Central England is a diverse place which features bustling cities, beautiful market towns and plenty of culture. Here are our 4 'staycation' ideas for this region.
The 'City of a Thousand Trades' blends a strong industrial past with modern household names. Visit the Jewellery Quarter to satisfy all your shopping needs and to see some great architecture. Plus, you'll never go hungry or thirsty in Birmingham! There's a wide range of restaurants, bars, pubs and speakeasies to discover in this city.
Of course, no Birmingham 'staycation' is complete without the 'Peaky Blinders'. Discover Smallheath and the other areas featured in the hit BBC TV show on a themed walking tour. For something more sedate, wander along the canal network and spot some nesting wildlife. You should also visit the Botanical Gardens in the lazy suburb of Edgbaston for some peace and quiet.
What else can you do on your 'staycation' in Birmingham?
Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, is less than an hour away. Explore his home town and watch one of his finest plays for yourself. The Royal Shakespeare Company regularly hosts events here, with the first of the year scheduled for mid-May.
Coventry was flattened by WW2 bombs, but has been rebuilt better than ever. The impressive Cathedral and statue of Lady Godiva are particular highlights. If you want somewhere a little quieter, head to Royal Leamington Spa. This spa town has been popular since the 18th Century thanks to the supposed healing properties of its water and is the perfect place to relax and unwind.
Don't let a breakdown threaten your UK 'staycation' this year. Follow our Roadmap out of Lockdown before you travel.
Buxton is a refreshing and relaxing 'staycation' but can easily be adventurous as well! It's the highest market town in the UK and well-known for its fresh water springs. Taste the famous Buxton water for yourself at St Anne's Well in the town centre.
You should also visit the spectacular Poole's Cavern. Explore this natural cavern with an expert guide and see the largest stalactite formation in the region. If you'd prefer to stay above ground, Buxton Country Park offers plenty of open space to stretch your legs. You can also visit the nearby Go Ape and Horse Riding and Trekking Trail for a unique perspective of the Peak District. It's very easy to have a great 'staycation' in Buxton, whatever you're looking for!
What else can you do on your 'staycation' in Buxton?
Explore the Peak District. This National Park contains charming pubs, stunning walks and another famous spa town, Matlock Bath. Walk, cycle or drive to your heart's content through the amazing scenery. Bakewell, home of the famous tart, is also just a short drive from Buxton. An afternoon tea is the best way to sample the local delicacy. Then, continue on to Chester. Here you'll find a Roman amphitheatre and city walls alongside one of the UK's largest zoos.
The city of Leicester is an incredibly historic place. See where the body of King Richard III, who was discovered under a car park in 2012, lies in the Cathedral. His death was one of the most defining moments in British history, which you can learn all about in the new visitor centre.
Wander down New Walk, one of the most historic streets in Leicester. It's a rare example of a Georgian promenade which leads into the city centre. Once there, you can discover the city's thriving nightlife as well as plenty of local pubs and restaurants. Finally, sample some local produce at the largest outdoor covered market in Europe. It's held 6 days a week and the venue hasn't changed for over 700 years!
What else can you do on your 'staycation' in Leicester?
Explore Sherwood Forest, the alleged home of Robin Hood! You should also visit nearby Peterborough, which boasts an imposing Gothic Cathedral and Flag Fen Archaeology Park. Learn about English life thousands of years ago as you wander the remains of a Bronze Age village.
Once you've had your fill of history, head to King's Lynn on the Norfolk coast to enjoy a day at the beach. Nearby Hunstanton is the most relaxing spot in the area while you can also travel to Sandringham Estate. This is a 20,000 acre estate owned by the Royal Family in an Area of Natural Beauty. You can buy tickets to wander the grounds and gardens around Queen Elizabeth II's private home.
This city is well-known for its pottery and there is a strong art and ceramic influence wherever you go. As such, there are plenty of art museums to enjoy when they reopen, including the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery. This is home to the Staffordshire Hoard, a large collection of Anglo-Saxon treasure discovered by a metal detectorist! As one of the most significant Archaeological discoveries of the 21st Century, it's simply unmissable.
The Trentham Estate sits on 725 acres of land on the banks of the River Trent. It's technically a suburb of Stoke-on-Trent, but it feels like a separate village. With a large shopping complex, Monkey Forest and garden space to wander, it's not hard to see why. Stoke-on-Trent may not seem like a natural 'staycation' idea, but it's definitely a hidden gem!
What else can you do on your 'staycation' in Stoke-on-Trent?
Alton Towers Theme Park and Resort is just 30 minutes away. As one of the biggest and most popular theme parks in the UK, it's worthy of a mini break on its own. With a water park, spa and mini golf course alongside the main rollercoasters, it's a perfect place for the whole family.
The cultural hubs of Manchester and Liverpool are both an hour from Stoke-on-Trent. There's plenty of green space to explore in Manchester, alongside world-class shopping venues and two of the most famous football clubs in Europe. Liverpool has a strong maritime history and connections to the Beatles. Be sure to see the iconic Cavern Club where the 'Fab Four' played their first gig!