Too many people in Birmingham think that Aston is a place to watch the Villa play and best avoided at other times! While it is a deprived area, it is also an exciting place to live with a wonderful mix of different cultures. Amongst the modern tower blocks and council estates are some architectural gems - with Aston Hall right at the heart of it. I live around the corner and it is one of my favourite places to visit.
It is a proper stately home, in amazing grounds and fantastic history to it - and it's completely free! So you can spend as little or as long as you want there. Staff are welcoming, always ready to answer questions. It is also well worth taking in the newly planted formal gardens, and Aston Park around the hall is worth a stroll any time of the year but especially on a lazy sunday afternoon in the summer when a cricket match will be played out and a very energetic asian version of volleyball. It's closed off-season but last December I booked a ticket to Aston Hall by Candlelight and would highly recommend it, they had very convincing actors in Victorian period dress and some great entertainment.
If you're at the Hall it is very close to the oldest building in Aston, the parish church, well worth a visit - and also the Transport Museum less than 10 minutes walk away. It is also a stones throw from Aston Villa's ground.
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