The Midlands

Explore the Midlands

Visit Central England to see areas of outstanding natural beauty, the home of William Shakespeare, and England’s second city, Birmingham.

Central England is a place steeped in art, history, legend and culture and its location in the heart of England, means other regions in the UK are within easy reach!

See one of Britain’s architectural jewels, Lincoln Cathedral, or visit the hometown of William Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon. You can also see the inspirations for one of his most beloved plays, the battlefields and tomb of Richard III in Leicestershire. It’s not all history though, with the Peak District, cosmopolitan Birmingham, and the traditional seaside resort of Skegness there’s guaranteed to be plenty going on when you visit.

Our Tour Highlights

Derbyshire & The Peak District

This glorious region located within central England was the first to be designated an official National Park in 1951. ...more

Shakespeare’s Stratford & Wonderful Warwickshire

Follow in the footsteps of Stratford’s famous son, William Shakespeare, with a visit to Stratford-upon-Avon. ...more

Medieval mysteries & legend – Robin Hood & Richard III

Steeped in history the Midlands has its fair share of renowned legends and historical characters, with the Robin Hood legend perhaps the best known of all. ...more

Lincoln & Cathedral

The city of Lincoln is steeped in history with its recently restored Lincoln Castle and one of Europe’s finest gothic buildings, the magnificent Lincoln Cathedral. ...more

Performance Venue Highlights

Derby Cathedral

Worship has been offered on this site for more than a thousand years, with the present building being nearly three hundred years old and today a vibrant community of worship. The Cathedral houses important monuments dedicated to Derby’s past. Ascend the 189 steps of the 212-foot high Tudor tower for a fascinating tour and stunning view of the city, you may even get a glimpse of the resident Peregrine Falcons!
  • Perfect for: Choirs
  • Repertoire: Sacred and classical for services and mixed for concerts
  • Performance times: Informal recitals are possible on most days and the Cathedral welcomes visiting choirs to sing services. The cathedral can be hired for evening concerts

Tutbury Castle, Derbyshire

Overlooking the winding River Dove, Tutbury Castle presides over the beautiful Derbyshire hills. Its official origins began in 1071 as residence to the invading Norman conquerors and later best known as one of the prisons of Mary Queen of Scots. Once a powerful seat of medieval England that played host to many kings, Civil War in the 17th century left the dramatic ruins that we see today. Today the castle brings history to life, welcoming thousands of visitors every year to this magical site with historical re-enactment and events.
  • Perfect for: All musical ensembles and performance groups
  • Repertoire: Mixed
  • Performance times: During special events throughout the year

Southwell Minster, Nottinghamshire

Said by many to be the best kept secret among the forty-two English cathedrals, Southwell Minster, the Cathedral serving Nottinghamshire, is a medieval and architectural gem.  The present Romanesque building celebrated its 900th anniversary in 2008 and is a centre for musical excellence, playing a central role during the Southwell Music Festival, an annual, top-quality classical music festival taking place each August.
  • Perfect for: Choirs
  • Repertoire: Sacred, classical
  • Performance times: Visiting choirs are welcomed to sing services during holiday periods. Recitals take place on a Friday lunchtime or Sunday evenings as part of the ‘Music in the Great Hall’ series

St Paul’s Church, Birmingham

The UK’s second city Birmingham is home to St Paul's church, located in the Georgian St Paul's square of Birmingham's historical Jewellery quarter. A grade one listed building, it has an amazing acoustic and has strong musical connections with local amateur and professional music ensembles as well as the vibrant Jewellery Quarter Festival in July.
  • Perfect for: Choirs and Orchestras
  • Repertoire: Sacred and classical preferable but some secular repertoire accepted
  • Performance times: Daytime and evening concerts possible subject to the church calendar of events

Stratford-upon-Avon Bandstand

The Stratford upon Avon Bandstand stands in the heart of the bustling recreation ground just across the river from the beautiful and historic Royal Shakespeare Theatre and just a short stroll from the town. Surrounded by grass and old willows, it is a serene spot to enjoy a summer’s afternoon listening to one of the excellent bands while watching the boats, swans and people go by.
  • Perfect for: Bands, Choirs, Orchestra and Performing Arts groups
  • Repertoire: Mixed
  • Performance times: Sunday afternoons during the summer months

Arts Theatre, Nottingham

Nottingham Arts Theatre is situated in the heart of the trendy Hockley area in the City Centre and houses a more traditional proscenium theatre alongside a contemporary studio space. It is one of Nottingham’s best kept secrets and is a real gem of a theatre. A friendly and welcoming community performance space open to a variety of performance genres and artists, both amateur and professional.
  • Perfect for: Performing Arts groups
  • Repertoire: Mixed
  • Performance times: Afternoon and evening performances

Community Choirs Festival, Stratford-upon-Avon

Founded in 2008, the Community Choirs Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon welcomes choirs from across the country and beyond! This wonderful event brings choirs together to celebrate and immerse participants in the joy of singing with mass harmony singing workshops followed by a collaborative concert.  A very popular event in the community choir calendar so book early!
  • Perfect for: Community Choirs
  • Repertoire: Mixed
  • Performance times: 18th and 19th April 2019

