What is there to do in the Heart of England?

City Breaks

For those who are looking for a city break there is Oxford, the home of the oldest university in the English speaking world and Gloucester with 15th Century perpendicular style cathedral both locations for Harry Potter. There is Worcester described as the faithful city, Hereford with its chained library, Lichfield birthplace of Samuel Johnson of English Dictionary fame as well as Coventry, UK City of Culture 2021 and Birmingham host to the Commonwealth games in 2022 and known as the City of a thousand trades.

commandery-in-worcester
Commandery in Worcester
Historic-Gloucester-Cathedral
Historic Gloucester Cathedral

The Great Outdoors

For the countryside walker there is open moorland in Staffordshire, fascinating geology in the Shropshire hills and gentler walking in the Cotswolds. Several long-distance walking routes and trails such as the Cotswolds Way, the Wye Valley Way where tourism was born, part of the Thames Valley path and the Heart of England Way go through the region.

long-mynd-shropshire
Long Mynd, Shropshire

Theatre Goers

For the theatre goer there is of course the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford, but there are many others throughout the region with performances ranging from classical opera and ballet to family favourites such as the Gruffalo, with everything in between.

Stratford Swan Theatre
Stratford Swan Theatre

Families and kids

For the families there are theme parks such as Drayton Manor and Alton Towers and Go-ape in the Wye Valley and at Coombe just outside Coventry.

Thomas Land Drayton Manor
Thomas Land Drayton Manor

Animal Lovers

For animal lovers there are zoos and wildlife parks such as West Midlands Safari Park, Dudley Zoo, Mary Arden’s Farm (with its
connection to Shakespeare’s mother) and Cotswold Farm Park run by Alan Henson from BBC’s Countryfile.

Lions at West Midlands Safari Park
Lions at West Midlands Safari Park

Transport Lovers

For transport enthusiasts there are heritage steam railway routes such as the Severn Valley Railway or Canal Boat trips. There is The Coventry Transport, RAF Cosford and you can ride old Trolley Buses and Trams at the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley.

Black Country Living Mueseum
Coventry Transport Museum

Castle Lovers

For castle lovers we have the two great medieval examples at Warwick and Kenilworth, right in the middle of the region as well as many others such as Goodrich and Eastnor Castles. If you want to stay in a castle there is Astley Castle owned by the Landmark Trust.

Kenilworth Castle
Kenilworth Castle
Astley Castle
Astley Castle

Stately Home Lovers

For those who enjoy stately homes there are many National Trust properties including Coughton Court (associated with the gunpowder Plot), Baddesley Clinton with its moat and secret priest-holes and Dyrrham Park in Gloucestershire which has beautiful 17th Century architecture and landscaping and was used as a location for ITV’s adaptation of “Sanditon” by Jane Austen, as well as others such as Sudeley Castle, the final resting place of Katherine Parr and Broughton Castle where scenes for Wolf Hall were filmed, which are still family homes. Not to be missed is Blenheim Palace a world heritage UNESCO site.

Coughton Court
Coughton Court
Baddersley Clinton
Baddesley Clinton

Prehistory Lovers

For those who prefer prehistory there are many long barrows such as Hetty Pegler’s Tump and the mysterious Rollright Stones
(Warwickshire ’s answer to Stonehenge).

Rollright Standing Stone
Rollright Standing Stone

Roman Remains

For those looking for Roman remains Chedworth Roman Villa has some wonderful mosaics, there is Wroxeter Roman City in Shropshire and the reconstructed Lunt Fort at Baginton just south of Coventry.

Wroxeter
Wroxeter

Gardens

For gardeners there is the world famous Arts & Crafts garden at Hidcote, the Botanical Gardens at Oxford and Birmingham as well as many others throughout the region. Some have fantastic water features such as the Emporer Fountain at Witley Court.

Hidcote
Hidcote
Witley Fountain
Witley Fountain

Industrial Heritage

For those interested in industrial history there are the potteries in Stoke, glassmaking in Stourbridge, and the world’s first iron bridge at ironbridge the cradle of the industrial revolution as well as miles of canals.

Stourbridge Glassmaking
Stourbridge Glassmaking
Stratford Locks
Stratford Locks

Music Lovers

For music lovers, there is the annual three choirs’ festival which rotates between Gloucester, Worcester and Hereford Cathedrals. We also have both Elgar’s and Holst’s birthplace museums as well as connections with more modern music genres such as “Black Sabbath” from Birmingham.

Holst Museum, Cheltenham
Holst Museum, Cheltenham
Elgar Statue, Worcester
Elgar Statue, Worcester

Church Lovers

For the church lover, as well as some truly beautiful cathedrals such as Gloucester and Lichfield with its 3 spires and the great “Wool Churches” of the Cotswolds, there are many other smaller churches, some with Saxon origins and others of architectural importance such as Pugin’s Gem, his Roman Catholic Extravaganza in Cheadle Staffordshire.

Coln St Rogers Church
Coln St Rogers Church
Daglingworth Saxon Carvings
Daglingworth Saxon Carvings