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Local Places Of Interest

Hagley Hall

Hall lane, Hagley, Stourbridge, DY9 9LG - 01562 882 408.

Palladian architecture built in 1756 taking 4 years at a cost of £23,000 plus £8000 for furnishing.

Built for George Lyttleton and now owned by his descendant the 12th Lord Cobham. The original parkland now undergoing extensive restoration to uncover the original landscaping of follies, water features, Palladian bridges, temple, obelisk etc.

Phone to see when there will be special open days; or events this summer. Perfect wedding venue with civil license as well as St Johns Church.

Black Country Living Museum

Tipton Road, Dudley, West Midlands, DY1 4SQ - 01215 779 643.

Covering 26 acres of former industrial land, the Black Country Living Museum is uniquely placed to tell the story of the creation of the world's first industrial landscape.

Over 50 authentic shops, houses and workshops from around the Black Country have been carefully reconstructed to preserve the character of the region when its manufacturers brought worldwide fame to Black Country Towns. Experience the authentic sights, sounds, smells and tastes from our past.

Take a trip on the tram to explore the canal side village, where you can meet and chat to the costumed characters. Explore the underground mine and enjoy the fairground and working demonstrations.

Wightwick Manor and Gardens

Wightwick Bank, Wolverhampton, WV6 8EE - 01902 761 400.

A Brief History - In 1937 Geoffrey Mander MP did something remarkable - he persuaded the National Trust to accept his home, which was only 50 years old at the time, to be permanently preserved for the nation, although he did have to bribe them with shares in the family paint company.

The house designed by his father Theodore and mother Flora under the influence of the Oscar Wilde's Aesthetic movement, still retained the original William Morris furnishing, a remarkable survival through the Art-Deco purge of fussy Victorian designs. The late Victorian design ethos and its accompanying art by the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood was little valued in the inter and post war years. However, in collaboration with the National Trust, the newly knighted Sir Geoffrey and his wife Rosalie collected paintings, sketches and furnishing associated with Morris, Rossetti, Burne Jones and their contemporaries.

Visiting the garden

With its clipped yew hedges and scented rose beds, the garden mirrors the house's ideal of old England. It was laid out in 1904 by Thomas Mawson under the instruction of Flora Mander.

This family's house portrays life during the Victorian era and is a notable example of the influence of William Morris, with original Morris wallpapers and fabric, De Morgan Tiles, Kemple Glass, and Pre-Raphaelite works of art. The house has splendid Victorian gardens and the outbuildings house stables, a handmade pottery shop, studio workshop and an antiquarian bookshop.

Beyond the hedges are the paddocks and ponds set with fruit trees and shrubs - the perfect place for a picnic. Explore further and you'll find the working kitchen gardens, and also find the wild woodland, home to a very large variety of wildlife and a great place to let of steam.

Moseley Old Hall

Moseley Old Hall Lane, Wolverhampton, WV10 7HY - 01902 782 808.

Find out about the dramatic story of King Charles II hiding from Cromwell's troops at Moseley Old Hall after he fled the battle of Worcester in 1651.

See the bed on which the king slept and the priest hole in which he hid, and hear fascinating stories about what life was like in the 17th Century. You can soak up the atmosphere on one of the popular guided tours. A variety of 17th century plants, a fruit orchard and a striking knot garden adorn the graceful gardens.

Treat yourself in the very popular tea room, with homemade cakes and biscuits or a light lunch. There are also got lots of events, activities and demonstrations for all the family.

Bodenham Arboretum

Wolverley, Kiddminster, Worcs, DY11 5SY - 01562 852 444.

Worcestershires Hidden Garden

A mile long drive winding through undulating countryside gently climbs to the brow of the hills to reveal a secret garden nurtured since 1973. An oasis of plantations, pools and avenues beautifully landscaped including over 3000 special trees and shrubs from all over the world.

Bodenham is an area of outstanding landscape beauty and interest. Its 156 acres contain mature woodland, specimen trees and shrubs and two acres of pools and lakes.

Kinver Rock Houses

Holy Austin Rock House, Compton Road, Kinver, Stourbridge, DY7 6DL.

Kinver Edge is an Iron Age hill fort with a massive rampart and outer ditch along the south west and south east sides, with natural defences on the remaining sides.

Kinver Edge is home to the last troglodyte dwellings occupied in England, with a set of complete cave-houses excavated into the local sandstone. One of the rocks, Holy Austin, was a hermitage until the reformation. The Holy Austin rock houses were inhabited until the 1950s. They are now owned by the National Trust. The cottage gardens and an orchard are being replanted and restored.

Hanbury Hall

School Road, Hanbury, Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire, WR9 7EA - 01527 821 214.

William and Mary style country house, garden and park. Built in 1701 by Thomas Vernon, a lawyer and Whig MP for Worcester. It is a beautiful country house. Inside, a mix of interiors await to be discovered, from the restored Hercules rooms and recreated gothic corridor, to the recently re decorated smoking room and stunning staircase well paintings by Sir James Thornhill which underwent major restoration work in 2010. Surrounding the house are eight hectares (20 acres) of recreated early 18th century gardens and 162 hectares (400 acres) of park. Features include the intricately laid out parterre, fruit garden, grove, orangery, orchard and bowling green. Walks around the park will leave you into the surrounding countryside.

Jinney Ring Craft Centre

Hanbury, Near Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, B60 4BU - 01527 821 272.

Approx 1 Mile From Hanbury Hall

The Jinney Ring is an attractive craft centre found in a set of farm buildings in a beautiful countryside in Hanbury.

It's more than just a craft centre, the whole atmosphere of the place harks back to times gone by. In the summer, you can sit in the beautifully landscaped gardens, with a view of the Malvern Hills, breathing in the peace and quiet save the noise of the ducks. The buildings are converted into craft studios where you can buy unique jewellery, art, pottery, glass, felt and there's even a violin maker. Go along to be inspired and to support these talented local artisans.

Severn Valley Railway

Kidderminster Town Station, Comberton Hill, Kidminster, Worcestershire, DY10 1QX

The journey is full of interest; as the route follows closely the course of the River Severn for most of the way on its journey between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth. A highlight of the journey is the crossing of the River Severn by means of the Victoria Bridge - a massive 200 foot single span, high about the water which, incidentally, features in the film 'The Thirtynine Steps' with Robert Powell in the leading role.

There being few roads in the Severn Valley, some of the views are only visible from the railway. The scenery is varied and largely unspoiled, punctuated by the quaint 'olde worlde' charm of country stations, each one giving ready access to locals villages and riverside walks. A remarkable feature of the railway is that it is very largely run by unpaid volunteers, with a paid staff of around 70 people responsible for administration and commercial activities, plus regular track and rolling stock maintenance. Through the year, volunteers appear on the railway to perform many tasks, including repairing and repainting stations, reconstruction of viaducts and bridges, and rebuilding locomotives and rolling stock not to mention operating the trains.