With an enviably central location in the heart of England, Birmingham offers fantastic opportunities to explore the history and culture of the UK.
A mediaeval market town in England’s West Midlands, Stratford-upon-Avon is the 16th-century birthplace of William Shakespeare, and a must-see for visitors.
Immerse yourself in sixteenth-century life, inside the house where the world-renowned playwright was born and lived with his family. Visit his wife Anne Hathaway’s romantic cottage, or New Place where they enjoyed the benefits of his success for 19 years. And, of course, complete the experience with a play at one of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s three theatres.
Soak up 1100 years of history in one day. The stone buildings in place at Warwick Castle today date from the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, although records show a motte and bailey castle was first constructed here in 1068.
History buffs will love the sense of scale, the thoughtful exhibits and the extensive grounds, landscaped by Capability Brown. The regular programme of live shows featuring jousting, birds of prey and seasonal events provides fun for all.
This historic university city is a must-see for any academic visitor to the UK. 38 colleges of the prestigious university are nestled within a city of buttery Cotswold stone and winding mediaeval streets.
Visit Magdalen College’s deer park and Christ Church Cathedral. Book a tour of the Bodleian to see Duke Humfrey’s remarkable fifteenth-century library. Take a punt along the Thames (here known as the Isis) for a relaxed view of those famous ‘dreaming spires’, then have a drink at the Eagle and Child where the ‘Inklings’ C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and friends read their manuscripts aloud.
The great outdoors
Birmingham may be a bright bustling city, but its central location means five designated Areas of Natural Beauty and a National Park are all within 50 miles, an easy drive away.
For dramatic scenery, pull on your hiking boots and head north for the Peak District. Dovedale is a beautiful limestone valley and nature reserve, ideal for walking all year round, with caves to explore and a famous set of stepping stones.
Nature reserves and trails through ancient woodlands offer options for hardy walkers and afternoon strollers alike in the Malvern Hills. Further southwest lies the Wye Valley, with its spectacular limestone gorge scenery and beautiful riverside walks. For an authentic sense of England’s beech woods, stone walls and rolling fields, visit the Cotswolds.