West Midlands: Tolkiens Birmingham
Those who wander the British countryside, or tramp the streets of our towns and cities, will find it hard to avoid the monuments to and of our history: the castles and cathedrals, churches and canals. But another heritage overlays so many of the same places, a heritage of art and literature and music.
In terms of scale our great cathedrals certainly dwarf the little blue plaques and even the statues that commemorate the artists who have contributed so much to our national culture and identity. But in terms of their legacy the judgement is far finer.
The landscapes and special places that have inspired the music, the books, the paintings that in turn inspire us can by and large still be enjoyed, providing an extra dimension to the understanding of those works. From Shakespeare to Sayers, The Beatles to the Brontes, from Irvine Welsh to Walter Scott and Benjamin Britten, we hope the guides in this section will facilitate that understanding, or just enhance a visit to the area in question.
These guides serve another purpose too, reminding us of the diversity of landscape within the British Isles. The wilderness of Exmoor in Lorna Doone country contrasted with the gentility of Jane Austen's Hampshire; the bleak Suffolk coast that was so dear to Britten seen against the cosiness of Laurie Lee's Cotswolds; and contrasts in time too, for example in the cityscapes of Delius in Bradford and Lowry in Manchester or more contemporarily Irvine Welsh's Edinburgh. So why not read a good book, or listen to some great music, and lose yourself in the treasure house of art and place that is Cultural Britain.
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British Cultural history by county: Show All
England: | Bath(1) | Bedfordshire(1) | Berkshire(1) | Buckinghamshire(1) | Cambridgeshire(1) | Cornwall(2) | Cumbria(1) | Derbyshire(1) | Dorset(1) | Essex(1) | Gloucestershire(1) | Greater Manchester(1) | Hampshire(1) | Herefordshire(1) | Kent(3) | Lancashire(1) | Lincolnshire(1) | London(5) | Merseyside(1) | Norfolk(1) | North Yorkshire(1) | Northumberland(1) | Nottinghamshire(1) | Oxfordshire(1) | Shropshire(2) | Somerset(3) | Staffordshire(2) | Suffolk(1) | Surrey(1) | Sussex(1) | Warwickshire(2) | West Midlands(1) | West Yorkshire(2) | Worcestershire(2) Scotland: | Ayrshire and Arran(1) | Borders(1) | Edinburgh and the Lothians(4) | Fife(2) | Glasgow(1) | Perthshire(1) | Stirlingshire(1) Wales: | South Wales(1) | West Wales(1) Northern Ireland: | Belfast(1) | County Down(1)