From soaring hilltops to lush countryside, the areas around Birmingham have more than a few visual delights to match any part of the world. For those of us who love nothing better than getting behind the wheel and embarking on an adventure, Birmingham offers the perfect base.
Part of the beauty of Birmingham is that it’s right in the centre of the country. That means a veritable selection of vistas is within easy reach. We’ve picked out just a few of our all-time favourite driving routes nearby. All can be started from the city by hire car and looped back round within 200 miles. So, ready, get set and go!
Coming in at just over 50 miles, the Midlands Tick has featured high on driving experience wish lists for many years. Accessible and picturesque, it’s the perfect excuse to blow those cobwebs away. To get there from the city, you’ll need to get on the M6 Toll or the M42 to get across to the starting point in Bingham.
Once there, take the road to Langar, Eastwell, and Melton Mowbray. Then continue down to Tilton on the Hill and Sutton Bassett before finishing in Uppingham. And yes, you’ll find quaint villages and winding roads along the way. The Tick itself should take around one and a half hours to complete with an hour either side to travel to and from Birmingham.
Driving distance from Birmingham: 1 hour 30 mins / 50 miles
Does the idea of getting away from it all on a two-day trip sound more of your kind of thing? Racking up around 170 miles end-to-end, and with an overnight stay required, the Midlands Circuit is the stuff of dreams. It brings you bags of interesting places, history and glorious driving roads, and that’s just for starters.
Starting from Donington Park Circuit and looping up to Peak Cavern before heading back through Matlock, Holmes Pierrepont and Melton Mowbray, this is a true circuit through the prettiest points in the Midlands. It’ll take you about 5 hours to complete by rent-a-car over two days, and 40 minutes to get across to Donington from Birmingham.
Driving distance from Birmingham: 5 hours 40 mins / 170 miles
For hills and history galore, there’s no better route in the area than the Shropshire and Worcestershire circuit. This is the ideal antidote for city fatigue, with its wide-open spaces and pretty pitstops. To max out the experience, add a stopover, and extend the trip in a country house somewhere along the way.
The route stretches from the A5 then the M54 to Weston Park, which is around 40 minutes from Birmingham. Then follow the A443 to Witley Court and Gardens, before doubling back on yourself. If you want to get straight back from Witley House, it’s just a 55-minute drive down the M5. From Weston Park to Witley, it’ll take just over an hour. But make sure you plan for extra time with your car hire and plenty of stops along the way. Those views and cosy pubs are not to be missed.
Driving distance from Birmingham: 2-3 hours / 43.5 miles
There’s a reason why many Birmingham city slickers head out to Cannock. The area is famous for its supreme natural beauty. So much so, it’s protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There’s no better place for nature lovers to strike out on an adventure.
It’ll take you just half an hour to get from Birmingham to Cannock itself. From there, the A5195 will wind its way through to the Chase. Along the way, you’ll find water sports, historic towns, forests and spectacular views of the Midlands countryside at its best. Best of all, you can make this trip as long or as short as you like.
Driving distance from Birmingham: 30 mins / 26 miles
Tracking further along to the Welsh border, you’ll find the Wenlock Edge Circuit. True to its name, this really is a loop-de-loop, running from Shrewsbury to the Shropshire Way. En route, you’ll pass towns like Church Stretton, Much Wenlock, and Wenlock Edge. There will be lots of pubs to grab a hearty meal along the way, and the views across open fields are alluring to say the least.
Allow around 2 hours for the circuit itself, following the A458 to Much Wenlock then back up north from the Shropshire Way, along the A49. If you’re starting from Birmingham, it’ll take you around one hour to get to the starting point in Shrewsbury.
Driving distance from Birmingham: 2 hours / 50.6 miles