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The Midlands & the Marches

If you're searching for quintessentially English countryside – green valleys, chocolate-box villages of wonky black-and-white timbered houses, woodlands steeped in legend such as Nottinghamshire's Sherwood Forest, and stately homes that look like the last lord of the manor just clip-clopped out of the stables – you'll find it here in the country's heart.

You'll also find the relics of centuries of industrial history, exemplified by the World Heritage–listed mills of Ironbridge and the Derwent Valley, and by today's dynamic cities, including Britain's second-largest, Birmingham: a canal-woven industrial crucible reinvented as a cultural and creative hub, with striking 21st-century architecture and vibrant nightlife. Beyond them are tumbling hills where the air is so clean you can taste it. Walkers and cyclists flock to these pristine areas, particularly the Peak District National Park and the Shropshire Hills in the Marches, along the English–Welsh border, to vanish into the vastness of the landscape.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout The Midlands & the Marches.