Tourism in the Midlands – part 1
Over the past century there has been a decline in the number of jobs available in the region in the manufacturing industry. As well as there being times this has caused major period where there have been levels of high unemployment, there has also been a rise in the number of jobs in the service industries.
In particular, tourism has arrived in the Midlands and this has helped to replace the lost revenue that has been experienced as a result of the disappearance of many manufacturing industries. Many government schemes have resulted in the re-generation of the old industrial and inner-city sites and this in itself has helped to boost the tourist industry.
A good example of this has been the regeneration of the canal areas. Previously, canals such as the Staffordshire and Worcester Shire Canal and the Trent and Mersey Canal were built to transport materials for the pottery industries in Stoke-on-Trent to both Liverpool and Bristol.
Today these canals form the Four Counties Ring that gives holiday makers the opportunity to enjoy the canal while traveling for a week along the 109-mile route that takes in the industrial heartland of the midlands. Many of the people on these trips will take the opportunity to visit Stoke-on-Trent.
Despite having the reputation as being one of the least desirable cities to live in the country, the Potteries is today celebrating the city’s industrial history. There are a number of museums in the region such as the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Hanley and the Etruria Industrial Museum on the Caldon Canal.
Old pottery companies now have factory shops and visitor centres. The Wedgewood museum and the Royal Stafford are two such outlets that have attracted many visitors into the area. The regeneration of the park and green areas in Stoke by the local authorities is further evidence of the desire to get the most out of the benefits that can be gained from tourists.
Canals criss-cross the Midlands and another one of these waterways the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal takes tourists into the heart of Stratford and Shakespeare country. The canal was originally built to take people and goods from Dudley and Stourbridge to London. It has been restored and many of its users will visit Stratford.
The Warwickshire town is the birth place of the playwright William Shakespeare and is visited by 2.5 million tourists each year. A favoured destination is the Royal Shakespeare Theatre which is not far from the seting of the original premises that were built in 1769 to host “the Bard’s” plays. The current building was opened in 1932 and has a capacity for 1400 people.
The Royal Shakespeare Company perform over 20 productions every year. They combine regularly appearing in the theatre with touring the country. The Company employs over 1000 staff and the influence of Shakespeare is felt all over the town with many galleries, shops and museums being linked to the playwright.
The town is only 8 miles south-west of Warwickshire’s county town, Warwick. The town is famed for its castle that was built by the Normans after its conquest in 1066. It is an ancient town that is surrounded by town walls that were built by the Earl of Warwick in 1088.
The town has a rich cultural heritage with Warwick school being the oldest surviving boy’s school in the country. There are many music and art festivals that take place each year in the area and it is one of the most attractive county towns in the country.
Many summer visitors take advantage of the nearby Warwick Racecourse that takes advantage of the long summer days with evening race meetings. The main destination however, is Warwick Castle, which gets over half a million visitors each year and is rated as one of the best castles in the country to visit.