Trip to the Midlands: Part Two

A noontime nap had rejuvenated me wonderfully, and I was eager to see what the town of Nuneaton had to offer. Mainly, my dad and I were concerned with finding a Vodafone outlet- otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to reload our UK mobile phone, and calling home would not be an option. But central Nuneaton turned out to be a charming place, and I enjoyed my brief time there.

Nuneaton Town Hall

The town hall of Nuneaton

We found a Vodafone shop, and also went through a little market in a pedestrian street nearby. Vendors were selling produce and various gifts, and it was a nice place to be on an early summer’s day.

Nuneaton Church

Nuneaton is of relatively modest size, yet some of its architecture is breathtaking

After seeing some of Nuneaton, to the countryside we went! I love any and all English countryside- it is so strikingly different from what I see every day in Canada. Here in Ontario, the roads are mostly ruler-straight, and they go through fields that are so sprawling and sparse that they all look the same. The roads in England, however, are largely so curvy that one almost gets dizzy from driving on them; and every field and paddock is different and unusual. Not to mention incredibly green and beautiful!!

Hinckley Countryside

One of the leafy, twisting roads of Warwickshire

Countryside

The Queen Anne’s lace was out in full bloom along the road

We drove all through the area around Hinckley, Coalville, and Bosworth. Even the smallest villages we went through had amazing (and ancient!) buildings- it was all very picturesque, and we had the perfect day for driving! I wasn’t bored for a second despite driving for several hours.

Near Bosworth

Somewhere near Bosworth

Of course, there were delays in our journey- thanks to roadworks! I’m sure that nowhere in the world is immune to roadworks, but for some reason they were especially noticeable during this trip in May. Not that it bothered me much, though- the intermittent stops gave me more time to admire the lush surroundings!

Roadworks Warwickshire

An omen of delays ahead…

Near Hinckley

A beautiful view in a corner of Leicestershire

Day two of our trip saw us leave the green, rolling landscapes of the countryside and travel to another planet, so it seemed- the planet of Birmingham! To many, Birmingham is not seen as the nicest place in the world; thanks to its industrial/manufacturing history and past periods of social unrest. And perhaps it isn’t the nicest place in the world, but I was fascinated by it and found the city centre in particular to be quite vibrant.

Birmingham Roadsigns

Birmingham roadsigns

Birmingham Shops

There were hundreds of shops in one long row on this street

Birmingham

A panoramic view of our entry into Birmingham

It took us quite a long time to get anywhere in Birmingham. Again, that was due to roadworks, but it was worsened by traffic volume. Fortunately, I was prepared; and we passed the time by listening to classic Brummie music by Black Sabbath and Electric Light Orchestra on my iPod!

Eventually we got past the roadworks, only to be guided incorrectly by our sat nav into a not-so-charming part of the city. It was pretty dark and run-down and obviously had been industrial at one point, and on the whole it had an uncomfortably quiet feeling. Needless to say, we didn’t linger!

Birmingham

This is where our sat nav became confused…

Dodgy bit of Birmingham

… and decided to take us here

Central Birmingham soon loomed in front of us, and I was delighted to see the unmistakable silver blob known as the Selfridges building. This building is known around the world as a symbol of modern Britain, and I’d always wanted to see it.

Central Birmingham

A section of the central Birmingham skyline

Selfridges

A reflection of our rented Vauxhall on the bizarre facade of Birmingham’s Selfridges

We also saw Birmingham Airport, which pleased me- there’s nothing as cool as an airport in my opinion. I was surprised at the amount  and variety of traffic at the airport- almost every few minutes an Airbus or 777 was either landing or taking off.

Birmingham Airport

The old (Art Deco-era) terminal is visible on right

Spending time in the concrete metropolis of Birmingham merited another quick trip to the country. So this time, we explored the area around Kidderminster, which is southwest of Birmingham. Again, it was a lovely drive, with lots to see and not a moment of monotony.

Bromsgrove

We went through Bromsgrove- a charming town, with lovely Georgian architecture pictured

Bromsgrove Construction

A construction sign displaying customary British politeness

Cornetto

A Wall’s cornetto purchased near Birmingham- one needs to keep up one’s strength when on holiday, and ice cream is never a poor choice!

Near Kidderminster

Hilly terrain near Kidderminster

Building near Kidderminster

An amazing timber-framed building, representative of what many of this area’s villages and towns have to offer

To be quite honest, I was pleasantly surprised by all there was to see in the Birmingham area. I wasn’t expecting all that much, but the area was really gorgeous; and we didn’t even stop at any attractions! Stratford-upon-Avon is nearby, as is Bosworth Field (site of a definitive battle in the War of the Roses, and where Richard III died). Kenilworth Castle and Warwick Castle are two other notable destinations, and Birmingham itself has many museums, galleries, and attractive sights.

I doubt that a large percentage of first-time or seasoned tourists to Britain even consider the Midlands as a destination. And that’s a shame, because, as I found this past summer, it’s a beautiful place to be.

 

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5 thoughts on “Trip to the Midlands: Part Two

    • It was a fantastic trip, it gave me so many fond memories! 🙂 And that is what I love about the UK in general… every town is unique because its history is still so visible. Thanks for reading!

    • Your description sounds about right! Personally, I much prefer England. Canada has some beautiful landscapes, but it’s so huge and sparsely inhabited that simple drives through the country can become boring and last for hours. I love England because there’s always something fascinating around every corner!

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