Follow the official advice and enjoy family summer fun in the Midlands
Sponsored editorial: Produced in association with the UK Government
Summer is here and people from across the region can enjoy the many attractions that we have on our doorstep, as long as we follow UK Government advice and enjoy summer safely. There are plenty of places to go and things to do to suit every budget. Here is our guide to the numerous great days out
Central England has so much to offer, from the twin glories of Britain’s oldest university cities Oxford and Cambridge to the honey coloured cottages and quaint villages of the Cotswolds.
From the rolling hills of Shropshire across to the meandering waterways of Norfolk, on the east coast, there are so many places to visit. Among the most popular places to visit is Birmingham, where you can indulge your inner child at Cadbury World, the famous chocolate factory. Home to many architectural gems, the futuristic Library of Birmingham and gleaming Selfridges Bullring shopping centre are two modern triumphs not to be missed. The city is renowned for its dining scene, which ranges from the flavourful family-run
eateries of Balti Triangle to its Michelin-star restaurants.
For something a little different, explore the city by canal boat – Birmingham has more miles of canal than Venice and there’s plenty of beautiful scenery to take in across the city, where you might like to stay for a night or two on your way to the home of Shakespeare, Stratford-upon- Avon. The story of outlaw Robin Hood lives on in Nottingham and beyond.
The city hosts Robin Hood Town Tours to see the sites associated with the folk hero. You can also find fantastic views over the city from the top of Castle Rock, before visiting Nottingham Castle, Kelham Island Museum and Art Gallery to discover how the city came into being. To see Nottingham’s creative side, look no further than The Lace Market.
It’s full of independent cafes, restaurants and shops and for a nature escape, many people make a beeline for Sherwood Forest. Close to Stratford-Upon-Avon is Compton Verney, which is a magnificent 18th mansion with an award-winning gallery and museum, it’s surrounded by 120 acres of parkland which waslandscaped by Lancelot “Capability” Brown. Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust has everything you need to know about visiting the Bard’s hometown.
Think of England and The Cotswolds may well spring to mind. This area of limestone hills is picture-postcard England at its most enchanting. Visitors can explore villages made of honey-coloured stone, sip pints in ancient pubs and see some of Britain’s most beautifully preserved medieval churches.
England and Wales’ largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) straddles Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Wiltshire, Bath and parts of Somerset. There is so much more to enjoy in the Midlands. Enjoy a picnic by the brook in Castle Combe, see quaint stone cottages, a medieval church and plenty of places to shop or enjoy tea make this an enchanting place to explore.
Cirencester is thought of as the capital of the Cotswolds and Oxford is also a convenient gateway to the area which has so much to offer.
A tale of two great cities
A visit to Oxford, which dates back to Saxon times, is a trip into the brains of a nation. Prime Ministers, poets and the one and only Harry Potter all have links to the hallowed halls of the university.
Several scenes from the Harry Potter movies were shot here, some in locations you can visit. The city is home to the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, the first purpose built museum in England, which opened in 1683.
To the city’s east, you’ll find wooded wonderland, the Chilterns – a popular spot for a country getaway. To the west lies the idyllic Cotswolds and to the north, the spectacular Blenheim Palace. For leisurely sightseeing, take a trip on a punt or if you prefer to stick to dry land, take a hop-on and off bus tour.
Fashion lovers, and bargain hunters, can take a trip to nearby designer shopping outlet Bicester Village.
Over in Cambridge there are 31 architecturally stunning colleges. You could spend the day in the bustling market square or punt lazily down the River Cam. Enjoy a relaxing walk through Cambridge University Botanic Garden and enjoy refreshment in one of the town’s many tearooms.
You can also take a trip to the nearby Cambridgeshire Fens for leisurely canal holidays and days messing about in boats
Ensure you are in the know before you go
Summer is here and our colourful countryside, breathtaking beaches and glorious gardens beckon.
Many attractions are reopening, but have restricted visitor numbers and pre-booked time slots, so the UK Government recommends looking at the official websites for attractions and organisations you plan to visit before you travel, so that you’re in the know before you go.
To make your days out as enjoyable as possible, we encourage you to plan your trip in advance and to check all of the important facilities and attractions, while looking after our great outdoors.
To ensure we’re all doing our bit to travel responsibly, here are a few simple steps to help make planning easy.
When planning your trip, check that important facilities – like toilets and car parks – are open before you travel so you’re not caught short. If you have an attraction in mind, please check online to see if you need to pre-book a time slot.
Some places may be extremely popular, so get off the beaten track and discover a hidden gem that you can brag to friends about. Keep two metres apart from anyone outside your household where you can. This applies to walking, running, cycling, sitting and sunbathing too. Wear a face covering at all times when on public transport like buses, trains, taxis and minicabs.
Make sure you have a bank card because many outlets are currently only accepting cashless payments and you don’t want to miss out on that ice cream.
And take hand sanitiser with you – you don’t know where will be open for you to wash your hands.
Leave the car behind where possible and visit attractions by walking or cycling.
Please remember that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have different guidelines, advice and timescales for re-opening tourism.
To help you enjoy summer safely, please check the respective official sources for information prior to travelling by using the website visitbritain.com/know-beforeyou-go
The mark that shows visitors we are good to go in England
With many attractions now beginning to reopen their doors, VisitEngland has come up with a way for people to check whether they are “good to go”.
VisitEngland has launched the We’re Good To Go initiative in partnership with the national tourist organisations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark will provide a “ring of confidence” for visitors as the tourism sector works towards reopening.
The We’re Good To Go mark means businesses can demonstrate that they are adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and checked that they have the required processes in place, ensuring they can welcome visitors back with confidence.
The scheme is free to join and open to all businesses across the industry. Tourism minister Nigel Huddleston said: “I want to encourage the public to experience a great holiday this summer and be confident that they can do so safely.
“This new industry standard will show people that tourism businesses, destinations and attractions are adhering to the guidance. It puts safety first and is an important move in getting this industry back up and running.”
VisitEngland director Patricia Yates said: “With millions of jobs and local economies across the country reliant on tourism it is essential that businesses can get up and running as soon as the respective Government advice allows to capture the peak British summer season.
“We want visitors to be able to enjoy their holidays and to support businesses to be confident they have the correct procedures in place. Our priority is to make sure tourism rebounds to once again become one of the most successful sectors of the UK economy and this ring of confidence is a crucial step on the industry’s road to rebuilding.”
To obtain the mark businesses must complete a self-assessment online platform. This includes a check-list confirming they have put the necessary processes in place, before receiving certification and the We’re Good To Go mark for display in their premises and online.
Businesses across the UK are assessed according to their respective national guidance including the social distancing and cleanliness protocols that must be in place.
The industry standard complements the Know Before You Go initiative.
For more information on staying safe, please go to visitbritain.com/gb/en/knowbefore-you-go