A town that I just added to my 'cute English towns' list.
A couple weeks ago my friends Jenn, Alberto and I went to spend the day in Warwick. I'd heard about the castle and the old, typical English landmarks, and that's all I need to know that I would love the place. We had the best day, filled with sunshine, cute house spotting and silly photos.
The first thing we visited when we arrived was to visit St John's House Museum, which is the first major place that you see as you come from the station. It is a beautiful 17th-century house that once used to be a school. Inside, you'll find various collections such as a beautifully recreated Victorian classroom, old toy collections, a Victorian kitchen, and the second floor is dedicated to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment of Fusiliers, which contains beautiful collections of army medals, military costumes and other objects relating to the regiment.
The museum is very interactive, and we had a great time learning about the displays and trying on military jackets and hat. The staff there is really friendly and helpful. As we were the first people who entered the museum that day, we had the military museum for ourselves and the curator of that part told us about the history of the Fusiliers, giving us lots of details about the exhibition. I highly recommend visiting St John's House if you are in the area, and don't forget to make a donation (the entry is free, but helping small museums is a good way to show your support so that they carry on welcoming people and improving their displays.)
After the visit and happy to have learnt some new things, it was time to walk to the town centre and get some lunch. We all went for a good full English breakfast at the local pub, which is always a treat! The town centre of Warwick is rather small, but you'll find beautiful buildings at every corner. It was a joy to explore the narrow streets and peak through the windows of these old houses, pointing at our favourites and wishing they were ours.
If you visit Warwick, have a look at the Lord Leycester Hospital, a beautiful set of timber-framed buildings, dating back to the 14th century. In Elizabethan times, it was used as a place of retirement for old soldiers. The state of preservation of these buildings is exceptional, and you can still visit them today - in fact, you can even hold your wedding reception there. How cool is that?
Also notice the beautiful Norman walls and gates that still surround the town...
If you go around town a little more, you'll finally stumble upon the most famous building in the county: Warwick Castle. It dates back to Norman times, built by William the Conqueror in 1068. From medieval times to the Victorian era, the castle has been preserved and inhabited. Today, it is a major place to visit, and has been turned into what seems like a mix between a museum and a theme park. They seem to have made it such a big attraction, and the crowds were a little off-putting.
If you don't have enough time to explore the castle or simply don't want to have to navigate through the numerous families and pushchairs, walk a little further away and go to the Mill Garden, a private garden located at the end of the prettiest residential street you'll ever see. It is a small garden opened to the public by the owners in exchange of a little fee. You can sit there, near the Avon, and take the prettiest shots of the castle.
Make your way through Mill Street, along the beautiful cottages. At the end of the street, spot the little pink house, and there you'll find the entrance to the (not so) secret garden.
After having taken the perfect Instagram shots, we made our way to St Nicholas' Park, a big park crossed by the river. You can go for a walk, pet as many dogs and you can, have a picnic, rent a boat on a nice day for a romantic date, or, like us, just lie down near the river and soak up the warm spring sun. And notice how on boat dates, it's always the guys who row row row the boat, gently down the stream...
We sat near bunches of bright yellow daffodils and I couldn't resist taking dozens of pictures. They are my favourite flowers because each year when they grow, spring comes along with them.
Before getting back home (and staying stuck between Birmingham and Northampton for ages - rail problems are the worst) we went back to the pub for a little afternoon pick-me-up of brownies and ice cream.
We had the nicest day, in the nicest little town, and I couldn't recommend Warwick more to take a step back in time and immerse yourself in that old-fashioned English atmosphere that I cherish so much!
Have you ever been to Warwick? What is your favourite destination for a little day trip?