Warwickshire's Royal Connections make it just the place to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in 2022.
To mark the anniversary of Elizabeth II's accession to the throne in 1952, Visit Warwickshire has created a new guide, "In The Footsteps of Royalty", packed with royal-themed ideas about what to do and see and where to eat, drink, and stay. During her 70-year reign, the Queen has visited Warwickshire on many occasions.
However, the county's royal connections stretch back even further at places that can still be enjoyed today. Among the recommended sights to see is St Mary's Guildhall, which will reopen in Coventry this year following a £5.6 million refurbishment.
One of the best surviving medieval buildings of its type in Britain, the guildhall is renowned for its magnificent interiors and 16th-century tapestry, which depicts the court of Henry VI, who was entertained within these walls when he sought refuge in Coventry during the Wars of the Roses. Warwickshire's ring of ancient forts provides another route to the royal past.
Warwick Castle, founded by William the Conqueror and once owned by Henry VIII, is now one of the nation's favourite family attractions, with recent additions including the expanded Horrible Histories Maze and the chance to stay over in the Knight's Village. Meanwhile, the Earl of Leicester famously entertained Elizabeth I for 19 days of festivities in 1575 at Kenilworth Castle, a place to stroll among atmospheric ruins, which are complemented by an authentically recreated Elizabethan garden.
More troubled royal reflections can be discovered at Coughton Court, where a chemise believed to have been worn by Mary, Queen of Scots, when she was beheaded in 1587, can be seen in the Tribune room. The “Scottyshe Queene” is also the subject of an artefact on display at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry – an order from Elizabeth I to imprison Mary in the town.
There is also a royal flavour to Warwickshire's towns. Warwick, which is among the bidders for city status in 2022, was founded in 914 by Ethelfleda, the warrior queen of mighty Mercia. While Royal Leamington Spa was bestowed a regal association by Queen Victoria, and is as delightful to visit today to see the Regency terraces and enjoy the restorative waters, which are celebrated in the self-guided Taking The Waters trail.
Plus the long-distance path the Monarch's Way passes through Warwickshire. Walkers can trace a 35-mile section of the 625-mile journey made by Charles II following his defeat by Cromwell at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, from the Midlands to England's south coast.
Visit Warwickshire's online guide also highlights places to eat, drink and sleep in royal style. Among them are Coombe Abbey, now a luxury hotel, where Princess Elizabeth was staying in 1605 when Robert Catesby and his conspirators attempted a foiled kidnap plot.
While the The Castle at Edgehill pub and restaurant offers quirky lodgings in an octagonal tower built on the site where Charles I raised his royal standard before the Battle of Edgehill.