England’s got lots of old castles. And we managed to get Nyan to explore a couple of them this summer.
First up: Colchester Castle, in Mommy’s hometown of Colchester. Its keep is said to be the largest ever built in Britain, and the largest surviving keep across all of Europe. It’s some 900 years old, but built on the foundation of a Roman temple that stood on the site about 2,000 years ago. Apparently you can see that foundation at certain parts of the castle.
But Nyan was far more interested in the historical displays inside – specifically the knights. There are various displays with old helmets that visitors can try on. And there’s a gift shop where you can buy plastic helmets and wooden daggers – both of which we bought, and both of which became integral parts of Nyan’s Halloween costume this year, as it happens.
We also visited the impressive Norwich Castle, in the impressive city of Norwich, an hour and a bit up the road from Colchester. We took the train up, and on arrival, Nyan had to spend a little time checking out how they were getting the train ready for its return trip:
Norwich was a bustling city that day, with a peaceful river running through the middle of it. Before we hit the castle, we strolled around the city center, found some fish n chips for lunch, and checked out a church (though not the famed Norwich Cathedral itself, as it was a bit of a walk away and someone was more interested in checking out Norwich’s toy stores than seeing a cathedral).
The castle itself was massive, and is home to numerous exhibition areas, all of them quite well done. We toured the crypts and the upper levels, but spent most of our time at a display on the first floor, where a guy wearing medieval-style clothes was putting on a lengthy (we’re talking an hour and a half) lecture and demo of the armor and weapons that knights would use. Afterwards, he took extra time to let Nyan try on some armor, hold a bow and arrow, and the like. (Elsewhere in the castle was a crafts area where children could draw their own paper shields; Nyan did that, choosing to decorate his with a ferocious looking ant, and later held up that shield with his real sword and helmet.)
So did Nyan enjoy his day at the castle? Yeah – and far from being tired after the long day of exploring, he was actually quite energized, as you can see from this final video, taken on the way home afterwards. Full of energy and dancing as he strolled down the sidewalk.