Kenilworth Castle English Heritage Review For Families

If there’s one thing our family cherishes, it’s our weekend escapades exploring the treasures of England’s rich history. This past weekend was no exception as we ventured to the enchanting Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire. Nestled in the heart of the Midlands, this historical site promised a day filled with adventure and learning.

From the moment we parked our car (conveniently close to the entrance, I might add), and started walking towards the entrance, we all knew this was going to be a good day. The castle has this way of making you feel tiny, but in the best way—like you’re part of a much bigger story. And with the sun shining and a few clouds playing tag in the sky, you can bet we were ready to dive right in!

Whether you’re passionate about history, eager for some outdoor exercise, or simply looking for a day out where imaginations can run wild, Kenilworth Castle stands majestically as an emblem of bygone eras beckoning modern families to explore its rich tapestry. It was set to be a day etched in memory, a perfect blend of learning and laughter.

Where is Kenilworth Castle Located?

Located at Castle Green, Kenilworth CV8 1NG, the castle boasts a rich history dating back to the 1120s. Its walls have witnessed the footsteps of various monarchs and played a pivotal role in English history, making it an intriguing destination for families seeking to delve into the past.  For a family holidaying near Warwick or for locals looking for a weekend jaunt, it’s perfectly placed.

History Of Kenilworth Castle

Now, Kenilworth Castle isn’t just a pile of old rocks—it’s like a huge history book, but way cooler because you can walk through it. As we stepped into the castle grounds, I reminded Barney and Matilda that this was a place where real knights and queens walked around—just think about that for a second!

Built way back in the 1120s, Kenilworth has seen its fair share of action. Kings and queens have hung out here, and it’s been at the centre of some big-time historical events (like chunks of the War of the Roses). It’s hard to believe that once upon a time, this place was buzzing with people, parties, and yeah, even some plotting.

The castle had its heyday when Queen Elizabeth I gave it to Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester. He was a bit of a charmer and he even spruced up the place to impress her. But just like all good things, Kenilworth’s sparkle didn’t last forever. After some rough times, like the English Civil War, Parliament got worried about it being used in battles, so they tore it down in 1649 to stop that from happening.

Over time, it’s like Kenilworth settled into a peaceful retirement and became this great place for families like us to come and visit. You can still see the grand Elizabethan Garden that Dudley built to wow the queen, and there’s enough left of the castle to get a real feel for how grand it would have been.

It’s pretty wild to think that all this history is just sitting here, waiting for us to explore. Kenilworth isn’t just about the cool stuff we can do (which I’ll tell you all about in a bit); it’s about sharing stories that are hundreds of years old. And let me tell you, Matilda soaked up every story like a sponge, and even Barney couldn’t help but get caught up in the castle’s tale.

What is There to Do For Families?

Every corner of the castle had something new and exciting for us. Whether it was getting hands-on with history, exploring the vast grounds, or just enjoying a moment of calm in the gardens, there was plenty to keep us busy and the kids entertained. 

Here’s the lowdown on our favourite family-friendly activities at Kenilworth. Spoiler alert: Barney and Matilda are already asking when we can go back!

Tower Views:

One cannot simply visit Kenilworth Castle without climbing the mighty towers that punctuate the sky. As a family, we encouraged each other up the narrow steps, counting each one as a victory. Matilda, braver now with heights, was our leader, calling out encouragement to Barney whenever he paused to catch his breath.

Once at the top, the view that greeted us was nothing short of spectacular. The vast English countryside rolled out around us, a patchwork quilt of greens and browns, houses dotted here and there like scattered gems. We pointed out landmarks to each other, watched tiny cars winding along roads, and spotted what we were sure was a herd of deer grazing in the distance.

Elizabeth Gardens:

The reconstructed Elizabethan Garden was where the magic truly happened. The same gardens designed to capture the heart of Queen Elizabeth I now captured ours as well. The kids chased each other through the ornate knot gardens, playing hide and seek behind manicured hedges, while my partner and I admired the colourful array of flowers blooming with the seasons.

Matilda and Barney were particularly fascinated by the marble fountain, making wishes and giggling at the thought of them coming true. It was in these moments, amidst the natural beauty and historical grandeur, that we found a peaceful interlude to our often hectic family life.

Leicester’s Gatehouse:

As much as the kids were the energy of our trip, they also loved the quieter moments we shared in Leicester’s Gatehouse. Weaving stories about the Queen and her courtiers made history seem so tangible, even intriguing. Touching the walls and tracing the footsteps of those who had come before us, we all felt connected to the past in a way textbooks just can’t replicate.

Tudor Stables:

But our favourite part had to be the family-friendly exhibition in the Tudor Stables. The interactive and hands-on displays were a winner. Matilda slipped into a Lady’s costume and Barney, well, he was chuffed to get his hands on (mock) trebuchet balls. “Look how strong I am!” he declared, hoisting one as high as his little arms could manage. We laughed, we learnt, and we made some brilliant memories.

Castle Keep and The Great Hall:

Who could forget the Castle Keep? It’s like the backbone of Kenilworth, sturdy and unyielding. It might just be walls and remnants of rooms now, but with a little imagination, which the kids have in buckets, the grandeurs of yesteryears came alive. 

And the Great Hall, though now open to the sky, still overwhelmed us with its scale—an echo of mediaeval might and nobility.

Open Spaces for Games and Picnics:

After delving into the depths of history, the open spaces surrounding the castle ruins offered a chance for some good old-fashioned outdoor fun. We had a picnic right on the castle grounds. The open space is perfect for families to enjoy a sunny day, fly kites, or simply lay back and watch clouds drift by over the timeworn battlements.

Facilities At Kenilworth Castle

When it came to amenities, Kenilworth Castle had us covered. The stables café offered a cosy spot to relax with a warm cup of tea and scrumptious cakes for the kids. And yes, there are toilets—albeit a tad small—and remember, facilities like these are often a challenge in such historic places.

Areas for Improvement

While our experience was largely positive, there were a couple of areas that could be improved. The signage at the entrance was a bit faded, making it slightly challenging to locate initially. Additionally, the restroom facilities, especially for families, could be expanded to accommodate more visitors.

Would you recommend it?

Without a doubt, Kenilworth Castle is a recommendation from our family. Whether you’re steeped in historical enthusiasm or just looking for a grand day out with the kids, this castle offers a memorable experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about Clumber Park.

Is there a cafe?:

  1. Is there a café? 

Indeed! The stables café awaits with delicious treats.

What is your favourite part?:

It’s tough to choose, but the kids absolutely loved the garden, and the views from the tower were mesmerising.

Are dogs allowed at the Castle?

Yes, the castle grounds offer ample space for dogs to stretch their legs and enjoy a day out with their owners., but they must be kept on a leash.

Can we bring our bikes?

No, it’s a historic site, so biking through the grounds isn’t an option, but the surrounding areas could offer a scenic ride.

Is there parking available?

Yes, there’s a car park just a short walk from the castle entrance.

Are there any entrance fees for visiting the park?

Yes, there is an entrance fee unless you’re an English Heritage member – a family membership might be a sensible treasure to consider!

Pros & Cons


  • Beautiful heritage
  • Wonderful gardens and surroundings
  • Fantastic cafe
  • Friendly staff
  • Outstanding views


English Heritage enjoyment rating

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Last Updated on January 11, 2024 by Ryan

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