Places to Visit - West Midlands
Head north from our site and you’ll reach the centre of Birmingham in 30 minutes. The city has been transformed recently by the redevelopment of the Broad Street area, with its great nightlife and restaurants, the new Bull Ring shopping centre (Selfridges) and the exclusive Mailbox (Harvey Nichols).
The north of our region is not as dominated by Birmingham as you might expect. Even within 15 minutes of the city the countryside remains rural and picturesque. We particularly like these places:
A charming and unassuming little town and a quiet and well-preserved alternative to Stratford. Explore its untouched lanes and wander the High Street with its tea shops and delicatessens.
Although the busy A3400 runs through its heart, Henley is a pretty place with good pubs.
Not so much a village, more an amazing flight of locks, at 37 locks, the longest in Europe.
Radio 4’s The Archers owes its existence to Inkberrow. The programme is based on the village and in particular the pub on its green.
You can combine a visit to Birmingham with a few museums dedicated to the motor city’s wheeled heritage.
The Coventry Museum of Transport has also recently been spruced up. It’s free of charge and includes the Thrust SSC land speed record car.
The National Motorcycle Museum near the NEC is easy to reach and worth a visit. It has also been revamped following a catastrophic fire.
Jaguar runs a Heritage Museum at its famous Browns Lane site in Coventry. Visitors are by appointment only by calling 024 7620 3322.
The Transport Museum Wythall specialises in old buses and coaches.
Thinktank is Birmingham’s fantastic museum of science and industry. It has a small car collection that includes the Railton Mobil Special land speed record car.
The NEC holds car-themed events throughout the year. For details visit www.necgroup.co.uk.
There are a huge number of National Trust properties in the North of our region. For a full list visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk. Some of our favourites in the north are:
Coughton Court, just north of Alcester is very near our base and a great old house with formal and informal gardens, a tea shop and fascinating history.
Baddesley Clinton and Packwood House are only a couple of miles apart near Knowle in Warwickshire (30 minutes drive). Baddesley is a moated house with links to the Arts & Crafts movement and Packwood has a great topiary garden.
Wightwick Manor is further afield near Wolverhampton but is worth the trip. It’s another Arts & Crafts-related house with gardens and a tea shop.
Hanbury Hall, 20 minutes from our base, is another NT property with vast gardens and a great tea shop. Visit Jinney Ring Craft Centre nearby for shops and tea
Ragley Hall is a privately owned grand old house and gardens near Alcester. A regular venue for summer concerts and with a grass track racing venue nearby.
Despite its reputation, Birmingham is well served by quiet greenery. For views and walks try the Clent Hills and Lickey Hills to the South West or Kinver Edge to the West, which features several unusual rock houses dug into the soft sandstone. Due south the unusual lakes and pools at Earlswood are worth a visit.