Anne Hathaway's Cottege
This well preserved example of early domestic architecture with its picturesque
thatched roof was the home of William Shakespeare's wife before her marriage.
Her family the Hathaways lived here close to the Village of Shottery for some
Black Country Museum
The Black Country,
black by day and red by night, cannot be matched for vast and varied production
by any sphere of equal radius on the surface of the globe--American Consul 1868.
The sights & sounds of the past are waiting at the museum. A living
tribute to the skills and enterprise of the people of the Black Country.
Nail making, chain making, glass cutting, baking, boat building, iron working
Bletchley Park (Code Breaking)
Britain's best-kept secret.) This World War Two, code breaking centre was a
working community during 1939-1945-employing close on 12,000 men and women.
Yet so secret they could not talk to even their loved ones about their work.
It was from here that important German and Japanese codes and ciphers were
broken. It is estimated the work done here ended the war 2 years early and
therefore saved countless thousands of lives. The elegant Victorian
mansion also houses an extensive collection of Churchill memorabilia.
The largest &
grandest house of the First
between 1565 & 1587 by
house is still a family home yet full of superb paintings and antiques, a
treasure to feast upon.
collection is one of the most impressive 17th
painting collections in the world. With over 300 great works on display in the
state rooms, which also includes work by
will allow access to over 18 state rooms filled with superb porcelain from all
and a collection of early
ceramics, together with furniture of the highest quality including a bed once
used by Queen
find time to wander in the grounds, acres of
landscaped by Capability
trees and plenty of space for the youngsters to let off some steam.
Probably owes its
origins to the erection in the 7th Century of an Anglo Saxon convent.
However it was the later Benedictine Abbey founded by Leofric, Earl of Mercia in
the 11th Century that gave the town its impetus to grow. It was granted
its first charter in 1553. The mechanization of the 19th Century brought
the manufacture of sewing machines and bicycles right into the city. The
Daimler company produced the first English motorcar in 1898 and the car industry
increased rapidly, giving rise in turn to aircraft production. It was the
aircraft production Germany came to bomb in 1940, it was a cold November night
in 1940 when much of the city was wiped out by a devastating fire bombing air
raid, thousands of people killed and injured, the Cathedral was also destroyed,
leaving only a tower and a spire standing.
Coventry's Priory Undercroft
Offers a fascinating glimpse into the best preserved remains of Coventry's
original Benedictine Monastery, Dissolved by Henry VIII. Discovered and
Excavated by the Coventry Archaeological Team as part of the Pheonix initiative,
Stone vaulted rooms, a courtyard, doorways and passages are open for visitors to
experience by guided tours.
Crown Derby Pottery
With a history dating back
to 1745, Crown Derby China has a historical and world wide reputation for
beauty, quality and excellence which even now is still celebrated by collectors
The china made today still uses the same skills and techniques handed down
through the generations. Each piece of pottery is the accumulation of
years of craftsmanship and experience.
Enjoy the factory tour as one views at first hand
the working of a piece of clay through to firing and eventual hand decoration.
Hay - on - Wye
The small marches town
of Hay - On - Wye is the Northern most part for the Brecon Beacons national park
and stands on the Southern side of the River Wye. In local terms, the town
was known as "The Hay", Hay meaning a fenced or hedged enclosure. In
Norman times for administration purposes it was divided up into English Hay and
Welsh Hay. In modern times Hay is known throughout the world as the town
Anyone strolling around the town cannot help but notice the
gateway of the Norman Castle which towers above the narrow streets lying beneath
its walls. The history of the town and the castle are inextricably bound
together since William De Breos II, one of the most infamously treacherous of
the Norman Marcher Lords built the present castle in 1200.
The castle and
town during nearly eight hundred years have suffered equally at the hands of the
Welsh patriots, English Lords and reining Monarchs. The Medieval town
walls were erected in 1236 when a grant was received to fortify the town.
There is little trace left of the walls.
In modern times Hay has become
world famous for its second hand and Atiquarian bookshops. Founded by
in 1961 it has grown
steadily to become the worlds largest second hand book centre. At the
present time there are twenty two major bookshops in the town, some specialising
while others carry general stock.
Henley - in - Arden
A delightful old market
town consisting of a High Street 1 mile long with nearly every type of English
domestic architecture represented. Once a stronghold of Plantagenet power,
Henley belonged to the De Mountford Family. When Simon De Mountford was
killed at the Battle of Evesham, Henley was pillaged and burnt to the ground.
