The Heart of England for our purposes covers the West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire and North Oxfordshire. You'll often hear it called simply "The Midlands". When waxing lyrical, people always define areas as being "varied" but Goodness, Guarding Ludlow Castleis that true about our neck of the woods! A coastline is about the only natural feature you won't find here and whatever period you want to look at in English history, then the Heart of England will have played a part.

We've the largest piece of Roman building remaining in Britain (at Wroxeter) and a Saxon Chapel (Odda'sWroxeter Chapel at Deerhurst). Want mediaeval castles? How about the stately opulence of Warwick Castle or the romantic ruins of Kenilworth or Ludlow Castles.

Literature ... ? Well, you can't really top having Shakespeare as a local!   But just in case that's not enough, we've also given the world David Garrick (Hereford), Samuel Johnson (Lichfield), George Eliot (Nuneaton & Coventry) and Ellis Peters (Shrewsbury) to name Dr.Johnsonbut a few.

Cathedrals ... ? The "triple jewels" of the Midlands,'  the cathedrals of Worcester, Hereford and Gloucester are as beautiful as any in England. But the unusual baroque of Birmingham, the three spires of Lichfield and Coventry's emotive old and new together all add to the mix.

Historical set pieces ... ? We were central to the Baron's War,  Wars of the Roses, Gunpowder Plot and the English Civil War and traces of conflicts from the Roman invasion to World War II are here to be discovered.

Of course the Midlands is truly the cradle of the Industrial Revolution which changed the world, a place where minds like Boulton, Watt, Newcomen and Wedgwood worked.  Today, their heritage can be experienced in lively, informative and entertaining attractions like the Black Country Living Museum at Dudley and the collection of Ironbridge Gorge Museums in Shropshire. And just to prove that guiding is as much about the present and future as it is about the past, if you want to see what a rejuvenated, go-ahead Picadilly Arcade, Birminghamcity can look like, then take a look around the centres of Birmingham, Stoke-on-Trent, Coventry or Wolverhampton for starters and prepare to be amazed and impressed. 

And as you'd expect in the home territory of Elgar and Holst (not to mention The Move, Slade and ELO)  there's no shortage of arts and entertainment to be enjoyed here, too.   Birmingham's Symphony Hall and NEC Arena vie with the Cultural Quarter in Stoke and the historic ambience of Worcester, Gloucester and Hereford, taking it in turns to host the Three Choirs Festival.

So add another dimension to your visit with the experience and knowledge of a Blue Badge Guide.



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