Days out in Warwickshire are a glorious treat, and totally underrated. If you’re not quite sure what you can do in a day in Warwickshire, here’s your guide to the Midlands county.
You can expect Shakespeare, a zoo, castles, parks, gardens and even an alpaca farm on your Warwickshire day out.
Tucked away in the heart of England, the county of Warwickshire is one of Britain’s most fascinating locations and a great place to spend a day out in the countryside. Some of the most popular destinations in the county include the birthplace of legendary playwright William Shakespeare in Stratford Upon Avon, as well as the historic town of Warwick.
There are plenty of family-friendly things to do in Warwickshire too, such as a visit to Twycross Zoo or the Lucky Tails Alpaca Farm in Atherstone. Whatever your plans, there’s sure to be a suitable day out in Warwickshire for you.
Read on to discover the 12 best places to visit on a day trip in the county.
1. Visit Shakespeare’s Stratford
He may have died way back in 1616, but the importance of William Shakespeare in Britain is as strong as ever – you’ll be hard pressed to find a student in the country who hasn’t read Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet at school.
Shakespeare was born in the pretty countryside town of Stratford Upon Avon, and the town relies heavily on the poet for its tourism industry. Many of the town’s attractions relate to Shakespeare, including his birthplace and the house of his wife, Anne Hathaway.
Both of these buildings, as well as the nearby house of his mother, Mary Arden, have been incredibly well preserved. They look exactly as they would have done back in Shakespeare’s time, with ancient timber frames creating a striking look along busy modern streets.
Henley Street, the location of Shakespeare’s birthplace, is fully pedestrianised and there are a number of quaint cafes and shops to browse in view of the building. This area makes for a great day out in Warwickshire.
There are open top bus tours in the summer months which take visitors to all of the main sites, although the town’s small size means they can easily be visited under your own steam. There’s plenty more to Stratford and to Warwickshire than just Shakespeare, so read on!
2. Enjoy Warwick Castle
Lying in the heart of the charming town of the same name, Warwick Castle is one of the best preserved ancient fortresses to be found anywhere in the country. Steeped in history, the castle grounds make for a fabulous day out in Warwickshire. It’s one of the best castles in England.
As well as exploring the gardens and ramparts of the castle, visitors can watch incredible falconry displays and battle re-enactments. If you’re feeling brave you can even descend into the dungeons to see the different gruesome forms of torture and execution used throughout history.
The trebuchet demonstration is truly something to behold. Watching from a safe distance, visitors can see the primitive catapult launch objects into the sky, as it would have done during battle in centuries gone by.
If the sun is shining then bring along a picnic lunch to enjoy in the castle grounds, though there are plenty of amenities to enjoy if you’d prefer.
3. Watch The Royal Shakespeare Company
Heading back to Stratford now, and it’s little surprise that the town of William Shakespeare’s birth has become one of the best places in the country (and indeed the world) to watch live theatre. The main Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) theatre lies on the shore of one of the most spectacular rivers in England – the River Avon – and is a magnificent building in its own right.
The observation tower offers wonderful views of the town and the onsite bar serves a variety of freshly prepared cocktails.
If you choose to watch a show, which I’d highly recommend, then you’ll likely find yourself seated in the 1,000 seater main theatre, which attracts more than 1 million visitors per year.
Famous actors including David Tennant and Dame Judi Dench have appeared in all manner of plays.
Just a short walk along the river from the main theatre, one can find the Dirty Duck pub, another popular Warwickshire attraction and one of Stratford’s many popular pubs. The Dirty Duck is the main watering hole for the actors after their performances, and there are photos on the walls of all the famous faces who have performed at the RSC.
4. Relax in Charlecote Park and Mill
Charlecote Park is a grand country estate found between Stratford Upon Avon and Warwick, managed by the National Trust. The riverside estate is home to a large population of deer, including impressive antlered stags, which make for great photo opportunities.
The house itself is a grand Victorian building, which remains the home of the Lucy family, as it has been for the last 900 years. One of the main attractions of the house is an on display letter from Oliver Cromwell to then owner of the park Richard Lucy, dated 1654.
A fabulous place to visit in its own right, if you head slightly north of the park then you’ll find Charlecote Mill, one of the last surviving commercial water mills in the whole of the UK – a true piece of living history and one of the best ways to spend a day out in Warwickshire.
5. Go to the British Motor Museum
One for the petrol heads, the British Motor Museum in Gaydon is home to the UK’s largest collection of classic cars, with more than 300 different vehicles on display.
The family-friendly museum tells the story of the British motor industry, meticulously preserving these vehicles. Each comes with its very own unique story and history. You can book a guided tour of the museum or you can choose to explore at your own pace. Some of the exhibits on display include the Time Road, which shows the evolution of the motor car over time, and the Sports Car room.
This exhibit celebrates the British sports car, with much loved favourites from Triumph, Lotus, McLaren and Aston Martin on display. The museum also runs lots of seasonal exhibitions for manufacturers such as Land Rover and Jaguar, so be sure to check out what’s on during your visit.
One of the best days out in Warwickshire for the Top Gear fan in your life.
