Copyrights (David Pursehouse) on Flickr

Okay, so Solihull is not everyone’s idea of a holiday destination, but it has more to offer than you might think. Part of the West Midlands conurbation, Solihull was, historically speaking a part of Warwickshire and many visitors to the town find it surprisingly leafy. The town offers what so few in the locality do – a mixture of the rural and urban in perfect harmony. 

Indeed, more than one recent poll has named Solihull as one of the best places to live anywhere in the UK. The town has plenty to offer visitors despite not really marketing itself as a tourist destination in its own right. Located centrally in the country it makes an excellent destination from just about anywhere in the UK. However, many visitors use its location to their advantage – as a stopping off point when touring the country. If you are heading from the north of the country to the south, for example, or travelling from North Wales to East Anglia, then Solihull lays just about perfectly in the middle. And unlike nearby Birmingham, you don’t have to negotiate a busy city centre to find a vibrant place to spend an entertaining evening or two.

The George-Ramada, Solihull
Copyrights (Elliot Brown) on Flickr

Accommodation

Solihull is well served by hotels such as a Ramada, a Holiday Inn and the Saint Johns, which is also a conference venue. However, these tend to get busy if there is an event on at the nearby NEC exhibition center, so book ahead. The town also boasts a good array of bed and breakfast accommodation which you can locate via the Tourist Information Centre situated at the library on Homer Road, in the town center. Most of the places to stay in Solihull have been properly graded so you can know what to expect, depending on what sort of budget you have.
Canada Geese in Brueton Park, Solihull
Copyrights (MunstiSue) on Flickr

Recreation

If you want to unwind, then Solihull’s parks are the perfect place. Try a stroll around Brueton Park. It includes a five acre wildlife haven in the heart of the town, called the Parkridge Centre. Elmdon Park is an alternative country-style park which is steeped in history and kept in a more formal manner. Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens are also worth visiting and you can find productions of Shakespeare’s plays here occasional during the summer. And if all of that sounds too energetic, try the O Spa located on Drury Lane, close to the Touchwood Shopping Centre.
Tea Cup ride on High Street, Solihull
Copyrights (Elliot Brown) on Flickr


St Alphege’s Church and War Memorial, Solihull
Copyrights (Elliot Brown) on Flickr

Evenings Out

There are plenty of eateries to choose from – the sort of thing you find on many UK high streets these days. Restaurants include well-known brands such as Nando’s and Wagamama.
For something a bit more individual, try the Lazy Cow bar and restaurant on Warwick Road. There are also some pubs located close to the center of the town which are lively at weekends, including the Coach House on Herbert Road. And if you fancy dancing after a few drinks, then why not head down to Luna, which is Solihull’s only night club.

Culture

Solihull Arts Complex boasts an eclectic range of professional touring shows, poetry meetings and amateur dramatics. Of the touring shows, a good few are musicals that have transferred from London’s West End. There are also contemporary art exhibitions put on from time to time.
If you prefer the movies, then there is also a large cinema complex with no less than nine screens showing the latest releases.
Grand Union Canal
Copyrights (Andrew Batram) on Flickr

Getting There and Away

Right in the heart of the county, Solihull is served by excellent rail services on the line that runs between London Paddington and Birmingham Snow Hill. The Chiltern Main Line offers services from the Town to Marylebone, too. Coaches regularly stop on their way between England’s two largest cities – Birmingham and London – and you can access these from Acocks Green in Birmingham. In terms of air travel, Birmingham International Airport is a short distance away, so Solihull is easily accessible for overseas visitors. Of course, most tourists come by car these days using the nearby A34 or the M40.
If you are touring the country and not used to driving on Britain’s roads – which are among the busiest in Europe – then Solihull makes an excellent stopover point. Generally speaking, you should not try to drive as far as you would in somewhere like North America. Equally, international drivers should be aware that their tyre pressure should be checked by a trusted dealer, like Point-S, before conducting long journeys on British motorways which are sometimes bumpy. Finally, boaters can access Solihull via the Grand Union Canal which offers charm and an entirely different pace of life.

– This guest post was written by Emily Cole

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Written by Abigail Young

I've had a passion for everything British my entire life, despite being raised as a small-town girl in the American Midwest, After years of dreaming, I got the chance to live and work in England for an entire year. Now I write about my favorite country, and hopefully inspire my fellow Britophiles to get over there and experience it for themselves.

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