|The Royal Shakespeare Theatre on the River Avon.|
The area known as the Heart of England has the UK’s second-biggest city (Birmingham), and is promoting itself as a major shopping destination. For example, the Birmingham branch of Selfridges is covered in 15,000 spun aluminum discs, and the store is frequently listed as a destination in its own right. There is also a Harvey Nichols store, and plenty of small boutiques to explore.
|Warwick Castle was built by William the Conqueror in 1068.|
Some attractions in the area include Stratford-upon-Avon (famous as Shakespeare’s birthplace, and the home of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the newly opened Arden Hotel, see page 86), Nottingham (great for Robin Hood fans), Warwick Castle, Kenilworth Castle and George Washington’s family’s ancestral home (which is now half owned by the U.S.). Coventry Cathedral is a popular attraction as well: The 14th-century building was nearly destroyed in World War II, so a new modernist cathedral was constructed nearby. One can gaze down at the new cathedral from the tower of the old.
Good to know: Several airlines offer direct flights to Birmingham from Newark. A high-speed rail connection is in the works between London and Birmingham that will reduce travel time to 45 minutes, making each city an easy day trip from the other.