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.
Go behind the scenes of a defining moment in history at Coughton Court, home of the Throckmortons since 1409. Members of this old, Catholic family were among conspirators in the 1605 Gunpowder Plot to blow up Parliament and features like the priest’s hole bear testament to the bravery of the Throckmortons’ beliefs during a dangerous age. The story of personalities who helped to bring about Catholic emancipation can also be followed through the ‘family album’ of portraits and treasures around this fine Tudor house. Highlight of the award-winning gardens is the walled garden brimming with roses and herbaceous plants.
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.
Alcester, once an important Roman settlement, is nowadays a small, friendly market town that is ideally located for discovering Shakespeare’s Stratford and touring the Cotswold countryside. Take your pick of three cycle routes from the Greig Leisure Centre, to explore rural heritage sites and National Trust properties. The rides, of 10, 20 and 25 miles can also be linked into one longer 33-mile full circuit – if you’ve the energy!
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.
Indulge in traditional elegance combined with modern luxury at this hotel, country club and spa, a superb venue for 4-star breaks, conferences, weddings and civil ceremonies. The emphasis is on relaxation, whether you are dining in the Lodge Restaurant (AA 1 rosette) overlooking the lake, or taking afternoon tea in the beautiful Oak Room.
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.
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