Immerse yourself in history with a captivating day out at Kenilworth Castle! Uncover the secrets of this extraordinary medieval fortress and be transported back in time. Explore its majestic ruins, stroll through picturesque gardens, and experience the grandeur of centuries past!
This post may contain affiliate links. That means that if you click on a link and purchase something I recommend, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This helps keep my website up and running and is very appreciated. Thank you for your support! You can read my full disclosure policy here.
In This Post
It’s always great to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and what better way to do that than by exploring one of the most historically rich locations in England: Kenilworth Castle?
Situated in Warwickshire, this breathtaking site has been standing since the late 12th century, and as soon as you step onto its grounds you will feel like you have stepped back into time. From its stately guest lodgings to its towering keep, you are sure to be amazed by this majestic fortress, not only because of its spectacular beauty but also because of all the stories it holds within.
A Brief History Of Kenilworth Castle
The Castle was built over several centuries and has been linked to some of the most famous names in English history. It is thought that the original structure dates back to Saxon times which were most likely destroyed during the Saxon wars with the Danes. However, the oldest part still standing dates back to 1120. After the Norman Conquest, it became property of the crown and around 1129 King Henry I gave it to a Norman noble Geoffrey de Clinton who was the Treasurer and Chief of Justice of England at the time.
Over the years the castle expanded, eventually, the castle was seen to be too much of a powerful stronghold and was confiscated by Henry II. He then developed the site into one of the greatest fortresses in England.
In 1244 King Henry III gave the castle to the Earl of Leicester, Simon de Montfort who was also married to the King’s sister Eleanor. Although de Montfort was French he is remembered in history as one of the founders of English democracy. He was a leading rebel in the Baron’s War against the King’s increasing taxation system. Kenilworth Castle became the site of a siege that remains the longest in English history!
The rebels held out inside the castle for six months against Royal forces. The siege was only ended after the Barons finally surrendered due to being overcome by disease and famine.
In 1563 Queen Elisabeth I bestowed the castle to Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester. It is thought that the Queen wanted to marry Dudley however after the suspicious death of his wife his reputation had been ruined. Queen Elisabeth visited Dudley many times at Kenilworth Castle, however, her final visit in 1575 lasted 19 days and cost Dudley so much that it almost bankrupted him.
Legend has it that the pageantry and splendour eclipsed anything else before seen in England. The festivities are believed to have been the inspiration for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
In 1649 the castle, like many others at the time was deliberately destroyed by parliamentary forces and after the civil war it was abandoned. However today you can still get a sense of what the castle was like in its heyday.
Things to See and Do at Kenilworth Castle
Explore the full height of the tower built by Dudley, Earl of Leicester to court Queen Elisabeth I and soak up the spectacular views. Climb up the stairs and platforms that take you up 18 meters to the tower to glimpse the Queen’s private staircase and see what would have been the most luxurious part of the castle.
These gardens are so beautiful and elegant. As you stroll around you can imagine the Queen walking alongside the colourful and fragrant walkways.
Built in the 1570s the castle entrance was transformed into a stunning private house. The house today has been left how it looked when the last caretaker left in the 1930s. Inside you can explore the many rooms including the beautiful ornate fireplace which once was part of Elisabeth I’s private rooms. There is also an exhibition on the romance between Elisabeth I and her ambitious courtier Robert Dudley.
Walking around Kenilworth Castle grounds is probably my favourite part about visiting Kenilworth, you can wander around taking in the various viewpoints and getting up close to the oldest parts of the castle. You can admire the mighty keep which was once the heart of the castle. Its dominance is easy to see, built three stories high and with walls 14 feet wide!
The Great Hall is another awesome structure and was once one of the finest of its kind. It was the cutting edge of 14th-century design and played host to many monarchs and Tudor kings.
Kenilworth Castle visitor information:
Kenilworth Castle is situated in the town of Kenilworth about 5 miles from the city of Warwick in Warwickshire. The site is operated by English Heritage. If visiting many English heritage sites it may be beneficial to get a yearly pass. This gives free access to over 400 historic places from just £6 per month,
This can be found just outside the site entrance and has a parking charge of £2 however this is refunded with the purchase of the admission ticket. The site is clearly signposted from the town centre, off the B4103.
Postcode: CV8 1NG Latitude: 52.347852 Longitude: -1.592548
A bus service operates Between Kenilworth train station and the castle. From the surrounding area, Travel West Midlands 11 & 11X and Stagecoach U12 both serve Kenilworth Castle.
Kenilworth station has services running from Coventry and Lemington Spa. If travelling from London or other areas regular trains connect with Coventry and Lemington Spa where you can catch connecting trains to Kenilworth. For information on train times and to book online use The Train line.
Overall, a visit to Kenilworth Castle is an experience that isn’t hard to come by and will stay with you for years to come. With its long and tumultuous history, the castle serves as a reminder of the past while allowing visitors to get lost in its grandeur and charm. The site offers a plethora of activities that are suitable for people of all ages, so why not take the step and immerse yourself in centuries of British heritage? An adventure awaits, go on, take the plunge and explore Kenilworth Castle! After all, there’s never been a better excuse for taking a day out!
Thanks so much for stopping by, I appreciate every one of you who takes the time to read and make it to the end! I have lots of exciting new content coming in the next few weeks so make sure you pop back to catch up!