Kenilworth Castle: All You Need To Know In 5 Minutes

The imposing Kenilworth Castle
Photo by Ell Brown

Historic Kenilworth Castle provides a fascinating destination for anyone who is looking for a memorable day out in the English countryside. While it is now partially ruined, this lovely castle is still attractive enough to let us easily imagine how imposing and extraordinary it must have looked in its heyday.

 

The first building work carried out on Kenilworth Castle happened in the 1120s, which was the Norman period. In the decade and centuries after this, it was added to and improved, giving it a mixture of styles from over 5 different centuries that run up to Tudor times.

 

There is no denying the enormous historical significance of Kenilworth Castle. For example, it was an important base in the War of the Roses and was once subject to the longest siege in the history of Medieval England.

 

The castle’s glory days ended in the mid-17th century. This was when armed forces deliberately damaged it so that it couldn’t be used by the military in the aftermath of the English Civil War.   

 

The most striking feature of Kenilworth Castle is the fact that locally-sourced red sandstone was almost exclusively used in its construction. This means that it has an eye-catching color that helps to tie together the different architectural styles used.

 

Kenilworth Castle Main Attractions

 

There are a number of different parts of Kenilworth Castle that are worth visiting. The following are a few of the highlights that you won’t want to miss when you visit here.

 

Elizabethan Garden

The aviary in the Elizabethan Garden at Kenilworth Castle
Photo by Ell Brown

 

This spectacular garden was created by the Earl of Leicester for Queen Elizabeth in the 16th century. But it was then neglected and disappeared for centuries. Thankfully, it has now been lovingly restored to its former glory for you to enjoy.

 

Expect to spend some peaceful, relaxing time exploring the walkways, where you will be surrounded by colorful, perfumed flowers. Among the talking points here are a marble fountain and a stylish aviary.

 

Leicester’s Gatehouse

 

This is the entrance you will first see when you visit Kenilworth Castle, giving visitors their first impressions of the scale and grandeur of the castle. It was built towards the end of the 16th century and was maintained as a private home until the 1930s.    

 

Among the treats here are the wonderful alabaster fireplace in the Oak Room and the Elizabethan bedroom. These add up to make it one of the highlights a visit to Kenilworth Castle.

 

Views from the Tower

 

For many visitors to Kenilworth Castle, the chance to climb the famous tower is their main goal. This tower was supposedly built by the Earl of Leicester to try and woo Elizabeth I, and in recent years it has been opened up for the public to enjoy.

 

You can climb up 18 meters to enjoy the same view that the Queen had from the rooms specially built for her. The very best views from the castle can be seen from here.

 

Other Parts of the Castle

 

The Keep and the Great Hall are other parts of Kenilworth Castle that are well worth visiting. Each section is steeped in history and helps you to imagine what life here must have been like when it was a bustling, important castle.

 

Interactive exhibitions are run here regularly, each offering an easy way to understand the story behind the castle and the people who lived in it.

 

How To Get To Kenilworth Castle

 

While Kenilworth Castle is set in a rural location, it isn’t particularly difficult to get to.   Follow the signs for the village of Kenilworth on the A46 and then follow the signposts from there, off the B4103. You can put the postcode CV8 1NG into your sat nav.

 

Free shuttle buses that run from the Kenilworth clock tower stop every 10 minutes or so from 10am through to 5.30pm. Other, local bus services pass near to the castle. You can also travel to Kenilworth train station, which is a mile away.

 

Kenilworth Castle Opening Hours

 

The opening hours for visiting Kenilworth Castle vary little during the year, with its timetable split mainly into summer and winter sections.

 

Dates

Opening time

Closing time

May-September

10am

6pm

October

10am

5pm

November-April (open at weekends only)

10pm

4pm

 

Kenilworth Castle Tickets & Guided Tours

 

Members of English Heritage can visit this attraction for free. For everyone else, the prices are as noted below. They mention two prices because the higher amount covers a 10% gift aid donation.

 

An overseas visitor pass covering unlimited access for Kenilworth Castle visits during 9 or 16 days can also be arranged.

 

Ticket Type

Without Gift Aid

With Gift Aid

Adult (18 years old & above)

£11.80

£13.00

Children (5 to 17 years old)

£7.10

£7.90

Concession

£10.60

£11.70

 

Dining Options Near Kenilworth Castle

A place to eat at Kenilworth Castle tea room
Photo by Dave Hamster

 

There is a tearoom set in the Tudor stables, with indoor and outdoor dining options. The likes of soup and sandwiches tend to be on the menu. The picnic area next to the tearoom lets visitors enjoy the fresh air while taking a break.

 

Several dining options can also be found in or near the village of Kenilworth. These include Harringtons on the Hill and The Queen & Castle gastropub

 

Accommodation Near Kenilworth Castle

 

Among the places to stay near to Kenilworth Castle is The Abbey Field by Greene King Inns. This hotel is located on the High Street of Kenilworth, so it is less than a mile from the castle.

 

Another option is the 4-star Holiday Inn Kenilworth. It is slightly further from Kenilworth Castle but among the positives are the Marco Pierre White New-York Italian restaurant, bar, and Starbucks coffee shop.

 

Other Popular Tourist Destinations Near Kenilworth Castle

The war memorial at Abbey Fields
Photo by Ell Brown

 

Abbey Fields

 

When visiting Kenilworth Castle, you might want to set aside some time to visit other attractions in the area. These include the sprawling Abbey Fields. This is a lovely green space that holds the ruins of an abbey, a war memorial, and a small lake in it.

 

Stoneleigh Abbey

Elegant, stately Stoneleigh Abbey
Photo by Ozzy Delaney

 

Stoneleigh Abbey is a historic building in the area that Jane Austen once stayed in. These days, it is an elegant, imposing place with a county park surrounding it.  It is close enough for you to visit it on the same day as your Kenilworth Castle trip if you like.

 

Final Thoughts On Kenilworth Castle

Kenilworth Castle is a hugely atmospheric destination that lets you appreciate centuries of history in one place. It is easy to get to and gives you numerous ways of exploring it and getting to know its secrets.

Kenneth Long
Kenneth’s love for travel has led him to many countries across the world. Among the 25 countries he has visited, his favourite travel destination is somewhere close to home — Taiwan. He enjoys sharing about the best travel landmarks as he believes that the experience of travelling broadens one's mind and opens one's heart.

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