When you think of Warwickshire you immediately think of the rich history – medieval castles, beautiful ancestral homes and, of course, Shakespeare. And whilst these are all an integral part of the region there is so much more to discover here. The Explorer Pass is your key to uncovering all there is to offer and seeing the very best of Warwickshire!
The 17 fantastic attractions included with the Explorer Pass appeal to a wide range of visitors – whether you are a young family on holiday, a couple looking for a peaceful break or somebody somewhere in between the Explorer Pass will help you to make the best of your time in Warwickshire.
We’ve rounded up our highlights for families, culture seekers and history lovers below. Take a look and see what you could discover.
Vintage cars, madcap machinery and a working Tudor farm…
Warwickshire is a great place for a family getaway. There are museums, castles and family-friendly attractions aplenty! Our favourites are:
The British Motor Museum
The largest collection of British classic cars in the world awaits along with themed-trails, a hands-on Interactive Zone, family-friendly café and outdoor play area. A wide range of activities are offered during school holidays too. What more could you want?
The MAD Museum in Stratford-upon-Avon is the UK’s only mechanical art venue. It’s a complete sensory experience – colours, sounds and movements, and is totally interactive. Being hands-on is actively encouraged – perfect for the kids!
Described as ‘Britain’s Ultimate Castle’ Warwick Castle offers jaw-dropping history, magic, myth and adventure! There are battlements, towers and turrets to explore and interactive attractions and daily shows too. Enough to keep the family happy for hours.
Any visit to Warwickshire wouldn’t be complete without a bit of Shakespeare! Shakespeare’s Schoolroom brings to life his time as a schoolboy and is a great place to take the kids. Take part in the family trail and activities during the school holidays.
Mary Arden’s Farm
The childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother is a working Tudor farm which is run just as it would have been when she lived there. With craft and falconry demonstrations, farmyard, historic buildings and a playground to explore it’s the perfect place for a family outing.
Award-winning art galleries, Victorian gardens and beautiful churches…
If it’s culture you are after then you have come to the right place! Warwickshire has plenty to offer you. Our top picks are:
Warwickshire’s award-winning art gallery is set in 120 acres of stunning parkland originally designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown with a lake, woodland and grasslands to explore. The house is home to six diverse collections of nationally and internationally significant art from around the world and there are several temporary exhibitions throughout the year too. A must for any art lovers visiting the area.
Stoneleigh Abbey was built on a land grant from King Henry II. With humble beginnings as a Cistercian monastic house in 1154, Stoneleigh Abbey was converted at the Dissolution into a comfortable family home. One of the seats of the Leigh family, Stoneleigh has played host to several people of note, including King Charles I, Queen Victoria, and novelist Jane Austen. Explore the grounds and take in the beautiful abbey and its history.
St Mary’s Church Warwick
Set in the heart of the historic town centre, the Collegiate Church of St Mary – with its 174ft tall tower – is a must-see attraction for visitors to Warwick. Admire its architectural grandeur and the stunning views from the top of the tower.
Hill Close Gardens
A Victorian secret! The gardens are rare survivors of Victorian gardens once used by trades folk living above their businesses in Warwick to escape from the crowded town. A unique example of the once-common Victorian detached pleasure garden with their characteristic summer houses, hedge lines, pathways and orchards. A perfect place for a peaceful afternoon!
Shakespeare’s New Place
A contemporary exhibition in the grounds of Shakespeare’s family home where he lived for nearly 20 years. Beautiful gardens and specially commissioned artworks await at this fascinating exhibition.
What better place to soak in the history and culture of Stratford-upon-Avon than the tranquil waters of the River Avon. Avon Boating’s cruises last 40 minutes and take you past the historic sights of Clopton Bridge and Holy Trinity Church as well as the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
Medieval secrets, magnificent castles and, of course, Shakespeare…
There’s so much local history to enjoy in Warwickshire that you will be spoilt for choice! These places are not to be missed:
From medieval fortress to Elizabethan palace, Kenilworth Castle has been at the centre of England’s affairs for much of its 900-year history. Today, you can scale the heights of the tower built to woo Queen Elizabeth I and marvel at the mighty Norman keep. Explore the exhibition in the Gatehouse and imagine the majesty of the Great Hall playing host to medieval monarchs and early Tudor kings.
Lord Leycester Hospital
Discover Warwick’s medieval gem! The Hospital is one of the finest examples in Britain of medieval courtyard architecture and is well-worth a visit for any one interested in medieval history. It was home to Warwick’s medieval Guilds for nearly 200 years. There is also the tranquil Master’s Garden to explore and The Brethren’s Kitchen which has been serving food for 500 years!
Hill Close Gardens
These gardens offer an extremely rare opportunity to visit sixteen hedged Victorian pleasure gardens. They have been reconstructed to capture the planting and personality of their original owners – giving you a real glimpse into the past!
Walk in Shakespeare’s footsteps and explore the house where he was born and grew up. There is live theatre on demand and rare artefacts from the trust’s world class collection on display. A must for any Shakespeare enthusiast or anyone wanting to discover the rich history of Stratford-upon-Avon.
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
Uncover five centuries of stories in the picturesque 500-year-old cottage where Shakespeare courted his bride-to-be. See original furniture and learn about the family who lived there. A stunning property that gives a real insight into the past and the thirteen generations of the family who called it home.
The beautifully furnished Jacobean home of Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna and her husband, the physician John Hall, is a fascinating place to visit. Wander into the walled garden and discover the fragrant medicinal herbs that he would have used in his remedies and learn all about his life and times.