Just a few miles north of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick Castle is one very cool castle. Al, Allan and I spent quite a few hours here and attended several ‘shows’ that went on at various times during the day. Warwick is one of the few castles that I saw during my trip where the castle remains intact. Several of the shows are aimed toward the under 15 crowd, but we enjoyed almost every one of them. The castle dates back to pre-William the Conqueror though the stone construction began in the 13th century. Warwick Castle has the largest (I believe) working trebuchet in Europe. They demo firing off a round, including one flaming fireball, a couple of times a day. The workings of these medieval war machines were incredible. The exhibitions in the castle are very well done too, with one set up as it would have been during the 19th century – Queen Victoria was a visitor.
A few miles up the road is Kenilworth Castle. This place is HUGE! It must have been quite impressive back in its day because the remains of the castle are amazing and well worth a visit.
Robert Dudley, close friend and favourite of Elizabeth I, was lord of the manor here in the 16th century and the queen visited on several occasions. His stables on the grounds held close to 80 horses – Dudley was Elizabeth’s horsemaster. The stables have been restored and now house a small exhibition area and a cafe.