Famous as the birthplace of William Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon and a large expanse of rural green belt, Warwickshire feels very different from other, more built up, areas of the West Midlands but there are many places to visit and things to do with the kids. Whether you are looking to indulge in a little bit of medieval history or explore the great outdoors there is more than enough to keep you entertained.
Here are some of our favourites to give you some inspiration but you will find more if you click the 'Places2go' tab above.
Hatton offers a great day for the whole family. There are lots of individual and unique shops to wonder around, ranging from homeware and clothes to candles and garden furniture, to toys, sweets, and truly excellent jewellery. There is also a garden centre, antiques shop, pub, cafe, and farm shop which also sells delicious ice cream. There is an amazing children's area to play in, where children can play in a huge fenced off area, in safety. There are trampolines, slides, guinea pig village and lots of animals to see and handle. There is a reasonable charge for entry into the play area. Parking and entrance to Hatton itself is free. There are a variety of events organised throughout the summer from barbecues to concerts. This is a great day out for everyone and children will have a fantastic time, where they can spend all day in the play area whilst you relax strolling around the shops.
Market Hall Museum is located in the Market Hall, a 17th century landmark in the heart of Warwick, the county town of Warwickshire. Recently refurbished with the help of a generous grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the museum tells the story of Warwickshire, and how the shifting natural, built and human landscapes have shaped the county to the present day.
Warwick Castle has stood as an impressive Mediaveal Fortress on the banks of the river Avon for the last 1100 years. Attacked in 1264, besieged in 1642 and damaged by fire in 1871, the castle has survived the changing fortunes of history and remains one of the most well-preserved Mediaveal castles in the UK. A visit to the castle also takes you through the beauty of the landscaped Capability Brown gardens, down into the mediaeval vaults and into the private residence of the Earl where you can discover the reality about the lives of the Earl, his family and their servants. For those with stamina, you can even climb to the top of our towers and ramparts – still open to the public after 1100 years and offering breath-taking views of the English countryside. A visit to the castle wouldn’t be complete without watching the jousting tournament (summer only), the magnificent Birds of Prey, or the world’s largest trebuchet launching a fireball – an impressive sight to behold!
Enjoy the unique pleasure of watching hundreds of the world's most spectacular and colourful butterflies flying all around. You can see them feeding and flying in a wonderful tropical environment. Our landscaped tropical greenhouse is the largest tropical butterfly display in the UK! Throughout the year we have over 250 different species of tropical butterfly from 20 different countries. There are approximately 1,500 free flying individual butterflies, sometimes a few more, sometimes a few less. The Mini-Beast Metropolis houses one of the largest insect collections in the UK. Come and see these fascinating creatures up close. You can even take part in our Meet the Mini-Beast handling sessions during the school holidays.
The Enchanted Manor is where the magic of stories spring into life. Our interactive quest invites you to while away some time exploring a magical world of dragons, fairies, wizards, time travel, pirates and you may even meet the odd unicorn. We have a number of different events every year, including our Enchanted Treasure Trail which involves solving riddles to find the treasure and even features elements of augmented reality! The Manor comes alive for Halloween which lasts the whole of October at Magic Alley! Check out the Halloween page for up to date information. Then the Manor transforms again into a Christmas extravaganza as we welcome Father Christmas from mid November. More information on the dedicated Christmas page where is snows all year round!
Your visit to Shakespeare's Schoolroom & Guildhall will bring to life William's time as a schoolboy, from about 1571 to 1578. You'll find out how his outlook and ambitions were formed by the lessons he attended at the Guildhall and the plays he saw there. You'll follow in William's footsteps, exploring the classroom where he studied between the ages of 7 and 14. You can watch a short film about the kind of lessons he went to, and try some Tudor homework. You can even take part in a live Tudor lesson under the watchful eye of a 'master'!
Get up close and cuddly with friendly horses and donkeys, hear their stories and find out more about our work. So whether you're daft about donkeys, mad for mules or can't resist a cuddle with Shetlands and Shires, a visit to Redwings is a must. And don't forget, entry is FREE! Redwings Oxhill is home to almost 90 rescued horses, ponies and donkeys, including the most friendly group of cobs known as "The Breakfast Club" because they're all named after breakfast items!
A great day out for all the family! Step back in time and discover the sights, sounds and smells of a real working Tudor farm, as Shakespeare would have done when he was a boy visiting his mother's family home. Explore the farmyard with its centuries-old barns, outbuildings and original dove cote. Meet our costumed period guides as they go about their daily task of cooking, tending crops and feeding the rare breed animals. Learn about Tudor table manners and rituals when they gather round the table for lunch. Get hands-on with rural crafts and traditional pastimes. Watch falconry displays, have a go at archery and roam the nature trails and beautiful Warwickshire countryside. There's also a fantastic adventure playground for our younger guests!
The childhood home of William Shakespeare is a very special place where you can make your own personal connection with the world's most famous playwright. Begin the story at the fascinating Famous Beyond Words exhibition, before exploring the house he was born and grew up in.
