9 things to do in the East Midlands, United Kingdom

East Midlands

The big oak is between 800 and 1,000 years old. Legend has it that it was Robin Hood's hideout and sanctuary where he and his band of Merry Men slept, hidden from sight and the evil Sheriff of Nottingham.

There were several places in the historic Midlands that were considered the “heart of England. One of these places is the conventional triangle formed on the map by the towns of Leicester, Nottingham, and Derby in the East Midlands. Undoubtedly, it fits this definition more than any other, especially since it contains the geographical center of England – on a hill near the town of Higham in Leicestershire. As a region, the East Midlands is young, you might say, having been formed in 1994, but as part of the Midlands – the “middle of England, this region has a history embodied in chronicles and legends. The historical region of Midland, or rather, Midlands (but let us stick to the traditional Russian transcription) occupies the Middle English Lowlands. The Midland region, in turn, corresponded almost entirely to the territory of the early feudal Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia. The Romans were the first to occupy it, entering in the 1st century B.C. and leaving in the early 5th c. Under the Romans, Lincoln (Lindum) was the principal city in the region, and a Roman arch remains at its entrance. And the main fort was Leicester (Rhety Coryeltaurum). The Romans were replaced by the Celts, who had been previously displaced by the Romans. The late fifth and early sixth centuries were a watershed historical moment for England, especially its center. The Celts were pushed north and west by the Germans who came to the British Isles from the continent – Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians – who then came to be known collectively with those Celts who assimilated with them – the Anglo-Saxons. The kingdom of Mercia arose in 584 B.C., located in the valley of the Trent River and its tributaries. It was converted to Christianity by King Pead in 656. The period from 600 to 879, when the last king of independent Mercia Keowulf II died, was “golden age” of Mercia: cities were built, roads were laid, and the badlands were plowed. The next king was already subject to the Vikings who came to Britain in 874. In 919 the Midlands became part of Wessex. Particularly busy was the building of towns. Nottingham, now the largest city in the region, had been a city before that time, but a small one; with the building of Nottingham Castle in the eleventh century it began to grow. Leicester, on the other hand, lost its significance and status as a city during the military conflicts between two branches of the Plantagenet dynasty-Lancaster and York-in 1455-1485, generally referred to in history as the War of the Scarlet and White Rose. (The status of the city was returned to Leicester in 1919.) When the Normans invaded England in 1066, their main stronghold was Lincoln in 1071; by 1092 they had erected a cathedral there, which collapsed in 1185 because of an earthquake. In 1311 on its place there appeared a new cathedral of St. Mary which is considered as a standard of English Gothic. Its 160-meter building, the first in the world to surpass the height of the pyramid of Cheops, was considered the tallest building on earth for another 250 years. In early 2012, during the reconstruction of a bus stop in Leicester, human remains at least 500 years old were found, the skeletal bones were curved scoliosis, there were traces of wounds, including on the head. The question immediately arose as to whether it had been Richard the Third (1452-1485) who had been killed on the battlefield at Boatsworth in Lincolnshire. Believing the legend that his bones were thrown into the River Soar, archaeologists did not particularly search for Richard’s grave, although there were other legends about the king’s lost grave. And on the site of this very stop in the distant XIV century.

At the Sherwood Forest Visitor Center, you can learn the best way to explore this ancient forest. There's information on walks, wildlife, and legends to explore. An important feature of this forest is the number of really ancient oaks here. There are at least 1,000 believed to be at least 500 years old.

