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Stopover in West Midlands

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I'm plotting a somewhat unusual driving route route around the UK. We've done the "popular" routes on previous driving tours, so this one threads its way between those to catch odd places we've read about but not been to. Like the New Mills Millennium walkway, for example, or the Dove Dale stepping stones and river walk, or the brewing town of Burton-upon-Trent. (We like English ales, and we like walking)!

I'm reading articles and using Google street-view to find somewhere attractive to stay a few nights in Central England or the West Midlands, handy to the above and other places nearby. Generally we like smaller towns and villages so long as there's reasonable dining in a local pub (Market Bosworth looks good, for example), but we're not averse to a city if it's reasonably attractive and not too frenetic.

Would Birmingham fit our description (the Jewellery Quarter looks interesting), or Wolverhampton, Leicester, Lichfield, Coventry etc? Shrewsbury and Buxton are nice, but we've stayed at both these before - that's what I mean by having to "thread our way through" places we already know! I mention them only to give people an idea of what kind of places we like.

I would welcome any suggestions that people can offer.

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