Tim has been dreaming about going to Kryal Castle ever since he was a strapping young lad staring wistfully out the window of the family’s Kingswood as they went wizzing past on the way from Kaniva (in Victoria’s West) to visit family in Melbourne. Alas, they never went (cue the violins) and as Alegría has been dreaming of becoming a princess since the day she was born there was much excitement in our house when we decided to visit the newly redeveloped Kryal Castle just outside Ballarat. What’s more we were sleeping over IN. THE. CASTLE (insert excited squeal and shout Huzzah!)
Walking across the medieval drawbridge and back in time, Kryal Castle invites visitors to experience the variety of shows and activities that they have running thoroughout the day. To enter the Castle you will first need to negotiate the Dragon’s Labyrinth which tells the story of Ushnagh, the She-Dragon that lives beneath the hill and of the legends and stories of the Land of Kryal.
Within the Castle walls there’s been a great deal of effort put in to ensure that all the Lords and Ladies have a great time – and yes, you will be referred to as “My Lord” or “My Lady” for the duration of your visit! From the Knights jousting tournament to hilarious pantomimes, bracelet making*, pony rides* and militia training to the more adult appropriate Torture & Dungeon Museum the Land of Kryal is place of fun and fantasy that has something to appeal to everyone in the family.
Walking around the grounds it isn’t hard to immerse yourself in village life. There are wooden shop fronts, cobbled streets, towers (where you can imagine you are one of the Knights of the Round Table) and sit on the Kings throne. You can lose your kids (well almost!) in the stone maze which isn’t as easy to negotiate as it looks – especially for those under 5 foot tall! Alegría loved running wild through the maze!
On the day we visited, The Fairies and Goblins Wonderland was running bracelet making workshops, face painting and story time.
The Town Crier summons everyone to the Castle Arena for the Skills in Arms and Joust/Siege which really are a must see for visitors. Make sure you plan your day around the performance times.
After watching the Knights in action, Alegría and Isaac wanted to ride their very own war horse! For this experience you have to pay an additional fee (buy your token first at the Tooth Fairy Lolly Shop before lining up!) and are only for children under 8. The kids loved it!
Other free “on arena” militia training activities included sword fighting and archery.
Bringing your own lunch is a great option as there is a picnic area right next to the playground. There are other options for meals if you would like to purchase something, or like us, you have a hankering for hot chips! However, like most tourist attractions the prices are inflated, so if you’re trying to feed your family on a budget bring your own!
Right next to the playground is a small collection of farm animals. Alegría and Isaac were fascinated by the hairy coo’s!
Before your visit, jump on Kryal Castle’s website! It’s easy to navigate and will give you an idea of what could be on offer. We used the website to prepare Alegria for our visit and she was really excited! There was one downside however and we’ve learned our lesson. She was particularly looking forward to the perfume making, but, unfortunately it wasn’t on offer the day we went and we had a disappointed Princess! So, make sure your kids know that you might be able to do the listed activities but you’ll have to “wait and see” to avoid tears!
There is just so much to see and do, from the sword in the stone, to the chapel (which you can hire for weddings), and the village stores.
The perfect way to see it all is to stay overnight in the Castle Suites. There are 17 suites which are new and comfortable and the breakfast basket is generous and the homemade bread was outstanding! Guests have the Castle all to themselves after hours which would be such fun during the summer where you could make the most of the playground and not be confined to your hotel room. It was cold when we visited and our only issue was that the bathroom was not heated and it was freezing – we guess that makes for a more authentic experience!
Just a warning – This is what happens to naughty children who don’t go to sleep when they are asked …
Days and Times: Weekends, Public Holidays and School Holidays from 10am to 4pm (last entry is 3pm)
Location: 121 Forbes Road, Leigh Creek (Ballarat) Victoria 3352
- Families $89 (2 adults and up to 3 children)
- Adults $31.00
- Children (4-16 years) $19
- Children (under 4) Free
- Concession $25
Entry price gives you access to the Castle grounds, all shows and attractions. * Some activities are not included in the entry price and require additional payment.
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