Atherstone sits on the old Roman Watling Street (A5) and has a long and fascinating history. The great warrior Queen Boudica’s last battle was here near Manduessdeum.
Try out the 1940s themed café, snap up vintage inspired clothes or interiors accessories and then sample the real ales and artisan gins at The Angel. Atherstone has so much more than a bland brand name high street.
Today Atherstone is an attractive, busy market town full of independent, quirky shops and cafes ideal for leisurely browsing and buying.
The Visitor Centre on Long St has excellent exhibitions showcasing the town’s fascinating heritage. Many of the old buildings in the town are timber-framed but have been ‘modernised’ by the addition of brick facades. Look up when in the town and you will see the original shape of many of the buildings. The layout of the centre of the town has changed very little in 750 years with its historic centre based around St. Mary’s Church and the Market Square. Atherstone was once an important hatting town, and became well known for its felt hats. The industry began in the 17th century and at its height there were seven firms employing 3,000 people. Due to cheap imports and a decline in the wearing of hats, the trade had almost disappeared by the 1970s and the last factory, Wilson & Stafford, closed in 1999.
Stroll along the picturesque Coventry Canal which runs through the town with its series of eleven locks and reminds us that the countryside is right on the doorstep. Atherstone’s railway station is on the West Coast Main line, with an hourly service 7 days a week to both London and Crewe.
Picture curtesy of Graham Beale
The town still plays its annual Shrove Tuesday football game. Not a game for the faint hearted but a tradition which has survived for over 800 years. For the slightly less adventurous there’s a vibrant events calendar often seeing the Market Square ringing with the sound of sweet music for Stonefest arts festival or Summer in the Square to roaring with engines at September’s Motor Show.
Pictures curtesy of Graham Beale
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