ASHBY-DE-LA-ZOUCH, fourteen miles northwest of Leicester, takes its fanciful name from two sources – the town’s first Norman overlord was Alain de Parrhoet la Souche and the rest means “place by the ash trees”. Nowadays, Ashby is far from rustic, but it’s still an amiable little place with one main attraction, its castle.

Just a few miles away, Breedon-on-the-Hill is well worth a trip for its good walking and great views, and some fascinating Anglo-Saxon carvings at the Church of St Mary and St Hardulph.

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