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Kenilworth Castle & Elizabethan Garden (English Heritage)

Castle Green, KENILWORTH, Warwickshire, CV8 1NE

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Kenilworth Castle & Elizabethan Garden (English Heritage)

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A vast medieval fortress which became anElizabethan palace, Kenilworth Castle is one of Britain's largest and most impressive historic sites.


Extensive recent developments highlight its famous associations with Queen Elizabeth I and her favourite, Robert Dudley, including the recreation of the garden which was designed to astound visitors, including Elizabeth I at a time when Dudley still hoped to marry her.

Spanning more than five centuries, Kenilworth's varied buildings and architectural styles reflect its long connection with successive English monarchs. Geoffrey de Clinton, Henry I's treasurer, began the massive Norman keep at the core of the fortress in the 1120s, and under Henry II Kenilworth became a royal castle. King John greatly strengthened it between 1210 and 1215, enlarging the surrounding watery 'mere' which effectively made it an island stronghold. Thus it could withstand an epic siege in 1266, when rebellious barons held out against Henry III's siege engines for six months, succumbing only to starvation. In the impressively-timbered Tudor stables, which now house the castle's tearoom, trebuchet balls from the siege can be seen in the fascinating interactive display on the castle's history.

On the last and most famous of the visits of Queen Elizabeth I, in July 1575, Elizabeth stayed here for 19 days - her longest sojourn in a courtier's house during any of her progresses. Dudley not only entertained her lavishly throughout with music, dancing, hunting and plays: he also created specially for her visit a fabulous garden, whose re- creation is English Heritage's latest contribution to Kenilworth's long history.

Though largely unscathed during the Civil War, Kenilworth was afterwards rendered indefensible, and gradually fell into dilapidation. Made famous by Walter Scott's romantic novel, 'Kenilworth' (1821), it came into state guardianship in 1938.

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    Map & Directions



    • All Areas Accessible to Disabled Visitors - Access to castle: level access to kitchen area and Great Hall. Upper floors mainly reached by spiral staircases. Many good views. Low level introductory display accessible to wheelchair users. Exhibition: level access in Leicester's Barn, lift to exhibition at all floors in Gatehouse.
    • Facilities for Hearing Impaired Visitors - Audio tour with hearing loop available.
    • Facilities for Visually Impaired Visitors - Braille guide available. Flower garden and bird song. Please note: parts of the site have uneven surfaces, steep slopes and steps.
    • Parking Areas for Disabled Visitors - Parking: 300m from entrance; uneven surface. Alternatively visitors may make arrangements in advance to park on Castle Green. Cobblestones at admission point. You can find alternative parking at Abbey End Car Park, Abbey Fields Car Park and Smalley Place Car Park.
    • Toilets for Disabled Visitors - Accessible WC in Gatehouse.


    • On-Site café/restaurant - The Stables Tea Room offers a seasonal menu of daily specials together with sandwiches, home-baked cakes and Fairtrade tea and coffee. Our ingredients are locally sourced where possible. The tearoom is open daily (10.30 am - 4.30 pm) from April to October. From November to March it is open Fri, Sat and Sun only (10.30 am - 3.30 pm), and for groups by prior arrangement, please phone the site to book. Freshly made sandwiches and soups Hot and cold drinks Indoor and outdoor seating

    Parking & Transport

    • On site parking
    • Parking (charge) - A car parking charge applies to ensure that EH members and paying visitors have priority. The charge will be refunded on admission, except on Bank Holiday weekends. On the Sunday and Monday of Bank Holiday weekends the charge is £2 for the whole day (for members and non-members). Alternatively, as the car park can get quite busy on bank holidays, we offer a free shuttle bus from the town centre for visitors who choose to use the town centre car parks. These car parks are not managed by English Heritage so parking charges are likely to apply. Free shuttle buses leave every 10-15 minutes from 10am to 6pm from the Kenilworth clock tower stop, outside the Holiday Inn.

    Provider Features

    • In countryside

    Travel & Trade

    • Group discounts available
    • Min group size numeric qualifier - All year round we welcome groups of all sizes to our historic attractions. Discover the huge variety of properties from mysterious Stonehenge to Roman villas, magnificent medieval castles to grand stately houses and gardens. See our group travel schemes

    Tel: +44 (0) 870 333 1181

    Fax: +44 (0) 1793 414 926

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    Opening Times

    1 Jan 2021 - 31 Dec 2021

    * Opening Times:

    1 Apr-1 Nov: 10am-5pm daily

    2 Nov-28 Feb: 10am-4pm daily

    1-31 Mar: 10am-5pm daily

    24-26 Dec and 1 Jan: closed


    • Visit BritainWe're Good to Go We're Good to Go 2020
    • Regional and MiscellaneousWTTC Safe Travels WTTC Safe Travels 2021

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