When I first entered, I was struck by something odd in its proportions and attributed this to the delicate fairy-tale buildings on top of the motte but later discovered another reason during the excellent guided tour. Read on!
Motte, bailey and towers.
The mound you see is called Ethelfleda's motte after the doughty daughter of Alfred the Great, who founded a burh here in 916 to help defend Mercia from the attacking Danes, but it is Norman, not Anglo-Saxon. She was aided by a legendary Saxon earl named Guy who resolutely fought dragons and rescued distressed maidens and then married the daughter of Rohand, the first true Earl of Warwick.
In 1068 William the Conqueror made Henry de Newburgh an earl and he enlarged the mound and constructed a Norman motte and bailey fortification which was later rebuilt in stone to replace the timber. The open space is now dominated by Caesar's Tower (also called Poitiers Tower) and Guy's Tower (probably not after the monster-slayer, unfortunately), the work of the Beauchamps, father and son, both called Thomas. Caesar's Tower has an oubliette (thrillingly horrible thought!), the walls of Guy's are 10 feet thick and they are masterpieces of 14th century military architecture. Both were probably inspired by French models and are machicolated. Other towers, Bear and Clarence, each with its own well and ovens, were instigated by Richard III and unfinished at his death in 1485.
The State Rooms
Warwick Castle has several splendidly huge chambers including the The State Dining Room, The Great Hall, (62 x 45 ft and 40 feet high) The Red Drawing Room, The Cedar Drawing Room, The Green Drawing Room and others. There are paintings in most of these by famous artists such as Raphael, Van Dyck, Rubens and the castle is worth visiting for these alone. The armour in The Great Hall is considered by some to be second only to that in the Tower of London and includes a touchingly small suit said to have been made for "the Noble Impe", the young son of Robert Dudley, who died in early childhood. Here you can also goggle at "Guy's Porage Pot", made in the 14th century as a garrison cooking utensil, apparently holding 136 gallons which is reputed to have been refilled 4 times with punch at a coming-of-age party. There is also a massive Beauvais tapestry showing Marlborough's army on the march and the famous picture of Queen Elizabeth I in her coronation robes. In the Cedar Room is a fireplace made by the Adam brothers in Carrara marble with the symbols of life and death, the egg and the arrow, as well as an Aubusson carpet with the Warwick bear and staff in each corner and the Greville swan on the centre edge. I normally prefer the exterior of a castle to sumptuous domestic rooms but there is no burger tent in here and I found the waxworks, which might have been naff, quite appealing.