Warwick & Coventry
Just north of Stratford is England's single most spectacular castle: Warwick. This medieval masterpiece, which has been turned into a virtual theme park, is extremely touristy — but it's also historic and fun and may well be Britain's most kid-friendly experience. The town of Warwick, huddled protectively against the castle walls, is a half-timbered delight — enjoyable for a lunch or dinner, or even for an overnight. A bit farther north sits the decidedly not cute city of Coventry — a blue-collar burg that was notoriously obliterated by the Nazi Luftwaffe in World War II. While today's Coventry offers little charm, it does feature one of Britain's most poignant WWII sights: the charred husk of its once-grand cathedral, now left as a monument, with the inspiring new cathedral just next door.