Growing on the back of heavy industry, especially glass and crystal manufacture, the Midlands town of Dudley still shows evidence of its industrial past to this day.
In the part of town known as 'The Glass Quarter', as the name suggests, there are many glass-makers, some of which date back to the 18th century. Here you can breathe in the atmosphere of the glassworks, watch glass-blowers at work and even take home an original example of their expertise from the factory shop.
For those seeking a more cultural experience, perhaps the Dudley Museum and Art Gallery might have what you are looking for. Exhibiting a myriad of both ancient and modern pieces - from its extensive fossil and geological collection to a very eclectic selection of fine art - this museum is also a major repository of local history.
Fans of historic architecture may also like to see Himley Hall, an 18th century manor house set within 180 acres of stunning parkland including lakes and waterfalls (designed by none other than Capability Brown) that lies just outside Dudley.
The most visited attraction in Dudley has to be the town's zoo, which contains within its grounds the ruins of Dudley Castle. Dudley Zoological Gardens are home to a huge variety of exotic species, from lions to chimps, but it is the 11th century castle setting that really sets it aside from other zoos: peacocks wander around the castle courtyard whilst penguins and sea-lions frolic in its moat. The castle itself is a remarkably well-preserved example of a Norman rampart that attracts many visitors in its own right.