Warwickshire is reknowned for its historical heritage and natural beauty. From the imposing Warwick Castle to the undulating hills of the Cotswolds, the county is a holiday-maker’s delight.
To help you plan your itinerary, the following guide on things to do in Warwickshire details those attractions that beg to be visited during your stay. We begin with the region’s most important historical sites.
Warwick Castle, Warwick
Warwick Castle, in the heart of Warwick, is a medieval fortress steeped in history. Built by William the Conqueror in 1068, it evolved from a wooden structure to a stone castle.
It’s renowned for its well-preserved architectural features, including towers and ramparts offering stunning views. Inside, the Great Hall and state rooms display medieval artefacts.
The castle grounds encompass manicured gardens and a peacock garden. Regularly hosting events like jousting and falconry, it’s an immersive experience into medieval England. Ideal for families and history enthusiasts, Warwick Castle brings history to life in a vivid, tangible way.
Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon
Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon is the historic house where the renowned playwright William Shakespeare was born in 1564.
This restored 16th-century half-timbered dwelling provides a glimpse into Shakespeare’s early life. Inside, visitors can explore rooms furnished as they would have been in Shakespeare’s time, complete with period pieces and family artefacts.
The property also features informative exhibits about Shakespeare’s life and works. Outside, the garden, planted with flowers and herbs mentioned in his plays, offers a tranquil space.
This landmark is a pilgrimage site for literature enthusiasts, celebrating Shakespeare’s enduring legacy.
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
Known for its exceptional architectural design, The Royal Shakespeare Theatre incorporates a deep thrust stage, allowing for a highly engaging and intimate performance style.
This landmark venue, operated by the Royal Shakespeare Company, is renowned for its innovative interpretations of Shakespeare’s works, drawing talent and audiences from across the globe.
The theatre also enhances the cultural experience with insightful backstage tours, educational programs, and special exhibitions, solidifying its status as a crucial hub for both Shakespearean study and contemporary theatre arts.
Kenilworth Castle, Kenilworth
Kenilworth Castle is a storied fortress with origins tracing back to the Norman conquest. This historic site evolved from a medieval stronghold to an Elizabethan palace, famously associated with Queen Elizabeth I and her suitor, Robert Dudley.
Its impressive ruins, including the formidable Norman keep and the intricate Elizabethan garden, evoke tales of royal courtship and power struggles.
Visitors to Kenilworth Castle can explore its extensive grounds, climb the towers for panoramic views, and immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of English history.
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Stratford-upon-Avon
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, nestled in the quaint village of Shottery, near Stratford-upon-Avon, is a delightful 15th-century farmhouse. This historic dwelling, famously associated with Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway, offers a unique window into rural Tudor life.
The cottage, characterized by its thatched roof and timbered facade, stands amidst lush gardens and orchards. Inside, visitors can explore rooms filled with original period furniture, including items belonging to the Hathaway family.
The charming cottage garden, with its traditional plants and flowers, adds to the site’s historical ambiance. This idyllic location provides a serene backdrop for understanding the domestic side of the Shakespearean era.
Ragley Hall, Alcester
Also in our guide on things to do in Warwickshire is Ragley Hall in Alcester – a magnificent Palladian mansion set in sprawling parkland. Built in the 17th century, it’s the family home of the Marquess of Hertford.
The hall showcases an exquisite collection of art and antiques, reflecting centuries of aristocratic heritage. Its interiors feature elaborate décor and a notable mural by Graham Rust.
The estate includes expansive gardens, a woodland walk, and a lakeside park, offering diverse natural beauty. Ragley Hall hosts events, from concerts to fairs, and is a popular filming location.
It stands as a testament to British history, architecture, and the continuity of aristocratic estates.
Charlecote Park, Wellesbourne
Charlecote Park is a grand Elizabethan house set in a lush deer park near the River Avon which holds centuries of history.
The Lucy family, its owners since the 12th century, have left their mark through the Tudor and Victorian designs of the house. Legend suggests a young William Shakespeare was caught poaching here.
