More Joyful Venturing through the Charming Townships of Middle England
Enjoy a visit to many of the charming medieval townships in middle England, Warwick, Royal Leamington Spa, Stratford upon Avon and Wilmcote...history and the meanings of many words from that period that still are used today...
- The Pleasing Place of Warwick
- Ancient Kenilworth
- Royal Leamington Spa
- A Stay at Mallory Court Country House Hotel
- And on to Stratford upon Avon
- PearTree Cottage in Wilmcote
The Pleasing Place of Warwick
Seeking tranquility and solitude may not appeal to a large portion of the public in this day and age of high voltage happenings. Surprise me it does as the stress levels of most people are accelerating and without putting words on that, certain end results are more than likely. However, solitude and tranquillity do not have to equate to ‘boring’ - there are many places scattered throughout the rolling South Warwickshire countryside where leafy lanes, pretty towns and villages merge with the picturesque Cotswolds.
Warwick is just one such town. Filled with sites of much interest - not only the tremendous tourist attraction of Warwick Castle where every taste is catered too - ghostly apparitions, lifelike waxworks, jousting, stone throwing, medieval football games and magnificent displays of armour - Americanised food for those whose taste buds have been contaminated, and a shop filled with all sorts of bric-a-brac, some wonderful, some not.
A short walk from this daylong adventure takes you into the heart of the historic town which is steeped in architectural delights.
Definitely a visit should be paid to Lord Leycester’s Hospital, a dramatic mediaeval building established as a home for old warriors in 1571 by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leycester - otherwise known as Robin by Queen Elizabeth 1 who looked upon him with more than a glint in her steely eye!
Hidden behind the Master’s House lies one of the oldest gardens in Warwick. Enclosed by the ancient town walls, it is a tranquil oasis in the heart of this bustling market town and besides the gorgeous flowers, plants and trees, you can see a 12th century Norman arch and a huge stone vase, 2000 years old which once stood on the banks of the river Nile. Delicious home made lunches and afternoon teas are available in the Brethren’s Kitchen.
Not too far away is ‘Old’ Kenilworth with many listed buildings, cosy tearooms and “Little Virginia” a cluster of 17th century cottages named after the planting of potatoes by Sir Walter Raleigh.
However the pearl is Kenilworth Castle, the ruined glory of Elizabethan England with a magnificent Sound and Light Show. ‘New’ Kenilworth abounds in quality restaurants, a good selection of shops and pubs where locals and visitors gather to enjoy the long evenings eating and drinking.
Royal Leamington Spa
The elegant Regency town of Royal Leamington Spa shows off its superb Victorian architecture, parks and gardens and is famous for its spa waters and magnificent Royal Pump Rooms. You can stay, play and enjoy the award winning Jephson Gardens, with its sensory garden, Victorian tearoom and boating centre. The long main road has many independent and traditional shops and tearooms, and on both sides, little streets wriggle around boasting antique shops par excellence.
A Stay at Mallory Court Country House Hotel
Not too far from Leamington and set in gorgeous surroundings is the beautiful Edwardian country house hotel, Mallory Court with its attendant art deco Brasserie offering a contemporary and informal atmosphere, and serving excellent cuisine. Typical British dishes like braised lamb shanks, dauphinoise potatoes and roasted root vegetables, or a pan seared salmon fillet with ratatouille, pak choi and pesto dressing. You will note the addition of Asian and European tastes but as the world gets smaller, the menus become more diverse - sometimes a blessing, sometimes just the opposite. The Brasserie however does an excellent job.
Compton Verney is Warwickshire’s premier art gallery and its exhibits run from Van Gogh, to early German masters, great British Portraits and beautiful paintings of Naples and Posillipo to the fun showcases of Folk Art Objects. This lovely country house takes its conversion into a fascinating gallery with good grace, and people flock from all over the UK to visit. They also serve a scrumptious tea and cakes in their café.
And on to Stratford upon Avon
The origins of ‘ Stratford-upon-Avon’ being situate about half way along the course of the River Avon and the meaning of the name is ‘road (strat- Roman street)) over the river (ford) Avon’.
Stratford boasts five Shakespearean Houses, three are in town -Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Nash’s House & New Place and Hall’s Croft a superb town house where Shakespeare’s daughter Anne and her husband, Dr. Hall, lived.
Nearby is Anne Hathaway’s Cottage in the charming village of Wilmcote, and young William must have spent many hours walking from his home in Stratford to court the young Anne.
In 2000 shockwaves travelled through the Shakespearean world for the elegant, sagging, half-timbered house known for centuries as the childhood home of Mary Arden, Shakespeare’s mum, turned out to have had nothing to do with her. In fact, her parents lived next door overlooking the pub in the rather less attractive Glebe Cottage.
When you take the big red Sight Seeing Bus from the centre of Stratford to visit these properties, you will be enchanted by the different versions relayed by good and not so good to
ur guides as you travel to each place, alighting and joining whenever you choose.
Some extraordinary facts come to life aboard these buses and I, for one, enjoyed hearing explanations of the beginnings of words and sayings. A good example is the word ‘bonfire’. In the 16th century, plague was rife and corpses were not allowed to be buried in hallowed ground so they had ‘bone fires’ in pits outside of town. Thusly ‘bonfires’..put that in your hat and smoke it!!!!
PearTree Cottage in Wilmcote
Wilmcote is home to Pear Tree Cottage, a charming 1500’s cottage that was part of the estate owned by Shakespeare’s parents. Now belonging to the Manders who have run it as two self-catering cottages for the past years, you can enjoy all the niceties of home in idyllic garden settings, together with the peace and quiet of the countryside away from the maddening crowds.
And these are only a few of the hidden treasures you can find journeying the fair countryside of England.
geograph.org.uk for the pic
oldukphotos.com for pic
Leamington Spa picture gallery for pic
Historicuk.com for the pic
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