A view fit for a Queen - plans unveiled for Kenilworth Castle
English Heritage has revealed draft plans to give visitors a “Queen’s eye” view over the ruins of Kenilworth Castle, with proposals to install a series of viewing platforms over the winter months in time for an Easter launch.
Under the plans, viewing platforms would be constructed within Leicester’s Building, which was built ahead of Elizabeth I’s visit in 1571 to provide the Queen and her retinue with appropriate accommodation and views over Robert Dudley’s estate. At the moment, the inside of the ruins of Leicester’s Building can only be viewed from the basement and ground floor levels
The building that the Earl of Leicester built for Elizabeth I’s visit was one of the most spectacular works of architecture of its day, with enormous glass windows, and with all the luxury and elegance that a queen might command. Although the building has stood in ruins since the Civil War, the new platforms will allow visitors a better appreciation of its scale and sophistication. For the first time in centuries, they will be able to stand where Elizabeth stood, see what she saw (with help from new interpretation), and gain a better sense of the way in which the castle dominated the town and countryside around it.
“The opening of the Elizabethan Garden in 2009, and the subsequent rise in interest in the story of Elizabeth and Dudley, has drawn more visitors than ever before to Kenilworth Castle, and these viewing platforms would further extend the story for our visitors,” comments Holly Woodward, Property Manager at Kenilworth Castle.
The designs and proposals for the scheme are due to go before local planners in the autumn. Subject to approvals, work will begin in December, aiming to be completed by Easter 2013. The draft design of the platforms has taken into account their fixture into the historic stonework, the architectural significance and importance of the building and visual impact on views from inside and outside the castle.
In the meantime, visitors are welcome to explore the re-created Elizabethan Garden at Kenilworth Castle, and learn more about the relationship between Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and Elizabeth I in an exhibition on the second floor of Leicester’s Gatehouse.
Other viewing platforms at Kenilworth Castle are extremely popular with visitors, who are able to access the Keep for views over the Elizabethan Garden, and look out from a platform adjacent to John of Gaunt’s Hall over the area that would have been occupied by Kenilworth’s great mere.
Kenilworth Castle is open daily from 10.00am to 5.00pm. Admission prices are £8.20 for adults, £7.40 for concessions and £4.90 for children, with a family ticket (two adults and up to three children) available for £21.30.
For more information, please visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/kenilworth
For further media information, please contact:
Jay Commins – PRO English Heritage (West Midlands)
Tel: 0113 251 5698
Mob: 07810 546567