My Tours

All tours offered as public tours can also be booked as a private tour for groups. I am not a driver guide, so they do not include transport.

Details of my current public tours, both live and virtual can be found on my Eventbrite Profile.

http://verity-touristguide.eventbrite.com/

If you only have a couple of hours there is no better way to get to know a town, city or village than on a guided walking tour. I offer guided tours of the towns, cities and villages throughout the region.

If you have half a day a guided tour can be combined with a site visit, a museum visit, a boat trip, a short ride on a heritage railway or shopping in a market.

If you have a full day, perhaps you would like a longer guided walk to explore some of the countryside villages. The walk can be planned to visit a specific site such as a National Trust property, which usually have excellent tea and cakes, or another attraction. Alternatively you could combine a city walk and shopping in the morning with a visit to a major attraction in the afternoon, or have a longer boat or railway trip.

If you have several days, you can not only explore the city or town where you are staying, but you can use it as a base to visit the wider region.

These are suggested itineraries to show you the kinds of different tour that I can arrange for you.  Similar tours can be arranged throughout the region. In such a large, diverse region it is impossible to list here all the things which you may wish to do, or the places which you may wish to visit. Every tour can be adapted to your particular interests, abilities and time available.

If you have several days, you can not only explore the city, town or village where you are staying, but you can use it as a base to visit the wider region.  Some of these suggested itineraries can be extended, or combined with other tours.

Coventry City of Culture 2021;     Birmingham 2022 and City of a Thousand Trades;      Stratford upon Avon and Shakespeare Country;      Oxford, Blenheim and the South Eastern Cotswolds;      A Family Day out from Bourton on the Water;      Evesham & the Blossom Trail;      Ironbridge Cradle of the Industrial Revolution;      A Walk in Elgar Country along the Malverns;      Discovering Shropshire;      Touring the Potteries.

Coventry City of Culture 2021

Start your day with a visit to Coventry’s 2nd and 3rd cathedrals (yes it has had 3). You can visit the ruins out of which sprung Coventry’s Worldwide Ministry of Peace and Reconciliation and then admire John Hutton’s stunning west end screen window in the New Cathedral designed by Sir Basil Spence, before going inside to see the full splendour of the modern stained glass windows.

After lunch in one of the many food outlets in Cathedral Lanes Centre, or at one of the City’s historic pubs you can enjoy a guided walk around what is termed the cathedral quarter to hear the stories behind some of the other historical buildings in the city centre, visit St Mary’s Guildhall one of the best preserved medieval guildhalls in the country or you are only a short walk away from Coventry Transport Museum which is home to the largest collection of British Road Transport.

If more active pursuits appeal there is a Climbing Wall, an Escape Room or The Wave with its 12 slides all in the city centre.

Coventry Cathedral Service
Coventry Registry Office

Birmingham 2022 and City of a Thousand Trades

Much of Birmingham city centre is best seen on foot, so start your day with a guided walking tour either of the main city centre sites or the unique jewellery quarter. After coffee, for a great view across the city visit Birmingham Central Library and go up to the 7th floor terrace garden. Whilst you’re there you may wish to go even higher to visit the Shakespeare Memorial Room.

For lunch there are many options with all different types of cuisine on offer. Staying in the city centre, for the afternoon, there are several museums and places of interest to visit, from the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery which has one of the best collections of pre-raphaelite paintings to the rather more quirky museums such as the “Coffin Works” or the “Pen Museum”.

Alternatively, if you have transport you may wish to visit Aston Hall, a Jacobean Prodigy House, which is home to Aston Villa football Club in its grounds. Other places of interest include the Think Tank Science Museum, the Sea Life Centre and of course there is always shopping at the Bullring.

Birmingham Canals
Aston Hall

Stratford upon Avon and Shakespeare Country

Stratford upon Avon is most famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare but even without the Bard there is plenty for people to enjoy here.

If you want to spend the whole day in Stratford upon Avon you could start your day with a visit to one of the 3 Shakespeare properties in town: Shakespeare’s Birthplace, the site of New Place (the property which Shakespeare bought one he had made his fortune in London) or Hall’s Croft (the home of his daughter Susannah and her husband Dr John Hall).

After some refreshments in one of the many outlets you may then wish to have a guided walking tour around the main sites. After lunch, perhaps overlooking the river from the terrace of the RSC theatre, In the afternoon if you want more Shakespeare you could visit an exhibition at the Royal Shakespeare Company theatre. In the afternoon if you want more Shakespeare you could visit one of the out of town Shakespeare properties, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Mary Arden’s farm. Alternatively there is the Butterfly Farm, the Museum of Mechanical Design museum and there are several boat trips which go along the River Avon and the Stratford Canal.

Gardens at New Place SUA
William Shakespeare Statue "Young Will"

Oxford, Blenheim and the South Eastern Cotswolds

Oxford is another city which is best explored on foot. All through the city centre you are surrounded by university buildings, such as Radcliffe Camera and the Boddleian Library as well as the many colleges including Christchurch College which featured in the Harry Potter films. You may also notice many locations from the Morse, Lewis and Endeavour TV series. During a 2hr walking tour you will have time to visit some of the main buildings and go into one of the colleges.

After a short coffee break there are museums to suit all tastes from the elegant Ashmolean to the Museum of Natural History with its Dodo best known through the works of Lewis Carroll.

For the afternoon, you can choose to stay in Oxford, as there is plenty to do such as have a go at punting on the river or visit the covered market to get your Oxford University Sweatshirt.

Alternatively you can spend the afternoon visiting Blenheim Palace (Churchill’s birthplace and a UNESCO World Heritage site) or have a tour through the south eastern Cotswolds to visit villages such as Bampton, which played the part of Downton Village in the TV series.

