Located right in the center of England is Warwickshire, a charming county which includes a handful of smaller cities and towns. Among them the cities with most popular tourist interests are Kenilworth , Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon.
Getting to Warwickshire
The county of Warwickshire is well connected with London; Warwickshire – London train takes about 2.5 hours one way.
Stratford-upon-Avon (the hometown of the genius playwright)
Stratford-upon-Avon, the town forever immortalized as the birth place of Shakespeare. Located on the Henley Street is a small 16th century house where the great writer was born and lived. To take a tour you need to buy a combined pass, which covers a collection of buildings related with Shakespeare.
The full pass which covers five houses cost £25.00, though the three house ticket is cheaper it doesn’t include Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (worth seeing). The ticket is valid for a year from purchase and you can visit as many times as you wish. Houses are located close to each other except one.
You should first head to the visitor center to get a video introduction on Shakespeare’s life and his time spent there. The writer was born here in the very house in 1564. Actors in the garden would perform pieces from the play upon request. There is a beautiful garden right after the entrance. Shakespeare’s father’s workshop is also housed in the same complex.
The second best attraction is the Anne Hathaway’s 15th century house. Shakespeare and Anne got married in 1582. Anne was born to a affluent farmer in the same house. Worth checking are the beautiful gardens with a lavender maze.
The Royal Shakespeare Theater
The famous theater was opened in 1932 and later refurbished in 2010. Royal Shakespeare Theater has a capacity to house more than 1000 people at a time (that’s stuffy!). Come here to this atmospheric theater to watch the reinterpretations of classic Shakespeare plays performed by highly skilled actors. The ticket for the show can be bought online on RSC website.
You can take the one-hour theater tour to get behind the scene. Highlights are elaborate costumes, and fascinating details on the production process. Lunch in included in the tour. Also, if your budget allows go for a dine-in at the rooftop restaurant or grab a coffee at Riverside Café. For a great bird’s eye view of the town, climb up the tower.
Tip: Midsummer Night’s Dream is highly recommended. Avoid upper circle seats as your views might be blocked.
The 12th century castle ruin is largest such in England, with an interesting history associated with it. The siege of Kenilworth in the 13th century lasted for 6 months and was the longest in England. Queen Elizabeth I had also stayed here as guest of the castle.
Begin the walk with Elizabethan gardens, and make stone-keep your next. From there move on to the Great Hall and the nearby Leicester’s tower for excellent views of the English countryside.
Entrance is £11. Free with English heritage membership.
Holy Trinity Church
Located by the side of the Avon river in Stratford is the thirteenth century church which replaced an even older church. The church’s claim to fame are the remains of Shakespeare which are buried here. A statue of Shakespeare is installed near his grave. An old book nearby notes the writer’s baptism date as 26 April 1564 and so Shakespeare’s birthday is considered to be 23 April 1564, three days before his baptism.
Path which leads to the church is lined up with Lime trees. On the outside, check out the magnificent tower spire, while on the inside, observe the biblical scenes painted on stained glass windows, and misericordes (fancy name for a long knife), the wooden seats of the monks in the chancel.
Entrance to church is free.
Built somewhere in the 10th century and located on the banks of the Avon River is Warwick castle. Highlights of Warwick castle include Great Hall, Ghost town, State Rooms and the Royal Weekend Party of 1898, the living quarters and the Ghost Tower.
Dungeons are open for exploration too but costs extra. Also worth a mention is Henry 8th’s wax figure and several reconstructed scenes depicting the everyday castle life
There are a no. of activities for kids or for kid in you to engage. Watch the trebuchet (machine used to throw large stones) show or catch the birds of Prey show on the castle grounds or engage yourself in some archery practice. Also, in winter you’d find people skating on an ice rink. Climb up the majestic towers for fantastic views of the countryside.
Admission is 25 pounds! Yes, you heard it right. Dungeons cost extra £6 (damn!). Entry is free with Heritage Pass. Students upto 25 years get 50% discount.
Tip: bring your own food as the in-house café is expensive.