Sightseeing in the East Midlands
The cities and market towns that the East Midlands encompasses are rich in history and culture. There is a wealth of things to see and do from historical areas, castles and cathedrals to spectacular outdoor settings, parks, and film locations to visit. Plus there's sporting activities to take part in or watch such as the Grand Prix at Silverstone.
If you are a history buff, perhaps the best place to start your visit is the city of Nottingham. This historic area boasts the legend of the famous Robin Hood and you can see his statue at Nottingham Castle. Also well worth a visit is Lincoln Cathedral which was used as a location in the film The Da Vinci code as well as other period productions like ‘Elizabeth - The Golden Age’. Lincoln Castle is also an interesting place to go to and has one of the Magna Carta copies displayed here, of which there are only three other copies in existence.
Visit East Midlands famous TV locations
The East Midlands has also graced the silver screen in many other productions so keep an eye out for locations from famous television and film productions, one of the most important being Chatsworth House, perhaps better known as the Darcy Estate which featured in the Pride and Prejudice movie.
Visit East Midlands traditional market towns
The market towns set in the East Midlands not only give you a taste of traditional English life but each one is also steeped in history and has its own tale to tell! The spa town of Buxton is famous for the mineral water it produces from the baths first built here by the Romans. Bakewell is known for its delicious pudding, the Bakewell Tart, which can be tasted at the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop. Melton Mowbray is renowned for its food produce, the Melton Mowbray pie, which are available at Ye Old Pork Pie Shoppe amongst many other outlets.
Spalding is also a beautiful place to visit thanks to its cultivation of flowers, particularly tulips which makes it the centre of the UK flower industry. The town has a lovely waterfront which you can walk along watching the River Welland flow by.
Birdwatching & Nature Reserves in the East Midlands
Animal and nature lovers may want to head to Frampton Marsh where the RSPB reserve can be found. This is home to various bird species which come and go by season. Another good place for birdwatchers is Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve which is set alongside the Lincolnshire Coast and has large stretches of sand and rugged scenery perfect for walking.
Activity breaks in the East Midlands
Active holidaymakers can take their pick from things to do in the East Midlands, whether mountain climbing, sailing, walking, horseriding or watersports. Plus, for those of you who are a little more daring, the best way to see the beauty of the heart of England would be from up high by paragliding! The Peak District National Park is a good place to start which has amazing scenery and greenery as far as the eye can see, perfect for getting out and about and great for photo opportunities.
Car and racing enthusiasts must make sure to see the world’s largest collection of racing cars at the Donington Grand Prix Exhibition in Derby. For some live action, Silverstone hosts everything from the British Superbike Championships as well as being home to the Formula 1 British Grand Prix.
Fun Seekers in the East Midlands
With a fantastic choice of places to shop, eat out, have drinks and party into the night, not to mention the beautiful great outdoors, East Midlands has it all. If you’re into getting active then choose from walking, cycling, watersports and golf and take in the impressive countryside scenery that surrounds you. If you’re into thrills you could even try your hand a being a racing driver on a driving experience day at Silverstone – the home to Formula 1 British Grand Prix, or sit back and watch how the professionals do it. Car lovers should also head to the Donington Grand Prix Exhibition with over 100 racing cars including ones driven by Mansell, Moss and Senna.
Nottingham is a lively city when the night kicks in with some top venues like the Trent FM Arena and Rock City playing live music whether local bands just starting out or international superstars on tour. If you’d prefer to have a cocktail and go somewhere to dance there’s plenty of places to choose from including trendy bars and buzzing nightclubs playing everything from pop to dance. During the summer months in particular, the Brayford Waterfront area in Lincoln is bustling with bars, cafes and restaurants which has a lively atmosphere or if you’re into bands then try The Engine Shed. Derby is also a good night out and a good place to taste some real ale during one of the popular CAMRA festivals that are held in January and July.
