If you are thinking of spending a weekend in Warwick here are some ideas of things to do.
We recently decided to break up a journey from Cheshire to Hampshire halfway and stop for a few days to recharge our batteries. A pin in the map suggested we spend the weekend in Warwick but having done the castle we decided we would concentrate on seeing what else the town had to offer.
Having decided to stay in the centre of town we found there were lots of hotels, pubs with rooms and AirBnBs to choose from (with varying prices). We plumped for the latter because we hadn’t done AirBnB before and this felt like a good opportunity. We found a great little one bed flat within walking distance of the town centre because, importantly for us, it had free parking. So many of our trips involve driving, or sight seeing just using our accommodation as a base that we thought this time it would be nicer to walk, so we needed to be able to dump the car. We paid £75 a night for the flat which was definitely cheaper than a hotel would have been (and our host even left milk and cereal for us so you could say it included breakfast).
Things to do
Well obviously there’s the castle and if you haven’t done it then you really should.
Also well worth a visit is the Lord Leycester Hospital. It started life in the 12th century as a chapel built over the west gate to the town, and is lived in today by eight ex servicemen and their wives. They are provided with accommodation as a thank you for their previous service and act as guides for visitors.
A short walk from the Lord Leycester is Hill Close Gardens, a collection of 16 beautifully tended gardens, known as Victorian Hedged Gardens. Originally they were tended by people who lived above their businesses as places to escape the busy town, they have been lovingly restored to show the personalities of the original owners. You can buy the fruit, vegetables and flowers when in season, or just wander and enjoy the peace and quiet. Sadly for us it was tipping it down when we visited (and it was early February so nothing was really in full bloom) but later in the year this is clearly a bustling community and stunning.
The Collegiate Church of St Marys is the church that dominates the skyline in Warwick and dates back to 1123. If you have the puff you can climb the tower for a stunning view of the town.
Just out of Warwick is Hatton Shopping Village, a collection of independent shops and cafes, with a pub at its centre and a huge children’s play area. Despite the sun shining it was almost empty but I can imagine at Christmas it is rammed, and beautifully decorated. There are regular shopping events too so if you happen to be in the area do check out their website.
Even though breakfast was provided for us we still decided we would go out to grab breakfast in town and a quick Google told us that we were only a three minute walk from Bread and Co on Smith Street. A great little cafe with an extensive menu, a cake table and a fabulous selection of teas and coffee. Definitely one to add to your list.
Smith Street itself has an eclectic selection of shops and would be the perfect place to spend an hour or two. Except a lot of the shops and restaurants are closed on Mondays, so do bear that in mind if you are only in the town for a couple of days (Bread and Co, however was open).
For lunch or dinner I would definitely suggest heading to Dough and Brew. Slightly off the main road down a side street but well worth hunting it out. We found it thanks to another Google search, this time for “best pizza in Warwick”. I am not a fan of pizza but Mr B is so I thought I would see if we could find something other than the usual high street chains. This place hasn’t just been ranked as the best in Warwick but actually the best in England according to the Big 7 Travel and Food Guide. And even Waitrose magazine ranked it in the top 6 pizza restaurants. Sourdough pizzas, with a variety of toppings and they even do vegan, veggie and gluten free too. There are wireless headphones for kids to use whilst watching films on the big screen and regular film nights. If we are honest the service wasn’t great when we went, and Mr B proclaimed the pizzas he had recently had on a work trip to Cluj were better, but the pizza was definitely better than many others we have tried and the place was buzzing so clearly we are in a minority.
A couple of great pubs
No trip away for the weekend when you don’t have to drive can be complete without a few gins. We loved the Old Coffee Tavern but sadly they were having an early night so we could only stay for one, and the Zetland Arms which was our next stop on the way home. The chap who runs it is really knowledgeable about his beers and made us feel very much at home. Both had a great selection of gins, including many local ones which is always good to see.
Warwick, it was brief but we loved you, and will definitely be back.