Atherstone is one of North Warwickshire’s three key market towns, along with Coleshill and Polesworth. The main shopping street is Long Street with its mix of individual shops – from a butcher, a baker to bridal dress makers! For a little light refreshment, there’s plenty of choice with pubs, tea rooms, coffee shops and even a 1940s themed café.
Long Street is also home to Atherstone Library www.warwickshire.gov.uk/atherstonelibrary whilst off Long Street is Atherstone Leisure Complex with its state of the art gym, swimming pool and fitness classes. www.northwarks.gov.uk/alc
The street is crowded every Shrove Tuesday when the historic Atherstone Ball Game takes place. Dating back to the 12th century, hundreds of people gather to play this unique version of ‘the beautiful game.’ The winner is the person left holding the ball when the klaxon sounds at 5pm.
The Market Square
Take a detour from Long Street to the Market Square and see St Mary’s Church www.stmarysatherstone.co.uk and visit the weekly market on Tuesdays and Fridays. There’s also a monthly car boot fair and craft fair on a Saturday. Many other events take place here including the music event ‘Summer in the Square’ and the Motorshow in September www.atherstonemotorshow.org.uk
It’s also a focal point for Dickens Night on the last Saturday in November. This marks the start of Christmas festivities in the town when the lights are switched on and the firework display is a main attraction. https://www.facebook.com/AtherstoneDickensEvent/
Walk this way
From Long Street and the Market Square, take a quick stroll along Coleshill Road and head for the Coventry Canal with its flight of 11 locks. Around 60 narrowboats a day pass through here in the summer. Follow the towpath south of the town for one of the walks included in the North Arden Heritage Trail https://www.visitnorthernwarwickshire.com/member/north-arden-heritage-trail/ which takes in one of the three Country Parks in North Warwickshire at Hartshill Hayes https://countryparks.warwickshire.gov.uk/
About the town
Atherstone is on the old Roman Watling Street, now the A5. In August 1485, Henry Tudor passed through Atherstone on his way to the Battle of Bosworth. He made his headquarters at The Three Tuns Inn (now Bar 93), stationed his troops in the fields around Merevale Abbey and prayed in St Mary’s Church the night before the battle.
Nearby Mancetter was the site of a large Roman fort, allegedly the home of the 14th Roman legion. It is said that Queen Boadicea (Boudica) met her fate outside the fort in the Anker Valley.
Starting in Tudor times, Atherstone was also well known for its hatting factories with the last one, Wilson and Stafford’s, closing in 1999.
Find out more about the town’s history and heritage at:
- See also https://www.visitnorthernwarwickshire.com/
- Our Warwickshire – a website exploring the heritage and culture of Warwickshire www.ourwarwickshire.org.uk Twitter @ourwarwickshire
- Car parks www.northwarks.gov.uk/parkingatherstone
- Public toilets
- Parks, nature reserves, recreation ground and play areas www.northwarks.gov.uk/parksatherstone
- Picnic sites www.northwarks.gov.uk/picnic
Last updated Wednesday, 28th April 2021