Warwickshire is a county blessed with beautiful countryside, and a rich cultural and historical legacy. Here are just three of the unmissable attractions this famous county has to offer.
Kenilworth Castle is one of the most impressive ruined castles in the UK, with a meticulously recreated Elizabethan Garden to enjoy on your visit. It is thought that a castle was first built on the site in the 10th century by Geoffrey de Clinton, the royal chamberlain.
He developed the palace and strengthened the fortifications, to the extent that it held out for a six month siege against royal forces during the Baron’s War against Henry III in 1266. The castle was greatly expanded into a palace during the 14th century.
The castle became a grand residence which was favoured by royalty in the late Middle Ages, and Elizabeth I granted it to the Earl of Leicester in 1563. After the English Civil War, the fortifications were dismantled, but the ruined heart of the castle still remains.
Coventry is a city blessed with three cathedrals. The first is the ruins of St Marys, which was founded in the 12th century and largely dismantled during the Dissolution of the Monasteries led by King Henry VIII during the early 16th century.
The second is the more famous ruins of St Michael’s, a red sandstone gothic church which was bombed to a shell in WWII during the Coventry Blitz. The present St Michael’s Cathedral is built directly next to the ruins, in a modernist style.
It was designed by Basil Spence, after he won a competition organised by the Royal Institute of British Architects, and is a Grade I listed structure. It is famous for its huge tapestry of Christ, which was designed by Graham Sutherland, and almost fills the wall opposite the nave.
Warwick Castle is one of the largest complete medieval castles in the UK, and the site is now a prime family-friendly tourist attraction, where it is easy to spend the entire day. It was first founded as a Saxon fort in the 8th century, and has undergone continuous change and development since then.
The castle is operated by Merlin Entertainments, and there are year-round events and attractions, such as jousting contests, live shows, and sleepover tickets.
It would be impossible to discuss Warwickshire without mentioning the birthplace of William Shakespeare, the revered 16th century playwright. The town of Stratford-Upon-Avon is of course home to all manner of Shakespeare’s legacy, including three theatres.
However, the 16th century house where the Bard was thought to have been born is remarkably well-preserved. Visitors can tour the childhood home of the literary genius and visit an exhibition which casts light on his family background and everyday life.
There is an insight into his father John, who was a glovemaker; a prestigious career in the 16th century. Visitors can also view artefacts from Shakespeare’s childhood, and gain an insight into the early books and toys he had access to, and which fuelled one of the most brilliant creative imaginations that the world has known.
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