Both the Grand Union Canal and the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal pass through Lapworth, and if you’re not boating, you might like to walk the scenic towpaths and watch the comings and goings, including descents at Lapworth’s flight of locks.
Then hunt for the Catesby family coat of arms in the west window of St Mary the Virgin Church – Robert Catesby, charismatic leader of the Gunpowder plotters, was born in Lapworth. Further links to the dark days of Catholic persecution lead you on to the medieval manor of Baddesley Clinton, which conceals three priest’s holes. Tudor Packwood House is also a must-visit, to admire its extraordinary topiary. Stay for a few days. Find accommodation in Lapworth.
Founded in 1154 by Cistercian monks but later transformed into the home of the Leigh family from 1561 to the late 20th century, Stoneleigh Abbey bears witness to an eventful history. King Charles I was entertained here when the gates of Coventry were closed against him and Jane Austen wove descriptions of the interiors into her novels; Queen Victoria and Prince Albert stayed and in modern times Prince Charles visited following restoration work. Tour the imposing baroque West Wing, its Saloon the epitome of Georgian magnificence, and follow the Pleasure Garden Walk to the River Avon.
Unlock the secrets of a home that offered a haven to Catholics persecuted in the Elizabethan era. Atmospheric interiors throughout the house conjure the comforts of the times, yet this moated medieval manor also conceals no fewer than three priest’s holes: just imagine the hold-your-breath moments endured by someone in hiding. Stretch your legs in the delightful garden complete with stewponds and lake, find out what’s fresh in the vegetable garden, or follow the lovely nature walk.
Spin around some of the finest Warwickshire countryside on this superb 25-mile trail. Leaving Warwick, cycle along the valley of the River Avon before passing the waterside village of Wellesbourne. The stunning cross-country route to Chesterton Windmill then returns via Regency Royal Leamington Spa to historic Warwick.
Unwind on this gentle walk that explores the countryside east of Henley-in-Arden, taking in several parish churches and the remains of a Norman castle. The route heads to Preston Bagot and its picturesque church. Continuing on, it reaches the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal, following the towpath north to Finwood Bridge. Clear waymarking along the Heart of England Way returns you to Henley-in-Arden and its gorgeous timbered high street with appealing independent shops and cafes.
Rachel’s Cupcakes, based at Yew Tree Farm, bakes the most divine cupcakes, from Very Vanilla to Luscious Lemon and even Cocktail Cupcakes. Bespoke creations are our speciality, whether birthday cakes or popular wedding cupcake towers, and daily selections of our flavours may also be purchased at the farm.
Step into the inimitable world of The Bluebell, a 500-year-old, timber-framed, multiple award winning coaching inn that is also very cool and chic. Serving some of the very best food made with locally sourced and home grown ingredients. Relax over a wide range of drinks, champagnes and fine wines, or take afternoon tea outdoors in the “secret garden”. Awarded Two AA Rosettes, current holders of ‘Best Dining Pub/Inn’ Coventry & Warwickshire Food and Drink Awards, also featured in the Good Food Guide, Good Pub Guide, AA Pub Guide and Alastair Sawday’s Special Places.
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