I could not believe how many National Trust Homes and castles were near to my home in Bubbenhall. As with the towns I explored, I didn’t have to travel further than 30 minutes to visit four wonderful properties. (And I could have seen more, but I ran out of days!)
What amazed me about all the places was their grounds…..such lovely places to walk and admire the surrounding countryside. I took my trusty backpack (or ruck sack as they’re called here) with me, filled with picnic supplies and I sat and ate lunch in some wonderful settings. I also managed to include a pot of tea in all of these excursions too! (Not from my back pack)
Farnborough Hall is nestled in the Warwickshire countryside just near to the village of Farnborough. Although owned and managed by National Trust, 3 generations of the family (who once owned this home) still live there, so the hall is only opened from May to October on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons. For the same period of time, the villagers of Farnborough sell tea and cakes in the Village hall. Nice!
Charlecote Park is an even grander home than Farnborough and had acres and acres of gardens and a huge expanse of parkland and also happened to be on the banks of the river Avon.
What really impressed me here was their wish to interest children and they had lots of child centred activities set up on the lawns, but also within the house. Wonderful!
Kenilworth Castle was situated on the outskirts of the lovely town of Kenilworth, once again not far from Bubbenhall. Whilst much of this castle is in ruins it is a very interesting place to visit. As with most castles, it has been built , and added onto, over a many centuries, so it was fascinating seeing the different building styles, the advancement in window construction and just the sheer magnitude of it all! One ruined section shows very clearly how thick the walls had been. This castle belonged to Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester, at one stage, and huge additions were made in anticipation of visits from Queen Elizabeth I. He also had built a magnificent garden in her honour which has recently been meticulously researched and reconstructed ! A wonderful day’s outing!
And finally, Warwick Castle! Bought in the 1980s by Madame Tussaud’s from the family whose ancestors had lived in it for many centuries, it is now owned by the Merlin Group. It has therefore had millions of pounds pored into it over the last few decades so it is in wonderful condition, if a little ‘Disneyfied’ . But as parts of the castle are now 1100 years old, it is well worth a visit. I felt quite chuffed because I climbed all the steep steps, ramparts, towers, etc, something I would not have been able to do 2 or 3 years ago! I was pleased I could because the views over the lovely town of Warwick, and surrounding countryside were magnificent! To think of the history of this, and other castles, is mindblowing! These names we have heard of in history , or read about in historical fiction, really had lived, worked, played and died here!