Located in the Severn Valley just a few miles from Kidderminster, Bewdley is essentially less than 45 minutes drive from Birmingham. The town has the traditional British feel to it with antique shops, little cafes and a welcoming little chippy on the bank of the river Severn. The streets are narrow and crooked, with beautiful old fashioned doorways and flower baskets overflowing with fuchsias. If a quiet walk around this stunning rural village isn't exciting enough for you then try the Bewdley Festival which brings traditional artists and local farmers to the town.
Another quaint rural town on the river Severn, Bridgnorth has some stunning vistas over the Midlands' countryside. Apart from breathtaking views, it also has a castle (which was built in defense against Danes) and hermitage caves. They say that the first inhabitant of these caves was the grandson of King Alfred who lived there secluded as a hermit. Apparently the caves are connected to tunnels running under the river Severn however unfortunately they are not accessible for tourists (damn, and I thought I'd hermit there for a bit!).
Perhaps a little more known town - Ironbridge boasts with the infamous bridge but also the Blists Hill Victorian Town. Blists Hill is very similar to the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley which is basically a preserved village from the Victorian times. The people there speak in the old accent, are dressed in historical costumes and even use the Victorian currency (you actually have to exchange your money in the local bank to be able to buy fish & chips there!).
To the East of Birmingham you will find a small town called Coleshill. Coleshill dates back to the Iron Age but its fame came at the age of coaching. The town became a centre point between London, Liverpool and Holyhead and at one point it had up to twenty inns. Sticking to its heritage, I recommend popping into one of the local pubs for a pint and a burger.
Much Wenlock is magical! I love the town so so much - the Wenlock Priorty is one of my favourite ruins I've ever visited in the UK (the monastery was founded in 680, how crazy is that?!) and the Wenlockans are the friendliest of people! Their local market and second hand book shops will steal your heart.
What are your favourite rural spots around the West Midlands?