What’s going for it? So dominated are the Midlands by the great sprawl of Birmingham, you can easily forget what they were like before the industrial revolution. Places such as Warwick were once the metaphorical, as well as the literal heart of the country – as English as oak trees, John Bull and roast beef. Middle England. Middle Earth. Tolkien got married here. Shakespeare would namecheck the town as some kind of epitome of the English spirit. Today, people come with seven-year-olds in plastic chainmail and swords for the humungous castle, equal parts astonishing relic and ye olde theme parke; but the town behind, once one of the most significant in the country, is these days mostly left for the townsfolk. Lucky them. It’s beautiful, high on its bluff above the Avon and scattered with everything you’d expect in an ancient town, as English as, well, you get the picture. Georgian townhouses, Queen Anne mansions, tottering half-timbered Tudor and tea shops with a nice line in toasted teacakes. It’s somehow both utterly ordinary and utterly exceptional at the same time.
The case against… Yes, it’s a tad provincial. But what lies on your doorstep – from the theatre at Stratford, the universities in Coventry and the bright lights of Brum – more than makes up for it.
Well connected? Trains: to Leamington (five to 10 minutes), Birmingham (30-40 minutes), London (an hour and 35 minutes) and Stratford (35 minutes). Driving: it’s about 10 minutes to Leamington and the M40, 15 to Coventry, three-quarters of an hour to central Birmingham and 35 minutes to Birmingham Airport.
Schools Primaries: among many “good”, Ofsted says, Emscote Infant and Coten End are “outstanding”. Secondaries: Myton and Aylesford are both “good”. Some venerable independents, too.
Hang out at… The Rose & Crown gives good ye olde pubbe-ness. Tailors on Market Place is the town’s food hotspot.
Where to buy The old heart of town, centred on the arc of West Street, High Street to Coten End and around the curl of the river, is fabulous. From proper medieval to Victoriana, via a great line in Georgian townhouses after Warwick was rebuilt following its own 17th-century great fire. Church Street, Northgate Street and Old Square for 18th-century lovelies, Mill Street for medieval. Nice, compact Victorian neighbourhoods around Priory Park, which is close to the station. Suburban estates are most in demand on and off Emscote Road towards Leamington. Large detacheds and townhouses, £450,000-£1.6m. Detacheds and smaller townhouses, £300,000-£450,000. Semis, £225,000-£600,000. Terraces and cottages, £210,000-£500,000. Flats, £110,000-£500,000. Rentals: a one-bedroom flat, £575-£775pcm; a three-bedroom house, £850-£1,300pcm.
Bargain of the week Two-bedroom 19th-century brick terrace, close to the station, £207,500 with donaldcarter.co.uk.
From the streets
Kerry Burton ‘The Grand Union Canal, which runs east to west, is wonderful for walking.’
Jane Redshaw ‘Very good market in The Square every Saturday.’
John Allison ‘The small but perfectly formed Thirteen bakery.’
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