Top Things to Do in Warwickshire, UK

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Top Things to Do in Warwickshire, UK

Although I love traveling abroad and learning more about different cultures and lifestyles, I’m also keen on local holidays and staycations, so during the Easter bank holiday weekend, we decided to explore a medieval market town in England's West Midlands. Known as Shakespeare's England, Stratford-upon-Avon gained popularity because its also the birthplace of William Shakespeare, one of the most famous writer of England. Shakespeare is known worldwide for his sonnets as well as plays including the popular ones such as Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet. I remember reading his books and plays when I was at school and Taming of the Shrew was one of my favourite plays written by him. I wanted to visit Stratford-upon-Avon last year, but plans didn't work out, so I ended up delaying the trip and moved it forward to 2019. Lots of recommendations from different people were enough for me to add Stratford-upon-Avon to my UK travel bucket list! The town is located in Warwickshire, so we also got the chance to explore various attractions across the county, and below are some of the top family friendly attractions in Warwickshire that I'd recommend visiting.

Bicester Village

Located on the outskirts of Bicester, a town in Oxfordshire, Bicester Village is an outlet shopping centre that opened in 1995. With 160 designer fashion brands, most of the stores  there sell luxury products, especially those focusing primarily on designer clothing. Brands available at the outlet shopping centre include Gucci, Dior, Escada, Fossil and Swaroski to name a few! Also, the centre is known to be the second most visited location by the Chinese tourists after Buckingham Palace as there are many high end stores at Bicester Village, making it a shopper's paradise. Although not exactly in Warwickshire, Bicester Village is very close to the county and is definitely worth visiting. 

Bicester Village

Bicester Village

I liked the concept of how the shopping centre has been designed and thinking about the fact of how popular it is amongst the tourists and local alike, it was necessary for the management to ensure ample walking space. Besides luxury brands, there are also some restaurants, cafes and pop-ups and kiosks for shoppers to fuel up or stop for a snack, a hot or cold drink, depending on the weather. 

Bicester Village

Bicester Village

There is a massive car park for the visitors with free parking, and the transport links are impressive too! This doesn't just make commute easier for the visitors, but encourages more people to visit too. The Bicester Village railway station has a direct connection to London and Oxford and it will further be extended to Milton Keynes and Bedford in the coming years, making it accessible to even more people. 

Bicester Village

We drove to the Bicester Village on a warm weekday and since it was a bank holiday, the shopping centre was quite busy. Just make sure to spare a good few hours if you'd like to visit all the stores as the more popular stores generally have queues, as they only allow a certain number of shoppers inside the store at a time. I personally think that's an absolutely brilliant idea because I myself don't prefer crowds. The stores offer some fantastic bargains, that you'd definitely want to bag, but make sure not to get carried away! 

Bicester Village

Kenilworth Castle & Elizabethan Gardens

Located in Kenilworth in Warwickshire, the Kenilworth Castle has been described as 'the  finest surviving example of a semi-royal palace of the later middle ages, significant for its scale, form and quality of workmanship." Historically, the castle has played a vital role and built several centuries ago with red sandstone, there are different parts that can be explored by visitors. The entrance and outer bailey wall, inner court, base, left and right hand courts, garden and landscape. 

Kenilworth Castle & Elizabethan Gardens

Kenilworth Castle & Elizabethan Gardens

Kenilworth Castle & Elizabethan Gardens

Founded by Geoffrey de Clinton in the early 1120s, Kenilworth Castle consisted of a motte and has massive grounds surrounding the castle, making it a great outdoor family friendly attraction. The management also plans activities for special events such as Egg hunt for children during Easter, and ample parking is available for visitors just outside the castle. There's also a tea room where one can always stop for a bite!

Kenilworth Castle & Elizabethan Gardens

Kenilworth Castle & Elizabethan Gardens

Kenilworth Castle & Elizabethan Gardens

Kenilworth Castle & Elizabethan Gardens

Kenilworth Castle & Elizabethan Gardens

I always enjoy visiting historic places and knowing more about the people and events taken place in the past, so it was a great experience for me! 

Kenilworth Castle & Elizabethan Gardens

Warwick Castle

Originally built in 1068 by William the Conquerer, the Warwick Castle is a medieval castle developed from a wooden fort. Located on a bend of River Avon, Warwick is a county town of Warwickshire where the castle is present. The tickets can either be purchased online, prior to the visit or can be bought from the entrance. Once inside the castle grounds, it's a good idea to be aware of the activities and the timings, as you won't want to miss anything out! When we visited the Warwick Castle, there was a Princess show so we got the ticket, and explored the castle to be sure to return to the Princess Tower on time. 

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle

The Conquerer's Fortress isn't suitable for strollers or wheelchairs as it's a bit of a walk through the stairs, so we left the stroller near the Princess Tower. From the top, the view of the castle and the lake was lovely, and I could imagine myself standing there in the olden times. 

