Days out in Worcestershire
With so much on offer, Worcestershire has a wealth of things to do, places to see, and activities to get stuck into for all ages. Whether exploring the great outdoors, discovering the many historic market and spa towns including Evesham, Bewdley, Malvern or Pershore, or gearing up for kids and family fun across the county, days out in Worcestershire are in good supply!
Worcestershire’s Cathedral City and county town of Worcester is packed with all the history and heritage you could ask for. Home to the historic 12th-century cathedral with the famous Norman crypt and dominating tower, it also offers the Tudor House Museum, a wonderful 16th-century building filled with the city’s illustrious history. The Museum of Royal Worcester houses the world’s largest collection of Worcester porcelain.
Redditch is home to the Forge Mill Needle Museum, a unique heritage site with a fascinating story and a surprising history in the needle making industry. Close by, the ruins of the 11th-century Bordesley Abbey are a recommended visit. Steeped in history to explore, the ruins also include family trail activities.
In the north, Kidderminster is the place to visit for a step back in time. Hop on the Severn Valley Railway for a 16-mile journey on the steam train and take in the beautiful scenery and train stations from a bygone era. The once top-secret facility, Drakelow Tunnels, cover 3.5 miles of underground tunnels, offering a captivating look into their military background over the years.
The historic market town of Evesham has plenty of things to do. Abbey Park is a beautifully kept public park with landscaped borders and a wonderful lily pond – an ideal place to take a break. Just a few steps away, the famous Evesham Bell Tower is an impressive sight, and the town’s Almonry Museum is an amazing 14th-century building with an eclectic range of items and information.
The historic spa town of Great Malvern on the Herefordshire border is not only the birthplace of renowned British composer Edward Elgar but is also famous for the iconic Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. With a wide range of walking routes, including the Elgar Route, these hills, woods, and fields are filled with wildlife and history and perfect for breathtaking landscape views and plenty of beauty spots.
Topography, geology, and climate
As a stunning, naturally beautiful rural county, Worcestershire features some outstanding countryside landscapes. Its land qualities provide a diverse range of soil types for a varied mix of textures and fertility levels.
Running through the centre of Worcestershire from north to south is a mix of low fertility, mildly acidic loam soils on the western side, with medium fertility, mildly acidic loam and clay soils on the eastern side. Both outer east and west regions are a patchwork of both mildly acidic and base-rich loam and clay soils. The far north of the county consists of low fertility, free-draining sandy soil, while the far south has large areas of highly fertile, lime-rich loam and clay soils.
Worcestershire’s parks and gardens
With the southern half of Worcestershire containing part of the Malvern Hills together with the Bredon Hill Nature Reserve, the county offers a fine, natural landscape to explore. But with parks and gardens scattered around the north and south, Worcestershire gives families and keen gardeners lots to take delight in.
Gheluvelt Park, Worcester
Gheluvelt Park was opened in 1922. Its entrance is marked by a triumphal arch. There is a bandstand in a lake. A row of houses along its northern edge was built in 1919 as sheltered housing for disabled servicemen.
The area has been used as a public space since at least the 18th century, when an avenue of trees formed part of the layout. The remains of Civil War siege works remain as a landscape feature.
- North Worcestershire
Kidderminster and the surrounding areas provide a wealth of places to explore. Bodenham Arboretum, near Wolverley, is the ideal place for a family visit. Nestled in a protected valley, Bodenham is a working farm but features over 130 acres featuring mature woods and 3,000 specimen trees and shrubs. A number of walks around the area allow you to take in the spectacular plantings and vivid colours across the seasons.
Arley Arboretum and Gardens, near Bewdley, is another stunning setting to relish with beautiful walks and amazing views. Arley is home to over 300 species of champion trees, some of which date back 350 years or more, and you can also see the incredible 65m Laburnum arch, a wonderful collection of Magnolias and Acers, together with the magnificent Italian garden. There’s plenty for kids to enjoy too, including the maze, kids’ quests, and scavenger hunts.
Witley Court in Great Witley, a now-ruined mansion owned by English Heritage, has wonderful Italianate gardens that include parterres and terraces with plantings that give glorious colour throughout the year. Its centrepiece is the ornate Perseus and Andromeda fountain, designed by landscape architect, William Andrews Nesfield. Woodland walks help you fully explore Witley’s surroundings, filled with trees and shrubs from all over the world, including an impressive Rhododendron collection.
Near Droitwich, the National Trust-owned, 18th-century stately home of Hanbury Hall features 20 acres of gardens and 396 acres of surrounding parkland to enjoy. The formal gardens and sunken parterre originally designed by landscape architect, George London, provide a rich variety of colour with immaculately clipped box hedging and topiary. Its less formal areas are equally attractive, and include the wildflower wilderness and the working Walled garden for vegetable and floral displays.
- South Worcestershire
The National Trust’s Croome Court Park and Gardens near High Green feature sweeping landscape-style gardens expertly designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. With pathways taking you through the area, you’ll walk over picturesque bridges and through a wonderfully naturalistic environment, pitted with Brown’s trademark grottos, pavilions, and statues.
While you’re visiting Croome Court, make sure you visit the Georgian Walled Garden. This 5 acre space has been faithfully restored over the years to become an oasis of tranquillity. Behind the walls, you’ll find the former fig and melon glasshouses, now home to plenty of exotic plants, together with sumptuous borders, lawns, and the beautiful, circular rose garden with over 50 varieties.
On the outskirts of Worcester, Spetchley Park Gardens are certainly worth visiting. Famous for its vivid displays of Peonies, it’s worth visiting for them alone. Spetchley Park is touted as “one of Britain’s best-kept secrets” and it’s hard to disagree. The 30 acres contain plants and flowers from all over the world and are a fantastic mix of formal and not-so-formal areas to give contrast, colour, and scent all year round.