Stoneleigh Abbey information
Lonely Planet review
The kind of stately home that makes movie directors go weak at the knees, this 850-year-old country house by the River Avon name-drops Charles I and Jane Austen among its roll call of visiting celebrities. The original abbey was founded by Cistercian monks in 1154, but the house was massively expanded by the wealthy Leigh family (distant cousins of the Austens) in the 16th century. Completed in 1726 and only viewable on tours (included in admission), the splendid Palladian west wing contains richly detailed plasterwork ceilings and wood-panelled rooms, and the landscaped grounds are fine picnic territory. Stoneleigh is 2 miles east of Kenilworth, off the B4115.