Warwick is the county town of Warwickshire and lies on the River Avon. Easily accessible by car as it is near the M40 motorway, Warwick is a historic town with an Anglo-Saxon and Viking past, and the town centre is full of historic architecture and contains a mixture of Tudor and 17th century buildings. Founded on the banks of the River Avon in 914 AD, Warwick is built on a small hill, and the Anglo-Saxon town was surrounded partly by a wall and partly by a ditch.
The mediaeval core of Warwick was prevented from expansion by the surrounding open spaces such as the Common, Warwick Racecourse, the grounds of the Priory and the River Avon, and later, Warwick Castle. This means that Warwick is packed with buildings of historic interest in a small area, meaning there is plenty to see and do in Warwick. In particular, Warwick Castle one of the most spectacular and complete mediaeval castles in the country and has been inhabited continuously since the Middle Ages.
Visiting Warwick is a memorable experience with numerous attractions for all ages including the famous Warwick Castle, Fusiliers Museum, Oken’s House, Charlecote Park and Warwick Racecourse. Warwick also has an ever-growing reputation for the variety of its cafes, restaurants and other eateries, so there are plenty of places to enjoy some refreshments after some sightseeing.
Many events are held throughout the year in Warwick’s Market Square and the Market Place hosts a regular Charter Market every Saturday as well as fortnightly themed Farmers markets and French Markets.
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Shopping in Warwick
Warwick offers a variety of shops nestled between stunning buildings and beautiful gardens with an enticing blend of the old and the new – from gift shops and antique centres to trendy boutiques and high street chains. The Historic Smith Street is the oldest shopping street in Warwick and is located at the very heart of the town between Warwick Castle and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Museum. Swan Street is Warwick’s busiest shopping street and there is always plenty going on here. Warwick is full of quality independent shops offering all kinds of unique goods, particularly in Jury Street and through Eastgate. For the more familiar high street names head around the Market Street area.
Warwickshire Tourist Attractions
Warwick Castle is a famous medieval castle which dates back to the 10th century. The castle is a Grade I listed building, and is a typical castle with a Great Hall, State rooms, Chapel, Ghost Tower and dungeons. Warwick Castle was built by William the Conqueror in 1068 and used as a fortification until the early 17th century when it was converted into a country house by Sir Fulke Greville.
Since its construction Warwick castle has undergone structural changes with additions of towers and redesigned residential buildings. Originally a wooden mote-and-bailey Castle, it was rebuilt in stone in the 12th century. In the 17th century the grounds were turned into a garden. A visit to Warwick Castle will bring Mediaeval England back to life as there is so much to see for all ages.
Outside there is a Victorian rose garden, conservatory and peacock garden. There are live shows demonstrating jousting, archery, falconry and combat as well as a huge reconstructed catapult that is fired twice a day. With many parts of the castle said to be haunted, why not experience live-action held in the Ghost tower where actors and effects recreate the murder of Sir Fulke Greville.
Address: Warwick Castle, Warwick, Warwickshire CV34 4QU
Official Website: www.warwick-castle.co.uk
Warwick Racecourse is nestled next to Warwick Castle in the heart of historic Warwick. Warwick Racecourse is one of the oldest racecourses in the country with races having taken place here since the 1700s. The first stand was built in 1808 and Warwick Racecourse is rich in tradition and heritage and still retains its historic charm and character today.
The racecourse has a programme of 25 meetings throughout the year with Jump racing (National Hunt) from November through to March including prestigious Saturday afternoon fixtures in January and February, while flat racing is held from April through to October. Many races are televised, and in the summer months there are themed evening race meetings while three Bank Holiday fixtures at Easter, the start of May and in August are Family Days.
Warwick Racecourse has recently undergone a major refurbishment of its facilities, there is ample parking next to the course and it is only a five minute walk away from the town centre. In the middle of the racecourse is a nine hole golf course and a golf driving range!
Address: Warwick Racecourse, Warwick CV34 6HN
Official Website: www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/warwick
Kenilworth is a small and historic town in the heart of Warwickshire, situated 6 miles north of Warwick. Kenilworth is best known for Kenilworth Castle, a magnificent stone mote and bailey fortress complete with Elizabethan Garden, although there is plenty more to see in Kenilworth than just the castle, see below for details.
Kenilworth dates back to around 1140 and a settlement has existed at Kenilworth since at least the time of the Domesday Book. Kenilworth has a wealth of shops, hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs as well as public services, excellent schools and wonderful green areas to explore. Kenilworth has good transport links – the Birmingham International Airport, and M6, M42 and M40 motorways are within 10 miles of central Kenilworth. Popular attractions around Kenilworth include:
Kenilworth Castle is one of England’s most spectacular castle ruins, and the magnificent stone mote and bailey fortress is also the largest castle ruin in England. Founded in the 1120s, Kenilworth Castle has been owned by numerous Kings, used as a prison and been the setting for the longest siege in British history during its 900 year history.
Journey through hundreds of years of history with a visit to Kenilworth Castle and discover links to some major historical figures including ‘Bad’ King John, Henry V, and Henry VIII. Kenilworth is most famously associated with Robert Dudley and Queen Elizabeth I who was a regular visitor, after she had given the castle to Dudley, Earl of Leicester in 1563. Dudley was very keen to impress Elizabeth, hoping to persuade her to marry him, and he spent around £60,000 over 10 years restoring the castle. Despite all the money spent Elizabeth did not marry him, although she did get cross when he eventually married someone else! Queen Elizabeth I kept Dudley’s last letter to her in a casket by her bed until she died, and you can view a copy of this letter at Kenilworth Castle.
Now owned by English Heritage, Kenilworth Castle is open to the public all year. Explore Leicester’s gatehouse, enjoy the two exhibitions, follow an hour-long audio tour that brings Kenilworth’s eventful past to life and stroll or picnic in the recreated Elizabethan garden – a fascinating view into the past.
Address: Kenilworth Castle, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 1NE
Official Website: www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/kenilworth-castle