Midlands staycation guide: essential sights in Birmingham, Nottingham, Stratford-Upon-Avon and the Cotswolds

Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 10:28 am
Updated Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 10:28 am
The view from Stow-on-the-Wold in The Cotswolds (Photo: Shutterstock)
The view from Stow-on-the-Wold in The Cotswolds (Photo: Shutterstock)

Central England has so much to offer from the twin glories of Britain’s oldest university cities Oxford and Cambridge to the honey-coloured cottages and quaint villages of the Cotswolds.

From the rolling hills of Shropshire across to the meandering waterways of Norfolk, on the east coast, there are so many places to visit.

Birmingham

Among the most popular places to visit is Birmingham, where you can indulge your inner child at Cadbury World, the famous chocolate factory.

Home to many architectural gems, the futuristic Library of Birmingham and gleaming Selfridges Bullring shopping centre are two modern triumphs not to be missed.

A canal in central Birmingham (Photo: Shutterstock)

The city is renowned for its dining scene, which ranges from the flavourful family-run eateries of Balti Triangle to its Michelin-star restaurants.

For something a little different, explore the city by canal boat. Birmingham has more miles of canal than Venice and there’s plenty of beautiful scenery to take in across the city, where you might like to stay for a night or two on your way to the home of Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Nottingham

The story of outlaw Robin Hood lives on in Nottingham and beyond, the city hosting Robin Hood Town Tours to see the sites associated with the folk hero.

You can also find fantastic views over the city from the top of Castle Rock, before visiting Nottingham Castle, Kelham Island Museum and Art Gallery to discover how the city came into being.

To see Nottingham’s creative side, look no further than The Lace Market. It’s full of independent cafes, restaurants and shops while, for a nature escape, many people make a beeline for Sherwood Forest.

Stratford-Upon-Avon

Close to Stratford-Upon-Avon is Compton Verney, a magnificent 18th mansion with an award-winning gallery and museum surrounded by 120 acres of parkland that was landscaped by Lancelot “Capability” Brown.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust has everything you need to know about visiting the Bard’s hometown.

The cottage in Stratford-Upon-Avon where Shakespeare courted his future wife (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Cotswolds

Think of England and the Cotswolds may well spring to mind. This area of limestone hills is picture-postcard England at its most enchanting.

Visitors can sip pints in ancient pubs and see some of Britain’s most beautifully preserved medieval churches.

England and Wales’ largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty straddles Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Wiltshire, Bath and parts of Somerset.

And there is so much more to enjoy in the Midlands. Enjoy a picnic by the brook in Castle Combe and see quaint stone cottages. Medieval churches and plenty of places to shop or enjoy tea make this an enchanting place to explore.

Cirencester is thought of as the capital of the Cotswolds and Oxford is also a convenient gateway to the area that has so much to offer.