The West Midlands’ reputation for urbanity and industry might not sound like an exciting cocktail for travel, but herein lies its allure: unprettified and often overlooked, the region give you a chance to glimpse in on a different, untouristy side of English life. A slump in industry, coupled with devastation from World War II, left the region once known as “the workshop of the world” scarred. But from the rubble, new culture has bloomed. Example: the striking new cathedral of Coventry, built right alongside the bombed-out shell of the old. The Gothic spires of Lichfield’s cathedral whisper of a magnificent past, while the ruined glory of the Kenilworth Castle enchants visitors. The pretty porcelain of Stoke-on-Trent showcases pottery production at its best, while Shakespeare fans pilgrimage to Stratford-upon-Avon. Spa towns such as Malvern and Leamington Spa are tucked into the heart of the region like a delicate, rejuvenating secret. But the energy of the West Midlands is perhaps best experienced in booming Birmingham, once gritty and now jam-packed with hopping music clubs and cultural venues. It’s a city, and a region, unafraid of its past, embracing the present, and waiting to be discovered. Are you ready?