Constructed from Norman through to Tudor times, the castle has been described by architectural historian Anthony Emery as “the finest surviving example of a semi-royal palace of the later middle ages, significant for its scale, form and quality of workmanship”. Kenilworth has also played an important historical role. The castle was the subject of the six-month-long Siege of Kenilworth in 1266, believed to be the longest siege in English history, and formed a base for Lancastrian operations in the Wars of the Roses. Kenilworth was also the scene of the removal of Edward II from the English throne, the French insult to Henry V in 1414 (said by John Strecche to have encouraged the Agincourt campaign), and the Earl of Leicester‘s lavish reception of Elizabeth I in 1575.
We visited on May 19th 2015, and were welcomed by the staff at the entrance and shop, next to the car park. We paid our entrance fees (£9.60 for an Adult, £8.60 with a student card) and entered the castle grounds. We had a small wonder around, before grabbing a coffee from the coffee shop. Unfortunately, the snacks were a bit overpriced and the coffee was cold. However, the staff were very polite.
At the far end of the coffee shop was an interesting exhibition depicting Kenilworth Castle through the ages. Using the map provided, we began to explore the magnificent building, starting with the outside of the castle and progressing to the inside. The map provided was very helpful in telling us information, and twinned with the exhibition, told us all we needed to know about the history of Kenilworth Castle.
The gatehouse housed another fascinating exhibition about the history of Kenilworth Castle, and provided an excellent insight into the times.
All in all, I would recommend this as a day out if the weather is good. Unfortunately, the tours weren’t open to the public during our visit but there was a tour of school children and the tour guide seemed very engaging.