Population: 37,000

Eat at: Tailors Restaurant (01926 410590)

Why? With a string of accolades, including twice runner-up in the Observer Food Monthly awards, the restaurant was formerly a tailor’s shop – hence the name.

Drink at: The Rose & Crown (01926 411117)

Why? Listed in the UK’s top ten pubs, this hostelry is handily located in the heart of Warwick.

Stay at: The Knight’s Village (01926 830820)

Why? You can choose a riverside lodge, medieval-style tents or a 14th-century tower suite. Your stay includes a breakfast banquet and tickets to Warwick Castle.

The history of the strategically important town of Warwick can be dated back to the sixth century so it’s small wonder that the streets are packed with wonderful legends and traditions. Though the castle dominates the town, its historic buildings - a mix of half-timbered, stone, and Georgian houses - are of interest in their own right. The Great Fire of Warwick in 1694 destroyed many central streets; Lord Leycester Hospital, and others in Smith Street and around Oken’s House, are among the finest that survived.

Most noted for... Its astonishing castle with its battlements, towers and imposing stone walls. It’s a can’t-miss aspect of the town.

While you’re here... Drop into the Market Hall museum for a view of the live observation beehive, which has been in place for 80 years.

But try not to… Get into an argument with your partner. An authentic ducking stool, displayed in the Collegiate Church of St Mary’s crypt, would once have been used to determine whether a woman was a witch or not, and also to punish quarrelsome couples.

Who’s who: The Earls of Warwick used their power and influence to shape England’s fortunes, making the town strategically important. Oxford professor and author JRR Tolkien was married at the Catholic church of St Mary Immaculate, and his fictional settlements of Edoras and Minas Tirith are said to have been based on Warwick’s fortified appearance. Boxing legend Randolph Turpin is honoured with a statue in Market Square.

Warwick Castle

Warwick celebrated the 950th anniversary of its castle in 2018, but its history dates back more than 1100 years. It’s one of the most complete and spectacular castles in the country, with towers, ramparts and fortified walls that rise up out of the river. A falconry display with more than 50 birds of prey, as well as archery demonstrations, jousts and visits to the dungeons lend exciting glimpses of the past. (warwick-castle.com)

The Lord Leycester Hospital

Named for its patron and offering homes to old soldiers who had fought for Queen Elizabeth I, the medieval timber buildings at the hospital were originally used by the Guilds of Warwick. The ethos is much like that of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, but in fact Warwick’s version is a century older, though its pensioners (called Brethren) wear a black uniform, rather than red. Don’t miss the Master’s Garden, a riot of colourful beauty that has been cultivated for more than 500 years. (lordleycester.com)