Kenilworth, Warwickshire – admonished at the castle, candies on lockdown and the country’s ugliest library

Castle

On Sunday Franc and I took a trip to the Warwickshire town of Kenilworth, most famous for the historic ruins of a castle built in the 1120s.

Kenilworth castle was the former home of the First Earl of Leicester, Robert Dudley, an English nobleman who was the bestie of Queen Elizabeth I. He served her well throughout her entire reign along with being a reliable dance partner and she granted him this lavish pad as a gift in 1563.

Despite being nicknamed The Virgin Queen since Liz never married, gossip of her close relationship with Bob was rife since he was married to Amy, mysteriously found dead at the foot of a staircase with a broken neck one day.

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When Sir Walter Raleigh, friend to Liz and Bob, returned from South America, along with tobacco, he brought back one of my favourite foods of all time – the potato and its first ever British crop was planted in the Little Virginia area of Kenilworth.

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Franc and I entered the grounds via a different route to our last visit; more a muddy, slippy and high stepped access in.  We were happily admiring the stonework when a lady rolling a small green maintenance truck did not like our path in, her eyes trained like a hawk to spot stickers on lapels at 50 paces. We were given a ticking off and a suspicious up and down eye appraisal like we were trying to escape payment and the demeanour did not soften when I volunteered we were English Heritage members (free entry anyway). I nearly got the cards out in proof but we were ordered to the main office.

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Elizabethan gardens, part of the castle’s landscape:

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Despite some lovely homes and thatched cottages, the town centre is made up of pretty plain, functional buildings and the library took the prize for the most unattractive design:

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The main street has a “kugel ball”, something new to us. It is a spherical granite water feature whereby a shallow amount of pressurised water keeps the ball moving, but it can be temporarily stopped by a firm hand. I took a short video which will not upload on here so here is a link to an example of one in action.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mq9awk68P4g

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I was amused to see that the sweet shop, the only shop apart from the jewellers to have iron shutters protecting its doors and windows. I don’t think a smash and grab for cola cubes and lemon sherbets is high on a criminal’s list but I could be mistaken.  

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St Francis of Assisi, Catholic Church:

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The only vegan friendly place to eat in Kenilworth is Zizzi’s the pizza chain but we are only a 40 minute drive away so we left home after lunch. We had a hot drink in large restaurant/bar called Almanak and I was not impressed when my soya hot chocolate arrived laced with dairy cream and gelatine filled marshmallows. Huh?

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