A hidden treasure, Lichfield is a city that’s steeped in heritage and happily marries history with culture. Ticking every box, it’s the perfect location for savvy first time buyers
It seems it’s pretty much impossible to find a review of Staffordshire’s Heritage City of Lichfield that doesn’t begin with the legend: “The birthplace of Samuel Johnson.” However, despite being home to the great 18th century writer and lexicographer, several other famous historical figures, (of which there is more, later) and over 230 listed historic buildings, Lichfield is a great bet for modern first time buyers, with a plethora of new homes on the market and in the pipeline.
Lichfield has recently been named as one of the best places to live in the UK by the Halifax Quality of Life Survey 2017, and has even climbed a place in the chart since last year. The survey looks at key factors such as residents’ health and life expectancy, earnings, employment, crime rates and weather, with Lichfield putting in a sterling performance across the board.
Homes and Residents
Lichfield is a charming, Cathedral city, much sought after for its prized position on the crossroads of several excellent commuting roads, right in the heart of England. This, and the fact that the cost of living in the West Midlands remains below the national average, makes Lichfield hugely appealing to young families and to professionals who want an easy commute, combined with the perfect balance of city and rural living.
Alongside the Council’s commitment to protect Lichfield’s architectural legacy, civic and residential development is flourishing in the centre and the suburbs of the city. Thanks to concentrated investment in Staffordshire’s tourism industry over recent years, and multiple local regeneration plans, Lichfield’s residents and visitors can look forward to plenty of new facilities.
These include a large shopping centre, restaurants, a multiscreen cinema, a new bus station and hundreds of additional parking spaces, all under construction near Lichfield City railway station. The anticipated increase in population, attracted by new jobs and Lichfield’s burgeoning popularity as a commuter city, will be accommodated by the raft of residential developments that form part of Lichfield’s ambitious housing strategy.
New homes in the pipeline include 93 proposed residential units that will form part of the city centre Friarsgate development, and hundreds of properties across a burgeoning range of developments by leading developers throughout the district. Whether your dream home is a one bedroom city apartment, or a four bedroom executive home in the country, Lichfield is a great place to look.
Out and About
Lichfield’s most famous historic landmark and visitor attraction isn’t hard to spot, given that it is an enormous, three-spired medieval cathedral, which gives Lichfield its small (but beautifully formed) city status. As well as making Lichfield an important ecclesiastical centre, the stunning building provides the backdrop to the city’s calendar of public events, which include a spectacular Christmas market and annual arts and music festivals.
Lichfield was home to many celebrated historic figures, as you can tell by the frequency with which its streets and squares are punctuated with blue plaques. Alongside the ever present Dr Johnson, eminent alumni include Erasmus Darwin, (grandfather of naturalist Charles), a leading 18th century doctor, scientist, botanist, inventor and poet. His eponymous Georgian mansion is open to the public, and showcases his wide expertise. Lichfield was also home to the 18th century actor John Garrick, after whom the city’s vibrant theatre is named. The purpose-built complex was opened in 2003, and hosts a year-round programme of professional and amateur productions.
As well as plenty of green spaces within the city itself, Lichfield offers lovers of the great outdoors easy access to one of the most unspoilt areas of the British Isles. Cannock Chase, classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is less than 10 miles from Lichfield. The former Royal forest is an idyllic area, renowned for its leisurely walks and cycle tracks, roaming over rolling hills, though purple heather and along miles of quiet woodland routes.
For those whose pleasures lean more to the gourmet, Lichfield has an award-winning array of restaurants, cafes and pubs on offer, with favourites including the 2017 Taste of Staffordshire’s Tea Room and Coffee Shop of the Year, Pom’s Kitchen and Deli; and Independent Restaurant of the Year, The Four Seasons Restaurant at Swinfen Hall Hotel.
Lichfield is already a shopper’s playground, with plenty of established high street brands and a treasure trove of independent, quirky shops housed in streets lined with fascinating medieval buildings. However, the city will soon be even more appealing to shopaholics, with the opening of the much anticipated Friarsgate Shopping Centre.
Three Spires is located in Lichfield’s popular Bakers Lane shopping street, and offers a mix of independent retailers and an array of high street favourites.
Thriving markets are still held on Lichfield’s historic Market Square and offer a mix of foodstuffs alongside household goods and bargain clothing.
Lichfield offers outstanding transport links, thanks to being centrally located on the UK road network. Historically, the Roman roads Watling Street and Ryknild Street crossed two miles south of the city. Today the A5 and A38 follow similar routes, with the A5 running west towards Wales and south east towards Tamworth, and the A38 running south to Birmingham and north east to Derby.
The A51 lies along the western perimeter of the city, running north to Chester and south east to Tamworth.
Rail access to London Euston from Lichfield Trent Valley can take as little as an hour and a quarter, to Manchester Piccadilly from an hour and 24 minutes, and the business centres of Derby, Sutton Coldfield, Walsall, Birmingham, Tamworth and Burton upon Trent are all easily reached by commuters.
Birmingham International and East Midlands airports are each within a 45 minute drive of the city.