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It you’re seeking a holiday destination that’s brimming with history and overflowing with culture, then Warwickshire may be the perfect place for you.
A county steeped in many hundreds of years of history where battles were fought, and Shakespeare’s famous plays and poems were written, Warwickshire is located in the heart of England and covers around 770 miles² – most of which is covered in beautiful, lush green countryside.
The area has many lovely towns and villages and plenty to occupy the discerning visitor. Stratford-upon-Avon is perhaps the most famous of Warwickshire’s lovely towns, and it is here that William Shakespeare was born in 1564 and lived and worked in the town until his death in 1616. As a world-famous visitor attraction, Stratford-upon-Avon is full of historic buildings related to the life of William Shakespeare including Shakespeare’s Birthplace; the house of his birth, New Place; the site of Shakespeare’s family home, Hall’s Croft; the former home of Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna, Ann Hathaway’s cottage; the former home of Shakespeare’s wife Ann and Mary Arden’s Farm; the home of Shakespeare’s mother. All of these buildings have been lovingly restored and are open to the public for visits and educational tours. There are also a number of other museums and visitor centres in the town, along with a wonderful selection of restaurants, public houses, cafes and shops.
Another famous historic Warwickshire town attracting thousands of tourists from home and abroad each year is Warwick. Lying 9 miles to the north-east of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick was founded in the 6th Century and has many wonderfully preserved old buildings, boundary walls and cobbled streets. The most famous and well known of these buildings is undoubtedly Warwick Castle, which is considered by many to be the finest castle in England. Established in 1068 as part of the Norman conquest of England, Warwick Castle remains largely intact and is one of the county’s main tourist attractions, giving a fascinating insight into what life was like in days gone by. A number of other medieval buildings can be visited in the town, including the wonderful Lord Leycester Hospital; a collection of timber framed buildings dating mainly from the late 14th century, with Norman gateway and 12th century chapel. Like its near neighbour Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick has a great selection of visitor attractions, shops and places to eat.
Just five miles north of Warwick is yet another historic town with yet another impressive castle! With its origins in Norman times, Kenilworth Castle was once famously described by architectural historian Anthony Emery as “the finest surviving example of a semi-royal palace of the later middle ages, significant for its scale, form and quality of workmanship”. The majestic castle has played an important role in many stages of English political history and was once the scene of a famous six month long siege. Kenilworth’s old town has a selection of impressive old buildings, whilst the more modern side of town has a great selection of interesting shops, pubs, bars and restaurants.
Other interesting towns in the vicinity include the regency town of Royal Leamington Spa, the captivating market town of Henley-in-Arden, the Roman town of Alcester and the pretty riverside towns of Shipston-on-Stour and Welford-on-Avon. Many towns in the county lie on the banks of the famous River Avon which wends its way through Warwickshire, giving them distinctive place names ending ‘on Avon’ or ‘upon Avon’.
Aside from its many town-based activities, Warwickshire boasts a number of enchanting historic houses in countryside settings including grand Ragley Hall and gardens, Tudor property Coughton Court, the moated manor house of Baddesley Clinton and stunning timber-framed Packwood House
Check out our ‘places-to-visit’ links for yet more inspiration: