If you are anywhere in the nearby area you really should visit Kenilworth castle. It is an excellent example of a classic English castle, developed and expanded from its original Norman 'motte and bailey' roots by such illustrious owners as John of Gaunt and Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester.
Dudley made it particularly special...somewhere for his beloved, Queen Elizabeth l, to visit and enjoy his company. The formal gardens he had created in her honour have recently been re-created...gravelled walkways, box hedges, an aviary, beautiful vistas....just as they were in the 1500s.
The Civil War demolished some of the castle, unfortunately, but there is still a great deal to enjoy and explore both inside and out. Like all castles, it's ideal for children: they love to run about, playing at being 'knights in armour'!
There's a very pleasant cafe and a good gift-shop, as well as toilets and an exhibition which shows how the castle has developed and changed over the centuries.
Well worth a visit.
Kenilworth Castle is well worth a visit, it was once the power base for probably the most influential baron in England Simon de Montfort, a first generation English man of Norman aristocracy, his statue outside the Palace of Westminster pays tribute to the crucial role he played in parliamentory history.
Kenilworth is noe one of the largest ruins in England but in the 1260's it was the headquarters for Montfords parliamentory movement after he defeated King Henry III at the battle of Lewes in 1264 the castle was prison for ther king, Prince Edward and the Kings Brother. Some time later following de Montfords own defeat and Death at ther battle of Evesham his followers held out for nine months behind the impregnable defences of Kenilworth castle (then protected by an encircling lake) in what proved to be one of the longest sieges of English history.
John of Gaunt (fourth son of Edward III) upgraded the castle to a Royal Palace during the 14th Century extending the Great Hall (the remains of which are still impressive today) But the Castles Golden age came when it was owned by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester and favorite of Queen Elizabeth Ist.
The Earl of Leicester restored the castle/palace mainly for ther Queens benifit adding luxurious accommodation as well as a 'Pleasur Garden'. In 1575nhe laid on th most lavish entertainment for the Queen which amounted to 19 days of 'princely pleasures' which included hunting, jousting, music making and spectacular pageantry.
Now thanks to a multi million pound restoration project there is a lot to see and do like exploring the beautiful Elizabethan Gatehouse built for the Earl of Leicester in the 16th century, Visit the fantastic Stable building to look at the castles 900 year histoy exhibition or have a drink and some food in the Cafe, Tread in the footsteps of Elizabeth Ist in the lovely re created Elizabethan garden that was originaly built to astound visitors in 1575, which features a bejewled aviary and an 18ft high fountain carved from marble.
English Heratage Members and children under 5 Free
Child (5 to 15 years) £3.80
Family Ticket £19.00 (2adults and 3 children)
1 March - 31 October 10 am - 5pm
1 November - 28 Febuary 10am - 4pm
Closed 24th to 25th december and 1st january.
The ruins of the Abbey of St Mary the Virgin lie in the 68 acre park called The Abbey Fields.
They are close to the Carpark (which is free) and to the Parish Church of St Nicholas.
The abbey was founded by Geoffrey de Clinton in 1119 as a augustine priory. It was raised to Abbey status in 1447 by King Henry VI and King Henry VII attended Whitsuntide Mass there in 1487 and 1488. In 1538 under Henry VIII the monasteries Dissolution bill was passed and within a few years the Abbey was dismantled and it later passed into the hands of Robert Dudley Earl of Leicester who removed much of the stone for repairs to kenilworth Castle.
At the Abbeys height the Abbey had it's second highest income in the country but all that remains now are the ruined gatehouse a few foundations and a building of unknown origin called the Abbey barn.
The High Street of Kenilworth is referd to as the Old town.
High street and Bridge St form the east and north sides of Abbey fields and numerous examples of lovely listed buildings can be found here in excellent condition. we had a lovely walk around after visiting the castle and i'm only sorry that we could not spend more time in this lovely place.
The Abbey Fields Park is situated right in the heart of Old Kenilworth. The park covers 68 acres and includes the remains of the Abbey of St Mary the Virgin as well as a small lake known as the Abbey pond.
It is a great place to spend an hour or so walking or just sitting somewhere watching the world go by.
