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Good Base near the Centre of England

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We (two of us) are planning to tour England and Wales next year, starting with London and then picking up a car. We're looking for a good 2-3 night base somewhere in England's centre - say, in or near the triangle formed by Lichfield, Leicester and Burton-upon-Trent.

We're not greatly into big cities (like Birmingham), preferring instead picturesque villages or small towns with some history and character. We enjoy walking and exploring on foot. A lot of our time will be spent out touring by day, but we do like good dining options within walking distance (no drink driving!) of our base in the evenings.

Grateful for any suggestions...

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