Knowle and Dorridge, Solihull, West Midlands, UK Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Knowle and Dorridge, Solihull, West Midlands, UK

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Solihull, England, is a great place... erm well kind of; they have plenty of flowers anyway. Just outside of Birmingham, off the M42, it provides what appears to be a slightly more upper-class area than the inner city and most who live there prefer to say they are nearer Stratford because they think it gives them a better 'image'. In Dorridge (the more up-market part) old ladies are often seen telling the younger generations to tuck their shirts in and that they're a disgrace to the neighbourhood. What is it about this area that makes people think they are so much better than everybody else because they come from it, apart from the house prices?

To start with Dorridge, it's a fairly nice place when all is said and done. It's tidy and clean. The Council have tried to make it pleasant and, on the whole, they have done a good job. The village is based around a central road (Station Road) that cuts through the centre. A station at one end and a small roundabout at the other give you the boundaries (which are disputed by residents anyway). Near the station is a small shopping square. It has the standard shops, post office, hairdressers and opticians. There's also a butchers, bakers and a couple of music shops. There used to be a train shop in the square too, which attracted collectors from all around in the hay-day of Hornby model railways but, unfortunately, it moved some years ago. Still, the village is fairly well kitted out but it lacks anything of interest now and isn't somewhere where you would want to spend more than 15 minutes.

The houses are nice, ranging from the small post-war dwellings to the older, bigger houses. The off-licences and other alcohol-vending shops are under strict orders from the police to check everyone for ID, so anyone under 25 should carry it with them just in case (they ID a stupid number of people; once a 35-year-old man got stopped and there's no way he looked a day younger then 30).

Even though the police are fairly strict, a large number of underage drinkers can be seen, especially on a Friday night. The residents always make complaints but they are mostly unfounded as the youths are never violent or destructive and are mainly a nice bunch. Discussions are, however, underway about employing a curfew to try to tackle this problem.

Knowle suffers from the same drinking problem and is pretty much the same sort of place too. Its boundary runs from the roundabout to the motorway. It has a high street that has more shops, although no opticians, but it does have a Blockbusters movie rental. There are a few reasonable pubs and some very nice restaurants (though they are a little pricey).

A number of parks span Knowle and Dorridge. They are all nice and big (in village terms) and two have tennis courts, though they are always full in the summer.

As a place to visit, it would be rather boring to ordinary English folk, however many tourists (mainly German) stay there just because they think it's a nice natural English village. Solihull town centre, with its newly opened Touchwood shopping centre, is nearby and civilisation isn't too far away.

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