Birmingham is slap bang in the middle of England. With an excellent public transport system, there are literally hundreds of locations within a hour or so of the CBD by train or bus. Hiring a car makes the more inaccessible or less well-served-by-public-transport places easily reached.
The immediate vicinity is rich in English history - Shakespeare's Stratford is an hour away, with the historic castle town of Warwick on the same train line, even closer to Birmingham. If castles are your schtick, then a few miles from Warwick is Kenilworth, another stately pile. And in the other direction to the north and west are Dudley and Tamworth castles. The cathedral city of Lichfield is 40 minutes by train to the north and the historic and picturesque city of Worcester (along with Great Malvern and Evesham) is 70 minutes south west. Industrial history is well represented with the Black Country (named after the coal and heavy industries of the Victorian period) - the corridor between Birmingham and Wolverhampton.
And then there's the beautiful, if unspectacular, countryside and the small historic villages and a plethora of National Trust and English Heritage properties. Country pubs, gastronomic restaurants, village greens etc...
I'll add places as I go along with seperate tips as well as create thier own pages.
West Midland Safari Park lies a short journey away from the centre of Birmingham.
A 4 mile road twists through the park to get you up close and personal with the animals.
You can buy special diet feed for the free roaming animals as you enter.
The safari will allow you to encounter animals such as giraffe, lions, rhinos, elephants and many more!
There are further attractions such as a reptile house and bat cave when you enter into the 'theme park' area.
You will also find some theme park rides which can be paid for when you enter the area.
Of particular interest to tourists, at about 20 miles or more, the VT pages on Stourport-on-Severn (my home town), Bewdley, Malvern, Worcester, and Upton-on-Severn, all to the west and south-west of Birmingham city. No doubt I will be adding more !!!
August 2003 I have indeed added a lot of small village sites, particularly in my part of north Worcestershire.
Church Lane, Witney
In the heart of the Cotswolds, within easy reach of Birmingham, Cogges Manor Farm Museum offers the visitor a slice of life on a Victorian farm. Parts of the farm date back 700 years, but the clock has been stopped at a point about 100 years ago. Demonstrators in period costume show off some of the rural skills and country crafts of our Victorian forebears - and of course, there are the animals. Open from March to October.
I am putting this on this page as an 'off the beaten path' because there is no Worcester page.
Visit the house where the English composer Sir Edward Elgar was born. He is perhaps best known for his 'Land of Hope and Glory'.
He was born on the 2nd of June 1857 near the Teme Valley. The cottage houses a unique collection of manuscripts, scores and press cuttings plus photos. The composer's desk is also there laid out as his wife did it when her husband was working. There are also lots of personal memorabilia such as lettersand photos.
The composer died in Worcester on the 23rd of Fberuary 1934
the house is at Lower Broadheath, Worcester.
From Worcester take the A44 towards Leominster and then it is signposted 'Broadheath - Elgar's Birthplace'
Ironbridge - A small town, situated 30 miles NW of Birmingham, 5 miles from J4 off the M54. Considered by some as the 'Birthplace of Industry', it was developed during the Industrial Revolution in the 18th Century. Famous for the 'first-ever' cast iron bridge, spanning the River Severn, it also has many other attractions and museums illustrating the industrial history of the local area. For further information try www.ironbridge.org.uk