The skeleton was carefully examined by genetic scientists at the University of Leicester, and in February 2013 they confirmed that yes, he was the king of England and the last male member of the York and Plantagenet dynasties on the English throne, described three times by Shakespeare. A reconstruction of the king’s head was made from the bone fragments. In March 2015, the skeleton of Richard III is expected to be reburied in Leicester Cathedral. East Midland is a region in the east of central England and the island of Great Britain. At the same time is part of the historic Midland region. It is located on a plain, in places hilly, which belongs to the Middle English Lowlands. The region has soils mainly of limestone origin, and its landscape is dominated by extensive, heath-covered heathland, ancient woodland and moorland. The North Sea washes the region’s coastline to the east. It is one of the most densely populated parts of the United Kingdom. Among all the legends, one is world famous. And you can get acquainted with it in the most real place. It’s Sherwood Forest near Nottingham – the campsite of Robin Hood, the ‘Prince of Thieves’, who was thought to have lived in the 14th century, although Walter Scott’s own version is probably from the 12th. He is featured in many movies, cartoons, computer games, and poetic ballads. When it comes to his popularity as a legendary figure, the only other person who can compare to Robin Hood outside of England is King Arthur, no less iconic. The main attraction of the forest is Robin Hood’s oak tree, or Dubmayor, estimated to be 800 to 1,000 years old. There is another site in Sherwood Forest worthy of attention, the volcanic deposits, which are about 600 million years old, a trace of ancient volcanic islands. From Lincolnshire through Leicestershire, Rutland, Northamptonshire stretches a chain of limestone hills, and in the Peak District National Park you can see the rocky pillars. The North Sea coast, Nottinghamshire valleys, and forests, coniferous and mixed, are picturesque and long. East Midland industry is largely concentrated, as it was in the Middle Ages, in the same Leicester-Nottingham-Lincoln triangle. Cities occupy only 12% of the region, which is exactly 50 towns with city status. Among them, often quite small, there are many that can rightfully be called historical examples of the resilience of the English spirit, such as the city of Crowland. It owes its appearance to St. Gutlach (667 or 673-714, canonized in 1987). He was of noble birth, and was an obedient child. But when he was not yet fifteen years old, he volunteered for military service. There are reports that he and his comrades-in-arms did not fight so much as robbed and generally committed all manner of disorderly conduct. After nine years, Gutlak realized what he was doing, became horrified and took monastic vows, and two years after that he decided to become a hermit on a deserted island in the moors of Lincolnshire. Gutlak possessed the gift of a healer, foretold the future, and was unusually at ease with wild animals. King Ethelbald of Mercia, after his death, built an abbey dedicated to St. Bartholomew, St. Mary, and Gutlaq. It was completely destroyed by Vikings in 866 and the monks were killed. King Edred rebuilt the monastery but a fire destroyed it in 1091.

Twenty years later the monastery was rebuilt, but it burned again in 1170. After another rebuilding, the aristocracy willingly and generously donated funds, jewels, and works of art to the Benedictine monastery. But the fate did not leave the cloister. In 1539, it was almost completely destroyed by Cromwell’s troops, but one nave and aisles continued to function – as a parish church (as they do today). In 1643, during the English Civil War (1642-1652), the town of Crowland was destroyed by the forces of Parliament; the Abbey suffered too. After the roof and another of the walls collapsed, the parish church was rebuilt in 1744. Far beyond Crowland there is a ring of 986 bells in the church, ringing in beautiful polyphonic tunes. Another famous Crowland landmark is the stone Trinity Bridge, built over a similar wooden bridge between 1360 and 1390. The bridge has three staircases that converge at the top. It now stands on land, but once spanned the Wheeland River and its tributaries. The rivers were then diverted away from the city center and the bridge lost its direct purpose, remaining an example of witty engineering.

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Background

One of the nine regions of England. Administrative division : ceremonial counties: Nottinghampshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Northamptonshire, most of the county of Lincolnshire. Administrative center : Melton-Mowbray.

Ethnicity: White British (91%), Indian (3%), other (mostly Pakistanis, Southeast Asians, East Europeans) 6%.

Figures

Population : 4,567,700 (2012). Population density : 292.3 persons/km2 . Highest point: Kinder Scout Mountain (636 m).

Climate and weather

Economy

Minerals : iron ore, coal, oil, limestone, gravel, clay, sand, peat. Industry: metallurgy, engineering, petrochemical, woodworking, textile, food industry, manufacture of high-tech products, building materials.

Forestry. Agriculture: cultivation of rye, barley, fodder grasses, vegetables, gardening, meat and milk cattle breeding, sheep breeding. Services: transport, logistics, medical, educational services, trade, tourism.

Attractions

UNESCO World Heritage Site: Factories and workers’ houses in the River Deruent valley (18th-19th centuries).

St Mary’s Cathedral in Lincoln (English Gothic, 14th century).

Nottingham : Nottingham Castle Museum (11th century), Wollaton Hall Palace (Renaissance, 1580, Museum of Natural History), Rufford Abbey (Gothic, 12th century), Nottingham Council House (Neo-Baroque and Neoclassical, 1929), Old Market Square, St. Barbara’s Cathedral (Neo-Gothic and Neo-Classical). St Barnabas Cathedral (neo-Gothic, 1848), St Mary’s Church (English Gothic, 14th – 15th centuries), Bellin Pub (14th century), Adams House (1855), Grine Mill (1807 n, now a science center).

