Coombe Abbey, Warwickshire
Coombe Abbey is a 4-star hotel, but you can also visit for lunch, dinner, or just a walk around the park. There is a specific parking area for visitors, on the right, as you enter the property. Side note, the last time we visited for a sunset walk we spotted a baby hedge-hog crossing the street! LIGHT HISTORY OF COOMBE ABBEY
As with most historical buildings in the UK, the history of Coombe Abbey is quite lengthy. Here are two highlights:
“During the 12th century, the hotel was known as the Abbey of Cumbe, and was the largest and most influential monastery in Warwickshire.” In 1603, Princess Elizabeth, daughter of James I, (not to be confused with Queen Elizabeth I) moved to the Abbey to live and be educated. Two years later, as part of Guy Fawkes' Gunpowder Plot of 1605 was to kidnap young Elizabeth from Coombe Abbey and put her onto the throne as a Catholic monarch. Thankfully, Fawkes’ plan was foiled and this is celebrated in England with fireworks every November (Guy Fawkes Night).
NOT TO MISS
Coombe Country Park and the Abbey’s gardens are stunning! As you approach the entrance, stay left and you will see a path that will bring you to a walking trail and the back gardens of the Abbey (picked above). On a warm summer’s evening this walk is really a treat. The back garden is very well manicured and the water-body is full of ducks and swans.
We went with friends for afternoon-tea and really enjoyed our time. The tea is set in the hotel's Garden Room which is a large conservatory and is offered daily from 12:30-4:30 pm. If you plan to visit on the weekend, book at least one week in advance if you hope to get the time slot you prefer. We didn't and had to book a later time.
The menu is thoughtful and offers options for everyone. There is the traditional "sweet" afternoon tea set (Abbot's traditional), a more savory set (Knight's Gentlemen's), tea-set with "bubbles", or if you just want a scone and cream, you can do that too. My partner and I shared the "Abbot's traditional" and "Knight's Gentlemen's"sets. This was a nice balance.
Aside from weddings and private parties, Coombe Abbey also offers themed event nights that are open to the public. We have never been, but when we have visited the Abbey during the day we have seen the advertisements. The nights look like they could be fun if you were with a group.
The hotel puts out a seasonal calendar and I believe you can find out more on their event page: http://www.coombeabbey.com/product-category/events/
Examples of past themed nights:
ABBA TRIBUTE NIGHT
MEDIEVEAL BANQUET NIGHT
MURDER MYSTERY NIGHT
To be honest, unless you have a car it will be a bit tricky to get to Coombe Abbey as it is set in the countryside. If you are staying at the hotel, I imagine you could book a car service from Birmingham airport. Otherwise, plan on taking an Uber or local taxi from Rubgy or Coventry train stations, whichever is more convenient. I imagine the fare will cost between 15-20 GBP each way.
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