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The best things to do in Worcestershire

For a small county Worcestershire offers many attractions with the added benefit that it is easy and compact to navigate whether your destination is town, city or countryside. Let’s start with the city. There’s only one – Worcester – but what a fine city it is for history, heritage, beauty and a bustling centre which blends the usual respected retailers and restaurants with small independent shops, eateries and pubs which help to retain its charm and character.

Worcester Cathedral

Majestic Worcester Cathedral is a must visit and hard to miss, resting beside the River Severn which cuts through the heart of the city (strategically built it is believed by the Romans on a bend in the river to keep watch over invading armies) and at the top end of Worcester High Street where a statue of the city’s favourite son, composer Sir Edward Elgar, takes pride of place.

The cathedral is the final resting place of King John, 13th-century Chancellor of the Exchequer, Godfrey Giffard, King Henry VIII’s elder brother Prince Arthur and former Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin and is renowned for its Norman crypt and chapter house.

Worcestershire Cathedral

Visit the beautiful Worcestershire Cathedral

The English Civil War began and ended in Worcester – once the fourth biggest city in England – with defeat for the Royalist forces in 1651. The Civil War Museum at The Commandery is a short walk from the cathedral and well worth a visit – you’ll be invited to answer whether you’d have been a Royalist or a Parliamentarian – as is the Museum of Royal Worcester, a nod towards the city’s industrial heritage.

Porcelain is one of two major internationally-known products that the city is famous for with the other being Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, though unfortunately you’re unable to tour the factory where it is made. The River Severn offers scenic walks and across the river bridge you’ll find Worcestershire County Cricket Club, one of England’s, if not the world’s, most beautiful cricket grounds. A day at New Road is highly recommended for any sports lover – but you can also drop in on non-matchdays too.

Majestic Worcester Cathedral is a must visit and hard to miss, resting beside the River Severn which cuts through the heart of the city and at the top end of Worcester High Street where a statue of the city’s favourite son, composer Sir Edward Elgar, takes pride of place

Natural beauty

If you’re planning a winter visit, Worcester’s Victorian Christmas Fayre, situated mainly along the medieval thoroughfare of New Street and Friar Street, is crammed with traders proffering seasonal goods and food and drink. There’s also a funfair for thrillseekers of all ages.

Going from city to town and country, no extended stay in Worcestershire is complete without a visit to the Malvern Hills – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Spanning some eight miles up hill and down dale you can walk the Malverns for days if you wish.

Malvern Hills

Explore the stunning Malvern Hills

Most visitors head for British Camp and the highest point of the hills at Worcestershire Beacon (1,394 feet) from where you can look across into Wales, over to the Bristol Channel and indeed to 13 different counties on a clear day. It’s easy to see how Elgar and authors including JRR Tolkien, George Bernard Shaw and CS Lewis drew inspiration from this area and why contemporary cultural figures such as violinist Nigel Kennedy and Robert Smith, lead singer of The Cure, decided to make the hills their home.

Malvern is best known for the purity of its natural spring water – bottled commercially and a companion of British monarchs from Queen Victoria, who is said to have refused to travel anywhere in the world without it, through to our current Queen Elizabeth II. You can taste the water straight from source via some 70 natural springs on the hills – the best-known being St Ann’s Well close to Great Malvern.

Going from city to town and country, no extended stay in Worcestershire is complete without a visit to the Malvern Hills – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Spanning some eight miles up hill and down dale you can walk the Malverns for days if you wish

Castles, museums and more

For motorists, the easiest access route on to the hills is from the British Camp car park on the A449 Worcester to Ledbury Road. The region is also well served by train and bus. For the truly energetic, another option to view the wonders of the county is by trekking the Worcestershire Way, a 31-mile trail from Great Malvern to Bewdley, which brings us neatly on to Wyre Forest in the north west of the county built around a trio of towns, Kidderminster being the largest, alongside the riverside towns of Bewdley, which hosts an arts festival every autumn, and Stourport-on-Severn.

A day in Wyre Forest is highly recommended and there are plenty of tourism and leisure options available. Wyre Forest Discovery Centre near Bewdley offers scenic woodland walks, cycle tracks and horse trails, perfect picnic spots and Go Ape challenges to conquer. You can hop aboard the Severn Valley Railway, one of the UK’s best-loved heritage railway lines, from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth in South Shropshire. The 16-mile journey can make a great day out in itself with walks in the lush countryside and stop-offs at nearby hostelries.

West Midland Safari Park

Meet the animals at the West Midland Safari Park

Located on the A456 between Kidderminster and Bewdley is West Midland Safari Park. Home to some of the world’s most beautiful and endangered exotic animal species, the park also offers rides for all ages, educational facilities and is a major events venue.

