Staffordshire : Lichfield
Lichfield is a city and civil parish in Staffordshire, England. One of seven civil parishes with city status in England, Lichfield has a population of 31,000 & is situated 16 miles north of Birmingham and 124 miles northwest of London.
Lichfield is notable for its three-spired cathedral and as the birthplace of Dr. Johnson, the writer of the first authoritative Dictionary of the English Language. A Dictionary of the English Language, one of the most influential dictionaries in the history of the English language, was prepared by Samuel Johnson and published on April 15, 1755. Lichfield is also the birthplace of Elias Ashmole (23 May 1617 – 18 May 1692). Elias was a celebrated English antiquary, politician, officer of arms, astrologer and student of alchemy. He supported the royalist side during the English Civil War, and at the restoration of Charles II he was rewarded with several lucrative offices. Throughout his life he was an avid collector of curiosities and other artifacts. Many of these he acquired from the traveller, botanist, and collector John Tradescant the Younger. Ashmole donated most of his collection, his antiquarian library and priceless manuscripts to the University of Oxford to create the Ashmolean Museum. Today Lichfield still retains its old importance as an ecclesiastical centre, but its industrial and commercial development has been relatively small; the centre of the city thus retains an essentially old-world character, with pockets of historic charm.
Lichfield is well placed for the main road network being close to the A38, A5 and M6 (Toll) so is easy to get to by car. Parking can be more of an issue as the number of spaces is often not sufficient to cope with demand, especially on Saturdays. However, the city does not usually get busy until mid morning on Saturdays and before Christmas, so early birds do well. Main car parks are as follows:
Lichfield has two stations. Both are on the Cross City Line from Birmingham. Lichfield City station is served by four trains an hour, with every other train also serving Lichfield Trent Valley. City Station is adjacent to the centre and is the easiest way for rail travellers to get in to the city. Trent Valley Station is really useful because it is on the West Coast Main Line with regular direct trains to Birmingham, London, Northampton, Milton Keynes, Stoke-on-Trent and Crewe (change for Manchester, Glasgow and Liverpool). The Local trains also serve Tamworth, Nuneaton, Rugby, Rugeley and Stafford.
All bus routes into Lichfield call at the Bus Station, which is opposite Lichfield City Rail Station and adjacent to the main shopping areas. Buses serve destinations including Stafford, Rugeley, Tamworth, Cannock, The National Arboretum, Burton on Trent, Birmingham and local villages.
Lichfield is small enough to be able to get around most of the areas of interest in the centre on foot. There are local buses running on selected routes, but they generally are really of use only to residents.
There are many things to see and do in the centre of Lichfield and in the surrounding area. Within Lichfield, here are the main places to visit:
Within the city there are many good places to eat out, most are situated on Bird Street. They are typically of high quality and attract customers from outside the city. Recommended restaurants include the following:
As with the rest of the UK, in any emergency call 999 or 112 (from a land-line if you can) and ask for Ambulance, Fire or Police when connected. It is free to call the Emergency Services from Payphones.
Lichfield is a generally safe city with most crime levels well below the national average. Incidents of violent crime and sexual offences are very low. However, as with the rest of the United Kingdom it is advisable to avoid large drunken groups where possible as alcohol-related crime is on the rise throughout the country. It is also advisable to exercise normal security measures.