Historic West Midlands Guide

by Ben Johnson

Facts about the West Midlands

Population: 2,700,000
Famous for: Centre of British car manufacturing, Ozzy Osbourne, Cadbury’s
Distance from London: 2 hours
Local delicacies: Coventry Godcakes
Airports: Birmingham Airport
Nearby Counties: Staffordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire

The West Midlands may not be an area that you would associate with historic sites, but there are in fact some wonderful surprises to be found here!

Take Lunt Roman Fort as an example. Built in AD60 to support the Roman army in their campaign against Boudica and the Iceni, Lunt Roman Fort has now been fully excavated and is open to the public. The imposing wooden gateway was built in the 1970s with the same tools and equipment as would have been used by the Romans.

Just to the south of Lunt Roman Fort lies Kenilworth Castle, England’s largest castle ruin. Here, in 1575, Queen Elizabeth I came to visit her friend (and possibly lover!) Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. To impress the Queen, Dudley is reputed to have thrown a lavish party lasting 19 days, costing him £1,000 per day and almost bankrupting him in the process.

 

Other historic sites in the West Midlands includes Coventry’s two cathedrals (pictured at the top of this page), one which is a ruined shell as a result from World War II bombing raids. To the north of the West Midlands (and actually within the county of Staffordshire) is the Roman town of Letocetum with the remains of a bath house and Roman inn still visible.

For those interested in industrial history, a trip to Birmingham should definitely be on your intinerary. As well as its historic buildings and warehouses, Birmingham is also home to a host of brilliant museums including the Tyseley Locomotive Works and the Birmingham Gun Barrel Proof House. However, our favourite site of all is the Birmingham Back to Backs, some of the last remaining back-to-back houses in the country and now a museum operated by the National Trust.

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