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Touring Worcestershire

Malvern Hills courtesy Mark Horrell Worcestershire’s geography is punctuated with two areas of hills: the Malverns in the west and the Lickeys in the north-east. Much of the county is rural with villages retaining half-timbered houses. Industrial areas are clustered in the north and east. Three rivers are of importance: the Severn, Teme, and Avon.

Bredon Hill courtesy Mark Horrell Bredon Hill’s summit offers views of up to ten different counties, an iron age fort, a Roman earthwork, and ancient standing stones. In the village is a medieval tithe barn watched over by the National Trust. Built of Cotswold stone in the 14th century, it has five porches and stretches to 132 feet in length. The village is also home to a parish church, St Giles, dating 1190-1350, in which are stained glass and a collection of medieval tiles. Purbeck marble was used in the interior and there are 14th century carved monuments.

Apples for cider are grown in the Teme valley. Tenbury Wells lies in this farming area. Relics of its days as a spa town are found in the Chinese Gothic pump room. Also of interest are 19th century St Mary’s church (home to a Saxon cross), and a number of 16th and 17th century timbered buildings. A four-acre garden is home to the national collection of clematis with over 250 varieties.

Pershore Abbey interior by Barbara Ballard Pershore is home to plum orchards and is the site of St Oswald's abbey founded in 689; the church now serves the parish. The church lantern tower dates from 1350. Of note is the vaulting in the interior and the carved bosses. A six-arched medieval bridge across the river Avon leads into the town. The 14th century timber-framed Leigh Court barn is the largest of its kind and was built for the monks.

Great Malvern Priory and hills courtesy John Maycock Malvern, located on the edge of the nine-mile long Malvern Hills, was a spa town for the Victorians. The hills are a popular walking area. In the town is the priory church of St Mary and St Michael, dating from the Norman period. Inside is a collection of over 1000 medieval tiles of 100 different designs. The stained glass is particularly noteworthy. Malvern’s delightful little train station has been restored.

In the hills are the Herefordshire Beacon, Worcestershire Beacon, and the ‘British Camp’, purported to be the site where the Romans capture the Celtic Caradoc.

Croome Park grotto by Barbara Ballard Croome Park church monument by Barbara Ballard Croome Park was ‘Capability’ Brown’s first complete landscape assignment. There are park buildings and structures by Robert Adam and James Wyatt. Water features and gardens were much neglected over the years and are being restored in the 21st century by the National Trust. The house is partially restored. A church is in the extensive grounds.

Spetchley Park fountain by Barbara Ballard Spetchley Park gardens is a 30 acre garden with a collection of shrubs, trees, and plants, some of which are rare or unusual. There are a number of walled garden areas. Also in the grounds is a historic church.

Broadway Street Cotswolds Worcestershire by Barbara Ballard Broadway, rightly belonging to the Cotswolds group of villages, is in the county of Worcestershire. It’s a popular tourist attraction with its stone buildings, wide main street, and shops catering to the antique trade. A 14th century manor, Abbot’s Grange, shows off its original hall, study and chapel. An inn in the town, Lygon Arms, served as a manor house and was a stopover for Charles I and Oliver Cromwell.

Broadway Tower courtesy Risto Humari Broadway Country Park’s folly, the Tower, was constructed in the 1790s and served as a home for William Morris, Arts and Crafts movement founder.

Almonry Heritage Centre by Barbara Ballard The town of Evesham, on the river Avon, is the site of a ruined medieval abbey dating from 701. The church had 15 altars. Pilgrims loved the place and brought prosperity to the monks. Today’s pilgrim will see the gateway, cloister archway, two parish churches, an almonry, and a bell tower.

Evesham old abbey church ceiling by Barbara Ballard Evesham is famous for its battle fought in 1265 between barons led by Simon de Montfort against Prince Edward on the royal side. Evesham also has a 15th century merchant house and a 14th century Almoner building, and a museum of local history. The museum is packed with interesting collections and worth at least two hours to take it all in.

Bewdley has both the river Severn and the Wyre forest as a backdrop. Home to 18th century Tudor and Jacobean half-timbered houses, it also claims a bridge by the famous engineer Thomas Telford. There’s a Georgian parish church, a Norman church with 14th century wooden arcade arches and a William Morris window. (in the grounds of Ribbesford house). In the former butcher’s market, the Shambles, is the Bewdley craft museum. Pick up a town trail at the Tourist Information Centre.