The site of the only home he ever bought is a major heritage landmark where you can let your imagination soar as Shakespeare's did, in the very place where he lived for 19 years. You will be invited to walk in Shakespeare's footsteps through a threshold on the site of his gatehouse, trace the footprint of his family home in a contemporary landscape setting and discover the story of the world famous playwright at the height of his success as a writer, family man and prominent citizen of his home town. Commissioned artworks and displays throughout the site will evoke a sense of family life and the major works written during Shakespeare's ownership of New Place.
Admire the elegant Jacobean home of Shakespeare's daughter, Susanna and her wealthy physician husband, Dr. John Hall. Exquisite carved furniture and paintings create a fascinating showcase of 17th century affluence. Examine the intriguing collection of apothecary's equipment and books in the doctor's consulting room, along with a first edition of his medical notes published in 1657. Wander into the tranquil walled garden and discover the fragrant medicinal herbs, as Dr. Hall may have once used in his remedies.
The most romantic of Shakespeare houses. Follow young Shakespeare's footsteps to the cottage where he courted his future bride. Our experienced guides will conduct you through the 600-year old cottage, which still has some original family furniture, including the finely carved oak Hathaway four-poster bed and the courting settle in the parlour. Learn about Tudor life as well as more about Shakespeare himself. Explore nine acres of beautiful English country cottage gardens and heritage orchards, including Shakespeare's tree garden, planted with most of the trees named in his plays. Take a stroll along the woodland walk, pause to listen to Shakespearian verse in the sonnet arbour or use your detective skills to follow the sculpture trail
If you're not quite sure what mechanical art is all about, think of the machines and gismos used in Wallace and Gromit, Scrapheap Challenge and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. In a nut shell mechanical art is usually beautifully crafted, moving sculptures either made to have an exaggerated purpose or made simply for the fun of it. The pieces on display have been sourced from artists all around the world and the fact that nearly everything is interactive means kids and big kids(!) can really get stuck in. We encourage you to press buttons and to "release your inner inventor". In a world full of computer screens and 'do not touch' signs, we've been told MAD is refreshingly satisfying.
If you don’t have time to see a performance then why not enjoy the stunning views from the Tower, discover theatrical secrets on a Theatre Tour, spend time exploring the award-winning The Play’s The Thing exhibition, relax with a coffee at The Other Place or simply kick back with a divine cocktail in the Rooftop Restaurant.
Fun for all the family whatever the weather! Explore the British Motor Museum, the largest collection of historic British cars in the world. Take a walk down the 'Time Road' and discover how both motoring and family life has changed through the decades including period music and memorable events such as the introduction of double yellow lines. Travel through 'Making British Cars' and see how influential the motor industry has been over the years and where it is heading in the future. Get 'Under The Skin' and unravel the mystery of how cars work with interactive exhibits. Experience how suspension has improved over time and compare the difference between rack and pin and power steering. Enjoy a free guided tour with one of the enthusiastic guides who will help bring the cars to life. There is also an onsite cafe serving hot and cold meals and snacks.
Enjoy a great day out in Warwickshire at Kenilworth Castle and Elizabethan Garden. One of the largest historic attractions in the West Midlands, the whole family will enjoy exploring the spectacular castle ruins. The ruins are best known as the home of Robert Dudley, the great love of Queen Elizabeth I. Dudley created an ornate palace here to impress his Queen in 1575. Follow in the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth I in the authentically recreated Elizabethan Garden. Lost to the world for over 400 years, it is now open to visitors once more. Wander through carved arbours and marvel at the bejewelled aviary and marble fountain.
Elsewhere in Warwickshire
Compton Verney is delighted to welcome visitors with children. Whatever the weather, we can offer something for every member of your family to enjoy. From our children's adventure playground, willow tunnels, nature trails to all-weather explorer backpacks and arty activities. There's always plenty to capture the imagination, stimulate the mind and keep your children happy and interested.
Discover a secluded, intimate estate set in the heart of the Forest of Arden with 500 years of fascinating and unexpected stories. Baddesley Clinton was the home of the Ferrers family for 500 years. Much of the house you see today was built by Henry Ferrers, a lawyer, diarist and antiquarian, in the late 1500s. The house was a sanctuary not only for the Ferrers family, but also for persecuted Catholics who were hidden from priest hunters in its secret hiding places during the 1590s.
Much-restored Tudor house, park and garden with notable topiary. The culmination of a lifetime of dreams: salvaged objects and exotic pieces come together in a Jacobean meets Edwardian style. Beautiful, homely, warm and welcoming. We can't put it better than a visitor in the 1920s did: A house to dream of, a garden to dream in. The house was originally built in the 16th century, yet its interiors were extensively restored between the First and Second World Wars by Graham Baron Ash to create a fascinating 20th-century evocation of domestic Tudor architecture.
Local Mum of two boys and editor of Raring2go! in Solihull and South Warwickshire.