Where To Stay

*official star rating

Makeney Hall Hotel, Derbyshire

  • Country house hotel located in the Amber Valley countryside, set in six acres of beautifully landscaped gardens with country views.
  • Comfortable Rooms equipped with TV, hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities
  • Hotel facilities include a restaurant and bar

*official star rating

Mercure Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare Hotel

  • 17th century period hotel just a short walk from the town centre
  • Comfortable Rooms equipped with TV, hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities
  • Hotel facilities includes the Shakespeare restaurant, bar and outdoor terrace

*official star rating

Forest Pines Hotel & Golf Resort, Brigg, Lincolnshire

  • Modern hotel with a world class golf course in a stunning countryside setting just a 30-minute drive from Lincoln and Hull
  • Contemporary rooms equipped with TV, hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities
  • Hotel facilities include three individually styled restaurants and bar. There is also a leisure club and spa with indoor swimming pool, spa bath, steam room and gym.

Sample Itinerary

This itinerary is for guidance only and will be tailored to meet your exact tour requirements. The excursions and concerts featured below will be subject to your chosen tour dates, availability and budget. Please get in touch to discuss your potential tour in more detail and other opportunities available to your group!
Day 1Travel to your destination from your chosen collection pointWelcome drink at the hotel and time at leisureGroup evening meal at the hotel and time to socialise!
Day 2Morning visit to Shakespeare’s hometown with guided tourLunchtime concert in the United Reformed Church OR outdoor concert in the riverside bandstand. Afternoon visit to Warwick Castle.Evening meal at the hotel and evening activity
Day 3Visit to Chatsworth House with afternoon teaDrive back to your hotel through the scenic Peak District countrysideEvening meal at the hotel and potential evening concert at Derby Cathedral
Day 4Morning excursion to Nottinghamshire, land of the legendary folklaw hero Robin Hood with a lunchtime concert at Southwell Cathedral or another Nottinghamshire venueTravel in the footsteps of King Richard III with a visit to the visitor centre and if time permits to the Bosworth Battle Field!Evening meal at the hotel
Day 5Day excursion to the historic city of Lincoln with a visit to the awe-inspiring CathedralPotential lunchtime or afternoon concert at a Lincoln concert venue and afternoon at leisureFarewell meal in local restaurant
Day 6Optional morning excursionOnward journey home

Sound Escapes did a fantastic job on arrangements for our tour . Would thoroughly recommend Jo to any choir looking to travel . All feedback has been positive from everyone who travelled . The extra care at meeting us at the coach and check in to ensure things ran smoothly went above and beyond .
Don OakleyMalmesbury ChoirOxford 2023
One of the best tours we have ever undertaken – musically, socially and geographically. Would heartily recommend Sound Escapes to any group considering a tour.
Carole Lindsay-DouglasAmici SingersWeston-Super-Mare 2023
Jo and her team came up with a fantastic itinerary for our choir and planned everything to the last detail. We always felt we were in safe hands and that they were on the end of a phone to help us with anything we needed. We couldn’t recommend them highly enough.
Rosie SayersChairperson for Sing It Loud Community Choir
As a Chorister, and eventually Head Chorister in our local church choir for eleven years, Jo was talented, dedicated and could always be relied on to work to the utmost of her undoubted abilities. I would expect that she would apply the same attributes to her professional life
P BuckmasterChoral Director

In May 2020 we were due to tour the Stirling area in Scotland and due to the current coronavirus pandemic we took the difficult decision to call off the tour. I’d like to give our thanks and praise to Jo and her team for all the planning and preparation she had done to put the itinerary together – she was able to provide us with an excellent range of stunning concert venues, plus some great suggestions for our leisure time, and we look forward to working with her again soon.

Sally ColesSecretary, Cantamici
From cathedrals and abbeys, churches and stately homes, all steeped in centuries of history, some in Roman Towns others in quintessential English ‘picture postcard’ villages, every choir and musical ensemble should spend a tour exploring the United Kingdom and Ireland. Whatever part of the country you to choose to visit, by working with a knowledgeable team of people who know the regions inside out from both a tourism and musical perspective, you will be guaranteed the richest of touring experiences
Tim KnightBritish composer and Choral Director
Fantastic tour in Bonnie Scotland, enjoyed by all who went, singing and non-singing. Brilliant organisation from Jo who really made it all look so easy.
Kate HymansTour organiser for Masterworks Chorale
Brilliant tour, expertly organised. Kindness and compassion. Nothing was too much trouble. Colin, our driver, was a complete gem and so knowledgeable about the isle. Lovely hotel staff where nothing was too much trouble
Felicity CourageChoir Director, Courage Choir
Care and attention to detail of the highest degree. The planning with Jo Porter was detailed and meticulous, with nothing being missed, and although she was not involved in the accommodation arrangements, she nevertheless checked it out and acted as an intermediary.
Robin SpencerChoir Secretary, Phoenix Choir
You’ve been patient and kind all the way through this, Jo – especially with it being the first international tour I’ve done, and with all the unforeseen changes to the travel arrangements, so thank you to you and the team.
Sarah MonteithChoir DirectorResound ChoirParis 2023