When you travel to East Midlands Airport from Glasgow Airport, you’ll find a trio of interesting English cities in easy reach: Derby, Leicester and Nottingham. All three have plenty to detain culture-curious visitors, while for nature lovers the region’s prime drawcard is the Peak District. If it’s heritage your after, the countryside is sprinkled with a selection of castles, stately homes and ruined towers.
The Peak District was the first national park in the UK, and its 1,440 sq km of hills, moorlands and valleys help it stand as one of the country’s most popular outdoor destinations. Active types can indulge in everything from hiking, cycling and horse riding to caving, abseiling and kayaking. But our top tip for a relaxing break? Sign up for an art course at the Haybarn Studios (Dove Valley Centre) – it’s as peaceful and scenic a retreat as you’ll come across in the region.
A city with a story
When the skeleton of Richard III was discovered buried under a car park in Leicester in late 2012, it brought fresh attention to one of the UK’s most underrated cities. It’s somewhere with 2,000 years of history, and heritage sights like Belgrave Hall and the timber-framed Guildhall hold appeal, but today’s Leicester is notable too for its contemporary pulse. Call in at the HQ Gallery (38 Charles Street), which showcases the work of local underground artists.
Reaching Robin Hood
For many, Nottingham and its surrounds throw up thoughts of outlaws, sheriffs and medieval merry men. The annual Robin Hood Festival (August) takes place – where else? – in Sherwood Forest, giving visitors the chance to encounter a world of folk music and bows and arrows. The forest can be visited year-round. In Nottingham itself, the Robin Hood Town Tour makes for an eye-opening way to see the city.