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Okay, class—quiz time: Where is East Midlands?
Hmm. No one? Then here are a few hints: The area is known historically for its food. To wit: Red Leicester, the Lincolnshire sausage, the Melton Mowbray pork pie, Stilton, the Bakewell tart and the Bramley apple. D. H. Lawrence is its best-known local author. It claims the world’s first factory, Sir Richard Arkwright’s Cromford Mill.
The correct answer is: East Midlands is one of nine official regions of England and consists of the eastern half of the traditional region of the Midlands. Within it are the major towns and cities of Leicester, Nottingham, Derby and Loughborough, as well as the county of Rutland and most of Lincolnshire.
A skeleton identified as Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England, was recently discovered underneath a parking lot in Leicester.
What makes the East Midlands a green destination? In the hills of Derbyshire is the Peak District, with vast open spaces, dramatic rocky outcrops and sweeping green hills. Lincolnshire’s coastline offers outstanding natural beauty. Rutland, England’s smallest county, is the perfect for walking and cycling with wide-open spaces and reservoir views. Nottinghamshire is home to Sherwood Forest (yes, that Sherwood Forest), with its stand of more than 450 acres of birch and native oak. In Leicestershire lies the Vale of Belvoir, a beautiful stretch of land next to Melton Mowbray, rural capital of locally produced food and drink. Rockingham Forest, a former hunting ground in Northamptonshire, has in excess of 200 square miles of woodland. And in nearby Salcey Forest visitors can experience a treetop walkway suspended high above the forest floor.
The region also offers a variety of green places to stay certified by the Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS), which accredits hotels, inns, B&Bs and other accommodations. Each business is assessed every two years against rigorous criteria in energy efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, use of local farm products, support of public transport and more.
The best way to get in and out of East Midlands? If you’ve rented a car in London, it’s only about a two-hour drive to East Midlands Airport, where it’s a breeze (compared to London) to hop a quick flight to, say, Edinburgh or other destination in the British Isles or Ireland. Just leave your rental car at the airport, where you’ll find airport car parking deals to help make your journey affordable and hassle-free.
For added convenience, pre-book parking direct with the airport, which will often save you money compared to a third-party operator. In addition to standard on- or off-site parking, you’ll find a number of other East Midlands airport parking options. For instance, you can book valet parking (which includes a cash wash), or you can opt for the increasingly popular “meet and greet,” which means no fussing with shuttles to collect your car. Instead, the keys are handed over just a short walk from your terminal—simply hop in and drive off.
So now you know. Check out the East Midlands, with it many ways to go green when you do.—Catherine M., blogger