West Midlands is steeped in history and natural beauty, and there are many towns and villages that have preserved these aspects for future generations.
One of the best things about older times were open air markets - which are sadly becoming a thing of the past. However, these historic Market Towns can give you a glimpse of the past because of how well they are preserved. Most residents embrace the historical significance of the town they live in and have tried to keep it alive.
For English Tourism Week, which will take place between 15-24 March 2024, you can turn into a tourist and discover something new in the West Midlands. These historic and beautiful Market Towns are all less than and a 90 minutes drive from Birmingham and accessible by public transport.
If you are looking for a place to explore, here are nine historic Market Towns near Birmingham:
1. Bewdley, Worcestershire
This town is the gateway to the UK’s largest native woodland, Wyre Forest. It’s a Georgian town nestled on the River Severn. An official market was established in 1376 but a settlement is documented as far back as 1086. It’s less than an hour by car to get there from Birmingham and has much to see and experience.
2. Stourbridge, Dudley
The town was established in the early Middle Ages. Since then, it has been developed during Roman and Saxon times and during the reigns of Elizabeth and Victoria. Though an agricultural market town it is also renown for its glass-making. Less than 40 minutes from Birmingham, the Hagley Hall is located here and is worth a visit apart from the various glass centres.
3. Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire
Tenbury Wells is located in the northwestern extremity of the Malvern Hills District of Worcestershire. It has been a settlement since at least Anglo-Saxon times. It officially became a Market Town when King Henry III granted a Charter to Roger de Clifford to hold a weekly market in 1249. (Photo- Penny Mayes/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic)
4. Stafford, Staffordshire
According to legends, this town was founded in about 700 AD by a Mercian prince called Bertelin. Less than an hour away from Birmingham, this town became an important Market Town in the Middle Ages. It’s ideal for a day visit and there is much to see, including the Stafford Castle. (Photo - Val Vannet/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic)