If you are visiting Warwickshire on a budget, you will be pleased to hear that there are plenty of free things to do in Warwickshire. Whether you’re there to learn about its history and stroll around Shakespeare’s land, or you want to get the children outdoors and active, there’s something for everyone. You can also check out cost-free items in neighbouring counties in the following free activities guides:
Free things to do in Warwickshire: Kenilworth
Abbey Fields (Kenilworth)
Set in the dramatic Finham Brook valley, Abbey Fields boasts views across of both the town and Kenilworth castle. A lake, grassy areas, trees and historic buildings make it a fascinating place to visit. Walk along the Brook or round the lake to the castle. Enjoy a children’s play area and trim trail gym equipment. Some areas of the park offer good wheelchair access and there are accessible toilets and baby changing. Tennis courts are free to use but other facilities including the Abbey Fields swimming pool may incur a charge. Dogs are allowed but cycling is not permitted. Find out more here.
Crackley Wood (Kenilworth)
Ancient Crackley woodland is a Wildlife Trust managed nature reserve. Shady paths, open glades and plenty of wildlife make it a lovely place for a stroll. The site is 14 hectares in size and has a circular, flat path around it. Parking is available on Crackley Lane and dogs are allowed. Children will enjoy a brass rubbing trail an activity sheet is available to print off to take on your visit with you. Full information is available from the Wildlife Trust.
Free things to do in Warwickshire: Leamington Spa
Jephson Gardens (Leamington Spa)
Jephson Gardens is Leamington Spa’s formal park. Sculptures and colourful flower beds attract the eye whilst the sensory garden is a feast for all the senses. A glasshouse holds fish and tropical plants and children will enjoy the play area in Mill Gardens where you’ll also find Leam Boat Centre. Watch geese and ducks on the lake or simply stroll around the sculpture collection and gardens. It’s a great place for a picnic and dogs on leads are welcome everywhere except for the play area. Full details and the history of the site are available from Warwick District Council.
Royal Pump Rooms (Leamington Spa)
The magnificent Royal Pump Rooms Spa is home to the Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum. It is free to visit with regularly changing exhibitions and artwork. The main art gallery displays fine and decorative art and the display changes every two years. A family gallery called Haddie’s Gallery is aimed at children who can learn about life in Victorian times from Haddie the circus elephant. A local history gallery tells of the town’s development and a temporary exhibitions gallery hosts an array of exhibitions depicting everything from local history to modern and historic art. The museum is free to visit with regular events taking place. Head to the Royal Pump Rooms website to find out opening dates and times and what’s on.
Victoria Park (Leamington Spa)
This riverside park is ideal for families with a well equipped playground and free tennis courts. A state of the art skate park opened in 2016 and there’s plenty of space for walking, running and ball games. A paddling pool is open at certain times and a cafe serves meals, drinks and snacks. Free parking and public toilets are available and the park is accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs. Warwick District council have full information about the park.
Free things to do in Warwickshire: Nuneaton
Hartshill Hayes Country Park (Nuneaton)
Hartshill Hayes Country park is well known for its bluebells during spring. That said, it is worth visiting anytime due to spectacular views across four counties from the hillside. Two woodland areas make up the site and an adventure play area will keep children entertained. Toilets including accessible toilets are available. Dogs are welcome and a kiosk sells drinks and snacks during weekends and school holidays. Full information is available from Warwickshire County Council.
Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery (Nuneaton)
Situated in Riversley park, the Nuneaton and Bedworth museum offers events, exhibitions and activities. Permanent exhibitions cover fine art, local history and author George Eliot. Galleries have children’s activities and there is also a tearoom and museum shop. It is free to visit, but advance booking is essential at present. Head to the Borough Council website to find out opening times and what’s on during your visit.
Free things to do in Warwickshire: Rugby
Caldecott Park (Rugby)
Located in the town centre, Caldecott Park is known for its award winning flower beds. Facilities include a two children’s play areas, a tennis court, bowling green, bandstand, cafe, toilets and baby changing. Dogs are allowed but must be on a lead. The park is fully accessible with paved paths and accessible toilets. Full information is available from Rugby Borough Council.