Tudor Merchant House at Avoncroft by Barbara Ballard Bromsgrove has a 15th century church with a 200-foot high steeple. The nearby Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings is a collection of real buildings assembled on this site from various places in England to show vernacular architecture. They range from a timber-framed medieval hall to phone kiosks and include a windmill, a gaol, a church, a toll cottage, an ice house, and more. A museum of a completely different sort is the Forge Hill Needle museum in an 18th century mill. A ruined abbey, Bordesley, sits alongside.

Music lovers may want to visit Broadheath, birthplace of Edward Elgar, one of England’s most famous composers (Pomp and Circumstance and Land of Hope and Glory are two of his best known works). A museum is located in the cottage and in a building next to it where recitals are held.

Worcester Friar Street by Barbara Ballard The county’s main town, Worcester, has a number of medieval and Tudor buildings. The half-timbered Tudor Commandery buildings were Royalist headquarters in 1651 and now houses exhibitions on the civil war. The Guildhall was constructed c1227 as a local merchants’ meeting place; the present brick and stone building dates from 1722 and is decorated with period details in the interior. It serves as a civic building and tourist information centre. The Greyfriars was built c1480 in the center of what was medieval Worcester. The panelled rooms contain textiles and interesting furniture.

Worcester Cathedral courtesy Worcester Cathedral, a descendant of a 680 Benedictine monastery on the site, is beside the Severn river. It was much restored during Victorian times and is surrounded by modern buildings. Only the walled gardens and part of a cloister remain of the original monastery. A Norman nave suffered rebuilding in the 14th century and a central tower was added at the same time. Inside, the visitor is rewarded with sculpture and an interesting history and archaeology exhibition in the crypt. A number of famous people are buried in the cathedral including King John, Prince Arthur (son of Henry VII), and Sir Thomas Lyttleton (army commander for Charles I). The Royal Grammar School is thought to be a descendant of the original Worcester Bishop’s school of 685.

The Royal Worcester Porcelain Works celebrate the city’s connection with the manufacture of china since 1751. Its royal warrant was granted in 1789, and Queen Elizabeth has contributed to its continued success as it is her china of choice. The Museum of Worcester Porcelain holds a fascinating collection of wares dating from Georgian, Victorian, and 20th century times. There’s also a film on the company’s history to enjoy. Factory tours are on offer.

Cider Building at Hartlebury Museum by Barbara Ballard Hartlebury Castle is home to the Bishops of Worcestershire and has served that purpose for over a thousand years. There are three staterooms with period furniture, plasterwork and portraits. A county museum is housed in the former servants’ quarters in the north wing. Another building is an old cider mill while another on the grounds has a collection of historic transport vehicles.

Hanbury Gardens Worcestershire by Barbara Ballard Hanbury Hall is a William and Mary brick house in 400 acres of park and gardens that contain an orangery and icehouse. Look up at the painted ceilings, check out the staircase, the collection of porcelain, and the Dutch flower paintings. The town has a Norman church (interior) and is home to a 35-acre woodland with ancient timber.

Priest Hole in Harvington Hall kitchen by Barbara Ballard Harvington Hall is a moated medieval and Elizabethan manor house with many original wall paintings. There are a number of priest hidy-holes inside. It’s a fascinating house with many wonky walls and floors.

Witley Court Worcestershire by Barbara Ballard Witley Court is a house of a different type. It’s a ruin, the result of a fire in 1936. English Heritage provides an audio tour of the shell, set on a low hill. The grounds contain statues, fountains, a huge pond, and attractive views as well as the Jerwood Foundation Sculpture Park of modern British sculptures. The church in the grounds has the tallest funerary monument in England. It was built by Lord and Lady Foley, the family who owned the house for 183 years. Paintings by Italian artist Bellucci grace the interior, and an organ used by Handel remains in place.

Worcestershire Attractions

For opening times and full details of attractions see the Attractions section of our website.

