There’s so much to see and do in Warwick that your only problem will be how to fit it all in. Warwick Castle itself is worthy of a full day of anyone’s time, and there are terrific open spaces for you to relax or let off steam, both in Warwick itself and in the adjoining town of Leamington Spa.
Activities in Warwick
Plenty of tourist attractions claim to offer a full day’s entertainment and Warwick Castle is one where that’s indisputably true. It’s got everything that a proper castle should have, including turrets, ramparts and a moat, alongside some fabulous activities and entertainment on offer all year round, bringing to life a thousand years’ of history.
Warwick Castle is pretty much slap bang in the heart of the town, so it’s only a five-minutes drive from our Warwick hotel. You could even walk if you don’t mind a bracing half an hour stroll – then again, you might want to save your energy for walking around the castle, as there’s so much to see and do. It bills itself as “Britain’s ultimate castle” and you’re unlikely to be disappointed, with attractions including jousting, birds of prey and the mighty trebuchet: a giant medieval catapult that hurls missiles hundreds of feet into the air.
Nestling underneath the walls of the castle is another Warwick gem that is well worth visiting. The Mill Garden occupies a magical setting on the banks of the River Avon, with paths twisting and turning to give breathtaking views of Warwick Castle and the ruined medieval bridge.
There's also a delightful cottage garden bursting with plants, shrubs and trees. The garden was painstakingly developed over six decades by the late Arthur Measures and is open daily from April to October. There’s a small admission charge (accompanied young children enjoy free entry) but please note that the garden isn’t suitable for electric wheelchairs.
Lord Leycester Hospital
In many ways, the Lord Leycester Hospital is the most iconic building in Warwick, even more so than Warwick Castle. It is, in fact, a cluster of medieval timber-framed buildings, remarkably well-preserved and regarded as one of the very best examples of British architecture from the 14th century. Many overseas visitors make a beeline for nearby Stratford-upon-Avon to see this kind of building but the Lord Leycester Hospital is as fine an example as anywhere.
Not a hospital in the modern sense of the word, it became a place of retirement for old soldiers during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Grouped near the Norman gateway into the town, it was also used for almost two centuries as the home to Warwick’s medieval guilds.
You can also visit the Brethren’s Kitchen, which has served food to the great and the good for 500 years, and the Master’s Garden, which features an ancient device for measuring the height of the River Nile and a Victorian pineapple pit.
While in Warwick, you might well want to make a detour to Leamington Spa, which pretty much adjoins it. The jewel in the crown of this breathtaking Regency town is Jephson Gardens, one of the most exquisite places you could imagine for a stroll or a picnic.
A beautiful formal Victorian park in the centre of town, it features around 140 species of native and non-native trees, colourful flower beds, interesting sculptures and a glasshouse containing tropical plants. Voted ‘Best Park in Britain’ by the Royal Horticultural Society 2004, it also has a lake where you can hire boats.
Jephson Gardens is only 15 minutes’ drive from our Warwick Hotel, or if you’re staying at our Leamington Spa hotel, it’s literally only a couple of hundred yards away.
St. Nicholas Park
Much closer to the centre of Warwick is another green space that has long been popular with families. St. Nicholas Park promises a fun-packed afternoon for all ages, whether you’re interested in mini golf, boating or splashing about in the outdoor pool. There’s also a fun park which features rides, amusements and games, including teacups, remote boats, car and train rides, a mini observation wheel and coin-operated games. The play area is packed with swings, climbing frames and slides for children up to the age of 12, while there are also tennis courts for more serious players.
Known affectionately by locals as St. Nick's, the park dates back to the 1930s when it was first developed to cater for the town's growing population. It also has an open grass area called Myton Fields, and there are two ponds for anglers. Once you’re worn out with your chosen activity, there’s an extensive café too with indoor and outdoor seating.