Kenilworth Castle is a great Castle which served as a Royal Residence for almost five Centuries. The 16th Century stable building is a good place to start, it houses an exhibition and a cafe. Leicesters gatehouse is a grand building which dates from 1570. It was modified as a house after the Civil War of the1640's. A number of the rooms are furnished to the style of a 1930 residence. Don't miss the exhibition on the top floor which tells the story of the relationship between Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester and Queen Elizabeth I.
Some other great features which remain include the 12th Century Keep, the Great Hall with its' magnificent windows and Leicester's buildings which were built in 1571 specifically for Elizabeth I and used by her when she visited Kenilworth in 1572 and 1575.
Kenilworth Castle also has some great formal gardens.
The Abbey fields are a delightful green area surrounding the area where the Abbey once stood. Remains of which can still be seen. Here you'll find a childrens play area, tennis courts and an indoor swimming pool. We parked at the Abbey fields car park from here you can take a 10 minute picturesque stroll through the park to Kenilworth Castle.
The Abbey of St Mary was founded for Augustian canons in around 1124 and closed by King Henry VIII in 1538. By 1600 mosst of the buildings had been dismantled. Today some impressive ruins of the gatehouse remain with lovely red sandstone arches and some wonderful hexagonal brickwork can be seen nearby in the cemetary.
The Abbey pond is situated between the Abbey Fields and the Castle. The present pool in Abbey Fields gives an idea of a medieval water feature. There is a lovely path which hugs the perimiter of the pond if you fancy a stroll or it's an ideal place for a picnic on a summers day. It's also a great are for watching wildlife too.
We took a stroll around the streets of Kenilworth and were delighted to see some fabulous looking houses, quaint thatched cottages and some very grand residences indeed. Many of these great buildings are listed and are in excellent condition.
I would prefer to rate the castle a 3.5 out of 5. It really is an interesting historical site. It doesn't really look like the typical English castle, or what I would imagine one to look like, due to the red sandstone used to build it. The guide recommends spending 2.5 hours at the castle, but I think it could be done in an hour. I posted some photos and more information on my travel blog at:
I did a ten mile hike, starting from Kenilworth and looping back around to the castle. The countryside is absolutely beautiful in this region. I give a lot more detail and posted photos on my travel blog at:
It is really a nice area, a good day trip from London. Either Kenilworth or Warwick castles are nice historical sites to visit.
Kennilworth's clock tower does share something in common with the most iconic image of India. It was presented to the town by a man to memory of his wife. G.W Turner was the man in question, putting up his small erection in 1906.
G.W.Turner's wife stumpy small little thing who frequently had a clock on her face. So it is a fitting memorial.
A german bomb damaged the top of it in 1940. The same bomb also led to the destruction of the nearby hotel with some 28 deaths. A plaque nearby records those events.
The clocktower is sited in the modern part of the town which has little elso of any intererest or note.
Kenilworth is quite a small little town but it punches far above its' weight when it comes to English History. Scott may have glamourised the place in his novel of 1822, but it crops up in regular intervals throughout any history textbook of England (except for ones used in schools that seem to be obsessed by Roman plumbing and the conditions of Victorian mill workers). I'm talking about proper history here. The castle was most in the forefront of things during the reigns of Henry VIII - who chased a fair bit of skirt around the place, and Elizabeth I who was herself chased by her suitor Robert Dudley.
Some of the castle is in ruins, but other sections (like the gatehouse) have been restored to their former glories. At seven pound for adult entry the castle represents reasonable value for a day out. Kids will enjoy things more if there is a special event on at the time with a bit of jousting, hog roasting and all that caper that brings the visitors in.
I would also recommend a walk through 'Old Kenilworth' that has much of the charm and olde english thatched cottages of Stratford without the busloads of Japanese tourists armed with Panasonic cameras and busloads of American tourists trying to work out where they can get a Mcdonalds after fill of that 'Shakespere guy'.
The Kenilworth memorial was dedicated in February 1922 and consists of 138 men and 1 woman who died as a result of the First World War. In 1952 further bronze plaques were added for the 68 men and women who died as a result of the Second World War. A Korean War fatality was also added in 1952. The inscription facing the road states;”In grateful memory of those from Kenilworth who gave their lives in the Great War 1914-1919 Lest We Forget”