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Things to do in Rugby, Warwickshire


Rugby is a pretty market town in Warwickshire with a population of around 62,000 people. It is on the eastern edge of the county, about 13 miles east of Coventry.

Its main claim to fame is that it gave its name to rugby football, as it was first played at Rugby School.

The town of Rugby dates back to the Iron Age and the remains of Tripontium, a Roman settlement, are also evident. In the 1086 Domesday Book it was listed as Rocheberie and by 1255 it had a charter to hold a market.

In 1567 Rugby School was founded by local grocer Lawrence Sheriff, who made his fortune in London. It is now one of the oldest and most prestigious public schools in the country. When the school became private, the Lawrence Sheriff School was founded in 1878 to provide a local education for all the boys from the town.

When the railway was built in 1838 it put Rugby on the map as a major railway junction. Industries sprang up in the area and the town's population quickly quadrupled.

Frank Whittle developed the first jet engine in 1937 and based himself at Browsover Hall on the outskirts of the town.


Present Day Rugby

The modern-day town centre has a great deal of character with mostly Victorian architecture and some more modern developments. It has numerous shops, banks and restaurants including the Browsover Fish Bar, winner of the Best Fish and Chips in the UK 2002.

The High Street and Sheep Street are traffic-free zones and have a good range of shops to complement the 1980 Clock Towers Shopping Centre and the Caldecott Retail Park which is near the town hall. In the 1960s Rugby had the second-highest number of pubs per square mile in the country.

St Andrew Church is the main parish church and there has been a church on that site since the 13th century. It was rebuilt in the 19th century to a design by William Butterfield who designed many of the town's important buildings. The new East Tower was added with its 182-foot high spire but the older West Tower was unchanged. It has a castle-like turret and is Rugby's oldest building, dating back to the early 13th century.

The Roman Catholic church of St Maries has the tallest spire in Warwickshire.

The surrounding area is mainly industrial and includes Rugby Cement factory, GEC and Associated Electrical Industries (AEI). Rolls Royce is also a major employer in the area.

Notable residents of Rugby include poet Rupert Brooke, actor Tim Piggott-Smith, cricketer Ian Bell and writer Lewis Carroll.


Things to do in Rugby

The area offers a host of things to do in Rugby including visiting the Rugby School Museum and the Cotemporary Art Gallery and Museum.

Rugby football fans will enjoy a trip to the Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum.

Further afield, Coombe Country Park is a pleasant family day out. Draycote Water Reservoir and Nature Reserve is ideal for walks and picnics as is the Oxford Canal nearby. Dunchurch is the location of the Guy Fawkes House and other buildings associated with the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

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