Henley has many ancient Inns, among them the White Swan dating from the early
1600s. The most interesting buildings are on the North side of the main
street, the Old George and the Blue Bell inn, part of which is 15th century.
The White House is a good example of a 16th Century dwelling.
High Street narrows, rises the tower of the Church of St John the Baptist.
It is purely 15th Century. The roof has fine stone corbels, tie beams and
unusual queen posts.
Situated close to the
Welsh/English border on the banks of the River Wye. This cathedral city
was founded in about 700A.D. The original fortifications intended to
protect Saxon Hereford from the Welsh. The area is famous for cider
making, the special bitter sweet apples popular in the region are gathered in
the Autumn and delivered to the factories where the process of fermenting,
filtering and blending takes place. There has been a Cathedral at Hereford
since the city was founded, most of the present building dating from the 11/12th
Centuries. The Cathedral owes much to the patronage of King Offa of Mercia
who built the famous Dyke which runs approx 6 miles to the West of the city and
which defined the border between England and Wales. It was Offa who was
responsible for the beheading of King Ethelbert King of East Anglia.
Hereford: whose name
means “Army Ford”
from the Olde
English “Here” (Army) and “Ford” (Ford). An old Roman road
crosses the river at Hereford, so we are sure this is where the name came from.
Recorded in 958 exactly as it is now. The Olde English words accurately
Designed & established by the great horticulturist Major Lawrence Johnston, this
series of small gardens within a whole garden is internationally famous.
Each room as one can call each section has a unique character all of is own and
is separated from its neighbours by walls and hedges of different species.
The garden contains many rare shrubs and trees together with outstanding
herbaceous borders, old roses and plant species from all over the world.
Started as a wooden fortress in 1112 by Geoffrey De Clinton. The Keep which
still stands today was built in 1162. King John visited several times during his
reign. In 1199 the De Clinton family surrendered all rights to the King.
Henry III gave it to his Sister who was married to Simon De Montfort. In
1361 the castle came into the hands of Blanche of the Lancastrian house who then
married John of Gaunt. It was John that transformed the building from a
fortress to a grand castle. The castle passed from John to his son Henry
IV and remained a royal residence till Elizabeth 1st gave it to
Robert Dudley. This was the height of influence at Kenilworth. Queen
Elizabeth visited many times. But after Roberts death the castle went into
slow decline. During the Civil War Cromwell ordered the castle to be
dismantled. After the restoration it passed into the hands of the
Clarendon family who eventually passed it into the care of the state.
A magnificent sight to see, when it’s red sandstone towers, keep and wall glow
brightly in the morning sun.
Walsall has been and
still is the leather capital of Britain. This museum is dedicated to the
thousands of people who have made leather making in Walsall a tradition
stretching back through history. A fully working museum where craftsmen
and women demonstrate their skills in this ancient craft in workshops of an
original factory building.
Standing on a ridge
running parallel to the nearby Malvern hills. This ancient town is midway
between Hereford and Tewkesbury. The market place is dominated by a
delightful black and white house timbered in herringbone pattern raised on 16
columns of oak timber. It was built between 1617 and 1655. Cobbled church lane connects the market place and the church and epitomises Tudor and
Stuart streets. Its half timbered houses with overhanging upper stories
and a lived in air enhances the beauty of the area.
A very pleasant small
very English town. Made famous by the cathedral which sits in a lovely
close just on the edge of town. The close contains some fine buildings,
including the Deanery dating from the time of William and Mary. The
Bishops House and the Palace dating back to 1687 and which is now used as the
Cathedral School. These superb buildings surround the Cathedral and
together with the most attractive lawns provide a wonderful back drop to the
Cathedral architecture. It is said by many to be the most complete close
of any English Cathedral. The town as a cobbled market square, narrow
streets and many links with Dr Johnson, (his birthplace on the corner of
Breadmarket Street) in Beacon Street is the house where Dr Erasmus Darwin lived
(grandfather of Charles). At the far end of market square is a memorial to
Edward Wightman, who was burnt at the stake there for heresy on 11th April 1612,
the last person so to die in England. A commercial town rather than
industrial with strong links with the land. Obvious when its position set
in the midst of rolling countryside is considered.
