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Kenilworth Castle © English Heritage

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image by Jamie Gray Photography

Historic Highlights

If history is your thing, then look no further! Kenilworth is alive with stories and practically overflowing with visible and well-loved heritage, the challenge is packing it all into one day (or even a weekend)!

Let’s start with THE big ticket item and a visit to Kenilworth Castle and Elizabethan Garden. We’d recommend parking close to Abbey End and kicking things off with a stroll through the greenery of Abbey fields (we’ll be back later!) to the High Street where you’ll be able to grab a fresh brewed coffee (or even a late breakfast for sustenance) at Time for Tea, with a fine view of both the thatched cottages at Little Virginia and the towers of Leicester’s Gatehouse itself.

Now its time to head onto the Castle proper, which you can access by the path beside Lunn’s Tower or by walking to the car park entrance on Castle Road. Either way you’ll head across the Tiltyard to enter the venerable walls that have hosted luminaries like Elizabeth I, John of Gaunt, Simon de Montfort and Henry V. Don’t miss the views from the heights of the great hall! Keep an eye out for special events as you could easily come across a joust or a re-enactment of a medieval siege (not the first time its happened here!).

Had enough of castles? No? Well why not grab a copy of the Castle & Abbey Trail and complete the story of the Castle with a short walk out through the Mere to the Pleasance in the Marsh?

Feeling peckish? The good news is there are plenty of wonderfully atmospheric options for lunch all within easy reach. The Queen & Castle or The Clarendon Arms are right at the bottom of Castle Hill, alternatively, if history is really your thing, head up the hill and swing by the Famous Virgins & Castle, Kenilworth’s oldest pub with a repudiated history back to 1563, perfect for a properly historic lunch!  Opposite are The Abbey Field and The Old Bakery, perfect for sitting outside on a sunny day.

If you’ve refuelled then you have some serious choices to make! The Kenilworth Heritage Trail will help you get to the bottom of the history around the rest of town, and if you want more medieval action, follow the rest of the Castle & Abbey Trail to explore Abbey Fields and the ruins of the Abbey of St. Mary the Virgin. Either way we’d recommend a stop at the Abbey Museum , packed with stones from the abbey and local history exhibits covering all the threads of the Kenilworth story.

If for some reason you want to head further afield, Stoneleigh Abbey, with its famous Jane Austen connections and marvellous landscaped grounds is just a short drive away as is Baddesley Clinton, a 500 year old property in the heart of the Forest of Arden.

Whatever you choose make sure to head back to Kenilworth for a historic evening. You could take dinner at Ego,  Zizzi  or The Almanack, the first housed in the former coaching inn “The Kings Arms” where Sir Walter Scott stayed whilst researching the novel “Kenilworth”. After dinner you could polish off a historic day with drinks at Pomeroy’s (housed in the façade of Kenilworth’s original 19th century train station) or catch a show at the Talisman or Priory Theatre, the latter housed in a converted Chapel from 1816 and overlooking Abbey Fields.