Walk of the week – Kenilworth Castle

Kenilworth Castle is the focus of our walk today.

Kenilworth Castle is the focus of our walk today.

This week we’re headed to Warwickshire for our walk of the week, to the town of Kenilworth that is famed for it’s ruined castle (where Queen Elizabeth I was said to have had an illicit affair with Robert Dudley) and for being the first place in Great Britain that potatoes were grown (useless fact that may come in handy one day in a pub quiz!).

Distance: 6.39 miles (10.28km)
Time: 2 hours 10mins
Map: OS Explorer Map 221 – Coventry & Warwick
Route: Available on OS getamap

We are starting and finishing our walk today at Kenilworth Castle (OS grid reference: SP279723) which has plenty of car parking (charges may apply). I’d recommend spending some time exploring the ruined castle and learning of it’s colourful history (we’ll come to more about that later on in this blog)! Admission charges do apply – unless you’re an English Heritage member.

St Johns church in Honiley is said to have been designed by Sir Christopher Wren

St Johns church in Honiley is said to have been designed by Sir Christopher Wren

To start our walk we’re going down Purlieu Lane – it’s to the north of the castle, next to Castle Green (near the Queen & Castle pub) – we’re heading due west along the lane. Whilst this walk starts walking down a minor road, you will be walking across fields that have the potential to be muddy! The further down this lane you travel, and as the footpath takes you into the fields, don’t forget to look back to admire the view of the castle.

We’re going to be heading in pretty much a straight line, heading due west for around 2.25miles (should take around 45minutes). This is when we arrive in the village of Honiley. Once in the village we walk along the road side, skirting around St Johns church, which is said to have been designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the early 18th century.

Following the road we’re now heading south, towards the village of Beausale where a left turn followed by a right and another left brings us onto a footpath that takes use back in a north-east direction, back towards Kenilworth.

The flooded echo meadows of Kenilworth Castle that provided hours of fun in my childhood!

The flooded echo meadows of Kenilworth Castle that provided hours of fun in my childhood!

As you get closer to Kenilworth you can’t help but notice the Castle looming ever larger on the horizon. The castle was built over several hundred years and is believed to date back to around 1120. It was the focus of the longest siege in English History in 1266 that lasted 6 months. During the War of the Roses it was a base for the House of Lancaster, it was where Edward II was removed from the throne and where the Earl of Leicester threw a massive reception for Queen Elizabeth I. As I said before, the castle has had a colourful history and is certainly worth a visit!

As you approach closer to the castle you come to what is locally known as the Echo Meadows. Having grown up in Kenilworth, we regularly used to visit the castle and the competition within the family was to see who could shout the loudest and get the most echos reverberating off the castle walls. If you’re visiting in November – this is also the scene of the towns bonfire and firework display – it comes highly recommended!

As you walk out of the Echo Meadows you’re back in The Brays – one of the car parks for Kenilworth Castle. Now the choice is yours – do you head home, explore the castle or have a refreshing drink in one of the many bars and cafes that Kenilworth has to offer?

Have you been to Kenilworth Castle? Which other ruined castles have you visited? Share your favourites with us here on the blog.