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The Midlands – England’s Best Kept Secret

UNITED KINGDOM | Monday, 20 June 2016 | Views [326]

When international tourists visit the United Kingdom, there is a degree of bias that influences the hot-spots they wish to see. If you were to go to Beijing, and speak to people who might be considering coming to the UK for a holiday, you can pretty much guess the list of places that they might want to visit. With London being one of the world’s top tourist destinations, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and St Paul’s Cathedral would certainly make the top ten. Moving further afield, where else do tourists go in the UK? Stratford-upon-Avon, Edinburgh Castle, Stonehenge, the Giant’s Causeway, and Ben Nevis all spring to mind. There is, however, a surprisingly large part of the country that is often overlooked by travelling tourists.

The English midlands doesn’t have a boundary definition as such, but is comprised of a number of key areas including Staffordshire, Birmingham, Solihull, and Leicestershire. The industrial cities of Birmingham, Coventry, and Nottingham once were the centres of manufacturing that made up Britain’s heavy industries. The region has undergone extensive redevelopment in the last decade, and now presents itself as a major upcoming tourist destination. If you’re looking for a trip to the UK with a difference, here’s some of the places of note that can be found in the English Midlands…

Birmingham Back to Backs

During the 19th Century, Great Britain was considered to be the world’s dominant global power. This was, in part, down to the industrial powerhouses of the cities of London, Glasgow, and Birmingham. Birmingham remains the UK’s second most populous city, and is steeped in history. If you would like to take a step into Birmingham’s colourful industrial past, then Birmingham Back to Backs is the perfect place to start.

The Birmingham Back to Backs is a block of working people’s houses that have been maintained by the National Trust, allowing visitors to get a glimpse into working class life between the 1840’s to the 1970’s. Visits to the Back to Backs are by guided tours only, so ensure you book your place before visiting.

Coventry Transport Museum

In June last year, a £9.5 million refurbishment of the Coventry transport museum was completed, making it one of the top motoring destinations in the UK. Admission to the museum is free, and a must-see for any travelling petrol-heads.

The ancient city of Coventry is defined by the rise and fall of its motor and cycle industries, and everything is covered, from the oldest Coventry built car, right up to the land speed-breaking Thrust2 motorcycle. Be sure to try the newly installed 4D land speed simulator, if you fancy a taste of life in the fast lane!

Adam’s Restaurant

Years of unfortunate caricaturing have given British cuisine a rather unfortunate reputation. American sit-coms always love to perpetuate the trope of buck toothed Englishmen digging into steak and kidney pies and jellied eels. Adam’s Michelin starred restaurant in central Birmingham shows that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The extensive menu boasts a number of local delicacies including mussels, duck, lamb, as well as a world beating wine list and vegetarian options. Have a look at the menu to get your pulse racing.          

 

Bradgate Park

The uninformed will tell you that the UK’s most breath-taking scenery is the reserve of the Scottish Highlands. A visit to Leicester’s Bradgate Park will challenge this belief. The park dates from a 12th century deer hunting ground, but has since been classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, due to its diverse wildlife habitat and geological interest. Precambrian rocks, within the 800 acre park, date back 600 million years, making them among the oldest in England.

Another place of interest within the park is Bradgate House, which is believed to have been built in the year 1500. It’s one of the first unfortified brick built houses in England, and was the childhood home of Jane Grey. The website gives details of the nature walks that run throughout the year, as well as other events. The only thing to look out for is the English rain!

Sutton Coldfield

You don’t have to head all the way up to Scotland to find a half-decent golf course. The luxury Belfry Hotel & Resort located in Sutton Coldfield has hosted more Ryder Cup matches than any other place in the world. Its three world-beating courses have hosted some of the dramatic moments in the sports history, making it a must-see destination for any golfers.

The luxury hotel also boasts a number of facilities including three restaurants, a luxurious spa, and gym. A few nights here will keep you well rested, before you go out to explore what else the English midlands have to offer. You might be surprised at what find… 

Tags: city break, england, golf, history, midlands, museum, tours, town

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