Lichfield not an
English word but much older, probably Celtic in origin, meaning Grey Forest from
two words related to the modern Welsh Llwyd
(Grey) and Coed
(Wood, forest). the name was first recorded in the 4th Century as
Letoceto (Roman). In year 730 as Liccidfeld and Lichesfeld in
The castle was built in
1085 by either the Earl of Shrewsbury Robert
Montgomery or Roger De Lacy. Built to ward off those marauding Welsh
natives. The massive structure stands today much as it did when it was
built and seen by Edward IV, Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII's brother Prince
Arthur who died here.
The massive structure
stands today much as it did when it was built and seen by Edward IV, Catherine
of Aragon and Henry VIII's brother Prince Arthur who died here. The parish
Church of St Laurence is one of the largest parish Churches in England.
Largely 15th Century. Interesting Misericords in the church choir. The
East window in the Chancel is 30ft high by 18ft wide and depicts the life,
history and miracles of the patron Saint in 27 separate scenes containing approx
300 figures. The finest thoroughfare in Ludlow is broad street where every
building dates back to the 14/15th Centuries. Tucked into a yard off Church Street is the Rose and
Crown first licensed in the 16th century. The Feathers Hotel in the bull
ring is a lovely 17th Century half timbered building. it is believed the
entrance door is more than 300 years old. Few towns in England have as
much to show for their history as Ludlow. Enjoy it in the time you have.
New Art Gallery, Walsall
Opened in February
2000, this new Millennium Gallery was made possible by a grant of nearly 16
million pounds from the National Lottery. Built to contain the wonderful
Garman-Ryan collection donated in 1973 to the people of Walsall by Lady Kathleen
Garman widow of the sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein. A superb collection
containing works by Matisse, Modigliani, Picasso, Augustus John, Epstein himself
to name a few, plus many more items donated by friends of the sculptor.
Lady Epstein was always anxious that the collection should find its home
somewhere in the West Midlands where she had been born. not in London which she
considered already had enough cultural riches. Walsall therefore became
the proud caretaker of this important collection
and an important market town.
its centre is the market place where the
built in 1671 dominates.
church built in 1402.
are in Priestgate
on the corner of which is the three storied
was built in the 1930s in a mock
Peterborough:first mentioned in a document of 750 as
settlement probably meaning homestead by the
years later the settlement was destroyed by the
but was rebuilt in the 10th
book the place was simply known as
a document of the 12th
defines the name as Medeshamstede
(taking the meaning to be
which is now only called
1333 the city became known as “Petreburgh”
One of the most ancient
places in England. Very important during the 8th Century when it was the
principal home of the Kings of Mercia. The first recorded documentation of
a village was in 674. Recent excavations in the Churchyard have also
uncovered the existence of a mass grave of something like 150 warriors. It
is believed they may have been part of the Anglo Saxon army defeated by the
Vikings in 874A.D. when they set up winter quarters here. The village now
famous for its school (three Archbishops of Canterbury this century are
connected with the school) William Temple, Geoffrey Fisher were both headmasters
& Michael Ramsey a pupil. The first view of the school is dominated by the
local church and close by the Augustinian Priory built in the 12/13th Centuries.
St. Wystan's Church is the home of a Crypt which is possibly one of the most
important Anglo Saxon pieces of architecture surviving in England. The
crypt is of exceptional interest, it has a vaulted ceiling in nine bays
supported on round arches. Originally built to become the final resting
place of the Mercian Kings the crypt below the church has been shown to be a
simple mausoleum for the Anglo Saxon Kings, Ethelbald (757) Wiglaf (840) and of
course his grandson Wystan murdered in 849. It is believed to have been
converted into a shrine for pilgrims after the burial there of St Wystan in 850.
It is written a column of light shot to heaven from the place where he was
murdered & remained visible for 30 days. Sir John Betjeman once described
the crypt as "holy air encased in stone". Evidence now exists into
believing that parts of the chancel and nave do date back to the time of
Ethelbald and Wiglaf, with other parts of the church dating from the 13th and
Is one of the best
preserved Medieval towns in the country, probably dating back to the 5th Century
when the residents of Wroxeter (Roman-Viroconium) were looking for a more easily
defended position during the uneasy years after the Romans left. It was
just 5 miles from their town to this near island situated in a loop in the River
Severn. It is thought they carried the stone from their village and built
a new village here. The name Shrewsbury is thought to have come into use
during the 8th Century when the town became part of the Kingdom of Mercia.
