Midlands Travel Guide

Stratford upon Avon - © Kaihsu Tai

Introduction and Overview

The Midlands Travel Guide outlines local attractions and tourist information for visitors. The area guide includes travel information on local events, nightlife, entertainment and accommodation in the Midlands.

The region includes a large area of England that includes the second largest city in the UK, Birmingham. The area includes Birmingham in its central area and has Cheltenham and Warwick to the south and North Lincolnshire to the north, it covers a sizable area of the country.

The region once an industrial power house due to its industries have like their neighbours in the North West and North East of England had some very challenging times both economically and socially as traditional industries died out.

The negative effects on employment, economy and the community were felt hard. On a positive note, there has been much regeneration and modernisation and cities such as Birmingham are one such example. The region is fortunate to have the scenic beauty of the Peak District and wonderful spa town the most famous of which is Buxton.

Birmingham is large and diverse city, at the heart of the central industrial belt of the Midlands. Its continued development over the past few decades has been welcomed as regeneration has meant many areas are now thriving once more. It is known for its progressive cultural scene, excellent shopping facilities such as the Bullring Shopping complex.

There is plenty of nightlife, critically acclaimed restaurants, major events and exhibitions are regularly found at the NEC Arena. The Water's Edge at Brindleyplace, has lined streets, water features, open spaces and dramatic architecture. It is known for the wide choice of bars, cafés and restaurants, visitors are treated to a cosmopolitan flavour at the popular waterfront scheme.

Other attractions at the site include modern art galleries, The National Sea Life Centre and the Crescent Theatre. With an award-winning waterfront, it's pedestrian friendly squares and streets, cosmopolitan in its make-up, Birmingham is a city that always seems to have plenty going on, hosting a range of arts both performing and visual and a range of music.

With the Symphony Orchestra and Birmingham Royal Ballet, at the forefront visitors with an interest and affinity for culture and the arts are well catered for. Birmingham is viewed by some as being at the gateway to the heart of England, its central location means it is well placed for UK visitors both to the north and to the south.

Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire has a historic mix of heritage, culture and drama and is synonymous around the world as Shakespeare’s home town. You can explore the five houses with connections to Shakespeare such as Anne Hathaway’s Cottage to see an insight in to his life.

You can then enjoy some of his renowned works performed throughout the year performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company, which has two theatres in Stratford.

There are also other attractions in the town, you can venture out on a boat on the River Avon. To explore the local area the sightseeing buses allow you to via hop-on and hop-off, there are also historic houses in the area. There are many types of shops in Stratford from boutiques to a farmers and craft market. If you enjoy exploring and looking for different types of gifts, you are sure to find something here.

Shropshire has a reputation as one of the quiet counties in England, it is home to many places for tourists to visit from historic houses and castles to the famous World Heritage Site of Ironbridge, and it also has museums and attractions for the whole family.

Shropshire has traditional market towns, including the county town of Shrewsbury. Shrewsbury, is birthplace of Charles Darwin, has many black and white buildings a testament to its medieval history.

The Shropshire landscape is of great importance given Shropshire is geologically unique. It creates the special habitats needed to ensure the diversity in Shropshire's wildlife. The countryside has long been a favourite for walkers. There are ancient churches and country inns famous for their beer.

There are market towns and local festivals, the relaxed atmosphere and lush countryside emphasise Shropshire as unspoilt and tranquil.

Ironbridge Gorge is located on the River Severn near the town of Telford. It is regarded as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, and has the distinction of being a world heritage site.

There are exhibitions showing the industrial heritage of an area that was once fully engaged in mining, iron making, engineering and china manufacture. There are also ten museums on the site that give you a real experience of what it would have been like in the heyday of the industrial revolution.

The National Forest spans the counties of Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire across the Heart of England. The aim of the National Forest was to transform the area into a rich mosaic of land uses, framed by woodland, for the benefit of the community and to help the environment. It is literally a forest in the making and is growing at apace.

The ambitious plans are well under way and several hundred miles of forest paths are a great place to go walking, cycling and horse riding. There are stately homes, castles and craft centres along the way. In ten years, six million trees have been planted. With its dynamic nature of an ever-changing landscape, as the Forest grows, there will be new things to see each time.

Warwick Castle is one of the most popular historic attractions in the UK due to its size, scenic location and history. The castle originally created as a defence from Danish invaders was later enlarged by William the Conqueror. Modern day visitors can explore the history of the castle.

Visitors can see the dungeons, fortifications and living quarters, and see the Rose Garden and formal gardens. There is a display of waxwork figures. Jesters, archers and craftsmen show their skills to the public in the summer, there are also re-enactments of battles and tournaments from yesteryear to give you a real sense of history.

The Vale of Evesham is referred to as the fruit basket of England. This is due to its fertile farmlands. Evesham town has several old buildings one of them, Abbot Lichfield’s Bell Tower is 110 ft high.

Uttoxeter in Staffordshire is an ancient market town that contains ale houses and a memorial to Doctor Samuel Johnson. However the most popular tourist attraction here is Alton Towers, the theme park has grown substantially and now has hotels within its site. A great place for thrills and adrenaline, some of the most frightening rides can be found here, as well as some more gentle ones.

The spa town of Buxton is one of the highest towns in the UK, the altitude is 1,000 ft above sea level in the Peak District National Park. Buxton is less than an hour journey from the cities Manchester, Sheffield and Derby. Buxton has long been established as a popular holiday resort. With its stunning scenery, dramatic architecture and its world-renowned spa water, Buxton certainly attracts visitors.

There are many highlights in the Midlands for visitors, this large area of England, known as the heart of England offers good transport links and is easily assessable. It is a region where bustling cities contrast with rural retreats where you can do as much or as little as you please.

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