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MIDLAND tourist bosses are offering festive revellers the chance to live like kings and queens on Christmas Day.

Managers of Warwick Castle have launched an auction for a right royal knees up at the venue on eBay.

The treat includes a seven-course feast which will be dished up by servants.

The only drawback is that it is likely to cost you at least pounds 27,000.

The starting price was pitched at pounds 25,000 and aftter eight bids it had increased by pounds 2,000 yesterday afternoon.

The successful bidder will be the first to celebrate Christmas at the castle for more than 30 years - since the Earl of Warwick sold it in 1978, according to managers Merlin Entertainments Group.

The price will include a champagne breakfast in the library before presents are opened around the 25ft Christmas tree in the Great Hall, accompanied by live festive music. Guests can then take a walk around the 65-acre grounds before sitting down to their seven-course blow-out in the state dining room.

The menu will be developed in conjunction with the guests.

After dinner, guests can retire to the drawing room or smoking room to rest before board games in the music room - which was said to be a favourite haunt of Winston Churchill and his family.

There will be unrestricted access to all parts of the castle during the day, including ramparts, dungeons and towers. A team of servants will be on hand to provide guided tours and serve drinks.

The day will end with a private firework display in the courtyard and a visit from Santa before guests are taken in a chauffeur-driven car for an overnight stay at a nearby luxury hotel.

Opportunity Sue Kemp, general manager of Warwick Castle, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for someone to enjoy the spectacular surroundings of the castle on the only day of the year that it is closed to the public.

"The castle will provide the perfect backdrop to the ultimate Christmas celebration and I look forward to handing over the keys to the winning bidder."

Ten per cent of the funds raised from the auction will go to the company's charity, Merlin's Magic Wand.

Warwick Castle's history stretches back to 914AD when Ethelfleda, daughter of Alfred the Great, ordered the building of a "burh" or an earthen rampart to protect the small hilltop settlement of Warwick from Danish invaders. In 1068 William the Conqueror built a motte-and-bailey fort on the site.

As well as operating as a tourist attraction now, it is available to hire for conferences, weddings and Christmas parties.


RARE TREAT: The successful bidder will be the first to celebrate Christmas at the castle for more than 30 years

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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Dec 13, 2009
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