Great Central Walk (Rugby)
Great Central Walk cuts through the middle of Rugby, following the path of the former Great Central Railway from Newton Picnic site to Oxford Canal. The path stops there and starts again from Hunter Street, running through to Only Lane. The route is a nature reserve cared for by Rugby Borough Council and the Wildlife Trust and is ideal for walking and cycling. Look out for an assortment of butterflies and birds. Full information on the location and history of Great Central Walk is available from Rugby Borough Council.
Rugby Art Gallery and Museum and the World Rugby Hall of Fame (Rugby)
Rugby Art Gallery and Museum offers an eclectic mix of art, history, archaeology and rugby. View fascinating art conditions, learn about the area from the archaeology collection or browse the Redding Photographic Collection. Delve into social history or head for the World Rugby Hall of Fame. Here you’ll find great moments and people from the history of the game, located in its birthplace. An interactive exhibition guides you from rugby’s humble origin’s through to the international game played by 7.73 million people worldwide. Before visiting, find out full details and check opening dates and times on the Art Gallery and Museum and World Rugby Hall of Fame websites.
Swift Valley Nature Reserve (Rugby)
Swift Valley Nature Reserve is managed by the Wildlife Trust and recommended for birdwatching, dog walking and getting away from it all. The 24 hectare site has a large car park and animals graze the area from April to November. Landscape includes grassland, woodland, hedgerows, wetland, the River Swift and a disused canal. There are relatively flat walking trails with some kissing gates and some surfaced pat. s. Dogs are allowed. Full information is available from the Wildlife Trust website.
Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum (Rugby)
This little free museum is situated opposite Rugby School where the game of rugby first began. They have been stitching match balls by hand on the site for more than 180 years. Any rugby enthusiast will appreciate the memorabilia and the location. The museum is based on four themes. Origins, players, game and ball. Visitors can learn about the manufacturing process of the ball, how the game began due to William Webb Ellis and how the sport became what it is today. There are no staff in the museum and visitors show themselves around but sporting heritage tours are available to book. For full details and opening times, head to the museum website.
Free things to do in Warwickshire: Southam
Burton Dassett Hills Country Park (Southam)
Burton Dassett boasts rolling hills set in 100 unspoilt acres. Ideal for walking, kite flying and picnics. Enjoy the view of the local area from the top and stroll through Fox Covert woodland on the surfaced footpath. There is a £2.50 parking fee for cars and staff can provide visitors with an information leaflet. Refreshments are available from ice cream and coffee vans at the weekend and during school holidays. Accessible toilets and baby changing facilities are open 9am to 3pm every day excluding Christmas Day. Dogs are welcome and dog bins are available. Further information is available from Warwickshire County Council.
Southam Recreation Ground (Southam)
Southam’s Recreation Ground is an outdoor venue and play area, known locally as the rec. It consists of a vast open green space in the centre of Southam with a natural amphitheatre and is often used for events. There is a good children’s play area and plenty of space for picnics and running around. Full information is available from Southam Town Council.
Ufton Fields (Southam)
Ufton Fields is a former limestone quarry that now has pools with reeds, bullrushes and pondsedge growing beside them. A wetland habitat has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and has 28 species of butterflies and 24 species of damselflies and dragonflies. There are some wheelchair and buggy accessible paths on the site but wooden kissing gates on the path entrance are prohibitive for mobility scooters. Dogs are welcome but most be kept under control. Full information is available from the Wildlife Trust.
Free things to do in Warwickshire: Stratford Upon Avon
Bancroft Gardens (Stratford-Upon-Avon)
Beside the River Avon and Royal Shakespeare Theatre, you will find beautiful Bancroft Gardens. Vast riverside lawns and gardens make a lovely place to relax on a sunny day. Visitors can explore the gardens including the human sundial, two accessible bridges over the canal basin and lock, numerous statues, flower beds and the beautiful swan fountain. Visit Stratford have more information about Bancroft Gardens.
Old Bathing Place (Stratford-Upon-Avon)
Sunbathe by the River Avon or take a dip if you’re feeling brave. There will be boats around as well as people with dinghies and inflatables. Very popular with people looking for free things to do in Warwickshire in the summer and also with hardy winter swimmers during colder months as long as the water level isn’t too high. Further information is available here.