■ Other city museums : law (Justice Galleries), Nottingham Castle Museum, 17th-century cottage brewery courtyard museum, natural history, industrial, contemporary art gallery.

■ Crawland : Crawland Abbey, Trinity Bridge (14th century), footpaths along the River Willend, Crawland Ponds Nature Reserve.

Natural conservation sites: Sherwood Forest (parkland), Creswell Crags Limestone Quarry, part of the Peak District National Park, Lincolnshire Heath, Deventry Meadows and 166 others.

Facts of interest

Robin Hood’s nickname (or surname) is not so simple. In English it is spelled Hood, not Good, as many hear. The contemporary British medieval historian (who died in 2014) James Holt opined, “He was not at all what he is described as. He wore a cap like a monk’s hood. There is no evidence that he robbed the rich to give money to the poor. These fabrications were added to the legend two hundred years or more after his death. In his lifetime he was known as a notorious marauder. However, even out of respect for historical documents alone, the opinion of the 16th century chronicler John Stowe cannot be overruled: “He led a gang of a hundred brave outcasts. They were all good with bow and arrow. Though they plundered, Robin Hood did not harass or otherwise abuse women. He did not touch the poor, giving them everything he took from the saintly and noble rich.

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In 2003 petroglyphs were found in the caves of the Creswell Crags limestone quarry. Before then it was thought that they did not exist in England. The drawings and bas-reliefs depict animals and certain symbolic figures that resemble both women and birds. There are three cultural layers in the caves. They date from 43,000 B.C., the period 30,000-28,000 B.C., and about 10,000 B.C.

During the Middle Ages Nottingham Abbey was famous for its superbly executed religious sculptures by local monks.

In 1598, the Francis Trigghe Library with its chained books was opened in Grantham. It is the oldest library in the world, with access to books and manuscripts for all, not just clergy or professors.

■ Chemist Frederick Kipping (1863-1949), working at Nottingham University College, dealt with organic silicon compounds. He was the first to call them silicones.

The village of Silverstone in Northamptonshire is famous around the country for hosting the annual British Motor Racing Grand Prix, or rather the local race track, since 1950.

Recently, visitors to pubs in the East Midlands are offered to start by “breathing into a tube”, using for this purpose a breathalyzer Hanter Professional, by the way, made in Russia. They say the atmosphere in local pubs has become much healthier and, oddly enough (for drinkers), even more cheerful since they started using it.

The oldest amateur soccer club in the world is Sheffield Wednesday in Northern England, founded in 1857, and the Notts Country club, founded in Nottingham in 1862, is a professional one. The club’s coat of arms depicts two magpies. It’s not hard to guess exactly what the fans lovingly nicknamed the club’s players.

Best 18 Things to Do in the English Midlands

At the stunning Wedgwood World Museum, Trade and Porcelain Works in Stoke-on-Trent, you can see amazing pottery from centuries past, including original pots made at Josiah Wedgwood’s 18th-century factory and even older local pieces. The collection, permanently housed at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, is truly world-class. While there, you can tour the factory to see the finest pots and utensils discarded and decorated; store for stunningly expensive porcelain; have a chic tea – on Wedgwood china, naturally – or a light lunch in the former work canteen, now a sunny, casual restaurant. Better yet, you can throw your own pot on the wheel–with a lot of help from the staff–and arrange to have it fired and shipped to you as a finished piece.

Explore the Iron Bridge Gorge

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The British public voted the Iron Bridge, a graceful single arch spanning 60 feet over the River Severn, an English icon in 2006. The first cast-iron arch bridge gave its name to the village, the gorge and the UNESCO Heritage Site world that surrounds it. As hard as it is to imagine in this quiet, picturesque setting, Ironbridge Gorge was one of the first centers of industry in the world and the place where the seeds of the Industrial Revolution were sown. Today you can visit ten different museums, all within a mile or two of each other. At the Coalport China Museum, check out the huge beehive kiln to see how the earliest fine bone china was made. At the Colbrookdale Iron Museum, you can explore the remains of one of the world’s oldest iron furnaces, where metal was first smelted on an industrial scale. In the Victorian town of Blists Hill, stroll through the homes, stores and workplaces of this early village and get out. You can spend a family weekend exploring it and then take a relaxing kayak trip on the river that fed it all.

