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Birmingham, the Midlands & the Marches
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Introducing Birmingham, the Midlands & the Marches

Few other places come so close to the dream of England as here, the country's heart. If you're searching for green valleys and chocolate-box villages of wonky timbered houses, the legend surrounding Nottingham's Robin Hood, or stately homes that look like the last lord of the manor just clip-clopped out of the stables, you'll find them here.

You'll also find the relics of centuries of industrial history, best exemplified by the World Heritage–listed mills of Ironbridge and the Derwent Valley. Then there are dynamic cities, including Britain's second-largest, Birmingham: a canal-woven industrial crucible reinvented as a cultural melting pot, with striking architecture and red-hot restaurants, bars and nightlife. And then there are tumbling hills where the air is so clean you can taste it. Walkers and cyclists flock to these areas, particularly the Peak District National Park and the Shropshire Hills, to vanish into the vastness of the landscape.