Romans, Shakespeare and the Industrial Revolution have all left their mark on Central England. Cities such as Coventry, Gloucester, Warwick and Norwich are dominated by majestic castles or glorious cathedrals. Picturesque villages punctuate the undulating countryside, mineral water gushes from the steep Malvern Hills and a canal network criss-crossed the region from the Black Country to the Fens.
Central England includes the counties of Nottinghamshire (Nottingham), Northamptonshire (Northampton), Norfolk (Norwich), Leicestershire (Leicester), West Midlands (Birmingham, Coventry, Bromsgrove), Buckinghamshire (Milton Keynes), Warwickshire (Warwick), Hereford and Worcester (Evesham, Great Malvern), Gloucestershire (Tewkesbury, Gloucester, Cheltenham) and Shropshire (Shrewsbury). The region stretches from the Malvern Hills in the west to the Norfolk coast in the east. Its southern border is Bedfordshire and its northern border is Staffordshire.
Birmingham - Shopping at the Bullring and delicious Balti curries.
Cheltenham - Discover the Regency spa town, now famous for its festivals, and a gateway to the beautiful Cotswolds.
Coventry - Graceful Coventry Cathedral and the longest art gallery in Europe - the Canal Art Trail.
Great Malvern - Visit nearby Eastnor Castle, walk the Malvern Hills and see a play in Malvern Theatre.
Milton Keynes - New-town architecture and contemporary art in MK Gallery.
Nottingham - Robin Hood's hide-out and Wollaton Hall's imposing Tudor towers.
Norwich - Historic covered markets and modern architecture at The Forum and Sainsbury Centre.
Warwick - Jousting knights at Warwick Castle and cutting-edge arts at Warwick Arts Centre.
Central England offers a wealth of wonderful walking opportunities. Follow the Cotswold Way through honey-coloured villages (Chipping Campden, Broadway), steep hills and narrow river valleys. Discover East Anglia's wide skies and beautiful coastline (Holkham Bay, Blakeney Point). Visit the Black Country around Wolverhampton to ride the canals through the former powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution.
Head further north for 'Those blue-remembered hills' of Shropshire immortalised by English poet, A.E.Housman and to see powerful Chirk Castle, from which the English kept the Welsh in check. Trace the path of legendary outlaw Robin Hood in leafy Sherwood Forest or visit Shakespeare Country, stopping to pay your respects at the Bard's grave in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon.