castle itself it very well kept and not a crumbling ruin which you very often expect from some castles and you really can imagine life within these walls for the soldiers who once occupied it.
More spiral staircases take you both up and down the building where we bumped into other families also enjoying the castle and the Easter Trail, although I was told the younger visitors preferred shouting into the head of the huge cannons!
The trail is carefully thought through to lead you on a journey that has you exploring the entire castle and its grounds.
Much to my disappointment, there were no tea rooms, but there was an area with a vending machine selling hot drinks and Simply Ice Cream. I thought to myself how nice it would be to come back in the summer with a full picnic looking out to sea (yes, ok the River).
Back to the ticket office to have our completed trail stamped and to decide on our next Easter Trail attraction. I was however informed that if we didn’t manage to complete all these trails, they would likely be making a return for the summer holidays (along with a carefully planned picnic).