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More to it than meets the eye.
Tamworth in General
Member Name: chrispitts
Tamworth in General
Date: 15/07/02, updated on 15/07/02 (223 review reads)
Advantages: Facilities, History, Quiet Walks
Disadvantages: Crime, Litter in places
At first glance, you might assume Tamworth to be typical of a satellite town. Being close to Birmingham, it has the usual array of shopping centre, cinema, sprawling housing estates, and the odd dash of parkland. But if you take the time to look around, you'll see that Tamworth has a lot more to offer...
Although much of the town development took place in the last 50 years or so (including the disasterous placement of 5 tower blocks in the centre of town, spoiling the view of the castle and St Editha's Church), Tamworth is steeped in history. From it's origins in the stone age as a small settlement, it grew to become the capital of the Kingdom of Mercia, ruled by King Offa from 757 AD, (he of the dyke!)until 796. From then on, Tamworth was destined to be an important part of the Midlands' history.
More recently, Tamworth has been the home of Thomas Guy (founder of Guys Hospital in London), Robert Peel (created the modern police force, and Prime Minister), William MacGregor (Vicar, founder of the Tamworth Co-operative movement) and Colin Grazier (Rescued Enigma Coding Equipment from a sinking German U-Boat).
Scattered in and around Tamworth are buildings and monuments in tribute to these men (as well as being immortalised in street names, of course!), including Drayton Manor (home to the Peel Family), Tamworth Castle, Tamworth Town Hall and the Alms Houses.
But before you think Tamworth is just living in the past, consider what it's like today.
Many people know of Tamworth for one thing only (and I should know - I was once one of them!) - The SNOWDOME!
When the Snowdome opened, it was the only indoor, real-snow ski-slope in the country. There are now more popping up all over the place, but Tamworth remains the first. The Snowdome is the focal point for many of the sportier leisure pursuits in the town, and many Tamworth teens are hooked on snowboarding. It also houses a swimming pool and gym,
and there are plans for a large ice-rink/arena (although these are currently on hold).
Just a bit further along the dual carriageway (on the other side!) you'll find Stryker's Bowling Alley. A little while ago, it also housed Quazar, but that has since closed. It does however provide the venue for one of the infamous Tamworth Nightclubs.
Infamous?! Tamworth seems to really hot up at night. With 3 main clubs and numerous smaller ones and pubs, the town centre fills with people after dark. Yes, there's often trouble, but that's the same in most small towns.
There are a couple of good hotels in Tamworth - particularly worthy of note are the Colin Grazier Hotel (fairly new, and quite small, but with incredibly friendly staff - and it's where Bob Geldof stayed when he came to perform a concert in Tamworth!), and the Castle Hotel (most recommended, because it's where we spent the first night of our honeymoon!)
Which brings me nicely onto my next bit - entertainment! (not the wedding, the Bob Geldof bit... keep up!) Tamworth Borough Council, although generally frowned upon for many things (particularly the aforementioned town planning sins!) are a bit more on the ball with organising events. (Although even "Tammies" were appalled with last year's "Christmas Lights" Display!) We frequently get reasonably big names appearing at the Assembly Rooms (Paul Daniels, Danny La Rue etc.!!!). But the council doesn't do it alone. (And here I get a bit biased!) My father-in-law organises many events in the town. In the 80's, he ran the "Rathole", an Indie Music club, which attracted many of the big bands of the time (Wonder Stuff, Carter...) and he was responsible for the Geldof gig last year. There is also a caberet restaurant (The Lady Meadow), which provides weekly cabaret/dining evenings. There is plenty of music talent within Tamworth. Edwin Starr (War... huh!) lives just down the ro
ad, Tina McBain (again, biased, she's my mother in law), who is well respected on the UK folk scene, plus numerous talented younger bands. (Ooops, she'll kill me for that!)
And then, when you want to get away from it all, Tamworth provides the perfect solution.
Two rivers pass through Tamworth, the Tame and the Anker. Add to that numerous canals, a couple of large lakes and many parks, and you have the perfect place for a stroll or bike-ride. The footpaths are well laid out, and the cycle paths zig-zag all over the town - a cycle map is available free of charge from the Tourist Information Centre. Nothing beats the feeling of cycling along the canal towpath on a sunny day, believe me!
So you're all walked out? What next? Why not keep the kids entertained. Drayton Manor Park, just outside town, towards the M42, is a large amusement park, and seems to be a mecca for adrenaline junkies. And Alton Towers is only half and hour up the road. And for Mum (blatant sexism aside...) there are plenty of shops, mainly focused around the town centre/Ankerside indoor centre, and the Ventura Park Development, near the Snowdome.
And I think that just about covers it. Consider this a request, no, even a demand! Visit Tamworth. The people are friendly (apart from the muggers and car-jackers), the town is picturesque (OK, a blatant lie), and there's plenty to see and do (and that's the truth!).