For culture lovers, there’s Worcestershire County Museum at Hartlebury Castle, just off the A449 Worcester to Kidderminster road and the former residence of the Bishop of Worcester for more than 1,000 years. Visitors can tour the palace’s state rooms and themed galleries featuring costumes, modes of transport including caravans and toys.

A short distance away is Harvington Hall, a moated manor house with the largest surviving series of priest hides in the country and a collection of original Elizabethan wall paintings. Away from Wyre Forest and into North Worcestershire are the towns of Droitwich Spa and Bromsgrove.

A day in Wyre Forest is highly recommended and there are plenty of tourism and leisure options available. Wyre Forest Discovery Centre near Bewdley offers scenic woodland walks, cycle tracks and horse trails, perfect picnic spots and Go Ape challenges to conquer

Historical gems

Droitwich Spa boasts one of the best outdoor lidos in the country and is renowned for its links to the salt industry, which is traced through Roman, Saxon and medieval periods and finally the Victorian era of John Corbett, known as the “Salt King”, at a permanent exhibition at the town’s heritage centre.

At nearby Bromsgrove you’ll find Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings. The museum houses a collection of 30 historic buildings and structures from yesteryear which have been rescued and re-built including barns, houses, churches and haylofts plus the National Telephone Kiosk Collection. Who ya gonna call?

Elgar’s Birthplace Museum at the Firs in Lower Broadheath to the west of Worcester, which came under the ownership of the National Trust in 2017, explains all you need to know about the composer’s life, times and influences. A short journey along the Worcester to Tenbury road takes you to Witley Court, one of England’s finest country houses before it was destroyed by fire in 1937. The ruins remain and the grounds are perfect for strolling and picnicking.

Six miles south of Worcester just off the A38 is Croome. The estate has many charms including a grand country house and beautiful grounds designed by Capability Brown. The Walled Gardens at Croome Court is Britain’s largest Georgian walled garden and a privately funded restoration project by the Cronin family since 2000.

Venture to South Worcestershire and you’ll find the Vale of Evesham. You could enter the vale via the pleasant gateway towns of Pershore, which boasts an impressive abbey, or Upton-upon-Severn with its characterful riverside pubs. Look out for the town’s summer music festivals – jazz, blues and, every August Bank Holiday, the popular Sunshine rock and pop festival.

Droitwich Spa boasts one of the best outdoor lidos in the country and is renowned for its links to the salt industry, which is traced through Roman, Saxon and medieval periods and finally the Victorian era of John Corbett, known as the “Salt King”, at a permanent exhibition at the town’s heritage centre.

Market towns

The Vale of Evesham is renowned as one of the country’s richest fruit and vegetable growing areas and as you drive through the area you’ll encounter many roadside stalls offering fresh home- or locally-grown produce and plants for sale. Plums, cherries, apples and greens of varying types and sizes are grown but there is one vegetable which is synonymous with the area – asparagus. You’ll find the spear-headed delight on most menus in cafes, restaurants and pubs in late spring.

If you are visiting the area in late-June to mid-July take time out to visit the Confetti Fields at Wick, near Pershore, where delphinium and wildflowers in long sweeps of pastel colours are grown before being processed and dried to turn into confetti. Viewing galleries and vantage points are available.

The vale’s main town, Evesham, sits beside the River Avon and is a busy market town with a splendid abbey, once the third largest in the country. Battle of Evesham re-enactments are held every year to bring to life the decisive encounter in the 13th-century Second Barons War.

Cotswold Village

Spend the day exploring Worcestershire’s beautiful Cotswold Villages

South of Evesham along the A44 is Broadway. The jewel in South Worcestershire’s crown, this beautifully-kept, quintessentially English village has a single grass-lined main street, Cotswold honeyed stone buildings and small streets crammed with cafes, shops, restaurants and hotels.

Nearby you’ll find Broadway Tower, the brainchild of Capability Brown and an iconic landmark from where you can scan the Cotswolds and Worcestershire. William Morris used this extraordinary folly and the second floor hosts an exhibition about the textile designer, novelist and poet.

Also close to the town is quirky Snowshill Manor, a 16th-century country house best known for its 20th-century owner, Charles Paget Wade, who amassed an enormous collection of objects from model boats and Samurais to toys and an attic filled with bicycles.


Everything you need to know about Worcestershire

Where to eat in Worcestershire

The best shopping in Worcestershire

The best nightlife in Worcestershire

Your guide to arts and culture in Worcestershire

Image credits: ©Caron Badkin/Shutterstock.com; Chrisatpps/Snapvision/Adobe Stock; Harvington Hall; West Midland Safari & Leisure Park LTD

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