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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Kenilworth Castle Outing

On Wednesday, as it was such a fine and sunny day, we decided to go to Kenilworth Castle. It has been somewhat undecided as regards the weather over the past couple of days and it has been quite over-cast and threatened rain. We wanted to get the most out of our membership of English Heritage. We've been once before, around six years ago. That time I seem to remember it was quite cold and we had soup in the restaurant. They had begun work on building the Elizabethan Garden, so it would be great to visit again and see it completed. Or that was the hope this time. The first time we joined was when we came back from a few days away we had for our first wedding anniversary in 2008 when we'd been to Chesil Beach and on he way back we went to Stonehenge. I find that a really intriguing place and would like to visit again since they've made some major changes there as well as opening a new visitor centre. We passed the site when we went down to Devon last August for Chloe and Steve's wedding.

The Elizabethan Garden at Kenilworth Castle
We drove out of Milton Keynes and went up the A5 and crossed over to Leamington Spa and got to Kenilworth that way. They have made quite a number of changes at the castle since we last visited, notably the Elizabethan garden, which, as I mentioned earlier, was being constructed the last time we visited. Having an interest in history (we  English Heritage joined this time with a discount from BBC History Magazine which I have a subscription to.) and it's amazing to see the place which is quite central to quite a few 'bits' of English history, notably Elizabeth I and her relationship with Robert Dudley. Also, as I'm something of a William Shakespeare fan and the fact that Stratford-Upon-Avon is so near. I did a course earlier this year on Shakespeare's World and part of it mentioned the fact that possibly Shakespeare visited Kenilworth when Elizabeth was there (although there is no definite documentary evidence for this.) as he mentions something in A Midsummer Night's Dream which could possibly allude to the masque that was performed there. The 'play within a play', the 'Pyramus and Thysbe' story is almost a parody of such a masque.

We wandered about the castle and took plenty of photographs, as we almost always do when we visit such places. They have now put walk-ways up along some of the ruined sections of the castle and you can see how the castle was built.

We wanted something to eat and went into the restaurant which is built inside the stable block. It was very busy as there were children's activities going on within the castle so a great many families with children, one in particular was very noisy and screaming. Carol had to queue up and I went outside to find a vacant table to sit. It became quite over-cast and there were a few drops of rain unfortunately, so after around 3 hours we decided to return home, but this time we went home via the Motorway, getting on the M6 near Birmingham which joins the M1 further south and gradually home to Milton Keynes.
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