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mistybleu Warwick - A travel report by Amanda
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Warwick,  United Kingdom - flag United Kingdom
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mistybleu's travel reports

A trip into history

  13 votes
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Warwick isn’t really on the main tourist map but I found it a very interesting place to spend the day. It's only about 1¾ hour outside of London and is considered part of Shakespeare Country.


Warwick Castle
Warwick Castle
Warwick is a small town with a population of around 25 thousand; it is full of some wonderful medieval buildings including Warwick Castle, the Guildhall (now the Lord Leycester Hospital), as well as a group of wonderfully maintained timber framed buildings.

Founded in 914AD on the banks of the Avon River, on the site of a previous settlement. The town of Warwick held a prime location, as it was built on a small hill that enabled it to be fortified, on one side by a ditch and the other a wall; this was important as the locals needed to defend themselves against their Danish invaders. This was a strategic position as, at one point, it controlled the main river crossing in the area and was a main thoroughfare for routes between Droitwich, Stratford, Coventry and of course London.

In 1694 the town suffered a major fire that resulted in most of the town’s timber buildings were destroyed; and were rebuilt during the late 17th and early 18th centuries; this includes St Mary's Church that at one point in time dominated the surrounding countryside.

The main reason to visit Warwick is to see the castle; it is described as the ‘most dramatic and complete medieval castle in the country’ and has been inhabited continuously since the Middle Ages.

Present day Warwick seems a pretty and quite town, however it does have a university and I’m not sure where all those students were hiding the couple of days I visited.

Favourite spots:
Warwick Castle
Warwick Castle
My favourite place to explore was the Castle. The site opens at 10am daily (except on Mondays) and it’s best to visit the tourist office – to get more information about the town, but also received a discount on the price of entry (£15.95 as opposed to £19.95 at the gate).

It is a great family day out, especially the wax works which depicts Edwardian life and it boasts of having the greatest mediaeval experience in the UK.

Throughout the year there is fantastic programme of special events including jostling tournaments and themed suppers on most Friday and Saturdays or re-enactments of battles. It’s a living history lesson.

www.warwick-castle.co.uk

What's really great:
Warwick Racecourse
Warwick Racecourse
A day at the races is special, especially if you've never done it before. To be honest you spend most of the time just drinking and chatting, but it is also really fun looking at the horses. These animals are beautiful, so tall and lean, with well defined muscles – you can see animals are built for running.

Going down to the enclosure to see the horses and jockeys before the race is fun, and to watch the owners show off their horses is really a bizarre experience.

The Grandstand incorporates the first stand that was built in 1809 and is one of the oldest surviving on the country, much of that you really don’t notice, but all in all it is a great day out.

Even if you don't place any bets, it's fun to choose a horse and hope it wins.

www.warwickracecourse.co.uk

Sights:
Lord Leycester Hotel
Lord Leycester Hotel
The Lord Leycester Hospital was founded by the Earl of Leicester in 1571 as an almshouse for old solders; it incorporates the 14th century banqueting hall and the Guilds of Warwick.

The Court House - which house the town council and Tourist Information Centre, is a baroque styled building.

St Mary's Church – an interesting church with a tower that allows you to capture panoramic views of Warwick. It also has people coming from all over to see the Beauchamp Chapel.

Warwick Castle - see above.

Mill Street - leads down to the old bridge. It has picturesque rows of timber-framed houses of the 15th and 16th centuries; and the charming late 18th century Miller's Place has its original glass and glazing bars.

Market Hall - erected by a local builder in 1670; the arches were originally open and accommodated a lock-up and a set of stocks where people could have watch executions; as well as market stalls.

Accommodations:
Lord Leycester Hotel
Lord Leycester Hotel
The Lord Leycester Hotel was founded in 1925 but the building dates back to the 1600s. This stone built town house is famed as the building that ‘stopped the fury of the flames at the great fire' in 1694 as it was one of the first brick buildings of the town.

The hotel has some character, but is quite unusual, like some of the rooms are small, with uneven floors and dated door frames. But as a grade 2 listed building you kind of expect that sort of stuff.

One of the benefits of staying at the Lord Leycester Hotel is that it’s less than a quarter of a mile from Warwick Castle.

I found tips on places to stay at www.warwick-uk.co.uk.

Nightlife:
Beauchamp Chapel - St Marys Church
Beauchamp Chapel - St Marys Church
Some other things to do (taken from the website) in Warwick include visiting one of the following:

• Arts Centre, University of Warwick - www.warwickartscentre.co.uk - 024 7652 4524
• Bridge House Theatre - www.bridgehousetheatre.co.uk - 01926 776438
• Playbox Theatre, The Dream Factory - www.playboxtheatre.com - 01926 419555

There is also the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford (www.rsc.org.uk - 0870 6091110) which is 9 miles or 15km away.

Also there is a cinema, theatre and ten-pin bowling in Leamington Spa that is only three miles away.

Only twelve miles from Warwick is Coventry, there you will also find a theatre - Belgrade Theatre (www.belgrade.co.uk).

Restaurants:
Oken Tea Room
Oken Tea Room
I found many places to eat in the town centre; on Jury/High Street I found about five:

* Ask - Italian servicing pizza pasta, and is moderately priced.
* Pizza Express - serving pizza, and is part of national chain, also moderately priced
* Jester Bistro - at the Lord Leycester
* Oyster Lounge - Nice setting, quite large restaurant.

There are also a few tea rooms. Just off Jury Street, past the Court House on Castle Street is the Thomas Oken House, a rather traditional English tearoom. It is a wonderful place to send an hour before or after exploring the castle. It’s a pretty timber framed house of the late 15 century. It is named after Thomas Oken the town's benefactor.

www.warwick-uk.co.uk/eating-out.asp

Other recommendations:
Display: The Royal Wedding Party
Display: The Royal Wedding Party
Welcome to Shakespeare Country - considered to be South Warwickshire and embraces the towns of Warwick, Kenilworth, Leamington Spa, Stratford-upon-Avon and a few surrounding towns.

Stratford-upon-Avon is a picturesque town with black and white timber framed buildings and is situated on the River Avon. I found there were many of tearooms, shops and restaurants in the town centre with each being very accessible.

The best way to explore the town is by doing a walking tour or using one of those hop-on and off buses ~ sees our Travel Tips page for more details or visit the tourist office website www.stratford-upon-avon.co.uk.

Published on Sunday September 9th, 2007


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Thu, Sep 20 2007 - 01:41 AM rating by downundergal

Amanda - I loved reading your report. It bought back some of my fondest memories of when we stumbled across Warwick and it's magnificent castle. I clearly remember the museum there with all it's lifelike figures that bought history alive.
Thanks for sharing.
Kerrie

Fri, Sep 14 2007 - 02:19 PM rating by bineba

Makes me wish we still had a car! We used to travel in the UK quite a lot, but train fares here can be so expensive if you don't plan ahead.

Sabine

Tue, Sep 11 2007 - 04:03 PM rating by ravinderkumarsi

hi Amanda ,well after a long time I seen u here,this is wonderful report ,just wanted to say that it is simply excellent

Mon, Sep 10 2007 - 09:48 AM rating by marianne

Amanda,
Great reminder of a city I visited a long time ago. Excellent description, relevant information and great photos.

Mon, Sep 10 2007 - 07:47 AM rating by rangutan

Fantastic! Journeys and reports do not always have to be about remote places! [4.6]

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