Scrobbesbyrig, the Anglo Saxon name probably meant the fortified place of a man
called Scrobb. The town grew in importance during the Middle Ages as an
important crossing of the river and is rich in history as many of its buildings
The Manor of Southwell was given to the Archbishop of
in 956. It was not long before a college of Canons was formed and as a
collegiate church served as a outpost of York until 1840, when it was reduced to
little more than a Parish Church. However in 1884 it became the See for a
new Diocese covering both Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. Eventually
Derbyshire became a separate Diocese but Southwell had now become a Cathedral in
its own right. The earliest church on the site was Saxon but nothing
remains of this building except a small area of tessellated pavement in the
South Transept. The Western Towers, Nave, Central Tower and Transepts
remain very much as they where built in the 12th Century. The
early English Quire was completed about 1250 and replaced an earlier Norman
original. The Chapter House is exceptional. It is octagonal and only 31ft
in diameter, no central pillar and the vault is a remarkable star design.
If one looks outside one will see massive buttresses taking the strain of this
wonderfully unsupported vault. The Minster is set in a lovely grassed
churchyard and is remarkably well preserved for a mostly Norman building.
The Minster is well loved by the community and serves both as a busy Parish
Church and Diocese
Stratford upon Avon
Situated on the West
bank of the River Avon. Many 15th and 16th Century timber framed houses
still exist and in many of its streets the essential character of a thriving
market town still purveys. However it can not be denied that it is justly
famous because on or about 23rd April 1564 William Shakespeare was born here and
a few days later baptised at the Parish Church of Holy Trinity. There is
however evidence of a Bronze age settlement in the area and a Romano British
village. A Monastery was founded in Anglo Saxon days and by the year 1196
the town was granted the right to hold a weekly market.
The town name means
ford by a Roman road. In this case over the River Avon and the Roman road
is the one joining the Roman settlements of Alcester and Tiddington. The
ford was actually at the point where Bridgefoot Crosses the River now.
The name was recorded as Stretford approx 700 years ago.
Shakespeare Birthplace Museum
The Cottage was the childhood home of William
Shakespeare. The cottage is authentically furnished throughout with both
original and replica items from this time period of his life. To the rear
is a lovely garden and adjoining is a superb exhibition charting his
professional and private life including a first edition of his colleted plays
published in 1623.
This quiet town
built largely of mellowed local stone has a long and historic background.
times it was the selected capital of the
area and one of the original five
of the Danelaw.
town charter was granted by
in 1254 but received quite allot of damage during the
of the Roses
in the 15th
does have the finest collection of
of any small town in
and really does try to keep them all open;
together with excellent examples of
also as a profusion of groups of
(provided for old
locally as “Callises”
these where built by rich wool merchants.
The oldest building in Stamford
founded in the 7th
supposedly the biggest
ever is buried in St
he died in 1839 and at the time of his death he was 5ft 11inches tall, with a
waist of 9feet 4inches but weighed 53 stone.
Built at the end of the
19th Century for Baron Ferdinand De Rothschild to entertain his
guests and display his vast collection of art treasures. The French
renaissance style Chateau Houses possibly one of the finest collections of
French 18th Century decorative arts in the world, carpets, porcelain,
tapestries, furniture, portraits, gold boxes, buttons and a superb choiseul
sevres dessert service. Landscaped Victorian gardens surround the house
and add a touch of elegance to the whole landscape.
The town has a long
history with its first Charter awarded in 1159. The roll of town mayors
goes back to 1377 and its association with the Earls of Warwick depicted by the
towns coat of arms which incorporates the Warwick crest of the bear and ragged
staff. The crypt of the church on the hill St Matthews dates back to the
early 13th Century. Originally the town grew up around the base of the
hill with the church the dominant feature. Famous for centuries as the
centre of the leather industry the street market again on the hill has stood
there for nearly a thousand years and is still held on three days of the week,
it is one of the best open air markets in the country. Walsall is also
famous for its connections with John Wesley and of course Bishop Francis Asbury
(founding father of the American Methodist Church) who was born and lived just a
few minutes from the town. Now a thriving Black Country town with diverse
industry and commerce, during the 19th Century it was known as a town with a
Opened in February 2000, this new Millennium gallery was made possible by a
grant of nearly 16 million pounds from the national lottery. Built to
contain the wonderful Garman-Ryan collection donated in 1973 to the people of
Walsall by Lady Kathleen Garman widow of the sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein. A
superb collection containing works by Matisse, Modigliani, Picasso, Augustus
John, Epstein himself to name a few. Plus many more items donated by
friends of the sculptor. Lady Epstein was always anxious that the
collection should find its home somewhere in the West Midlands where she had
been born. Not in London which she considered already had enough cultural
riches. Walsall therefore became the proud caretaker of this important
The town stands on a
North rise from the River Avon which is crossed by two bridges, Castle Bridge
and the old bridge in the castle grounds. It was this dominant situation
that accounted for its early importance. Apart from the castle the most
impressive piece of architecture left in the town is the lovely 14th Century
Church of St Mary with its 174ft tower and pinnacle. Situated on the site
of an early Norman church. A number of the Beauchamp family who held the
title Earls of Warwick are buried here, the Beauchamp Chapel is incomparable.
