Follow the heritage trail around town for all the architectural highlights, former coaching inns, quaint alleyways and St Edmund’s Church with its memorial to John Hart who made Shipston famous for weaving ‘shag’. Check the calendar for the wool fair, too.
Right on the doorstep to the northwest is picturesque Ilmington (of Morris dancing fame), and to the south, Long Compton and the mysterious Rollright Stones: dating mainly from 2,500–2,000 BC, they are said to be a king and his men turned to stone by a witch. Or tour the brewery, begun over 150 years ago, at Hook Norton on the edge of the Cotswold Hills. See accommodation near Shipston-on-Stour.
Few historic mansions undergo such an unusual transformation as Compton Verney: from a derelict Georgian home into an inspirational gallery of international standing. Combine a look around restored Grade 1-listed buildings and new spaces, as you browse the diverse art collections. And do enjoy the Grade 2*-listed classical park landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown. Sweeping grassland, ornamental lakes and Cedars of Lebanon offer the perfect backdrop for a picnic. Pick up a grounds leaflet or borrow an audio tour from the Ticket Desk to learn more about the park’s hidden stories and history.
Immerse yourself in 11 centuries of dramatic history, myth and adventure as you scramble around breathtaking ramparts and towers. Warwick Castle has survived attack, siege and fire, served as a power base of the Earls of Warwick, a royal prison, and favourite haunt of Victorian high society. Discover its exciting past in dungeons and lavish state rooms, see the world’s largest working siege machine and join the mighty medieval Kingmaker Richard Neville on the eve of battle. Merlin: The Dragon Tower, ghosts and a Royal Weekend Party will fill your day with fascination.
New for 2013 is Warwick Castle Unlocked, allowing you into four centuries of secret towers and passageways, and there’s always a packed calendar of special events like dragon egg hunts, re-enactments and medieval banqueting.
Embark on a ride of tracks and exhilarating vistas: around the Vale of Feldon on the fringe of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, riding over the Ironstone Hills and around Brailes Hill. The tracks are good, though largely soft and un-surfaced, so they are best tackled in dry or frosty conditions (it’s a muddy ride when wet!). Start the circuit at any point; we describe it here from Whichford in the south.
This walk in the south of Warwickshire takes in the county’s highest ground, at the fringes of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Crossing the AONB’s downs, it provides a superb introduction to the protected landscape. Start at honey-stone Ilmington village, then your route uses footpaths, bridleways and country lanes to explore Ilmington Down and surroundings. Bring your camera for particularly good views into the Vale of Evesham from the top of the Down.
Experience a quintessential English stately home, now carefully restored as a luxury hotel (AA 4 star) in 65 acres of attractive countryside. Sit beneath crystal chandeliers in our restaurant (AA 2 rosette) and dine sumptuously, maybe on beef, lamb or fish – and do leave room for our English Classics pudding.
Our family business offers traditional butchery and locally grown, seasonal vegetables and eggs. We’ve award-winning sausages (from free-range pork), and beef and lamb from our farms, and we cook daily on site, including custom made dishes. Come and sample our quality pies, faggots, ready meals, irresistible new pickles, jellies and jams.
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