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle

The Warwick Castle has massive grounds for the adults to walk, and for the little ones to run around. Also, kids feel quite thrilled to spot peacocks in the garden and visitors can also fuel up either at The Conservatory tea house or get something from the various food stalls that have been setup all across the attraction. The gift shop has lots of souvenirs one can buy either to keep or to give to others and this includes toys for children or even clothes for dressing up. Great for a family day out, the Warwick Castle has lots for the entire family to stay entertained, so make sure to allow at least 2-3 hours to see the whole place properly. 

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle

Avon Boating

Located in the heart of Stratford upon Avon, going for boating is a perfect activity especially on a warm and sunny day. Avon Boating provides rowing boats, punts, canoes and motor boats.  Moreover, boats can also be hired for the entire day, and they also have river cruise - options for both public or private river cruise are available. Besides these, there are also some special packages that Avon Boating offers that are great for special occasions - cruise and dine, cream tea cruises, fish and chip trip and afternoon tea and river sighting to name a few! 

Avon Boating

Avon Boating

We opted for the public river cruise, and checked for the timing before reaching the location. On reaching, we came to know that the cruise was  delayed by 20 minutes, but it was a lovely day so it was okay to wait. Paid parking is available near Avon Boating, but it can get really busy during peak times. Besides that, I liked the fact that parking can be paid via mobile, so it wasn't a hassle for us since we had to extend the parking due to the extra time we needed to enjoy the river cruise. 

Avon Boating

Shakespeare's Birthplace

Also known as Shakespeare's England, it's a must to visit Shakespeare's birthplace when visiting Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire. I'm a huge fan of his work, and love visiting such places so I was really looking forward to it. We entered through the main entrance where we saw some of his works in the museum after which we came across Shakespeare's birthplace.  It was great to know and more importantly see where he used to live and to learn about his lifestyle. Visitors can only choose to visit Shakespeare's birthplace or also visit other places such as his new place, family homes, and his classroom. However, since all of these are spread across, I'd advise allowing plenty to time to cover all these houses and to ensure you get to see them before the closing time as entry to the houses close at 4:30 and after that no one is allowed to enter. 

Shakespeare's Birthplace

Shakespeare's Birthplace

At Shakespeare's birthplace, there was also a play going on outside his birthplace where some actors were dressed up and were seen acting. The gift shop just outside the birthplace has lots of things visitors can buy too. 

I did get a chance to see Shakespeare's New Place and made it to Shakespeare's schoolroom & Guildhall, but couldn't go inside as we reached there at 4:30 pm as our plan got delayed due to the delay caused at the attraction we visited before walking to Shakespeare's birthplace, but will hopefully get to visit the rest of the houses in future. One more important thing to know is to study the map properly so you know where you're going and you don't feel lost. Moreover, booking a hotel near Stratford-Upon-Avon would be a brilliant idea too! 

Shakespeare's Birthplace

Shakespeare's Birthplace

British Motor Museum 

If you'd like to see the world's largest collection of historic British cars, then the British Motor Museum in Warwickshire is the place to visit. The museum has more than 300 cars that have been displayed for the visitors, and these include cars from the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust and the Jaguar Heritage Trust. The collection is taken care by British Motor Industry Heritage Trust that was developed in 1970's. Some of the popular cars found at the museum include the very first Land Rover that was produced in 1948, the cars used by the British Royal Family and politicians, various speed record cars, the first Mini produced (621 AOK) and the last Aston Martin DB7 to name a few. Also, vehicles used in films and media have also been showcased at the British Motor Museum, including Shaun the Sheep Land Rover Defender.

British Motor Museum

British Motor Museum

British Motor Museum

British Motor Museum

Ample free onsite parking is available for visitors and tickets can be purchased from the reception or can be purchased prior to the visit. There's also ride on cars for the little ones, and besides the cars, the museum also has a cinema and an activity room to keep the kids entertained. Lots of items for playing such as jumbo blocks, arts and crafts items and clay is available for kids to make their own vehicles. 

British Motor Museum

British Motor Museum

The British Motor Museum also has events planned throughout the year, and you can check their website for details. We visited during the Easter weekend, so BabyN' enjoyed participating in the Egg Hunt and completing the drawing board Mini trail. The museum is open 7 days a week from 10am - 5pm, and its a perfect indoor place for family friendly entertainment.

British Motor Museum

British Motor Museum

Although there are lots of other family friendly attractions in Warwickshire, we could only visit the ones listed, during our mini-break to the county, but a few more that I can suggest include the Butterfly Farm, Manor Farm shop and cafe, MAD Museum, Lord Leycester's Hospital and the Market Hall Museum. Moreover, you can also roam around the streets of Warwick or check out the weekend market in the town centre. If would be really convenient if you book a hotel in Warwick town centre, as that way the visitors can have access to some of the nearby attractions on foot.

Market Hall Museum Warwick

Market Hall Museum Warwick

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