Recreation Ground (Stratford-Upon-Avon)
Known locally as the Rec, Stratford Recreation Ground is a large open space. It hosts activities such as the Stratford River Festival and Shakespeare Marathon. A big grass area is available for recreation and sports. Facilities include football pitches, changing rooms, a playground, paddling pool, outdoor gym, bandstand and toilets. Full details are on the Stratford District Council website.
River Avon walk (Stratford-Upon-Avon)
If you are looking for a relaxing way to pass a couple of hours in Stratford, why not take a picnic and walk along the river Avon? The walk takes in both sides of the river, as well as Avonbank Gardens and Bancroft Gardens. You could also spend some time at the brass rubbing centre that you pass on your route. Details of the walk including starting and finishing points are available from the Stratford Upon Avon website.
Welcombe Hills (Stratford-Upon-Avon)
Welcombe Hills Nature Reserve is a beautiful place to walk with stunning views, grassland, wild flowers, ponds and woods. Look out for woodpeckers, sparrowhawks, owls, finches and treecreepers. A tragic death in the location is thought to have inspired William Shakespeare’s writing of the death of Ophelia in Hamlet. An audio trail guides visitors around whilst telling the secrets of the nature reserve. Find the monolith, have a picnic or enjoy a peaceful walk in the woodland. Full information about the location is available from the Wildlife Trust.
Free things to do in Warwickshire: Warwick
Market Hall Museum (Warwick)
Warwick’s Market Hall Museum was recently refurbished to tell Warwickshire’s story. It touches on how both natural and manmade landscapes have made the county what it is. Exhibits include a stuffed bear, thought have been shot in Victorian times. There’s also a beehive, deer skeleton, tapestry map of the county, dinosaurs, historic costumes and two hoards of silver Roman coins. This eclectic collection is free to visit and at present tickets need to be booked in advance. With a shop, cafe, toilets, baby changing rooms and accessible platform lift, the museum is a lovely place to while away a few hours. Warwickshire County Council have more details including opening times and booking information.
St Nicholas Park (Warwick)
Located near to iconic Warwick Castle, St Nicholas Park is one of the best free things to do in Warwickshire for families. There is a fee for some activities including the fun park rides and the boating centre. However, there is also lots to do for free. A playground, skate park and outdoor paddling pool will keep children amused. Take a stroll around the gardens and enjoy a picnic. A cafe also serves meals, drinks and snacks. For something a little more active, follow the Measured Mile, a route around the park that is exactly a mile long. The park has toilets and baby changing facilities and car parking is available nearby. Full information is on the St Nicholas Park website.
Free things to do in Warwickshire (around the County)
Battle of Edgehill Exhibition (Radway)
The Battle of Edgehill exhibition is located inside St Peter’s Church in Radway, a village lying on the former battlefield. This modern exhibition consists of artefacts, information, interactive displays and films about the battle and its impact on local people. From here, you can explore the village and surrounding landscape to extend your visit. To find out more about the exhibition and the battle itself, head to the Battle of Edgehill Exhibition website.
Bedworth Heritage Centre (Bedworth)
Bedworth Heritage Centre has two separate exhibition spaces. In the town’s former Parsonage you’ll find the Parsonage Exhibition, while the Nurses House is situated just a few metres away. Part of the nurse’s house is set out as a silk weaver’s cottage. Each year the space usually hosts three exhibitions reflecting different aspects of the town’s history. Check the website for opening days and times before visiting because it is only open a few days a week. Find out more about the space and what’s on now on the Heritage Centre website.
Chesterton Windmill (Chesterton)
One of the most famous landmarks in the county, Chesterton Windmill overlooks Chesterton village and had been there for nearly 350 years. Restored in the 1960s and 70s, the windmill is now open to the public at certain times only. Entry is free and on-road parking is available nearby. As the windmill is only open on Heritage weekends during spring and autumn, it is essential to check the website for opening dates and times before visiting.
