Leicester's Gatehouse


Built by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester in 1571 as part of his grand plan to woo Queen Elizabeth I, the Gatehouse is now set up as it may have looked when the last resident left in the 1930s. The top floor also houses an exhibition on the royal love story of Elizabeth and Dudley.

Discover the royal love story of Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley

Discover the royal love story of Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley

‘The Queen and the Castle: Robert Dudley’s Kenilworth’ Exhibition

Explore the famous relationship between Elizabeth I and her favourite courtier, Robert Dudley in this inspiring and interactive exhibition.  The exhibition reveals some fascinating facts about Elizabeth’s visit to the castle in 1575 and features paintings of the Queen, her favourite, as well as an original tapestry commissioned by Robert Dudley.

The Elizabethan Bedroom

Walk around the impressive ‘Tester’ bed in the Elizabethan Bedroom which originates from the 1590s.  It is shorter in length than we are used to, but beware, this is not because people were shorter in those days but because people actually slept sitting up!

The 1590s 'Tester' bed in the Elizabethan Bedroom

The 1590s 'Tester' bed in the Elizabethan Bedroom

Drawing Room

The Drawing Room shows what life was like in the Gatehouse in the early 20th century, and the Siddeley room next door challenges children to draw their own postcard from Kenilworth Castle. The best cards and drawings are displayed in our Stables exhibition.

The Oak Room

Find Robert Dudley’s family motto (‘Droit en Loyal’) on the grand Alabaster fireplace as well as the ragged staff and the Leicester cinquefoil that represented Dudley.  This magnificent fireplace was once painted red, blue and gold and if you look closely you may still be able to spot some of the gold paint in the crevices.

Above the fireplace is a grand wooden carving, which in a previous life was once the headboard of a bed, thought to have belonged to Elizabeth I on her stay at the castle in 1575. In the Tudor period it would have been brightly painted and gilded.  

Weddings in the Gatehouse

Five centuries after the royal love story between Elizabeth and Dudley came to a close, modern lovers are still inspired by the romantic qualities of the castle and the tranquil surroundings it offers. The Dining Room and the Oak Room are available to hire for wedding ceremonies and receptions, or couples can choose to hold their reception in a marquee in the grounds.