There is food catering to every palate in the East Midlands with quality restaurants in all the major cities and towns and plenty of small eateries serving local delicacies too. If you want to taste the local produce then look of for the Tastes of Lincolnshire flag in menus in Lincoln, the Cathedral Quarter in particular provides a great setting for specialty dining. Spice it up a bit by eating out down Belgrave Road in Leicester which is fondly known as the Golden Mile with is vast choice of Indian restaurants serving delicious cuisine.
Shopaholics really will be spoilt for choice in the East Midlands as there is everything you could imagine from shoe shops, jewellery stores, vintage boutiques offering designer classics and high street favourites. Nottingham has been rated in the top 5 shopping destinations in the UK, perhaps because it is home to Paul Smith, the world famous designer and you can head to his fantastic flagship store near Bridlesmith Gate where you will find even more designer labels.
If you prefer everything under one roof then Leicester’s Highcross shopping centre is the place for you. This brand new addition to the city brings in John Lewis and Debenhams amongst many more so gives you a huge choice of different brands plus lots of places to eat and relax your feet after a day of bargain hunting. The Westfield centre in Derby also has all the best high street retailers in one spot together with places to eat and drink and even a cinema. For something different try St Martin's Square in Leicester which is a thriving cosmopolitan area offering quirky original shops that are perfect for finding gifts to take home. The Belgrave Road, selling sarees and jewellery, is a bright, colourful shopping experience well worth a visit too.
Family Fun in the East Midlands
With the buzzing cities of Nottingham, Derby, Lincoln and Leicester and bustling market towns nestled in amongst the beautiful British scenery there is plenty of family fun to be had in the East Midlands!
Have a day out of the National Space Centre in Leicester which is a fascinating experience including interactive exhibits and the UK’s largest planetarium. If your little ones (or even perhaps yourself) have dreamed of being a train driver, then you can make this a reality with a ‘drive a train experience’ on board East Midlands award winning railway, Great Central Railway, designated a quality assured visitor attraction by Enjoy England. Trains run between Loughborough and Leicester and they regularly run family day events such as the Santa special at Christmas.
During the summer months take advantage of the fine weather by enjoying some outdoor entertainment, Lincoln Castle for example stages outdoor concerts and musical shows and the Victorian bandstand in Lincoln Arboretum Park has live music playing. Nottingham Playhouse and the Royal Centre which hosts West End shows, comedy productions and ballet provides a fun evening out for all as does the Derby Playhouse which shows everything from dramas to pantomimes.
You can’t stay in the East Midlands without exploring some of it’s fascinating history so why not visit Ashby de la Zouch Castle in the National Forest area which rewards you with great views once you climb to the top of the tower. Try Newark Castle which overlooks the banks of the River Trent and has seen both the Civil War and Great Plague or Nottingham Castle where you can learn about Robin Hood.
Romantic Breaks in East Midlands
Whether it’s eating out at a romantic restaurant or making the most of the great outdoors with the magnificent scenery on offer in and around the East Midlands, there’s so much to do as a couple on a break here. With so many grand castles and stately homes set in spectacular grounds around it’s not surprising that many film and television programmes have been set here. Why not visit some of the locations that have inspired such productions? Chatsworth House for one was featured in the recent Pride and Prejudice production.
Visit the beautiful Peak District National Park where you can go for a romantic ramble or take a picnic when the weather's nice. There are also many historic market towns that are lovely to visit such as Bakewell where you can taste the famous tart. You could take in the magnificent architecture and take a relaxed stroll around the park in Buxton or enjoy impressive views from the Castle's tower in Ashby de le Zouch.
Shopping in the East Midlands is a combination of high street favourites, luxury brand stores and quaint independent shops so there really is something for everyone. If you want to buy something for your loved one then one good place to try is Lincoln’s Cathedral Quarter for a unique shopping experience with food shops, arts and crafts galleries and great little one-off gift boutiques.
Unwind in the evening at one of the hundreds of fantastic restaurants around East Midlands catering to all palates from Indian and Italian to French and traditional English. If you fancy going on somewhere after your meal then there’s so many entertainment venues to choose from. Some of the best include Nottingham Playhouse showcasing ballet and other dance productions and the Royal Centre where you can catch touring West End shows.
Top Tips for the East Midlands