Kenilworth Castle (tel. 01926/852078; www.english-heritage.org.uk) was built by Geoffrey de Clinton, a lieutenant of Henry I. At one time, its walls enclosed an area of 4.3 hectares (7 acres), but it is now in magnificent ruins. Caesar's Tower, with its 5m-thick (16-ft.) walls, is all that remains of the original structure.
Edward II was forced to abdicate at Kenilworth in 1327 before being carried off to Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire, where he was undoubtedly murdered. In 1563, Elizabeth I gave the castle to her favorite, Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester. He built the gatehouse, which the queen visited on several occasions. After the civil war, the Roundheads were responsible for breaching the outer walls and towers and blowing up the north wall of the keep. This was the only damage inflicted following the earl of Monmouth's plea that it be "[s]lighted with as little spoil to the dwelling house as might be."
The castle is the subject of Sir Walter Scott's romance, Kenilworth. In 1957, Lord Kenilworth presented the decaying castle to England and limited restoration has since been carried out. The castle is open March to August daily 10am to 6pm, September and October daily 10am to 5pm, and November to February daily 10am to 4pm; it's closed January 1 and December 24 to December 26. Admission is £6.10 adults, £4.90 seniors, £3 children 5 to 16, and free for children 4 and younger; a family ticket costs £15.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.