This summer has been a busy one for my boy. He’s 11, about to start high school and busy learning to be more independent. He has many hobbies and interests, but one he shares with his cousin and best friend is Warhammer. For the uninitiated, Warhammer is mostly painting tiny figures and then playing war games with them. So this summer, I decided to take them both to Warhammer World in Nottingham, and what a day out that was!
My own enthusiasm for Warhammer mostly extends to being supportive of my son’s interest in it. I was reassured that even someone with no prior experience of Warhammer would probably still enjoy their time there. I’m happy to say that I did, and I would go again. The boys however, aged 11 and 12 are pretty obsessed, and their excitement alone was pretty infectious.
We decided to make a couple of days out of our trip to Nottingham. It’s not that far from Manchester, so why rush? We stayed in town the night before, and after breakfast we grabbed a taxi to take us to Warhammer World. In terms of getting there, it’s really accessible by tram, bus or car, and there’s plenty of free parking.
It’s free to enter Warhammer World, but you do have to pay to explore the exhibition centre (currently £7.50 per adult, £5 per child over 12 years). It’s definitely worth visiting the exhibitions at least once, they really are incredible. The exhibition centre is made up of four rooms filled with painted figures, elaborate dioramas and lots of inspiration for two keen boys.
The exhibition areas are packed with thousands of Citadel and Forge World miniatures painted by the talented people at Warhammer World. They really are awesome, and we dashed from display case to display case being wowed by what we saw. The exhibition was really inspiring for the boys, they’ve seen Warhammer scenes in the shops, admired them and they were keen to emulate them, but this was on such a huge scale, it was a lot to take in. I recommend you really take your time through these areas. There’s an awful lot to look at. You are allowed to take photos for our own personal use, so the boys did take a few snaps of things they’d like to recreate at home.
Undoubtedly the highlight was The Battle For Angelus Prime, which is the largest display in the building. It’s housed in its own room, with a staircase winding around it, so you can appreciate it in 360°. It really has to be seen to be properly appreciated. It contains over 5,500 miniatures, and is over 22 feet in length, 12 feet wide and almost 20 foot high. It is big!
There are over 20,000 miniatures on display in the exhibition centre. All of them are fixed to their displays except one, an assassin which is moved each night and is part of The Battle For Angelus Prime. If you spot him, you can win an assassin figure of your own. We had a really good look, but we were unsuccessful.
Once we’d had a good look around the exhibition centre, the boys were keen to get something to eat. We decided to visit the on-site café, Bugman’s Bar. This is a large, airy bar with lots of space for people to hang out, play games; or do what we did, which was eat burgers. The food was really very good and reasonably priced, the boys both left clean plates. The staff were friendly, helpful and really made us feel welcome. I’d happily eat there again.
Between the shop and Bugman’s Bar was the Event Hall. This is a room where you can play games and reserve tables to play games at. You do need to bring your own miniatures and gaming equipment, but it looks like a fine place to do battle. Alas, we’d arrived empty handed, but the boys are keen to return at some point with their own armies.
With pocket money burning holes in their pockets, the boys spent a good hour or so exploring the shop (there’s a Warhammer Shop and a Forge World Shop). While they were deliberating, the painting table in the Warhammer shop opened and they grabbed a couple of seats. They have painting tables in the Warhammer shops on the high street, and it’s worth phoning ahead and booking a slot if you’re visiting, but the boys were keen to learn some new techniques.
The painting tables are really great for newbies. Although they’ve been painting miniatures for around a year now, they still have much to learn. You are given the choice of one of two miniatures to paint and access to all the paints you’d need. The tables are looked after by knowledgeable members of staff who make helpful suggestions, offer advice and can show you some painting techniques you might not have tried before.
The boys spent around an hour painting their miniatures. As there’s no crèche for tired mums, I decided if you can’t beat them, join them. So I pulled up a chair and tried my hand at painting my own figure. It turns out that if you’re in the same room when your child is watching hour after hour of painting tutorial videos on YouTube, occasionally some of that sticks in your head. Apparently I’m not terrible at painting miniatures. I’m happy I gave it a try, and if you’re a parent supporting you child’s hobby, then it’s fun to have a go, even if it’s just the once.
Again, I cannot fault the staff in the shop. They were so knowledgeable, helpful, friendly and clearly used to being spoken to by excitable children, like my two.
We spent around 5 hours in Warhammer World in total. There was plenty to see and do, and I really feel we made the most of it. The boys were sad they couldn’t play in the Events Hall, but there was scope for a small game in the shop, so it wasn’t the worst. It was a really fun day out. Both boys have said it was the highlight of their summer, and I don’t think you can get much higher praise than that.
Will we be back? Yes. Will we take our own armies next time? Also yes. Are the boys pestering me for a return already? Yes.
Warhammer World is in Nottingham, it’s brilliant and you can find out more on their website.
Note: You can take photos for your own personal use at Warhammer World. I asked for permission to take and share some pictures from our visit.