Profile updated 21/11/19
Heart of England
Have you ever wondered where Gandhi got his glasses, who beat the French to a bottle of bubbly, why perfectly sensible people risk life and limb to chase cheese down a hill, and how shin-kicking became an olympic sport? I'm a bright, informative and entertaining Blue Badge tour guide for the Heart of England with an eye for the unusual and a knack for storytelling. An ex journalist, I have spent my life telling stories. I'm confident with guiding both on coaches and on foot, and have an excellent knowledge of the area, its history, folklore and many bizarre customs. But it is the people and their stories that really bring the Cotswolds to life. Let me introduce you to those who made a mark on the world (in music, literature, champagne, the lawnmower) and the muffin men, cider makers, mill owners, pioneers and inventors that lived in this unique corner of England.
London born and bred, but based in Stroud for 16 years, I'm particularly familiar with Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds. I also have a good knowledge of Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Oxfordshire (and Oxford itself in particular), Birmingham, the West Midlands, Coventry, Warwick and Stratford on Avon, as well as key figures from the areas's history, like Churchill and Shakespeare.
I have a particular interest and expertise in the industrial and social history of the area; the wool and cloth industry, epitomised by the great wool churches such as at Chipping Campden and Fairford; and the transformation of Britain during the industrial revolution, fuelled by the iron and coal industry, particularly at Ironbridge Gorge, the silicon valley of the Victorian age. I'm also very familiar with the area's rich Civil War history; The regency spa towns such as Cheltenham and Leamington Spa; and the great Cathedral towns of Gloucester and Coventry.
Other areas of expertise include myths and folklore. I also have an insight into the Jewish heritage of the area, particularly in Oxford and Gloucester.
Some nice things people have said about me
Dear Steve. Thank you for your guiding. We had a great time with you. It was interesting and I like Oxford very much. I will definitely recommend you to my colleagues.
Ashley, group leader, Singapore.
'Steve Roth was our tour guide for our full day tour of Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford. He gave my group of 40 Canadians a great tour with lots of useful and interesting information and was really good with his timings.'
Paul Mukerji (Explorica Tour Director) July 2019
Thank you very much for all your support and help.
Faye, tour manager, China.
We made contact with Steve via the internet as we were interested to have a guided tour of Stratford upon Avon. Steve immediately made contact and proposed an ideal agenda for our family, 2 children (9 and 11) and 3 adults including one grandparent. Steve also proposed some other places and activities that we may like to do on other days whilst in the Cotswolds.
Steve met us in the morning in Stratford and outlined the plan for the next few hours. He explained everything of interest that we saw and made it relevant and interesting for our two daughters. He asked them lots of questions and presented fun facts throughout the day which kept them entertained. Steve suggested Shakespeare related venues that the children would enjoy including the school and Mary Arden’s farm which the kids loved. The hours passed by very quickly indeed and we all finished the day with a lot of more insight into Elizabethan times. The children have kept talking about the day since!
I would recommend Steve as a guide for any family visiting Stratford upon Avon and wanting to learn about what they are seeing. Thank you Steve!
|Myths and Folklore|
|The English spa towns|
|Politics and social change|
|People: Extraordinary and ordinary lives|
|Folklore & Traditions||
The Heart of England is built on tradition and folklore. The Stratford Mop Fair, The Randwick Mop, The Stow Horse Fair and The Cheese Rolling attest to a region proud of its past and determined to preserve its distinctive identity. on and. Discover with me amazing monuments, ghostly goings on, fascinating festivals and bizarre stories that make this unique corner of England a place where legends really do come to life.
For a 1000 years the Midlands and the limestone uplands which form the Cotswold Hills have been the bedrock of the English economy. From here wool, iron, pottery, glass and other goods were exported worldwide. This is the land of the wool barons, Boulton and Watt, and Wedgewood. Come and hear their stories and learn how they changed the world.
Walk with me through English history. It's all here. From the Welsh Marches to Oxford, and from the Cotwolds up to the Peaks, the Heart of England has been a witness to virtually every major event in the last 1000 years. I will show you Shakespeare's Stratford, the gleaming spires of Oxford, Birmingham - the city of 1000 trades, Regency Cheltenham, Glorious Gloucester, Coventry - the phoenix which rose from the ashes, and much more.early Spa towns.
|Churches & Cathedrals||
The Heart of England is littered with great cathedrals - Gloucester, Coventry, Birmingham, Hereford, Oxford and Worcester. Together they tell a story of wealth, power, civil strife and a remarkable ability to weather the storms of history. Around and between are churches - large and small, which also tell a hypnotic story, from the Saxons at Deerhurst to the Gothic revival of Pugin's Gem at Cheadle.
|Politics & Government||
It is said that William the Conqueror commissioned the Doomesday Book at Gloucester. But every age has left its mark here. The War of the Roses, the English Civil War, the Reformation and the World Wars have all left an indelible footprint on this part of the country.
|Food & Drink||
Come with me on a culinary journey. The Heart of England is not short of great places to eat and drink. Try the famous 2in1 pies, near Stroud, or feast on fresh Trout at Bibury, or enjoy the food - and the view - at the Mount Inn in Stanton. Why not browse the delights at Daylesford Farm Shop, or take in the delights and tastes in the old fortified town of Ludlow. In short, whatever you want to eat, the Heart of England has it all.
|Castles & Palaces|