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Kenilworth castle has somewhat been forgotten as one of warwickshire beauties. The castle is just a few miles from Warwick, and is less of a tourist attraction than Warwick castle, it is rather untouched. Much of the castle is in ruins now, which you can explore and climb to the top, where you will encounter sensational views. The castle gardens are also a must see, which look beautiful, especially in those summer months. You can also buy audio headphones that will tell you all about the castle, definately worth a buy. The parking is sufficient, and there is a stunning park and lake right next to the castle, which makes a great day out. Its worth noting that the castle is national trust, so if you have a membership you can get in for free. Other wise its £5.90 adults and £3.00 children. Which in comparison with other castles is quite a good price. The cafe is quite nice, and has out door and indoor seating, but be warned the food and drinks can be expensive. There are lots of space around the castle to have a picnic. The castle isnt huge, but its a great place to spend a few hours, especially on a nice day. Its best seen on a nice day, as there arent many places to shelter. Definately one of warwickshires must see's.
Kenilworth Castle is a landscape beauty, visible for miles around the ruins rise majestically above the surrounding land and property. The castle was built in three stages, each an asset to the previous standing, each a larger space to inhabit and therefore leaving us a greater trail of history and monarchy to follow, notably Henry V, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Though ruins the place is a delight to explore, plenty of steps curving up interesting arrowslit towers and ruined rooms with no roof. Even the graffiti here is ancient, I recall finding markings in the oldest parts, going back hundreds of years, the names of lovers long dead, carved, inexorably, over time into the stone itself, another form of history branded into the buildings. The land is beautiful and you can often find the gatekeepers cats wandering the ruins, making the remains still a home. The site is beautifully lit at night and it's worth popping to the pub over the road to catch a glimpse of the nighttime majesty. The gift shop is generous for EH standards, well stocked, well staffed and with a good choice. If your kids want a wooden sword or princess outfit or a million other things in keeping with a castle you will find it. If you fancy EH produce, a variety of soaps, bath oils, mead, preserves and others I can recommend the food ones, I've never tried the bath and body products. Those will range from £2 to £15. Fudge from 60p, pencils from 50p, tea towels from £2.50ish, mead at around £5 ish, a replica Excalibur around £500+. It really does cater for all. The toilets are creatively placed so as not to interfere with the layout and visual impression of the site but feature spiders and other creepy crawlies as full time inhabitants. Not for the faint hearted. For best value, check out EH's website for events, if you can combine your visit with a performance or historical re-enactment, you really will get the best of both worlds and take a picnic to really maximise the opportunities.
My recent visit to Kenilworth Castle was a typically depressing Easter day out. Partly because of the horrible Bank Holiday weather but mainly because I wasn’t impressed with the castle itself. Having never read Marlowe’s Edward II or Sir Walker Scott’s Kenilworth the literary heritage of the castle was lost on me. But even so I’m not sure that Kenilworth Castle would have made that much of impression. The main problem is that after the Roundheads blew up the most of the castle during the Civil War there really isn’t a lot to see. What is left mainly now is the outside shell of the castle - the roof-less walls and a few battlements. So you can walk up and around them and get a good view of the local countryside. But that really doesn’t make a lot to investigate -Kenilworth can be easily explored in about a hour. Even worse it makes you totally exposed to the weather- there is no shelter whatsoever apart from the gift shop and visitor centre. This is especially noticeable and unpleasant on a typically cold and rainy day that I visited. Overall Kenilworth isn’t a bad place to visit. It’s an impressively aged stand-stone building (adorned with centuries of graffiti that’s a record of history in itself) and with the undeveloped countryside nearby you can stand on the walls and almost imagine what it was like in the olden days. When I visited there was a Civil War era display of shooting and people in period costumes to bring the castle to life and provide a welcome addition. It’s just that like a lot of English attractions: it’s over-priced for what it is. It now costs you £5 each to get in- which to spend less than an hour outside is not great value. And it certainly compares badly with the extensive splendours of Warwick Castle- which is just a short trip away. It wouldn’t be too bad if you actually got something for your money - but from the dreary, overpriced tea shop to the broken visual displays in the Visitor Centre showing the castle’s history (I couldn’t find out what happened during the siege- very frustrating!) it’s obvious the profits haven’t been invested into the attraction. The only really good thing is they haven’t over-promoted the Shakespeare connection the way that nearby Stratford does to a really commercialised effect Kenilworth Castle is managed by English Heritage- who’s motto is "No one does more for England’s heritage". If they’d substituted "does" for "charges," I’d agree with them.