Dress for the vapor era on your way to a heritage trip

At the stunning Wedgwood World Museum, Trade and Porcelain Works in Stoke-on-Trent, you can see amazing pottery from centuries past, including original pots made at Josiah Wedgwood’s 18th-century factory and even older local pieces. The collection, permanently housed at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, is truly world-class. While there, you can tour the factory to see the finest pots and utensils discarded and decorated; store for stunningly expensive porcelain; have a chic tea – on Wedgwood china, naturally – or a light lunch in the former work canteen, now a sunny, casual restaurant. Better yet, you can throw your own pot on the wheel–with a lot of help from the staff–and arrange to have it fired and shipped to you as a finished piece.

Explore the Iron Bridge Gorge

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At the stunning Wedgwood World Museum, Trade and Porcelain Works in Stoke-on-Trent, you can see amazing pottery from centuries past, including original pots made at Josiah Wedgwood’s 18th-century factory and even older local pieces. The collection, permanently housed at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, is truly world-class. While there, you can tour the factory to see the finest pots and utensils discarded and decorated; store for stunningly expensive porcelain; have a chic tea – on Wedgwood china, naturally – or a light lunch in the former work canteen, now a sunny, casual restaurant. Better yet, you can throw your own pot on the wheel–with a lot of help from the staff–and arrange to have it fired and shipped to you as a finished piece.

Step back in time at Attingham Park

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At the stunning Wedgwood World Museum, Trade and Porcelain Works in Stoke-on-Trent, you can see amazing pottery from centuries past, including original pots made at Josiah Wedgwood’s 18th-century factory and even older local pieces. The collection, permanently housed at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, is truly world-class. While there, you can tour the factory to see the finest pots and utensils discarded and decorated; store for stunningly expensive porcelain; have a chic tea – on Wedgwood china, naturally – or a light lunch in the former work canteen, now a sunny, casual restaurant. Better yet, you can throw your own pot on the wheel–with a lot of help from the staff–and arrange to have it fired and shipped to you as a finished piece.

Explore the Iron Bridge Gorge

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In 2009, a man with a metal detector found the find of a lifetime, discovering 3,500 metal and gold items, enamels and semi-precious stones. The Staffordshire Hoard, as it has come to be known, is the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon treasure ever discovered. In the struggle to preserve and display this mega-institution, the British Museum lost out to two Midlands museums, the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Pottery Museum in Stoke-on-Trent. Now you can see the gold next to where it was found in the Midlands. And, if you think you can try your hand at metal detecting, find out what the Treasure and Treasure Trove rules are in the UK.

While you’re at BMAG, don’t miss the world’s most important collection of Pre-Raphaelite art with paintings by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt and others from the 19th century Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood.

The museum is located in downtown Birmingham and is free to visit.

Store for everything in Birmingham

At the stunning Wedgwood World Museum, Trade and Porcelain Works in Stoke-on-Trent, you can see amazing pottery from centuries past, including original pots made at Josiah Wedgwood’s 18th-century factory and even older local pieces. The collection, permanently housed at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, is truly world-class. While there, you can tour the factory to see the finest pots and utensils discarded and decorated; store for stunningly expensive porcelain; have a chic tea – on Wedgwood china, naturally – or a light lunch in the former work canteen, now a sunny, casual restaurant. Better yet, you can throw your own pot on the wheel–with a lot of help from the staff–and arrange to have it fired and shipped to you as a finished piece.

Visit Shakespeare’s birthplace

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At the stunning Wedgwood World Museum, Trade and Porcelain Works in Stoke-on-Trent, you can see amazing pottery from centuries past, including original pots made at Josiah Wedgwood’s 18th-century factory and even older local pieces. The collection, permanently housed at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, is truly world-class. While there, you can tour the factory to see the finest pots and utensils discarded and decorated; store for stunningly expensive porcelain; have a chic tea – on Wedgwood china, naturally – or a light lunch in the former work canteen, now a sunny, casual restaurant. Better yet, you can throw your own pot on the wheel–with a lot of help from the staff–and arrange to have it fired and shipped to you as a finished piece.

