Central England is the country’s green and pleasant land which spans from the Home Counties in the south to Stafford in the north. Central England is an area of enchanting natural beauty and quintessentially English culture.
Landscape of this region is of pastoral countryside, ancient forests, river valleys, fruit orchards and well kept gardens. The historic city of Bath, stands majestically on the southern edge of the Cotswolds. A little to the north, the River Wye wends its way through captivating valleys and past enchanting villages, such as Symonds Yat, which nestles in a wooded gorge. Another river which is famous to this region is the River Severn, which flows through the fascinating city of Worcester, which boasts a fine collection of medieval and Tudor buildings, as well as a splendid cathedral overlooking the river.
To the south east, the town of Watford, Hertfordshire’s largest, provides easy access to the capital, whilst nearby Luton is perfectly situated to explore the university cities of Oxford and Cambridge.
To the east lies the elegant Georgian town of Leamington Spa, situated deep in the heart of Warwickshire. Just beyond, the industrial heritage of the Black Country becomes ever more obvious, as the lush, green landscape gives way to the intricate network of canals, locks and warehouses – the legacy of a region which was once at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution. But even this area of heavy industry is not without its hidden gems – the village of Himley, near Dudley sits on the edge of Shropshire, a county of serene beauty and home to medieval towns and an historic gorge and famously celebrated in A E Houseman’s ‘A Shropshire Lad‘.
The city of Derby lies to the north east; reputedly one of the most haunted cities in the UK and site of the first water powered silk mill in Britain, it is the gateway to the rolling hills of the Peak District, one of the most beautiful and inspiring parts of the British Isles.
History of Central England brings together much of what is associated with being English. Roman ruins and baths, as well as exquisite Georgian architecture have together made the town of Bath a World Heritage Site. Shakespeare Country, in particular the town of Stratford Upon Avon, birthplace of the famous bard, is one of the most important tourist sites in the UK.
The city of Nottingham is awash with reminders of its most famous son – the outlaw Robin Hood. Several streets bear the name of his associates and the 11th century castle, later replaced with a 17th century mansion, was the legendary home of his adversary the Sheriff of Nottingham. Oxford, Britain’s oldest university town has been established since the 9th century and its principal museum – The Ashmolean – is the oldest in the UK. Further north, the Ironbridge Gorge, situated in the beautiful Severn Valley, is home to no less than 10 museums depicting the area’s history, whilst to the east, the industrial heyday of the Black Country can be re-lived in its glass and mining museums and historic canal network.
Towns and Cities
Birmingham Tourist Information Tel:0121 202 5115
The city has excellent shopping, restaurants and nightlife. Other attractions include the fabulous Symphony Hall, home to the world renowned Birmingham Philarmonic Orchestra and the National Exhibition Centre.
Gloucester Tourist Information Tel:01452 396572
The city has a unique history from its Roman origins to its Victorian docklands. Gloucester is a vibrant, multi-cultural city which combines historic architecture with a diverse range of visitor attractions, festivals and entertainment. It also offers an array of tea rooms, shops, bars and restaurants.
has a wealth of attractions to inspire its visitors, including a stunning cathedral and marvellous array of shops. The striking medieval Guild Hall, which served as the centre of King Henry VI’s court during the Wars of the Roses and as a prison to Mary, Queen of Scots, is one of the finest in the country.
Shrewsbury Tourist Information Tel:01743 281200
The town boasts no less than 600 listed buildings, including the castle which is now a regimental museum and the world-famous abbey, fictional home of the TV’s ‘Cadfael‘. Shrewsbury is also well known for its floral displays and hosts the prestigious Shrewsbury Flower Show every year.
is internationally renowned for its carpet making and is also well known as a starting point for the world-famous Severn Valley Heritage Railway. It is beautifully positioned in idyllic surroundings in the valley of a tributary of the River Severn which winds its way through nearby Bewdley.
lies in the geographical centre of England and boasts a number of attractions, including the National Motorcycle Museum, Brueton Park Nature Reserve and tranquil Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens.
Cambridge Tourist Information Tel:0871 942 9180
A picturesque drive west across the countryside made famous in the paintings of John Constable arrives in Cambridge: home to the famous university, with its stunning 31 colleges which dominate the centre and the exquisite River Cam.
Warwick Tourist Information Tel:01926 492212
The county town of Warwickshire boasts many attractions, including St John’s Museum, a charming Jacobean mansion housing period reconstructions of a Victorian kitchen and classroom, Warwick Castle and Smith Street, Warwick’s oldest shopping street.
Pick of the Attractions
Warwick Castle Tel:01926 406600
One of the best loved castles in Britain, with over 1000 years of history and seat of the all powerful Earls of Warwick.
Chatsworth House Tel:01246 582204
Nestling in spectacular surroundings, Chatsworth House is the family residence of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. The house has been used in several TV productions, notably ‘Pride and Prejudice‘ in which it featured as ‘Pemberley’, the residence of Mr Darcy.
Ashmolean Museum Tel:01865 278000
The oldest public museum in Britain, the Ashmolean contains objects taken from thousands of years of history and is a regular host of world-class exhibitions.
Severn Valley Railway Tel:01299 403816
A sixteen mile journey from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster aboard a steam-hauled passenger train takes in spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.
Stoneleigh Abbey Tel:01926 858535
Founded around 1150 by a group of Cistecians monks, the Abbey’s past visitors include Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and Jane Austen.