The Midlands is a large central area of England. During the Industrial Revolution, a lot of England’s manufacturing was carried out there, with goods transported down the canals to London, which today are more for tourists and leisure boaters. Although not the most touristy areas, these counties are home to beautiful villages, stately homes and the friendly people in England. They are also quite a cultured lot: Birmingham houses Europe’s biggest library.
A Guide to East Midlands, Naturally
- Derbyshire is the farthest county from the sea (70 to 80 miles) and home to the popular Peak District. This county has an interesting history, considering the present pandemic. Last time a major virus struck, the locals isolated themselves so they died from the Plague, but nobody else did. The heavily-populated graveyards in many villages, are testament to their selflessness.
- Leicestershire is also possibly the farthest place from the sea (there are debates!). No matter who is right, it’s a good 70 to 80 miles, before you reach the coast. Here you can find beautiful countryside, magnificent manor houses and lots of canals. A few years back, Rutland was part of Leicestershire
- Northamptonshire is bang in the middle of England: home to beautiful countryside, castles and stately home. One is the birthplace of Princess Diana, who is buried on an island on the family estate. Jane Austen’s beautiful novel Mansfield Park was set here.
- Nottinghamshire is the home of Sherwood Forest (where Robin Hood robbed from the rich, to give to the poor – modern life suggests this is usually the other way around). Major Oak (a tree) is 800 to 1000 years old, with arms so old they are now held up by scaffolding! His saplings are dotted around the world (he also gave shelter to Robin Hood).
- Rutland is England’s smallest county (this changes, depending on whether the tide is in or out on Isle of Wight). Due to no motorways, it has no fast food chains or supermarkets (yippee!) Rutland Water is a man-made reservoir but has bought back endangered ospreys, which now thrive with other migrating birds. Visitors can walk or cycle around the entire lake.
A Guide to West Midlands, Naturally
- Herefordshire is one of our least populated counties. A beautiful rural corner of England – if you prefer sheep to people, this is for you! Bordering Wales, the population swells each year when visitors descend on Hay-on-Wye, for the annual book festival. But mostly, it’s quiet. Even the main city of Hereford is not that busy. Stop by for some cider, if you’re passing.
- Shropshire is another quiet rural county, set amid the blue rolling hills, again on the border with Wales. Very peaceful and quiet, one journalist was sent around England to discover its most beautiful county. Northumberland almost won – but he didn’t like the wind and cold, so this county came out top! One of the few towns here is Ludlow.
- Staffordshire is mostly known for its pottery and the town of Stoke-on-Trent. It also has beautiful wild moorlands, parts of the Peak District and Flash – the highest village in England.
- Warwickshire is home to Rugby (a town named after the sport) and Stratford-Upon-Avon (the birthplace of Shakespeare, who apparently was a socially conscious property tycoon). Nuneaton was so-loved by Larry Grayson, that he never felt. He was born there, and died there too.
- West Midlands is mostly comprised of three cities: Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Coventry. But’s not all urban. Outside of here and Spaghetti Junction, you’ll find many pretty villages and green space (it’s only a few miles to rural Shropshire). A thriving arts & music culture.
- Worcestershire is home to the cathedral city of Worcester, but the rest of the county is mostly rural. The Malvern Hills are not easy to climb (they are used as practice by mountaineers attempting Everest). On a clear day you can see (from the summit) Herefordshire, the Bristol Channel, 3 cathedrals, parts of 13 counties and the Welsh mountains.