Explore the Iron Bridge Gorge

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Phone

At the stunning Wedgwood World Museum, Trade and Porcelain Works in Stoke-on-Trent, you can see amazing pottery from centuries past, including original pots made at Josiah Wedgwood’s 18th-century factory and even older local pieces. The collection, permanently housed at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, is truly world-class. While there, you can tour the factory to see the finest pots and utensils discarded and decorated; store for stunningly expensive porcelain; have a chic tea – on Wedgwood china, naturally – or a light lunch in the former work canteen, now a sunny, casual restaurant. Better yet, you can throw your own pot on the wheel–with a lot of help from the staff–and arrange to have it fired and shipped to you as a finished piece.

Chatsworth Tour, Duke of Devonshire Family Home

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Chatsworth on the edge of the Derbyshire Peak District is one of the most popular visitor homes in the United States. It has been in the Cavendish family, the current Dukes of Devonshire, for more than 450 years. Among the family’s richly colorful characters was the scandalous Georgiana Spencer, the forebear of Princess Diana and the subject of the movie. The Duchess, starring Keira Knightley.

It is one stately home where its contents eclipse Brown’s 1,000-acre park, gardens and water features designed to thrill the Russian Czar (who never saw it). The family’s passion for collecting art for five centuries has resulted in one of the finest private collections in Europe. More than 4,000 years of art, from classical sculptures to modern works, are on display, all in trust for the general public.

At the stunning Wedgwood World Museum, Trade and Porcelain Works in Stoke-on-Trent, you can see amazing pottery from centuries past, including original pots made at Josiah Wedgwood’s 18th-century factory and even older local pieces. The collection, permanently housed at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, is truly world-class. While there, you can tour the factory to see the finest pots and utensils discarded and decorated; store for stunningly expensive porcelain; have a chic tea – on Wedgwood china, naturally – or a light lunch in the former work canteen, now a sunny, casual restaurant. Better yet, you can throw your own pot on the wheel–with a lot of help from the staff–and arrange to have it fired and shipped to you as a finished piece.

Explore the Iron Bridge Gorge

Address

Phone

At the stunning Wedgwood World Museum, Trade and Porcelain Works in Stoke-on-Trent, you can see amazing pottery from centuries past, including original pots made at Josiah Wedgwood’s 18th-century factory and even older local pieces. The collection, permanently housed at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, is truly world-class. While there, you can tour the factory to see the finest pots and utensils discarded and decorated; store for stunningly expensive porcelain; have a chic tea – on Wedgwood china, naturally – or a light lunch in the former work canteen, now a sunny, casual restaurant. Better yet, you can throw your own pot on the wheel–with a lot of help from the staff–and arrange to have it fired and shipped to you as a finished piece.

Explore the Iron Bridge Gorge

Address

Phone

At the stunning Wedgwood World Museum, Trade and Porcelain Works in Stoke-on-Trent, you can see amazing pottery from centuries past, including original pots made at Josiah Wedgwood’s 18th-century factory and even older local pieces. The collection, permanently housed at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, is truly world-class. While there, you can tour the factory to see the finest pots and utensils discarded and decorated; store for stunningly expensive porcelain; have a chic tea – on Wedgwood china, naturally – or a light lunch in the former work canteen, now a sunny, casual restaurant. Better yet, you can throw your own pot on the wheel–with a lot of help from the staff–and arrange to have it fired and shipped to you as a finished piece.

Discover the wonder of the English bell

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At the stunning Wedgwood World Museum, Trade and Porcelain Works in Stoke-on-Trent, you can see amazing pottery from centuries past, including original pots made at Josiah Wedgwood’s 18th-century factory and even older local pieces. The collection, permanently housed at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, is truly world-class. While there, you can tour the factory to see the finest pots and utensils discarded and decorated; store for stunningly expensive porcelain; have a chic tea – on Wedgwood china, naturally – or a light lunch in the former work canteen, now a sunny, casual restaurant. Better yet, you can throw your own pot on the wheel–with a lot of help from the staff–and arrange to have it fired and shipped to you as a finished piece.

Explore the Iron Bridge Gorge

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Richard III, the most villainous king in all of Shakespeare’s plays, may not have been such a villain after all. And he may not have been responsible for killing his nephews, two little princes, in the Tower of London to seize the throne. The jury is still out. But the found remains, unceremoniously buried in an unmarked grave under a municipal parking lot in Leicester, have been proven to belong to the humpbacked king.