Oxford Rialto Bridge
Gardens at Blenheim

A family Day out from Bourton on the Water

Bourton on the water is the ideal starting place for a family day out. Bourton is sometimes known as the Venice of the Cotswolds because of its many bridges over the River Windrush which flows through the centre of the village. The banks are a great spot to enjoy an ice cream or a paddle in the river.

There are many different walking routes which go through this village so you can enjoy a walk which is as short as 3 miles to more or less as long as you like. Some of the nearby villages such as Upper and Lower Slaughter are closed to most traffic, so are best seen by foot. Maybe if you have little ones you may wish to combine a short morning walk with a visit to one of the many places of interest such as the Grade II listed model village, the Dragonfly maze or Birdland in the afternoon.

Alternatively you can spend the whole day on a walk which will visit places a little further afield such as Little Rissington whose church has a stained glass window depicting the RAFs Red Arrows or Wyck Rissington with its village pond.

Millpond outside BOW
Christmas Shop at BOW

Evesham & the Blossom Trail

Your day can start with a walk around the pretty market town of Evesham. Visit the ruins of Evesham Abbey and go inside the two parish churches which are right next door to each other. Depending on the weather you may wish to have a boat trip along the river or if you are feeling very active you can enjoy a guided walk that takes in some of the physical reminders of the Battle of Evesham.

After lunch a tour along the route of the famous Blossom Trail is a pretty route even when there is no blossom (notoriously fickle with regards to its timing). The route takes you through Broadway as well as through some lesser well known Worcester villages. You can even visit the Fleece Inn at nearby Bretforton, a historic pub owned by the National Trust.

Either for a meal, or just for a quiet drink.

Fleece Inn Evesham
Almonry Evesham

Ironbridge, Cradle of the Industrial Revolution

If you are only interested in seeing the Iron Bridge itself, this can be visited as part of a multi-site itinerary. eg you may wish to visit nearby Much Wenlock, Wroxeter or Shrewsbury. However, if you want to visit some of the museums and other attractions in the gorge you will need to spend the whole day there.

These cater for all interests, with Enginuity a great hands-on museum, unlike the Coalport China Museum which is strictly hands off as well as several others, including Blists Hill Victorian Town.
A countryside walk in the area could combine a visit to one of these sites, or you could visit the ruins of nearby Buildwas Abbey or Benthall Hall a National Trust property.

Ironbridge
Pony & Cart Blists Hill

A Walk in Elgar Country along the Malverns

A walk in the Malverns is a full day out. Walk in the steps of Elgar, who spent much of his life in the region and was inspired by the views from these hills for some of his most well known compositions.

The Malvern Hills have some of the oldest rocks in Britain and from the top you get magnificent views across the Severn Valley and into Wales on the West and then across the Vale of Evesham to the East. These hills span the divide between Worcestershire and Herefordshire with a very small section at the south in Gloucestershire. If you want heights and views your walk will go along the ridge and you can climb to the highest points in both Worcestershire and Herefordshire.

The Malverns have a complex geology which has resulted in many springs so that nowadays they are most famous for the bottled Malvern water, much beloved by our queen. On a walk, many of these springs are free flowing today so you can sample them and compare the taste between the different springs (yes there is a difference between some of them). If you are interested in sampling the many springs your walk will largely be along the lower slopes on the sides of the ridge.

Although surprisingly demanding for a day walk there are plenty of memorial benches where you can take a breather and enjoy the views. You are also never far from civilisation so if you don’t want to take a picnic to enjoy at the top there are plenty of places where you can get refreshments.

Looking out over the Malverns
Lamps - Great Malvern

Discovering Shropshire

Enjoy a day out in Shropshire, one of the most rural counties in England right on the borderlands with Wales. You can enjoy a full day of walking in the hills such as the Long Mynd and hear about the exploits of Mad Jack Mytton (there is a long distance path named after him). You could end your walk with a visit to the National Trust café in Carding Mill Valley, sometimes known as “Little Switzerland” for much needed refreshments.

Alternatively you may wish to split your day between sightseeing and walking. If this is the case you could start your day with a visit to the fortified manor house at Stokesay Castle, with its glorious Elizabethan Gatehouse, built by a rich wool merchant from Ludlow. From here if you are interested in learning more about the area’s Geology and Wildlife it is a short stroll to the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre in Craven Arms.

After lunch you could then have a walk up along Wenlock Edge to the East or walk to the West along parts of the Shropshire Way and explore the remains of iron-age hill forts such as Wart Hill.

Stokesay Castle
Sheep in Shropshire

Touring the Potteries.

Stoke on Trent in Staffordshire is a city which is made up of a confederation of 6 small towns, which together are frequently referred to as “The Potteries”. The whole area is best known for its production of pottery and although in decline there is still pottery made in the area.

Your day could start with a drive around the 6 towns where you will be able to see the factories with their outlet shops which still trade in the area today as well as the few remaining bottle ovens, which today are listed structures.

As well as pottery sites which no longer operate as working potteries, but are now museums, such as The Gladstone Pottery Museum, several of the working potteries allow visitor tours. You could have your morning coffee and cake at the Emma Bridgewater factory, served on their iconic polka dot tableware. This could be followed with a factory tour, showing you how they have adapted an old Victorian Factory site to modern production methods.

Alternatively you could take a trip out to the World of Wedgwood in nearby Barlaston. Here during a tour of the modern factory, explore 260 years of ground-breaking design and production by looking around their V & A collection, one of the finest collections of ceramics in the world. This could be followed by afternoon tea in their tea room.

Josiah Wedgewood
Dudson Pottery Bottle Oven