Kenilworth Castle is the former home of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who had a steamy love affair with Queen Elizabeth 1st. The Queen visited the castle a number of times, but most notably in 1575 when Dudley created a garden for her. This garden was recently re-created as it was in Elizabeth’s day but much of the actual castle is not as it was in that time and instead stands in ruins.
It’s worth heading to the visitor’s centre located within the old stables first to get a feel for the castle’s history and developments over the years. After that, you’ll probably want to head either to the ruins, or the only bit of the castle which isn’t in ruins – the attractive gatehouse.
Known as Leicester’s Gatehouse, it dates back to the 1570s and has several floors which have been furnished inside in keeping with its use over the years.
On the top floor is an exhibition detailing the relationship between Dudley and the Queen.
When you explore the ruins, you’ll find that some still have battlements you can walk on. When you climb to the top, you get a great view of the surrounding area including the parkland which was once flooded to make a large lake. There are quite a few surviving staircases and walkways too that you can explore.
It’s hard to picture in your mind exactly how the castle would have looked before it was destroyed, but much of it is explained on the various information signs in locations around the ruins. We really enjoyed our trip to Kenilworth Castle and we spent a good two hours wandering around before enjoying the coffee shop in the converted stables.
Kenilworth castle is open daily in the summer from 10am to 5pm and in the winter on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 4pm. Adult admission is £8 (2011 prices).
LOCATION & CONTACT
Address: Kenilworth Castle, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 1NE
Tel: +44 (0)1926 852078
The castle is best accessed by car. It is well signed in Kenilworth from the B4103. Car park charges apply, but these are refunded against castle admission. If you prefer to travel by bus, from Coventry, Leamington Spa and Warwick you can take Stagecoach services X17 and 16.
MORE ON KENILWORTH CASTLE
Kenilworth Castle – English Heritage official website
Kenilworth Castle – Wikipedia
Shakespeare Country Travel Guide – From our sister site, Free-City-Guides.com
Hotels in Stratford-upon-Avon – Best prices from Hotels.com
Warwick Hotels – From Hotels.com
Warwick Hilton – Where we stayed – it’s a lovely hotel
Stratford Upon Avon Guide Books – Amazon.co.uk