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Warwick Castle set for 80-bed hotel as Merlin submits 10-year masterplan

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Merlin Entertainments has revealed its vision for an 80-bedroom hotel at Warwick Castle as part of its long-term masterplan.

The proposals, which have been submitted to the district council and will be developed over the next five to 10 years, outline developments which seek to “balance commercial interests alongside ongoing heritage restoration”.

Nick Blofeld, divisional director at Warwick Castle, told Attractions Management: “Our masterplan contains a wide range of proposals which we believe could continue to help us sympathetically enhance our offering.

“All of the ideas proposed, including a possible hotel, remain at the feasibility stage, subject to further research and discussions with a broad range of internal and external stakeholders.”

In the plan, a small lodge housing 60 to 80 bedrooms will be erected within castle grounds, while there are also proposals to renovate bedrooms in one of the castle’s towers, turning them into luxury suites for overnight stays. Merlin says that Porters Lodge – a vacant part of the castle, may be suitable for renovation as guest accommodation.

The organisation wants to extend the life of its glamping site, which has proved successful in the four years it has been operational. The proposal seeks approval to operate the site for an additional five years, but with a smaller footprint with fewer tents.

In addition to new and enhanced accommodation options, improvements to the visitor experience are planned too. These include a new restaurant with a covered deck offering views of the Castle’s East Front, the River Avon and its island; improved accessibility for disabled visitors; and a redevelopment of the courtyard shop.

A playground close to the castle’s stables and carpark is also in need of an upgrade, with consideration being given to whether it is renovated as a new playground or a building providing undercover facilities.

In terms of heritage restoration, the masterplan addresses a number of areas needing work, including masonry repairs to the towers and ramparts, east and west wings, mound curtain walls, perimeter walls and south front. Restoration work will also be carried out on the castle’s conservatory windows.

The plans have raised contention locally, with some residents arguing that the historic castle, originally built by William the Conqueror in 1068, is being turned into a “Disneyland-like” site. The Warwick Society – a civic group representing the town’s people – said that work would have to be done “very carefully” so as not to damage the castle and its grounds.

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Merlin Entertainments has revealed its vision for an 80-bedroom hotel at Warwick Castle as part of its long-term masterplan.
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Merlin's masterplan for Warwick Castle includes restoration of towers, ramparts and walls / Shutterstock.com

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