Historic days out in Northern Warwickshire
Atherstone’s decisive role in the Battle of Bosworth
Henry Tudor, (Henry VII) stayed at Merevale Abbey with his troops the nights before the Battle of Bosworth. Whilst here he had a Council of War with the Stanley brothers, the meeting which ultimately led to their change of allegiance and the defeat of King Richard III. Henry prayed to his Patron Saint, St Armel, at Merevale and there is now a stained glass depiction of St Armel in Our Lady’s Church, Merevale. The ruins of Merevale Abbey are open to guests staying at Abbey Farm B&B. From Merevale Church you can drive through Sheepy Magana, Ratcliffe Culey and the Fenn Lanes following the route Henry and his men took to the battle near Stoke Golding and then on to Bosworth Battlefield Centre. The chair in which Henry was reputedly crowned king is on display at Maxstoke Castle nr Coleshill. Richard III also stayed at Maxstoke Castle en route to Nottingham before the battle. Local guides offer private tours of the key locations.
Roman Mancetter & Boudica’s last stand
Boudica’s last battle was here – probably! The Warrior queen famously rode her war chariot and rebelled against the Roman forces around AD 60 in the Battle of Watling Street when 80,000 Britons died but only 400 Romans. Mancetter was certainly an important Roman fort town and centre of the pottery industry. Copies of the Roman Mancetter walk guide can be bought from the Atherstone Heritage & Visitor Centre or follow the information boards in Mancetter (near Mancetter church & scout hut). Local guides can be booked to give tours.
Shakespeare and the Polesworth Literary Circle
In Elizabethan times Polesworth was a centre of literary activity due to the patronage of the Goodyer family of Polesworth Hall, now part of Polesworth Abbey Church. Poet Michael Drayton (1563 -1631) born at Hartshill, is believed to have been a page here and visited again later. His poem, Idea, references the river Anker through the village. He was friends with Shakespeare and Ben Johnson reputedly drinking with Shakespeare the night before his death. Historian Arthur Gray believed that Shakespeare lived here during the “lost years” after school. The Abbey church welcomes visitors and its medieval Gatehouse is now a luxurious holiday cottage. Try the Poetry Trail too!
From plants to police at Middleton Hall
Middleton Hall to the West of the borough is one of the oldest surviving domestic buildings in Warwickshire. It was the home of Francis Willughby (Willoughby) 1635-1672 who developed the classification system of plants and animals as we know it. As well as holding displays of Willoughby’s work, Middleton Hall also houses the Sir Robert Peel Museum as the Prime Minister and founder of the police lived at nearby Drayton Manor.
Coleshill coaching & the stocks
A major Georgian coaching town, many of the old coaching inns can still be seen in attractive Coleshill now as quality independent shops and cafes. Miscreants beware! The pillory, whipping post and stocks are still up in Church St.
Tudors and the three queens of Astley
The 800 year old Astley Castle has been restored by the Landmark Trust winning a RIBA Sterling Prize in 2013. Now available to rent as a holiday home there is a moated castle, gateway and curtain walls, lake, church and the ghost of pleasure gardens. There are footpath trails around the wider site of the castle which are open all day every day with information boards along the routes describing the history of the site. Owned by branches of the Tudor dynasty, Lady Jane Grey stayed here and became the “Nine day queen” when she succeeded her cousin Edward VI but was removed in favour of Mary I. Her father Lord Grey was later captured in a hollow oak tree at Astley and like his daughter was beheaded for treason.
The author, George Eliot’s parents, married at Astley church and Astley is the inspiration for Knebley in her book Scenes of Clerical Life. Eliot’s father was agent for the Arbury Hall Estate in Nuneaton.
Things To Do
*parking charges apply at certain locations There’s no such thing as a free lunch they say, but who needs lunch anyway when Northern Warwickshire has so much on offer for free? 1 Fancy the long route from Coventry to Birmingham? Get away from the cities while walking...read more
Warwickshire is proud to have hosted a stage in the Ovo Women’s Cycle Tour for 3 years in a row – we certainly have some fine cycling country whatever your level of cycling proficiency. If you like to potter around away from traffic our country parks are ideal. Try...read more
Burn off some energy at our country parks or stroll along the peaceful Coventry or Fazeley canals? Whether you love books, adventure or animals we have some fantastic places for you to visit in North Warwickshire.read more
“Unconventional”, “unorthodox”, descriptions of one of the leading nineteenth century authors Mary Ann Evans, known as George Eliot and born in Nuneaton; drawing on her early life here in rural Warwickshire her themes and characters are just as relevant today as then....read more
Road racers or easy trails? Tee off at the Belfry? Wakeboarding, waterskiing or open water swimming? Or a take a stroll that’ll give you insights into fascinating local history. North Warwickshire can cater for all tastes.read more
Let’s face it, England is famous for rainy days so we have it covered. 1 Have fun inside at the swimming pools in – Atherstone Leisure Complex, Pingles Nuneaton or Lea Marston hotel 2 Nuneaton’s Art Gallery & Museum showcases fine art, local history and galleries on...read more