Review of English Heritage Kenilworth Castle dog friendly family day out

We’ve been National Trust members for many years now and always enjoy our days out with them. This year though, we decided to take out an English Heritage membership as well. We’ve already explored Goodrich Castle and Witley Court, which are our two closest English Heritage properties. So this time, we headed a little further afield to dog-friendly Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire, West Midlands.

Kenilworth Castle Warwickshire exterior by public entrance

About Kenilworth Castle

Originally built in the 1120s, Kenilworth Castle came into Royal hands in the 1170s when Henry II used it as a Garrison and subsequently bought it in 1180. After many years of Royal service, Elizabeth I granted Kenilworth to Robert Dudley. It was acquired again by royalty and changed hands numerous times before eventually falling into disrepair, but much of the structure is still standing and welcomes visitors. You can read more about the history of Kenilworth Castle on their website.

Kenilworth Castle Warwickshire hills outside exterior walls

These days, it is maintained by English Heritage. The beautiful formal garden developed by Robert Dudley to impress Queen Elizabeth I was recreated in 2009. A Tudor stable block has become the tearoom and visitors can experience the full height of the tower. The gatehouse and castle keep are equally fascinating and you can see the remains of the Great Hall.

Kenilworth Castle Warwickshire formal gardens

Kenilworth Castle Warwickshire water fountain in formal garden

Kenilworth Castle Warwickshire aviary

Kenilworth Castle Warwickshire stable tearooms

Outside of the castle walls, visitors can walk around and take in the size and grandeur of the structure. We also spent a good twenty minutes sliding down the hill, great fun when the grass is dry!

Kenilworth Castle Warwickshire exterior walls

Kenilworth Castle Warwickshire children sliding down a hill

To get an idea of what life was like in the castle, visitors can get hands-on with an interactive exhibition about the castle and its people. Children can dress up in period costume – I’m not sure whether this was more for their learning or our entertainment, but it served both purposes.

Kenilworth Castle Warwickshire children in period costumes

Another exhibition currently taking place is all about speed and power in motoring and aviation. It celebrates Sir John Siddeley, a pioneer of British motoring who purchased Kenilworth Castle in 1937.

What’s on at Kenilworth Castle

Numerous family friendly events take place at Kenilworth Castle during the school holidays. When we visited, a Norman Castle event was underway. Shows taught visitors about soldiers of the day, what they wore and how they fought.

Kenilworth Castle Warwickshire soldiers in armour fighting

Empress Matilda explained how she battled for control of England and visitors were treated to authentic encampments. Skills used at the time were on display, including basket weaving and calligraphy. Junior sword battles and jousting kept children entertained and an incredibly well trained horse and its rider demonstrated horseback combat involving a sword and a cabbage.

Kenilworth Castle Warwickshire Empress Matilda and knights at Norman Castle event

Kenilworth Castle Warwickshire children's jousting

Kenilworth Castle Warwickshire knight on horseback

Throughout the Summer, Medieval Mayhem ensues each day with the exception of major event days. It’s all very interactive and perfect for teaching children about history on the sly when they think they’re just playing.

What you need to know about Kenilworth Castle

Kenilworth Castle is dog friendly, with dogs welcome on leads throughout the site, with the exception of the food area of the tearoom. There are seats outside the tearoom with umbrellas to keep you dry, but other than that the only shelter available when watching the outdoor shows is under the trees. Many activities do take place in and around tents but you will need to bring wet weather gear if there’s rain forecast.

Kenilworth Castle Warwickshire dog watching show

Kenilworth Castle Warwickshire Norman Castle show tents

Kenilworth Castle Warwickshire child climbing on wall

Food is available from the tearoom, including children’s lunchboxes and children’s hot meals. We took a picnic to cut costs and ate on the lawn whilst watching a show. Kenilworth Castle is family friendly with baby changing, high chairs and hot water to warm food and bottles. There’s a children’s audio tour, children’s cutlery and access for pushchairs to most parts of the site.

Kenilworth Castle Warwickshire colourful tent by castle

The car park costs £2, refunded to members in reception except for bank holidays and special events. You can also park in Kenilworth town centre and use a free shuttle bus, from outside the Holiday Inn. Family entry is £29.40, but with an annual family membership for English Heritage costing only £99, it’s worth upgrading to this if you’re going to visit more than three English Heritage properties in a year.

Kenilworth Castle is an English Heritage property in Warwickshire, UK. If you're looking for a dog friendly family day out in the West Midlands, this is a great place to start. With special activities for children during the school holidays, Kenilworth Castle has facilities for the whole family and dogs are allowed everywhere on site on a lead with the exception of the food area of the tearooms. This is a historical castle that has been owned by royalty at several stages in its history and a fascinating place to visit. #daysout #westmidlands #EnglishHeritage #dogfriendly #familyfun #uktravel #ukdaysout

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4 Comments

  1. July 30, 2018 / 9:49 am

    It looks like there’s lots to do there! I do miss going on days out. Something to look forward to when we have grandchildren!

    • monsterid July 30, 2018 / 2:48 pm

      Ahh it’s a shame yours don’t do days out anymore, I will miss it too when mine no longer want to. Actually I think I’m going to go to some of the English Heritage / National Trust properties locally on my own or with the dog when the girls are both in school, I really enjoy it.
      Nat.x

  2. August 7, 2018 / 4:53 am

    Hi Nat, having an English heritage membership is well worth it if you use it. I think you’ve just given me an idea for a Christmas present for my sister and her family! I love the way alot of the sites have children interaction. That photo of Libby (?) having a go at lancing whilst riding a hobby horse is one to frame for her 21st. It’s also great that dogs are welcome, afterall they are part of the family.

    xx

    • monsterid August 12, 2018 / 9:10 pm

      Oh it would be the perfect Christmas present! Haha yes, good idea about keeping that photo for her 21st!
      Nat.x

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