It is hard to imagine that Kenilworth Castle, and it’s beautiful Elizabethan Gardens could look any more magical than they do on an autumn day. But this December romance will be in the air at Kenilworth, where Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, built a tower to woo Queen Elizabeth I with the arrival of English Heritage’s Enchanted Events. Running from Friday 15th through to 23rd December the grounds of Kenilworth Castle will be transformed into an entrancing fairytale of twinkling lights, colour and sound, bringing the castle’s history to life in this captivating illumination event.
Kenilworth Castle and Elizabethan Gardens
Considered to be one of England’s most beautiful castles Kenilworth boasts a 900-year history. Developed by a succession of royal owners from its origins as strategic Norman tower into a vast medieval fortress. Always considered a seat of power, it’s siege by Henry III during the Baron’s Wars turned out to be the longest in English history and was a testament to the castle’s tremendous strength. It is, however, for one of our greatest love stories that Kenilworth Castle is probably best known. In 1563 Elizabeth I granted Kenilworth to Robert Dudley, her childhood friend and favourite. Believed to be the Queen’s great love, their relationship caused much speculation and gossip at the time. Unable to marry his queen, Dudley devoted himself to creating the most exquisite palace and gardens, and Kenilworth showcased the most elegant architecture in Elizabethan England.
English Heritage has recreated the Elizabethan Gardens at Kenilworth in authentic detail thanks to a precise contemporary description of the gardens that survives from 1575. It is easy to imagine the delight that the Queen must have found in the castle’s exquisite grounds. And this Christmas the English Heritage Enchanted Garden Event will equally captivate visitors of all ages with sparkling lit trails leading to the illuminated castle. Colourful light displays will conjure up the castle’s royal past, as the sounds and scents of a banquet drift through the castle walls.
From the Great Hall, follow streams of festive lights towards the Mistletoe Garden. Here bright red holly berries decorate the trees, and an arbour glitters against the night sky. Discover the kissing boughs – a traditional Christmas decoration with Mistletoe, and a party among the illuminated ruins before following the magical trail to find vintage fairground rides and heritage-inspired stalls.
With mince pies, mulled wine and toasted marshmallows all adding to the festive mood Enchanted Kenilworth Castle promises to be a fantastic and unique evening out for all the family.