Warwickshire is one of the English counties most visited by tourists. This stems to a large extent from people wishing to pay homage to the great Elizabethan writer William Shakespeare, but there is plenty more to interest those with an interest in our heritage.
Birmingham, England’s second city, and historic Coventry, were both formerly in the county, but are now in West Midlands.
Birmingham has a wonderful selection of museums and art galleries, miles and miles of canals and the fabulous Bullring shopping centre. Much Victorian innovation came from Birmingham, and it is the home of Cadbury’s chocolate. J.R.R.Tolkien lived in a village nearby, and many of the rural places in “The Lord of the Rings” are based on the nearby countryside.
Coventry suffered enormously during the Second World War, but out of this suffering came one of England’s finest iconic buildings – Sir Basil Spence’s Coventry Cathedral. Coventry has a surprising number of historic buildings, and is the scene of the Lady Godiva legend. Today there is an excellent Transport Museum.
In the leafier parts of the country, there is pre-eminently Stratford-on-Avon. William Shakespeare was born here, and he is buried in the splendid parish church beside the lovely River Avon.
Warwick itself is the home of one of England’s most visited tourist destinations – the sublime Warwick Castle, which was the home of the famous Warwick the Kingmaker. It also has the outstanding parish church of St. Mary’s, whose tower is a landmark for miles.
Leamington, or to give it its full title Royal Leamington Spa, is one of the country’s leading spa towns, with elegant architecture and gardens.
Rugby is an old market town with a famous public school, where “Tom Brown’s Schooldays” was set. Rugby football was invented here in the 19th century, and the town was the birthplace of Rupert Brooke.
The author George Eliot (real name Mary Ann Evans) was born near Nuneaton, and the much-loved but often-mocked TV soap “Crossroads” was set in a fictional Birmingham suburb.