The interior, rich in Victorian elegance, displays a fine collection of art and antiques. Outside, the expansive parkland, home to herds of deer, and well-manicured gardens provide a peaceful retreat.
Charlecote Park is a blend of historical intrigue and natural beauty, attracting history and nature enthusiasts alike.
Lord Leycester Hospital, Warwick
The Lord Leycester Hospital, located in Warwick, is not a medical facility but a historic group of timber-framed buildings dating back to the late 14th century.
Originally built as a guildhall, it has served various roles, including a retirement home for ex-servicemen, known as the “Brethren.” This picturesque structure, with its charming Elizabethan architecture, encapsulates centuries of history.
Its medieval Chapel of St. James, the Master’s Garden, and the Guildhall itself are steeped in historical significance. The Hospital is a living museum, offering visitors a unique glimpse into England’s past.
Its traditional Warwickshire style and beautifully preserved state make the Lord Leycester Hospital a must-visit for history enthusiasts.
British Motor Museum, Gaydon
The British Motor Museum is a fantastic Warwickshire attraction, especially for motor enthusiasts. Boasting the world’s largest collection of historic British cars, it’s home to 300 vehicles chronicling the evolution of British motoring.
The museum takes visitors on a journey through time, from the pioneering days of the automobile industry to modern advancements.
Each exhibit in the museum tells a unique story of British engineering, design, and cultural impact.
The collection includes classic names like Jaguar, Land Rover, and Mini, alongside rare and prototype vehicles that never reached mass production. Interactive displays and informative plaques provide context, making the museum educational as well as entertaining.
Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park, Compton Verney
Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park in Warwickshire is a unique blend of art and nature. Set within a stunning 120-acre parkland, this award-winning gallery is housed in a Grade I listed Georgian mansion.
Compton Verney offers an impressive collection of art spanning over 600 years, including Neapolitan art, British portraiture, and Chinese bronzes.
The park, designed by the renowned landscape architect
Capability Brown, provides a tranquil setting with its beautiful lake, walking trails, and historic follies.
This cultural destination enriches its visitors with diverse exhibitions, and is a perfect retreat for art enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
Stratford Butterfly Farm, Stratford-upon-Avon
Stratford Butterfly Farm, situated in the picturesque town of Stratford-upon-Avon, offers a magical experience in one of the UK’s largest tropical butterfly paradises.
Housing a diverse array of exotic butterflies, the farm provides an opportunity to see these stunning creatures up close as they flutter freely in a carefully maintained tropical environment.
Visitors can walk through large greenhouses, lush with tropical plants and vibrant flowers, which serve as a natural habitat for the butterflies.
The farm also features a variety of other insects and arachnids in its Insect City and Arachnoland, offering a glimpse into the fascinating world of these creatures.
The MAD Museum (Mechanical Art and Design), Stratford-upon-Avon
The MAD Museum is a unique celebration of kinetic art and mechanical design. This distinctive venue, the UK’s sole museum dedicated to this genre, captivates visitors with its interactive exhibits of whimsical and intricate machinery.
Showcasing a blend of art and engineering, the museum features an array of dynamic pieces, from quirky automata to complex kinetic sculptures. Each exhibit, crafted by innovative artists and inventors, invites hands-on interaction, offering an immersive experience for all.
Ideal for STEAM enthusiasts, The MAD Museum is a fascinating destination where mechanical wonders and artistic creativity converge.
Jephson Gardens, Leamington Spa
Jephson Gardens, located in the heart of Royal Leamington Spa, is a beautifully landscaped Victorian park. Established in 1831 and later redesigned in the 1840s, these gardens are named after Dr. Henry Jephson, who promoted the town’s spa waters.
The gardens offer a serene setting with lush greenery, vibrant flower beds, and meandering pathways. Key features include a stunning glasshouse, a tranquil lake, and the iconic Jephson Memorial.