Some most delightful pre 1694 houses are to be found in Castle Street.
Outstanding is the isolated timbered house of Thomas Okam which carefully
restored is now the doll museum. Most famous of all the remaining Medieval
houses is Lord Leycester`s Hospital, pre 14th Century, situated by Warwicks West
Gate, originally the Guild House of St George. Certainly one of the most
unspoilt county towns in England.
Warwick must compare
favourably with any of the great fortress houses of Europe. The outlines
of the original motte or keep with its bailey which included the domestic
buildings are still visible. None of the present buildings however date
back before the 13th Century. The outstanding buildings are Caesar's
Tower, the gatehouse or clock tower, Guys Tower which is 128ft high and the
South range living quarters dramatically set above the winding river. The
gardens were laid out by Capability Brown who began work in 1753. The old
bridge across the Avon was built late in the 14th Century and has romantically
Founded in 1759 by Josiah Wedgwood. In time Wedgwood would revolutionise the
pottery industry the world over. The Wedgwood visitor centre brings
together all the developments from the stunning early works in the museum right
through to the modern methods used today but still based on crafts passed on
through the centuries. Take your time on the factory tour, spend sometime
in the demonstration area, see the artistic designs of yester-year then maybe a
special purchase in the shop.
town first mentioned in the
book and granted market rights by
in 1201. Sheep
have many old buildings and a 15th
tithe barn. The two old inns are the
stayed at the Hind
on his way to the Battle
during the Civil
Two churches of note:
standing in a tree shaded
parts dating back over 600years, the roof, screens and stalls with misericords
are all 15th
also has a fine East
built by Sir
with a typical brilliantly coloured interior.
Wellingborough: a name that actually means “fortified place of
first recorded in the doomsday book as
Built on the site of a
Cistercian Abbey, this superb 18th Century mansion stands in 3,000
acres of parkland where some 1,000 deer roam. Since 1574 it has been the
home of the Dukes of Bedford. It is presently occupied by the Marques &
Marchioness of Tavistock and their family. The house is complete with many
works of art in a collection consisting of Canaletto, Rembrandt, Van Dyck,
Reynolds and Gainsborough. In the Canaletto room are 21 views of Venice by
Antonio Canale. The collection is further enhanced by English and French
period furniture together with English, continental and oriental porcelain.
14 state apartments are on view and some private apartments when not in use by
Worcester a city with a
river, cathedral, famous pottery and history around every corner. Situated
in the centre of the county and built on the banks of the River Severn.
The area has known many marauding armies using the town as a base and river
crossing. Romans, Anglo Saxons, Danes and the Welsh have all contributed
to its colourful history. The Civil War inflicted terrible damage, it was
the first city to declare for the King and the last to surrender in 1646.
It also saw in 1651 the final battle for Cromwell when Charles I was completely
defeated. The Cathedral was started in 1084 and is a beautiful place of
worship. Many interesting houses are situated in the city some dating back
over 500 years, however today the cities main claim to fame must surely be the
home of the Royal Worcester Porcelain works situated near the Cathedral right in
the centre of the city.
Web Link to
Famous for its bone
china since 1751 when its founder Dr John Wall promised, "porcelain so precise
as to be easily distinguished from other known English Porcelain". the company
has been in continuous production ever since. The Dyson Perrins museum
houses the worlds largest collection of Worcester Porcelain including pieces
made during the first year of production. A feast for the eyes to feed
upon whether a connoisseur or just a lover of fine artistry.