Warwickshire

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Alas, poor Yorick; he wouldn't know modern day Warwickshire too well. A lot has changed since William Shakespeare's time, though he may recognise Stratford-upon-Avon if he every rose from his mortal coil. He may be flummoxed by the M6, M40, M42, M45 and M6 Toll which penetrate the county of Warwickshire. If he was alive today, there's every chance he would have had a tour bus with a thatched roof,

Today, Stratford-upon-Avon is a shrine to William Shakespeare and visitor attractions of a Tudor Britain theme. Attractions include Nash's House, Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Hall's Croft (William Shakespeare's daughter) and the Royal Shakespeare Company's palatial theatre on the banks of the River Avon. Just outside the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon, in Wilmcote, is Mary Arden's Farm - Shakespeare's mother's smallholding.

Nearby is the county town of Warwick. Famed for its castle, one of the UK's most visited fortified attractions, it is an historic town. One where owing to its central location and proximity to motorways is a popular location for company headquarters. It is also a popular conference venue, with its university offering conference facilities.

Next door to Warwick is Royal Leamington Spa. The pleasant spa resort on the banks of the River Leam is famed for its Royal Pump Rooms and Baths, and Lansdowne Crescent, a fine terrace designed in the 1830s. It gained its royal prefix from Queen Victoria in 1838. As well as a wealth of independent shops and chain stores, it has several parks and gardens, including Jephson Gardens, the Royal Pump Rooms and Baths' gardens and The Dell.

Hemmed in between the M1, M6 and M45 motorways is Rugby. The town's public school, and one of its alumnae William Webb Ellis, gave birth to the game of Rugby football in 1823. Founded in 1567 by Lawrence Sheriff, it is one of the UK's oldest fee-paying schools, having been on its present site since 1750. It is also available for hire as a conference venue.

In the northern part of Warwickshire, off the A5 is Nuneaton, the birthplace of Middlemarch author George Eliot. Attractions include a museum and art gallery, the Hartshill Hayes Country Park and the Tunnel and Church End Breweries. Both breweries offer guided tours, whereas the Church End Brewery also has conference facilities.

Besides being the birthplace of rugby football, Warwickshire has a wealth of golf courses, two racecourses (Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick) and a number of non-league football sides. Racing of a motoring kind takes place at the Shakespeare County Raceway in Long Marsden, where its straight track on a former airfield is used for dragster racing. The county's most famous golf resort is The Belfry, comprising of three courses. As well as being a fine golfing and conference venue, it has hosted four Ryder Cup tournaments.

Warwickshire is easy to get to by road thanks to its connections with the national motorway network and rail services to London Euston and Birmingham New Street stations. It is a mainly unspoilt and historical county, far enough from the city centres yet mainly rural.