Elgar’s birthplace, Lower Broadheath
It may seem strange to some that a man of such talent and achievement, who produced music of such beauty and fame, had his origins in such a humble little house in a small village just outside Worcester, but these were the beginnings of one of England’s greatest composers, Edward Elgar. Elgar retained a connection to the county of his birth throughout his life, and a walk on the Malvern Hills or a visit to this little house can give you a taste of what inspired him. TEL: 01905 333224
Witley court is one of this country’s most spectacular ruins. Formerly a grand stately home, much of which was designed by architect John Nash, the building was gutted by a devastating fire in 1937. What remained of the house was taken over by the government in the early 1970s, and is now run by English Heritage. There is something distinctly spooky and humbling about wondering round such a beautiful building reduced to a husk of its former self. Luckily the neighbouring parish church, one of the finest examples of Baroque church architecture in the country, survived the fire. TEL: 01299 896636
Museum of carpet, Kidderminster
The North Worcestershire town of Kidderminster is, by all accounts, not the prettiest of places. However, if there is one thing the town is famous for, and can be justly proud of, its carpets. Although, perhaps, not as famous as the porcelain and sauce of Worcester, the Kidderminster carpet industry was, in its heyday, one of the central pillars of the county’s economy and should not be overlooked. And what better place to familiarise yourself with the town’s rich manufacturing heritage than the Museum of Carpet? It’s a lovely little museum, run by small group of local enthusiasts. TEL: 01562 69028
Many of Worcester’s medieval buildings suffered a grim fate at the hands of over-zealous post-war town planners; however, a few gems survive, one of which is Greyfriars, a fifteenth-century half-timbered house, tucked behind an unattractive shopping complex on Friar’s St. The building is named after an old monastery that used to occupy the sight, but was actually built by a wealthy merchant in the fifteenth century. A nineteenth-century guidebook described the building as ‘a quaint old timbered building worth glancing at in passing…’ an unfair description for a house that, having been lovingly restored, offers a glimpse into a Worcester almost gone. It also has a beautiful walled garden. TEL: 01905 23571
Morgan factory, Malvern Link
Morgan has always had a reputation for producing great little motor cars, something they still endeavour to do. Nor has the company been tempted to move production elsewhere. The factory contains a small museum which tells the history of the Malvern car company from 1910 to the present. The real treat, however, are the guided tours of the working factory, where modern Morgans are handmade by a small but talented workforce. TEL: 01684 573104
Abberley clock tower
It is unclear why John Joseph Jones, owner of the Abberley Hall estate, decided in 1882 to build a 161-foot clocktower in the middle of the Worcestershire countryside. Some have suggested it was to prevent his employees from excusing their lateness by claiming they had no means to telling the time, others that it was to compete with the nearby Witley court (see above). Either way it is a spectacular and unusual addition to the West Worcestershire landscape, that can, supposedly, been seen from six counties. It is now part of Abberley Hall school, but is occasionally open to visitors.
Arley and Upper Arley
Most visitors don’t take much notice of Arley as they travel up the Severn Valley Railway (one of the longest steam heritage railways in the country) toward the more well-known Bridgenorth. However, it is also well worth a visit. Apart from being a charming little village that straddles the River Severn (the two sides are now connected by a footbridge), it is also home to a large two hundred year-old arboretum. Unfortunately, the spectacular folly ‘Arley castle’ was demolished in 1960, but a small turreted tower in the heart of the village is a reminder of its existence.
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