We were a bit wary when we first arrived into Tamworth, parking in an old car park in the dreary Ankerside shopping centre. It was opened in 1980 and it looked like it. The shopping centre had suffered the fate of a nearby retail park taking a lot of the good stores and custom. It’s a shame to be honest as we enjoy walking round a nice shopping centre rather than a retail park where all the stores are huge and so far away from each other.
Once we had had our cheap lunch from Greggs, made even cheaper by buying cheap drinks from the Poundland next door, we exited through the other side of the shopping centre and we were graced not just by sunshine, but actual hot weather! We suddenly found ourselves overdressed and had to nip back to the car to shed a few layers before returning to the sunshine.
Just outside the shopping centre stands the castle on a hill looking over Tamworth on all sides. As it was Easter Monday there was a decent sized queue at the castle, so we decided to have a surprisingly cheap ice cream and explore the area. Everything fun to do in town appeared to be in the area near the castle. There’s grass, pretty flowers and many places to sit before crossing over the River Anker where there is a pretty extensive children’s park, tennis courts, a skate park and a lot of green space to the left of the main pathway. In the near distance drawing a lot of visitors each year is the impressive SnowDome, which was the first full sized recreational ski slope in the UK when it opened in 1994.
To the right of the pathway is an adults outdoor park/gym, which we always cannot resist a quick go on. We also had a game of crazy golf, costing £2.50 per person. It is a pretty basic 9 hole course which has seen better days, but crazy golf is always good for a laugh! We were in the sun for a decent amount of time and as the temperatures were forecast to be fairly low we did not come prepared with sun cream or a hat, so I ended up with a very red head by the end of the day!
We eventually went round the castle, which costs £14 for 2 adults. The castle appeared small from the outside and has a relatively small courtyard, but this is deceiving, as there are many rooms and staircases that lead us round the castle. It was enjoyable to read about the history of the Castle and Tamworth and there were some great views of the town and beyond from the roof top. The door at the very top of the staircase that leads onto the roof is tidgy, so if you’re taller than the average dwarf then be prepared to bang some part of yourself. It’s very much worth it though. WIth it being Easter Monday the castle was busy and loud. We overheard that the castle on average has 70 visitors a day, but there were 400 the day before and probably would be the same again on this day!
We had a wander round the centre too and passed the lovely St Editha’s church. Although there were some run down areas, Tamworth is well worth a visit and if Ankerside shopping centre is renovated it would make the area even better.