Why should you visit the Midlands?
The Midlands rarely figures on top of the places to visit for travellers. Most international tourists tend to focus their attention around the London area. As for us, Britons, we have our favourite spots, such as the Lake District, the New Forest, or even the Highlands. Visiting the Midlands is simply not something that people do. It is odd, though, when you consider that the second-largest city in the UK, after London, is Birmingham, the proud capital of the West Midlands.
The Midlands is a region that is surprisingly rich in history. Did you know that J. R. R. Tolkien was profoundly inspired by the area when he created the fantastic world of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings? It’s fair to say that the local landscapes impressed Tolkien during his childhood and throughout his adulthood. But, the richness and diversity of the history around him convinced him that there was enough room in the world for his epic stories.
What to see
You should definitely start your trip with a castle visit. Indeed, Warwick Castle, south of Birmingham, was initially built by William the Conqueror. It was renovated, refortified, and extended throughout the centuries until it became the home of the Earls of Warwick in 1759. It remained in the same family until it was sold in the late 70s to an entertainment company that opened it as a tourist attraction. We have to thank the Ears of Warwick for maintaining a lot of the ancient structures and artefacts. And frankly, it’s quite astonishing to think that people used to live in the caste until around 40 years ago! There’s a lot to do and see in Warwick only, but if you’re planning a visit of the castle and the town, you might want to aim for some of the scheduled events, such as Halloween during October’s half term.
The unmissable Lady Godiva
Everybody around Coventry knows the story of Lady Godiva, the Countess who chose to ride nacked through the streets of the town to save the inhabitants from the oppressive taxation system. Historians don’t believe that the story is accurate; however, the myth of her memorable ride through town remains. You can admire the cheeky Lady Godiva clock on Broadgate House in the town centre. The lady appears every hour on the hour on a horse while the peeping Tom looks down upon her. You can also plan a tour of the historic cathedral district around the Whitefriars Gate before heading to a cosy Coventry restaurant for a well-deserved meal. Make sure also to schedule a visit to the ruins of the cathedral, destroyed during the Blitz.
An Edwardian trip to the past
Lastly, west of Birmingham, you will find the Black Country Museum in Dudley. Designed as a live museum where you can interact with the staff and walk through the Industrial Revolution’s Britain, the Black Country Museum is a favourite among young children. It’s fair to say that it’s probably the first time you’ll see them insisting on going to school, where they can attend an Edwardian school lesson. And they will love paying for sweets and treats in town using the Shillings collected at the bank by the entrance.
If you are still wondering how to keep the kids busy during half term, a trip to the West Midlands is going to be the perfect opportunity to explore centuries of historic events and monuments while having a tonne of fun.