Solihull

Solihull is &ldquo;the best place to live in the UK,&rdquo; according to the 2013 Quality of Life Index from uSwitch, which assessed areas such as disposable income, life expectancy... and broadband speeds (an average of 17Mb here, apparently). <br />And, not only can residents of Solihull, commonly known as &ldquo;Silhillians&rdquo; (where did the &ldquo;O&rdquo; go?) surf the web at a satisfying pace, they can reach the second city, Birmingham in minutes, the centre is 9 miles away, or they can visit Shakespeare's town of Stratford upon Avon in just 20. I highly recommend taking the train from Whitlocks End or other nearby stations to the centre of Stratford. It's a beautiful train journey through all of Solihull's rural villages, but you also can avoid playing car park &lsquo;hokey-cokey' with the hordes that descend, especially on a sunny day. The National Trust offers several historic houses locally, such as Baddesley Clinton and Packwood House in Lapworth; also one of the best preserved castles in the UK - Warwick Castle is only 20 minutes away. <br />Solihull's motto is &ldquo;Urbs in Rure&rdquo; meaning town in the country and it is a perfect description. There are many lush, green parks such as Brueton and Hillfield and soon to be a newly landscaped Shirley park behind the new Asda and Parkgate centre, opening any month now with lots to do including a brand new library. The countryside is just minutes outside of the centre of town with fields, lakes, canals and woodland to explore. <br />There are hundreds of baby, toddler and classes for older children, for the crafty, musical or sporty, whatever your child is into. Take a look at our local listings for many suggestions or add your own child friendly activity if it's not on here already.

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