Forget any lingering stereotypes of gloomy post-war towns and industry-scarred landscapes; the Midlands encompass some of England’s most striking scenery, with an impressive history to boot. To the north is the untamed beauty of the Peak District, the first national park in the UK and home to wild moors, dramatic gorges and pretty villages. Further south lie the gently rolling Derbyshire Dales, whose Unesco-listed cotton mills kick-started the Industrial Revolution. To the east are legendary Sherwood Forest and the vibrant, boutique-filled city of Nottingham.
If it all sounds and looks a bit familiar, that’s because it is: Jane Austen, Lord Byron, George Eliot and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are among the many writers to have found inspiration among the region’s crags, castles and caverns, and Hollywood filmmakers flock to its stately homes to shoot blockbusters such as Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter and The Duchess. Spend a few days here and you'll soon see why.