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Litchfield is an old cathedral town in Staffordshire lcoated just to the north of Birmingham

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Litchfield, Staffordshire

It seemed like a perfect weekend, a big birthday party at a micro- brewery, a trip in our fun-loving friends’ canal boat, and a look around the charming and historical city of Litchfield, in Staffordshire.  So we set off from our homes across the country and congregated in this delightful city, ready to have a very good time.

litchfield cathedral front detail

We were not disappointed. The weather was bright and sunny, if a little cool, and the train was clean and on time. It is fascinating seeing how the countryside changes as you move through it, with different types of farmland, different styles of city, town and village, as well as contrasting landscapes. The Tourist Information office staff were friendly and helpful, providing maps and guidebooks as well as suggestions for a great place for a cup of tea and cake.

litchfield cathedralThe logical place to start is Litchfield’s unique medieval cathedral, which dominates the centre, and was built in honour of Saint Chad, so we did. It was amazing to see the Lichfield Angel, believed to be part of the shrine built in around 700AD, found in the remains of the Saxon church during 2006. During our afternoon visit, a choir was rehearsing for a concert to be held that evening, and the acoustics were perfect for the music they had chosen. We felt very privileged to have listened to part of their performance, in such a sympathetic environment.

Crossing the bridge over the Minster pool, we spent a pleasant couple of hours browsing the unique shops in the pedestrianised streets, and picking up bargains at the little market. Everywhere we went, there were medieval buildings, wobbly looking frontages, and intriguing alleys to explore. The city centre is so compact and has so much detail to examine that it is much better to take your time and walk –like its medieval visitors did all those years ago.

The birthday party was a great success, culminating in the hostess demonstrating her fire eating skills, in full makeup, elaborate hairstyle, evening dress, and 3in. heels! Her guests are looking forward with some trepidation to her next major birthday, which may involve high wire acrobatics, or something to do with killer sharks…..

Litchfield canal boatNext day, we set off for a gentle cruise around the local canal network, which offered a relaxed way to see the countryside. Having never been on a canal boat before, this was a thrilling experience, and it is easy to see the attractions of such a method of travel, and the very peaceful lifestyle of those people who enjoy it. The modern canal boat is a testament to ingenious design, packing in everything you need, without appearing crowded, and was a joy to visit.

All too soon, the weekend was over, and we headed for the stations. Lichfield has two stations, so it is important to check your destination carefully. I will definitely return for a longer visit, to take in more of the heritage and surrounding attractions in the countryside.

July 2009


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