Visitors can also enjoy the sensory garden and the contemporary art installations. Jephson Gardens is not just a green space but a historical and cultural haven, perfect for leisurely walks, picnics, and relaxation amidst nature.
Hatton Country World, Hatton
Hatton Country World, nestled in the picturesque Warwickshire countryside near Hatton, is a delightful rural retreat offering a wealth of activities for all ages.
This leading Warwickshire family attraction combines the charm of a traditional farm with the excitement of adventure activities.
The farm park, a central feature of Hatton Country World, allows visitors to interact closely with a variety of farm animals.
Adjacent to the farm park is the adventure world, brimming with activities ranging from tractor rides and gold panning to a maze and laser combat.
Mary Arden’s Farm, Wilmcote
This authentic Tudor farmstead, once the childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother, Mary Arden, offers visitors an immersive experience into the daily life of the Tudor era.
The farm, now a living history museum, is meticulously maintained to mirror its original state, providing an authentic representation of a working Tudor farm.
Costumed interpreters bring the farm to life, engaging in traditional farming techniques and crafts like basket weaving, wool spinning, and archery, offering visitors a hands-on understanding of Tudor rural life.
Rare breed farm animals that would have been common in Tudor times populate the farm, contributing to the historical authenticity of the experience.
Upton House and Gardens, near Banbury
Upton House and Gardens in Warwickshire is a remarkable country estate, renowned for its 20th-century history and stunning gardens.
Once the home of Lord Bearsted, a prominent oil magnate, the house is celebrated for its exquisite art collection, including works by renowned artists like El Greco and Bosch.
The interior reflects the opulence of the era, with lavish decorations and a unique banking history exhibit.
Surrounding the house, the terraced gardens are a horticultural masterpiece, offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. These gardens feature vibrant flower beds, a mirror pool, and lush herbaceous borders.
Baddesley Clinton, Solihull
This moated manor house, dating back to the 15th century, is surrounded by tranquil gardens and picturesque countryside. Managed by the National Trust, it offers a glimpse into Tudor and Elizabethan life.
The house is renowned for its well-preserved interiors, including the Great Hall and the intimate private chapel. A notable feature is the house’s priest holes, used during the Reformation to conceal Catholic priests.
The surrounding gardens and lake provide a serene setting, with well-maintained walks ideal for leisurely strolls.
Visiting this charming manor offers a unique opportunity to explore an important piece of England’s religious and social history and is an essential destination for those exploring Warwickshire’s heritage.
Packwood House, Lapworth
Packwood House is a typical Tudor manor house featuring stunning interiors and scenic gardens. Constructed in the 16th century, the house underwent significant restoration in the 20th century.
Notable for its collection of tapestries and Tudor-period furniture, Packwood House also features a notable Great Hall and a Long Gallery.
The house’s interiors are complemented by its large and meticulously maintained garden, which includes a famous yew garden with over 100 trees, shaped into conical forms.
Visitors to Packwood House can also enjoy its surrounding meadows, parklands, and a lake, offering peaceful walks and picturesque views.
This National Trust property is a delightful blend of history, art, and horticulture. As such, it’s the perfect tourist destination for those exploring the heritage and natural beauty of Warwickshire.
Hall’s Croft, Stratford-upon-Avon
Hall’s Croft in Stratford-upon-Avon, once home to William Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna and her husband Dr. John Hall, is a captivating Elizabethan era house.
This well-preserved historical residence, showcasing Jacobean architecture, is part of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
Visitors are invited to explore its richly furnished rooms, which house a collection of 16th and 17th-century paintings and furniture, offering a glimpse into the lifestyle of the period.
The property is equally renowned for its walled garden, a serene space featuring medicinal herbs and plants that Dr. Hall would have used in his practice. The garden, with its beautiful flower beds and tranquil ambiance, provides a delightful retreat for visitors.
For more things to do in Warwickshire, visit the official ourism site: https://visit.warwickshire.gov.uk