Hidcote Manor Garden is one of England's great...
Heart of England
The 'Heart of England' the name for the central region of England which includes the counties of the West Midlands and Birmingham, Warwickshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire. The region boasts a diversity of beautiful countryside and industrial heritage.
To the south lie the Cotswolds hills, dotted with idyllic villages and pretty market towns like Bourton on the Water and Chipping Campden, all in the characteristic honey-coloured Cotswold stone. There are many elegant spa towns; the most famous is probably Cheltenham with its Regency architecture, stylish shops and restaurants, music and literature festivals, and race course.
To the west, on the Welsh borders, lie the lush farmlands of Shropshire and Herefordshire, with many interesting small towns as well as the cathedral city of Hereford.The Heart of England is rich in literary associations. The most famous is Stratford-upon-Avon, in Warwickshire, the birthplace of William Shakespeare: a lovely town on the River Avon, where you can visit historic buildings associated with Shakespeare and watch a Shakespeare play performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Warwickshire is also the home of the great novelist George Eliot and the location for her classic work, Middlemarch. To the north of the region lie many towns and cities whose identities were shaped by the Industrial Revolution of 18th and 19th centuries. The ‘Black Country’ around Birmingham was the centre for the iron and coal industries, while Sheffield was famous for steel, and Staffordshire for the potteries where Britain’s most famous brands of pottery and china such as Wedgewood, Spode and Royal Worcester were made.
This whole area is full of fascinating history, encapsulated in the museums at Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, near Birmingham. Birmingham, England’s second largest city, has superb Victorian architecture, top quality museums and arts venues and good shopping. Within easy reach of these busy urban areas are the stunningly beautiful hills of the Derbyshire Peak District, Britain’s most popular National Park offering spectacular walks, climbing, cycling or caving. Younger visitors to the region will enjoy a trip to top theme parks such as Alton Towers and Cadbury’s World.