Chedham’s Yard (Wellesbourne)
Winner of the BBC’s Restoration Village competition in 2006, Chedham’s Yard is a recreation of blacksmithing and wheel making during the 19th to 20th centuries in original buildings. Visiting is free on Saturdays when a guided tour will be available. They anticipate people spending around an hour and a half to two hours there. An on site cafe shows a short film about the wooden wheel and sells souvenirs. The yard is only open on particular days and times so do check the Chedham’s Yard website before you travel.
Draycote Water (Dunchurch)
Severn Trent owned Draycote Water is free to visit although there is a charge for the car park and for taking part in watersports. It is a great place for cycling, walking and birdwatching. The site has paths suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs and an accessibility guide is available on the website. With plenty of space and benches around the country park, picnics are welcomed but barbecues are not permitted. Food is also available from the cafe. Dogs are not allowed to walk around the reservoir but there are some short dog walks in the surrounding country park. For full information, visit the Severn Trent website.
Hatton Locks (Hatton)
Hatton’s series of 21 locks, otherwise known as the “stairway to heaven” is a lovely place to start a stroll along the towpath. Or consider cycling, running or even canoeing. Food and toilets are available at Hatton Locks Cafe and the Hatton Arms. Or, you can take a picnic to enjoy beside the towpath. Children will enjoy seeing the narrow boats and following the activity trail along the flight of locks. Look out for ducks, swans and moorhens. You might even see a newt, grass snake, slow worm or badger if you’re lucky. Full details are available from the Canal and River Trust.
Heart of England Forest
The Heart of England Forest is a lovely project aiming to plant a huge, native woodland in the heart of the country. It stretches along the Worcester / Warwickshire border from South Birmingham to North Cotswolds. Along the way you’ll find rivers, rolling countryside, market towns and Arden and Feckenham forests. Six car parks serve different parts of the forest so head to the website to find your nearest one. Follow a waymarked walk from a mile and half family stroll to longer, more challenging hikes. Not all areas of the forest offer public access so it is worth finding your ideal route from the Heart of England Forest website before you visit.
Henley-in-Arden Museum and Heritage Centre (Henley-in-Arden)
Located in the town’s High Street, the Henley in Arden Museum and Heritage Centre celebrates Henley’s history from the Norman Conquest right up to current times. The building itself boasts original architecture dating back to 1345. Look around exhibits, head to the reading room to look at the town’s document, video and audio archives and learn about a different period of history in each room. From a victorian schoolroom to a Mediaeval room and traditional kitchen, there is plenty to see. Head outside to the courtyard for a wartime display and Anderson shelter. Full information is available from the Heritage Centre. Check opening dates and times before travelling because it is not open all year round.
Pooley Country Park (Polesworth)
A third of 62 hectare Pooley Country Park is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. You are welcome to bring your dog to stroll around the landscape of the former colliery, including several pools, a canal and woodland. Head to the visitor centre first to find out what’s on during your visit and the best places to go within the park. Grab refreshments from the tearoom and let children enjoy the fun play area. Full information and opening times are available on the Warwickshire County Council website.
Roman Alcester Heritage Museum (Alcester)
The Roman Alcester free museum is full of objects from Alcester’s history as a Roman town. More than a hundred archaeological digs have taken place in the area in the past 80 years, revealing fascinating facts about the Roman town that used to be located here. At Roman Alcester museum , visitors can learn what life was like during Roman times from the 1st to 4th centuries AD. Each exhibit is labelled and has a QR code that you can scan with a smartphone to find out more about the object. The museum is fully accessible with accessible parking. Full information including opening dates and times is on the museum’s website.
Forming a five mile section of the West Midlands Cycle Route, Stratford’s Greenway is well surfaced, making it ideal for wheelchair users and cyclists as well as walkers. There is no traffic on the route, so it’s a great family cycle but there are some minor roads to cross. Full information including location and car parking is available from Warwickshire County Council.
Sutton Cheney is a village beside the Ashby Canal. From here, you can explore the local area. Follow the Bosworth Battlefield Circular Trail and visit the place where Richard III died. It is recommended for walking (with or without a dog), cycling, fishing and canoeing. A cafe and toilets are available. Wildlife lovers can get a free copy of the nature and duck spotters guides. The Canal and River Trust have more information about Sutton Cheney.