Fodor's Expert Review Kenilworth Castle & Elizabethan Garden

Kenilworth Castle Castle/Palace/Chateau Fodor's Choice

The romantic ruins of Kenilworth give some sense of the turbulent times the castle has witnessed in its 900-year history. In 1326 King Edward II was imprisoned here and forced to renounce the throne before he was transferred to Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire and allegedly murdered with a red-hot poker. Here the ambitious Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, one of Elizabeth I’s favorites, entertained the queen four times, most notably in 1575 with 19 days of revelry. It was for this extended visit that Dudley created the elaborate Elizabethan garden in which to woo the queen; the garden has since been restored to its original splendor with arbors, an aviary, and an 18-foot-high Carrara marble fountain. The top of the keep has commanding views of the countryside, one good indication of why this was such a formidable fortress from 1120 until it was dismantled by Oliver Cromwell after the English Civil War in the mid-17th century. Still intact are its keep, with 20-foot-thick walls;... READ MORE

The romantic ruins of Kenilworth give some sense of the turbulent times the castle has witnessed in its 900-year history. In 1326 King Edward II was imprisoned here and forced to renounce the throne before he was transferred to Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire and allegedly murdered with a red-hot poker. Here the ambitious Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, one of Elizabeth I’s favorites, entertained the queen four times, most notably in 1575 with 19 days of revelry. It was for this extended visit that Dudley created the elaborate Elizabethan garden in which to woo the queen; the garden has since been restored to its original splendor with arbors, an aviary, and an 18-foot-high Carrara marble fountain. The top of the keep has commanding views of the countryside, one good indication of why this was such a formidable fortress from 1120 until it was dismantled by Oliver Cromwell after the English Civil War in the mid-17th century. Still intact are its keep, with 20-foot-thick walls; its great hall built by John of Gaunt in the 14th century; and its curtain walls, the low outer walls forming the castle’s first line of defense. You can climb the stairs to the viewing platforms for the view that Queen Elizabeth would have had when she stayed and visit the restored gatehouse where an excellent exhibition explores her relationship with Dudley. The fine gift shop sells excellent replicas of tapestries and swords.

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Castle/Palace/Chateau Garden/Arboretum Fodor's Choice Historical

Quick Facts

Castle Green
Kenilworth, Warwickshire  CV8 1NG, England

01926-852078

www.english-heritage.org.uk

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: £9.60, £10.70, Closed weekdays Jan.–mid-Feb.

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