Twelve Days of Shakespeare Country Part Two

Anglotopia Article (world wide web)

January 5, 2010 by xwidep (Phil)

Happy New Year, hopefully you are all getting over having indulged yourselves this Holiday season and are now ready for part two of the Twelve days of Shakespeare Country:

6. Spend the day at Britain’s Ultimate Castle – with a medieval experience like no other, Warwick Castle is always going to be a highlight of any Shakespeare Country visit, where you can see a Trebuchet fired (last one of the day is a fireball!), you can explore the excellent Castle Dungeon (not for the faint hearted), dress up and re-live your childhood fantasies in the Princess Tower or explore the world renowned Madame Tussauds Kingmaker exhibition. Of course the main attraction is the beautiful Castle itself, set amongst glorious grounds where in 2010 the Great British Weekend arrives on the 17th & 18th of July celebrating everything great about music in the UK.

7. Shakespeare Country may have Britain’s ultimate castle but believe it or not we also have the UK’s largest ruined castle – Kenilworth Castle; one of my favourite places in the world. You can take a tour of the romantic ruins and explore the majestic grandeur that has lasted through the centuries and is the site of one of the greatest ‘English Love Stories’ between Queen Elizabeth the First and Robert Dudley the Earl of Leicester. In 2009 English Heritage completed a six year restoration programme (which I ran for the first year or so) which sees Leicester’s Gatehouse and Leicester’s Stables restored, a new visitor centre and the stunning recreation of the lost Elizabethan gardens built to celebrate the Queens nineteen day visit to the Castle is well worth a visit.
8. Wander around major new art exhibitions at Compton Verney; including in 2010 Dali, Constable, Magritte, Rembrandt, Degas, Cezanne, Bacon and Ernst, also the home of the largest British Folk Art collection and some awesome Chinese Bronze’s; set in a beautiful Grade I listed Robert Adam house nestled in a ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped garden, Compton Verney is stunning to look at but it can also have an impact on your other senses with an award winning café/restaurant that will be one of those meals that you will remark upon in your postcards home to make your friends salivate.

9. Explore the Georgian grandeur of Royal Leamington Spa and shop amongst the hundreds of independent shops that offer the largest range of choice for the discerning tourist. Set amongst the regency architecture and grand parades of a bygone era – one of only two towns in the UK to be granted the Royal title – Jephson Gardens alone warrants the monarchy’s approval, an award winning public park which is opposite the Tourist Information Centre located in the Royal Pump Rooms home to a museum on Victorian Spa Treatments and the town’s art gallery. You can send all day and all your holiday money in Royal Leamington Spa with ease and in comfort.

10. Take a walking tour around Stratford-upon-Avon with one of the Stratford Town Walks, if you wanted to get underneath the surface of the Bard’s town, then there is no better way to find out about those things that you probably didn’t know you needed to know but once you have find out you will not be able to stop yourself telling your friends and family what you now know about Stratford-upon-Avon. Tours are various and can be walking tours or river boat tours and cover topics such as ghosts, romance, intrigue, history and of course William Shakespeare and his family’s influence on the development of this beautiful English town.

11. Take a Leisure Drive around the stunning countryside and through the beautiful villages and towns of the Cotswold’s – Chipping Campden and Moreton in the Marsh in particular are very pretty with tea shops, art galleries, craft shops and antique stores that will keep you coming back for more. The area is perfect for a classic car run (hire a classic car from The Open Road) or a relaxed tour drive in the height of modern comfort (hire a personal chauffeur guide from Guiding You Ltd) and spend your afternoon wandering the grand country town of Shipston-on-Stour or ‘Sheep Wash Town which is where the name originates.

12. Henley-in-Arden is a medieval market town with one of the best known traditional wide High Streets in England with its great variety of architectural styles and a medley of red brick and black and white half-timbered buildings. The street is pretty much straight but variations in its width and slight curves offer the visitor a number of pleasant views perfect spots for you to take some holiday snaps.You can sample the world famous ice cream or visit the Visitor Centre that documents the fact that Henley was once two distinct settlements – Henley and Beaudesert. The site of Beaudesert Castle and St Nicholas Church Beaudesert date from the end of the 11th century while the church of St John the Baptist and Guild Hall date from the 15th century. The latter has a collection of relics including furniture, pewter plate, manorial rolls and the 1449 charter that granted the town its privileges.

Hope you enjoyed that little homage and that it has piqued your interest in the land we call England’s England – Shakespeare Country.

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About X-Wide P

Award winning advocate for art, heritage & culture; fine artist, museum & gallery manager and mild mannered front man of Relevant Elephant, finest purveyors of rock-steady hip-hop mambo
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