At the stunning Wedgwood World Museum, Trade and Porcelain Works in Stoke-on-Trent, you can see amazing pottery from centuries past, including original pots made at Josiah Wedgwood’s 18th-century factory and even older local pieces. The collection, permanently housed at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, is truly world-class. While there, you can tour the factory to see the finest pots and utensils discarded and decorated; store for stunningly expensive porcelain; have a chic tea – on Wedgwood china, naturally – or a light lunch in the former work canteen, now a sunny, casual restaurant. Better yet, you can throw your own pot on the wheel–with a lot of help from the staff–and arrange to have it fired and shipped to you as a finished piece.

Explore the Iron Bridge Gorge

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Lincoln, in the East Midlands, has a very well-preserved medieval quarter as well as some interesting Roman ruins. It is at the very top of the city, and the paved pedestrian street that leads to it is so steep that it is actually officially called Steep Hill. In fact, much of the street is lined with railings to help pedestrians hang on and get to the top. Don’t worry – if you want to go from the Lincoln Commercial District and the Whittem River waterfront without going up the steep hill, there is a bus.

At the stunning Wedgwood World Museum, Trade and Porcelain Works in Stoke-on-Trent, you can see amazing pottery from centuries past, including original pots made at Josiah Wedgwood’s 18th-century factory and even older local pieces. The collection, permanently housed at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, is truly world-class. While there, you can tour the factory to see the finest pots and utensils discarded and decorated; store for stunningly expensive porcelain; have a chic tea – on Wedgwood china, naturally – or a light lunch in the former work canteen, now a sunny, casual restaurant. Better yet, you can throw your own pot on the wheel–with a lot of help from the staff–and arrange to have it fired and shipped to you as a finished piece.

Explore the Iron Bridge Gorge

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  1. Lincoln Castle has occupied the highest point of the city for nearly 1,000 years-perhaps longer. For much of that time, it has been a court and jailhouse and remains the site of Lincoln’s crown court.
  2. It is also a fascinating attraction for visitors with three different things to see and do:
  3. The Magna Carta: In 1215 the barons forced King John to sign the Magna Carta at Runnymede, Bishop Hugh of Lincoln was there and he brought the original copy back to Lincoln. This is one of four original copies of the Magna Carta, the founding document of the American legal system, in the world. Two years later, in 1217, a new document was drafted, incorporating most of the original and adding improvements. It is known as the Charter of the Forest, and the underground Great Vault of the Great Temples at Lincoln Castle is the only place you can see both, side by side. There’s also a wrap-around screen with a 3D movie that puts the documents in context and explains why the Magna Carta, which establishes people’s rights and the principle that no one is above the law, is important today.

Medieval Wall Walk: A circumnavigation of the castle on its pristine curtain walls, stopping to peek into towers and dungeons along the way. Recent improvements have made it accessible — with a wheelchair elevator to take visitors to a safe and impressive third of the walk.

Victorian Prison: The Victorian reformers had some strange ideas about humane confinement, and they tried out their theories in what they called a complete “separate system” in a prison inside these castle walls. The experience is brought to life by visitors who can put on costumes and experience the sounds and sounds and claustrophobia of the unusual chapel.

Sail like a Roman on Britain’s oldest canal

Lincoln is not on the coast, but it does have a waterfront – and a very old one at that. Brayford Basin marks the meeting point of the Whatham River with the canal known as the Fossdyke Navigation. Fossdyke connects the Witham to the River Trent, one of England’s main waterways. It is the oldest canal in Britain, the origin of which is lost in the dark, unrecorded history of the Dark Ages. But apparently the Romans built it around 120 AD.

At the stunning Wedgwood World Museum, Trade and Porcelain Works in Stoke-on-Trent, you can see amazing pottery from centuries past, including original pots made at Josiah Wedgwood’s 18th-century factory and even older local pieces. The collection, permanently housed at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, is truly world-class. While there, you can tour the factory to see the finest pots and utensils discarded and decorated; store for stunningly expensive porcelain; have a chic tea – on Wedgwood china, naturally – or a light lunch in the former work canteen, now a sunny, casual restaurant. Better yet, you can throw your own pot on the wheel–with a lot of help from the staff–and arrange to have it fired and shipped to you as a finished piece.

Find Robin Hood’s Lair in Sherwood Forest

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