Top places to visit in Central England

Central England has so much to offer

From the twin glories of Britain’s oldest university cities, Oxford and Cambridge, to the honey coloured cottages and quaint villages of the Cotswolds. From the rolling hills of Shropshire across to the meandering waterways of Norfolk, on the east coast, there are so many places to visit.

Immerse yourself in Cadbury's World in Birmingham

Among the most popular places to visit is Birmingham, where you can indulge your inner child at Cadbury World, the famous chocolate factory. Home to many architectural gems, the futuristic Library of Birmingham and gleaming Selfridges Bullring shopping centre are two modern triumphs not to be missed.

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The city is renowned for its dining scene, which ranges from the flavourful family-run eateries of Balti Triangle to its Michelin-star restaurants. For something a little different, explore the city by canal boat – Birmingham has more miles of canal than Venice and there’s plenty of beautiful scenery to take in across the city, where you might like to stay for a night or two on your way to the home of Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon.

The story of outlaw Robin Hood lives on in Nottingham and beyond, and the city hosts Robin Hood Town Tours to see the sites associated with the folk hero. You can also find fantastic views over the city from the top of Castle Rock, before visiting Nottingham Castle, Kelham Island Museum and Art Gallery to discover how the city came into being.

Take a trip to the Lace Market in Nottingham

To see Nottingham’s creative side, look no further than The Lace Market. It’s full of independent cafes, restaurants and shops and for a nature escape, many people make a beeline for Sherwood Forest.

Explore the Compton Verney mansion in Stratford-Upon-Avon

Close to Stratford-Upon-Avon is Compton Verney, which is a magnificent 18th century mansion with an award winning gallery and museum,  surrounded by 120 acres of parkland which was landscaped by Lancelot “Capability” Brown.

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Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust has everything you need. A visit to Oxford, which dates back to Saxon times, is a trip into the brains of a nation. Prime Ministers, poets and the one and only Harry Potter all have links to the hallowed halls of the university. Several scenes from the Harry Potter movies were shot here, some in locations you can visit. The city is home to the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, the first purpose built museum in England, which opened in 1683.

Escape the city with The Chilterns

To the city’s east, you’ll find wooded wonderland, the Chilterns – a popular spot for a country getaway. To the west lies the idyllic Cotswolds and to the north, the spectacular Blenheim Palace. For leisurely sightseeing, take a trip on a punt or if you prefer to stick to dry land, take a hop-on and off bus tour.

Fashion lovers, and bargain hunters, can take a trip to nearby designer shopping outlet Bicester Village.

Over in Cambridge there are 31 architecturally stunning colleges. You could spend the day in the bustling market square or punt lazily down the River Cam. Enjoy a relaxing walk through Cambridge University Botanic Garden and savour refreshment in one of the town’s many tearooms.

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You can also take a trip to the nearby Cambridgeshire Fens for leisurely canal holidays and days messing about in boats.

Take a beautiful holiday in the Cotswolds

Warwick Castle ( photo: JPI)Warwick Castle ( photo: JPI)
Warwick Castle ( photo: JPI)

Think of England and The Cotswolds may well spring to mind. This area of limestone hills is picture-postcard England at its most enchanting. Visitors can explore villages made of honey-coloured stone, sip pints in ancient pubs and see some of Britain’s most beautifully preserved medieval churches. England and Wales’ largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) straddles Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Wiltshire, Bath and parts of Somerset.

There is so much more to enjoy in the Midlands. Enjoy a picnic by the brook in Castle Combe, where quaint stone cottages, a medieval church and plenty of places to shop or enjoy tea make this an enchanting place to explore. Cirencester is thought of as the capital of the Cotswolds and Oxford is also a convenient gateway to the area which has so much to offer.