Things to Do in West Midlands
The medieval market town of Stratford-upon-Avon is the birthplace of iconic wordsmith William Shakespeare. Visitors can follow in the literary giant’s footsteps by exploring some of his homes and gardens—there are five in town, each offering a fascinating insight into Shakespeare’s life and works.
Alton Towers is a theme park in central England that is famous for its hair-raising rides. Opened in the 1980s, the park quickly became one of the most popular days out in the UK. Visit to enjoy a variety of roller coasters and a water park, as well as mini golf and other family-friendly fun.
With more than 1,000 machines from 170 manufacturers, the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham has the world’s largest collection of British motorcycles. Visitors can gain insight into British engineering, learn about the vehicle’s history, and see motorcycles from classic models to 21st-century superbikes up close.
Overlooking the River Avon in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Holy Trinity Church was where William Shakespeare was baptized and buried. One of England’s most-visited churches, it draws visitors wanting to see the grave of England’s greatest bard—and those of family members—as well as its medieval and Victorian architecture.
Just outside the city center, Winterbourne House and Garden is a natural oasis and time capsule of the Edwardian arts and crafts era. The restored home is filled with antiques and historic timepieces, and the surrounding 7-acre (3-hectare) botanical gardens contain more than 6,000 plant species from across the globe.
The Peak District became Britain’s first national park in 1951 and remains one of its most popular outdoor destinations. From fertile farmland and stately homes to towering peaks and underground caves, there’s much to explore across the 143,700-hectare park, including the beginning of Britain’s best-known trail, the Pennine Way.
The perfect destination for chocolate lovers, Cadbury World offers a behind-the-scenes look at the making of one of Britain’s most famous chocolate brands: Cadbury. Located on the site of the original Cadbury factory in Bournville, it’s a fun family attraction with interactive exhibits and chocolate-making demonstrations.
Brimming with interactive science and technology displays, Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum is home to everything from talking robots and steam engines to a planetarium and marine life gallery. The hands-on exhibits span four stories inside the Millennium Point building, and offer entertainment and education for visitors of all ages.
There are few places more fitting to watch one of Shakespeare’s plays than in Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of the iconic playwright. The town’s most prestigious venue is undoubtedly the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the official home of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Built in 1932, the theatre was designed by Elisabeth Scott, one of Britain’s first female architects.
Inhabitants at the National Sea Life Centre range from penguins and otters to piranhas and jellyfish, displayed in antarctic pools and rain forest habitats. At the dynamic center, viewers can learn about marine life from around the globe in a series of exhibits such as an underwater tunnel, tropical forest, and penguin enclosure.
More Things to Do in West Midlands
Birmingham’s historic Pen Museum celebrates the city’s instrumental role in expanding communication and literacy worldwide. Set in a 19th-century Renaissance-style factory that once manufactured the majority of the world’s pens, the museum offers educational exhibits and interactive workshops.
This property in Shakespeare’s hometown was built in 1596 by the grandfather of Harvard University benefactor, John Harvard. Currently closed for conservation, the building’s ornate facade can still be enjoyed from the outside and keen-eyed history buffs may spot a few hidden features that reveal its fascinating origins.
Originally built for a Welsh prince in the 13th century, Powis Castle is now one of Britain’s finest stately homes. Behind the red sandstone façade, which is surrounded by spectacular Baroque gardens and a deer park, visitors can explore elaborately decorated 17th century dining halls and state rooms, before admiring the collection of Indian artefacts in the Clive Museum.
Encompassing a zoo with 100 animals and a theme park, Drayton Manor Park is the ultimate family day out. Preschoolers go wild for the Thomas the Tank Engine-themed Thomas Land, while older children and adults can enjoy the exhilarating rides and roller coasters, from the Apocalypse drop tower to the swinging Bounty pirate ship.
LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Birmingham combines massive collections of LEGO® bricks with amusement park–style action to create the ultimate LEGO playground. At the park, designed for kids ages 3 to 10, families can enjoy LEGO-themed rides, explore a LEGO re-creation of Birmingham’s top attractions, and practice their skills in the build and test zone.