Things to Do in West Midlands
With a history dating back more than 1,000 years and a serene setting on the banks of the River Avon, the Holy Trinity Church has long been renowned as one of England’s most beautiful and most visited parish churches. An architectural highlight of Stratford-upon-Avon, the Grade I listed church dates in part from the 13th century and is celebrated for its fine Clopton Chapel, Victorian stained glass windows and series of 26 ornately decorated misericords, as well as a first edition 1611 King James Bible on display.
The lavish interiors are impressive enough, but for most visitors the main draw to the Holy Trinity is its connection with William Shakespeare. The iconic playwright was famously born in Stratford-upon-Avon and was both christened and buried at the church. Visitors can view Shakespeare’s Grave for a small fee, as well as the graves of Anne Hathaway, Dr John Hall and his wife Susanna, and Thomas Nash.
An idyllic expanse of grassy peaks, rugged peat moors and stone-brick villages; the Peak District National Park became Britain’s first national park back in 1951 and remains one of the country’s most visited regions. With over 555 square miles (1,438 square kilometers) to explore, it’s an obvious choice for lovers of the outdoors and the vast network of hiking, cycling, horse riding and climbing routes include famous long distance trails like The Pennine Way.
Additional highlights of the Peak District National Park include the Castleton Caves; the 2,087-foot (636-meter) peak of Kinder Scout; and Chatsworth House, the magnificent estate of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Other popular destinations include the town of Bakewell, renowned for its Bakewell Tarts; the Georgian spa town of Buxton; and the historic village of Eyam, known for its fascinating plague history.
With its gabled roof, oak beams and elaborately carved façade, the Harvard House is undeniably attractive, and it’s long been touted as one of Stratford-upon-Avon's most beautiful buildings. The Elizabethan-era town house was built in 1596 by local businessman Thomas Rogers and is now a Grade I listed property, remarkably preserved and decorated in period style. The Harvard House takes its name from Rogers’ grandson, John Harvard, who went on to found America’s famous Harvard University. Although he never lived in the property, the house is none-the-less an intriguing link between Harvard’s family and William Shakespeare, who lived just down the street. Today, the house is preserved as a museum and offers a fascinating glimpse into Elizabethan life. Visitors can explore the three floors, where exhibitions chronicle the property’s history and life in Elizabethan and Tudor times, including fun hands-on activities for children.
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