Some claim that Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni, is buried in Polesworth, others that Shakespeare came here drinking. What’s beyond doubt are relics showing the town’s early importance as a centre of religious learning: Polesworth Abbey Church, the medieval Abbey Gateway, 17th-century Tithe Barn and Dovecote.
Follow the recently established Polesworth Poets Trail that enlivens a variety of landmarks. Then enjoy a breath of fresh air in 154-acre Pooley Country Park, created on the site of the old colliery that closed in 1965. You can ramble footpaths used by miners as long ago as 1846 and see mining memorabilia in the visitor centre. One third of the park is SSSI and features ponds, woodland and the canal. Find accommodation in Polesworth.
Follow in the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth I and explore the romantic ruins of the castle she granted to her court favourite Robert Dudley in 1563. Dudley famously treated the Queen to dazzling entertainments at his palace in 1575, and an exhibition in the Gatehouse reveals secrets of their intriguing love story – you can even hold your wedding here. Continue your royal tour around the authentically recreated Elizabethan Garden featuring magnificently carved arbours, colourful plantings, a spectacular fountain and bejewelled aviary.
You can also time travel at lively events throughout the year, from fighting knights and medieval jousts in summer, to children’s school holiday trails and winter storytelling in the Gatehouse.
Discover a beautiful Elizabethan mansion house built on the site of a 12th-century Augustinian priory. The home of the Newdegate family for over 400 years, Arbury Hall was transformed in the 18th century to become England’s most breathtaking example of early Gothic Revival architecture. Wander rooms featuring spectacular fan vaulted ceilings, antique furniture and fascinating portraits, and spot scenes famously described by George Eliot, who was born on the estate. Then explore gardens, wooded walks and lakes created in the enchanting picturesque manner of the 18th century -- the Rose Garden hedged by ancient yew is sheer magic.
Up for a challenge? Try this 16-mile mountain bike expedition from Pooley Country Park exploring northern Warwickshire. Around 6 miles are off-road and you are mainly on quiet lanes, in a little-known area of the county that surprises with pleasing views. The trail passes a varied mix of nature reserve and villages (and country pubs!), while also following a Saxon salt traders’ route.
Hartshill Hayes Country Park is a great place to start a number of trails and explore important semi-ancient woodland, in a wonderfully tranquil corner of northern Warwickshire. Stride out from here across fairly steep hills and you’ll be rewarded with superb views – on a clear day you can look out over Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire. This stile-free walk includes a section along the Coventry Canal and, no doubt, you will see some narrowboats.
Warm, comfortably elegant rooms, good food and fine wines, and a generous welcome: just some of the reasons to stay or dine at Chapel House, a predominantly Georgian building in a pretty walled garden. Richard Napper is a genial host, accommodation is AA 5 star and the restaurant is AA 1 rosette.
Our family-owned garden centre, just two minutes from the M42, sells everything you could need for your garden. We also have a restaurant whose accolades include ‘Champion of Local Produce’, so do leave time during your visit for our award-winning breakfasts, daily carvery, sandwiches made to order, homemade cakes and pastries.
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