6. See the animals at Twycross Zoo
Located on Warwickshire’s northern border with Leicestershire, Twycross Zoo is a medium sized zoo, home to the largest collection of apes and monkeys in the western world.
This collection includes the only critically endangered bonobos in the UK. There are also large numbers of gibbons, gorillas, orang-utans and five species of lemur, found only on the African island of Madagascar in the wild. The zoo is a popular family attraction, with other exhibits including rare Amur leopards, black rhinos and a Sumatran tiger.
As well as helping to protect rare wildlife from overseas, the zoo also features a nature reserve onsite, home to a variety of native plants, insects, birds and mammals. Twycross Zoo provides the whole family with a fascinating and fun filled day out in Warwickshire, it’s no wonder it’s one of the best zoos in England.
7. Visit Jephson Gardens in Royal Leamington Spa
The town of Royal Leamington Spa attracts visitors to its natural green spaces and shopping opportunities. Perhaps the highlight of the town is Jephson Gardens, a delightful park that makes a great picnic location in the summer.
The park runs along the tranquil River Leam and is found just outside Leamington’s Parade, the focal point of the town. There’s a duckpond which will be popular with little ones and a series of pretty fountains to admire. The Jephson Glasshouse is a botanical garden in the park, showing off tropical trees, plants and flowers alongside a collection of modern art sculptures.
This is a great day out in Warwickshire when the sun shines, and you need something to entertain both the kids, and your parents!
8. Look round Kenilworth Castle
Kenilworth Castle was first constructed in Norman times and has a long and rich English history. It was the site of the famous Siege of Kenilworth in 1266 and was an important Lancastrian base during the War of the Roses. The castle is also the location where King Edward II was deposed in the year 1327!
Today, the castle is open to the public and, although less impressive than Warwick Castle, a visit to the site still represents one of the best things to do in Warwickshire.
The Elizabethan Garden has been restored to its former glory and is a great place for a stroll, whilst the tower of Elizabeth I is now open for the first time in 350 years, allowing visitor to tread in the footsteps of the famous monarch. Once you’ve enjoyed a wander around the site, you’ll want to head to the onsite Stable Tearooms, which serve up delicious British refreshments.
Makes for a great day out in Warwickshire for adults.
9. Go to Coughton Court
The small Roman town of Alcester was founded in the 1st century as Alaunia. There is a small Roman museum here (keep reading to find out more) but perhaps the highlight of the town and one of the finest Warwickshire attractions is the Tudor estate of Coughton Court.
The grand house here is famously the location where some of the conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 fled to after their plans were foiled. The 1583 plot to assassinate Elizabeth I was also hatched at Coughton.
The site is managed by the National Trust today and the grounds of the estate are a great place to enjoy a walk all year round. The hedgerows and gardens teem with native wildlife and a tour of the beautiful house will uncover grand rooms and impressive ancient furniture.
10. Stratford Upon Avon Butterfly Farm
Returning to Stratford for the final time and this one is a great day out in Warwickshire for the kids. Stratford Butterfly Farm is the UK’s largest tropical butterfly paradise.
The creatures are housed in glasshouses which mimic a tropical rainforest ecosystem, and subsequently can be visited all year round. More than 250 species of butterfly can be found at the site, with more than 2,000 individuals fluttering above your head at any given moment.
The farm is also home to a variety of insects, tarantulas and snakes, as well as a tranquil wildflower garden to help our native British butterflies, as well as the tropical beauties that call the park home.
11. Go for a walk at Lucky Tails Alpaca Farm
Sticking with the kiddie theme, the Lucky Tails Alpaca Farm in Atherstone gives families the opportunity to come face to face with these hairy gentle giants from South America. Visitors can take a guided walk with the alpacas, as well as the farm’s resident donkeys – expect plenty of time for photographs.
There’s also a group of meerkats at the farm, and you can join their keeper in the enclosure for some one to one time with one of the world’s cheekiest and most inquisitive animals. You’ll get to feed the meerkats and watch them play in a truly hands on experience.
Great day out in Warwickshire for animal-loving kids.
12. Wander round the Roman Alcester Museum
Our final Warwickshire attraction is the small but fascinating Roman Alcester Museum. As mentioned above under ‘Coughton Court’, the small town of Alcester is a historic Roman town and there are plenty of things to do in the area. The museum opened in 2005 as a place to display all of the hundreds of ancient artefacts that have been uncovered in Alcester over the years.
Run by a dedicated band of volunteers, the museum is free to visit and well worth popping into if you find yourself spending a day in or around Alcester.
Fun days out in Warwickshire
Warwickshire is a historic county, with countless castles and estates, as well as the rich history of William Shakespeare. However, there are also plenty of other fun things to do in Warwickshire for the whole family.
Gorgeous botanical gardens, interesting museums and wonderful animal attractions add together to make Warwickshire one of the most fascinating counties in the whole of England to visit.
If you’re planning to spend a few days out in Warwickshire then your best bet is probably to base yourself in Stratford or Warwick, which offer the most attractions and are also roughly central in the county, giving you a good base from which to explore the rest of the locations on this list.