Almonry Heritage Centre
Abbey Gate, Evesham
Worcestershire, WR11 4BG; just off the A4184
Tel. 0 1386 446 944
Web: Almonry Heritage Centre

Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings
Stoke Heath, Bromsgrove, off the A38 bypass
Tel. 0 1527 831 363 or 0 1527 831 886
Web: Avoncroft Museum

Bodenham Arboretum
Wolverley, Kiddermaster, Worcestershire
Tel. 0 1562 852 444
Web: Bodenham Arboretum

Bredon Tithe Barn
Bredon near Tewkesbury
Tel. 0 1684 855 300

Broadway Tower and Country Park
1.5 miles east of Broadway
Tel. 0 1386 852 390

Commandery (The)
Worcester city
Tel. 0 1905 361 821

Croome Park (NT)
Severn Stoke, , six miles from Pershore; on the A38
Tel. 0 1905 371 006

Elgar Birthplace Museum
Crown East Lane, Lower Broadheath
Tel. 0 1905 333 224

Forge Hill Needle Museum
Needle Mill Lane, Riverside, Redditch
Tel. 0 1527 62509

Great Malvern Priory Church of St Mary and St Michael
Church St, Malvern
Tel. 0 1684 561 020
Web: Great Malvern Priory

Greyfriars (The)
Friar St, Worcester
Tel. 0 1905 23571

Hanbury Hall (NT)
Hanbury Hall
School Rd, Hanbury, 4.5 miles east of Droitwich Spa
Tel. 01527 821 214

Hartlebury Castle
Hartlebury, near Kidderminster
Tel. 0 1299 250 416

Harvington Hall
Harvington, 3 miles south-east of Kidderminster
Tel. 0 2562 777 846
Web: Harvington Hall

Kelmarsh Hall
Tel. 0 1604 686 543
Web: Kelmarsh Hall

Leigh Court Barn (EH)
Off the A4103, five miles west of Worcester
Tel. 0 121 652 6820

Severn Valley Railway
Comberton Hill, Kidderminster
Tel. 0 1562 827 232
Web: Severn Valley Railway

Spetchley Park Gardens
Three miles east of Worcester, off A44 signed to Evesham
Tel. 0 1905 345 106
Web: Spetchley Park Gardens

Tenbury Wells Museum
Goff's School, Cross Street, Tenbury Wells
Tel. 0 1299 832 143

Transport Museum
Chapel Lane, Wythall, Birmingham
Tel. 0 1564 826 471
Web: Transport Museum

Witley Court and Gardens
Great Witley, off the A443, 10 miles north-west of Worcester
Tel. 0 1299 896 636
For photos and more information see our article Witley Court

Worcester Cathedral
10A College Green, Worcester
Tel. 0 1905 732 900
Web: Worcester Cathedral

Worcester County Museum
Hartlebury Castle, Hartlebury, near Kidderminster
Tel. 0 1299 250 416
Web: Worcester Museum

Worcester Guildhall
High St, Worcester
Tel. 0 1905 723 471

Worcester Royal Porcelain Works and Museum
Severn Street, Worcester
Tel. 0 1905 746 000

Worcestershire Tourist Information Centres

Bewdley TIC
Load Street, Bewdley
Tel. 0 1299 404 740

Broadway TIC
1 Cotswold Court, Broadway
Tel. 0 1386 852 937

Droitwich Spa TIC
St Richard's House, Victoria Square, Droitwich Spa
Tel. 0 1905 774 312

Evesham TIC
The Almonry, Abbey Gate, Evesham
Tel. 0 1386 446 944

Malvern TIC
21 Church Street, Malvern
Tel. 0 1684 892 289

Pershore TIC
19 High St, Pershore
Tel. 0 1386 554 262

Redditch TIC
Civic Square, Alcester St, Redditch
Tel. 0 1527 60806

Tenbury Wells TIC
21 Teme Street, Tenbury
Tel. 0 1584 810 136 (summer only)

Upton Upon Severn
4 High St, Upton Upon Severn
Tel. 0 1684 594 200

The Guildhall
High Street, Worcester
Tel. 0 1905 726 311 or 0 1905 722 480

Heart of England
Woodside, Larkhill Rd, Worcester
Tel. 0 1905 761 100

Photos by Barbara Ballard and

Broadway tower courtesy Risto Hurmalainen

Great Malvern Priory courtesy John Maycock at Great Malvern Priory

Worcester Cathedral courtesy Richard III Society

Malvern Hills and Bredon Hill courtesy Mark Horrell

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Some of our Worcestershire Articles
Witley Court
Almonry Heritage Centre
Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings
Spetchley Park Gardens
Harvington Hall
Croome Park and Croome Court
Other England Articles

Cropvale Farm B and B
A great place to stay near Pershore, Worcestershire

Phepson Farm B and B and self-catering cottages
A great farm stay in Worcestershire

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