A rich vein of medieval and Tudor history runs through Warwickshire and the romantic ruins of Kenilworth Castle, the grandeur of Warwick Castle and the elegance of Royal Leamington Spa set the tone for this most delightful of counties. However, it is Stratford-upon-Avon that is the focal point for most visitors. Known throughout the world as the birthplace of William Shakespeare, the old part of the town is completely dominated by this exceptional man who died nearly 400 years ago. Along with the various timber-framed houses that are linked with the Bard, Stratford is also the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company, which holds a regular programme of performances of his plays each year.
Another town that has found fame through one of its inhabitants is Rugby, as it was a pupil at the school there who, in the early 19th century, broke the rules of football during a match and, in so doing, founded the game that bears the name of the town. Close by is the ancient village of Dunchurch that is often dubbed the Gunpowder Plot Village as it was here, in 1605, that the conspirators waited to hear if they had succeeded in blowing up the Houses of Parliament.
The West Midlands and the extreme north of the county of Warwickshire is dominated by the major cities of Birmingham and Coventry. It often gets overlooked by visitors but repays a visit. It is an area rich in natural beauty, with a wealth of beautiful gardens, some excellent museums and historic buildings, and a long and distinguished industrial and cultural heritage.
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