We will be in London for 5 days in mid March. Is a Saturday trip to Warwick Castle worth the trip? Would we take Chiltern Rail from Marylebon? If so, about how often do the trains run ( weekend) and what would be the approximate cost? This is our first time in England so we would like to get out of London for one day, but are not sure this would be the best adventure.
With only five days, I wouldn't leave London. That's a tiny amount of time there, and to lose an entire day... It's a nice place to visit, I enjoyed going there as part of a tour that also did Stratford Upon Avon. I wouldn't consider it an easy day trip, but it's doable... but I would hope that it was somewhere that you really wanted to visit. Otherwise, I'd recommend somewhere closer and easier - 3-4 hours of travel time is a lot to lose on a short trip. Greenwich, Kew, Windsor, Bath, all closer and IMHO easier trips.
Warwick Castle is worth a visit, there are several trains per hour. Yes, you would take the train from London Marylebone...it's 1hr 40 minute ride. The station in Warwick it a mile from the castle. If you are interested in visiting a castle Windsor is fantastic and it's only a 30 minute train ride from London Paddington station. While in Windsor you could aslo visit Eton College (which is actually a middle and high school) for the upper class (including royal) families of England. If you want more info on Windsor you can PM me and I would be happy to help you.
Good place. Worth a visit. So's Windsor. Completely different. Your choice. Warwick is a wonderful town. Lord Leyster's Hospital and many other things to fill your day. http://www.chilternrailways.co.uk/tickets-and-fares/popularfares/warwick has several popular fares from Marylebone. http://www.chilternrailways.co.uk/tickets-and-times/Shakespeare-explorer has info about the Shakespeare Explorer, very good if you also want to stop somewhere else like Stratford upon Avon. The 2 for 1 deals are still on, when you travel by train you're eligible. Happy planning...
If you're going to Warwick to see a castle, you're barking up the wrong tree. You really have to squint to see the Norman part and, quite frankly, it's become more of a theme park in the past few years. There are a bunch of better examples all over the place. York as a day trip would be pretty rough - - you're looking at five hours of logistics just to get there and back. Avebury would get one of my nods, since you could catch the stones, Silbury Hill, Kennet Long Barrow, and Woodhenge all in one swipe. And Stonehenge if you elected to stop instead of just driving by. Another nod would go to a Canterbury and Dover swing , but the only way I know to do it is by car. The hike to the castle at Dover can be a bit mean if there's not a bus or something. You're in a bit of a pickle. Some folks are Londoned out in three days, others can't get enough of it in two weeks. Personally, I really like it, but only in small doses. You might just want to stick Greenwich in your back pocket since it's just across the creek, gives a bit of a different feel, and can fill either a half or a whole day. It's also tubeable, so getting there doesn't take a lot of effort.
Warwick is a wax museum. Go to Hampton Court instead.
I really liked Warwick Castle. It's a little bit theme parkish, but it's well done, and it's a really cool castle. I don't know if it's worth it for a day trip from London due to the time and distance involved, particularly for a 5 day trip. I probably wouldn't because there is so much to see and do in London, and there are closer day trips.
If you are really looking for a convenient castle for a day trip consider a coach tiour to Leeds castle in Kent. We did it one december, they make it quite interesting.
I would also consider one of the convenient cathedral towns: salisbury, canterbury, Winchester. All a reasonable train ride from london, and other things to see in each town. A nice day out.
We went to Warwick for the day from York on our way to Bath. it was out of the way, but I'm so glad we did it. It is still talked about in our family with our kids. We have made two trips to England, both included London. The only castle my kids talk about liking more was Alnwick, but that is really too far to go to from London. The grounds were beautiful, the castle was fun, and it was easily walking distance from the train station to the castle in a cute small town. The train we were going to take back, was cancelled and it was after hours with no attendant on duty. We were a bit concerned about future trains, but another one came along in a 1/2 hour and we made all our connections to Bath, for a total of 3 trains. The train schedules are posted online and you can check before you leave. we didn't look beyond what we planned to take, but would now after that experience. The only reason it wouldn't be enjoyable would be rain, and going mid-March, I'm not sure on what the weather would be. We have done Leeds, Dover, Bodium, & Windsor castles as well on the two trips. There is a lot to do in London, so you can be fine spending all 5 days there too, but we are the type that want to see as much as we can with our time. I am glad we have seen London as well as things outside. Can't wait for our next trip there.
Keep in mind to check the schedule wherever you go. Back in 07 we were in Bath for the morning, and planned an afternoon at Warwick. We got there about 1 pm and they were closed for a special event! It was a Saturday. Luckily, we had our own car so we just went on to Blenheim Palace. I agree with the others though, find somewhere closer, like Windsor Castle. There's so much to do and see in London. I've been there 2x but both times for only 2 days each and I swear next time I go I'd want to devote a whole week just for London.
If you are willing to take the longer train ride out of London for a day, I would recommend a day trip to Arundel. Arundel Castle is wonderful, with nice grounds and a chapel as well. The little town of Arundel that surrounds it has plenty of charm and some great shops. And, the green hills, hedges and stone walls of West Sussex might just be a welcome relief from the concrete and exhaust of London. The castle is a walkable distance from the train station, but not if you have a large suitcase or small child. We were there two years ago in March, and the weather was drizzly and cool, but we still enjoyed exploring the castle grounds and town. The castle has a decent coffee/tea shop, too. You can find directions here: http://www.arundel.org.uk/directions.html
Personally, Warwick Castle was a bit too "theme park" like for me, though I know they need the money for the upkeep. We did have a very good guide inside the "great room" of the castle, in period costume and he was very informative. My preference would be Windsor or Leeds. Evan Evans offers a day tour to Leeds, Dover and Canterbury, though Dover is merely a photo opportunity. Leeds is beautiful with extensive grounds and aviaries. Windsor has magnificent state apartments and the beautiful St. George's Chapel. We picked a day to see the changing of the guard which our traveling companions enjoyed more than Buckingham Palace..but check the dates before you go as in the off season the changing nates between odd and even days depending on the month and never on a Sunday. If you make it to Scotland, Stirling Castle is grand and we spent hours exploring the outside and inside and walking the castle walls. The views from the walls are spectacular.
I enjoyed a tour to Leeds Castle (and Evan Evans type tour is a convenient way to get there), but it has been tarted up and embellished for the Tourist trade- much more like Warwick than a 'true" castle like Bodiam, Hever or Windsor