So many reasons to visit
The heart of England is renowned for its natural beauty and its history, and you’ll meet many people while you’re here – locals and other visitors – who’ll tell you that our part of it has more than its fair share.
If that’s a fact, you won’t see all there is to see in just one visit. We hope you’ll agree. Here are some ideas to start your planning.
The Cotswolds. The Malverns. The English Civil Wars. Gunpowder plotters. Elgar. Shakespeare. Tolkein. Housman. Plums, pears and asparagus. The Avon and Severn valleys. Walking, riding and touring. The Blossom Trail.
The towns, cities and villages that surround you here speak of charm and are steeped in history. Some put down their roots before the Domesday Book was written, as near as matters 1,000 years ago. They’ve known good and bad times, but most still nestle around the churches and pubs that have been the backbone of their communities for centuries.
We’re talking about places like Bredon Hill, Broadway, Evesham, Worcester, Winchcombe, Stratford – the list goes on. Here’s a handful of our favourites, to set your mind wandering.
Just spent four restful days at Bredon-Vale. Well laid-out pitches for caravans, all south-facing, also a large area for tents. Spotless toilet and shower block. Added bonus, bus stops nearby with buses to Evesham and Stratford-upon-Avon, which worked well for us. Nothing too much trouble for the owners, Jacqui and Jim, who are constantly working around the site… with a great respect for nature. Lovely site. Lovely people. We will return − D&G Stevens, September 2021
ON THE DOORSTEP
If you’re not familiar with this corner of Worcestershire, you might welcome some ideas about the places that are within easy striking distance. And here’s an important thought….
Motorhomes / Campers
If your mode of transport is a camper or motorhome, we’ve added some parking links below to help you find out which of your stop-offs are in tune with your particular needs. Have a great day….
The Valley has 22 shops, a fabulous garden centre, three eateries, and free parking, less than a mile (an easy walk) away.
It’s also home to the Evesham Vale Light Railway, a ride-on train that’s great for families with children and leads to an adventure castle! You can hear the ‘toot toot’ from the site. Find out more by clicking the link.
The fun and chances for relaxation don’t stop there. Far from it.
If watching the world drift by is what you’re after, The Valley’s outside areas roll down to the River Avon and offer wonderful views of The Cotswolds.
If fishing’s your thing, contact Manor Angling directly on 07557 025120 or email email@example.com.
Finally, Fundamental Movement Academy Evesham’s site − in what was the Chris Boardman building − offers a soft play area and cafe, in addition to bookable facilities for niche sports like free running, gymnastics and trampoline. For more details, click the FMA link.
How do you find The Valley? That’s simple.
Turn right out of the site, then left at the roundabout and head to the A46 Evesham bypass at its junction with the Stratford Road. The brown tourist signs are marked with the old name, Evesham Country Park. You’ll find the entrance just up from the petrol station and Premier Inn.
- Reason to visit: Your most local shopping experience, riverside walks
- Famous for: The Battle of Evesham
- Hidden gem: The riverside Abbey Park, Evesham Abbey, The Regal cinema
- Distance: 2.3 miles
- Parking: Eleven car parks
- Food: The Potted Pantry / The Royal Oak
- Reason to visit: Pleasant, well-kept High Street environment
- Famous for: Pershore plums
- Hidden gems: Pershore Abbey, Pershore College of Horticulture
- Distance: 9.6 miles
- Parking: Four car parks
- Food: Sugar n’ Spice Café
- Reason to visit: Gateway to the Cotswolds
- Famous for: Cotswold-stone High Street
- Hidden gem: The Gloucestershire-Warwickshire Steam Railway
- Distance: 7.8 miles
- Parking: Four car parks
- Food: The Thatched Tavern. Honeybourne
- Reason to visit: A very friendly town with a big heart
- Famous for: Its Roman origins, and its annual street market, food festival, and St Nicholas Night parade, which traditionally marks the start of Christmas preparations in the town
- Hidden gem: Malt Mill Lane, a tranquil corner
- Distance: 11 miles
- Parking: One large (motorhome friendly) car park, two smaller sites
- Food: The Turks Head, Alcester / The Broom Tavern, Broom / The Throckmorton, Coughton / Hillers Farm Shop and Restaurant, Dunnington / The Bell Inn, Welford-on-Avon
- Reason to visit: Shakespeare culture, Shakespeare history, Shakespeare Memorial Theatre
- Famous for: Everything William Shakespeare
- Hidden gems: The Butterfly Farm, The Picture House Cinema
- Distance: 13.2 miles
- Parking: Eleven car parks
- Food: Hobsons Café / Lambs / The Vintner / 33 The Scullery
- Reason to visit: History, culture and shopping
- Famous for: Worcester Cathedral, Sir Edward Elgar, Royal Worcester Porcelain, Worcestershire Sauce, River Severn, Worcestershire CCC’s New Road cricket ground, Worcester Warriors, the first and last battles of the English Civil Wars
- Hidden gems: The Commandery Civil War Museum, Gheluvelt Park
- Distance: 15.9 miles
- Parking: Fifteen car parks
- Food: Miller & Carter / The Old Rectifying House / The Olive Branch
- Reason to visit: Cheltenham races
- Famous for: Cheltenham Gold Cup, Cheltenham Literary Festival
- Hidden gem: Cheltenham Ladies College
- Distance: 20 miles
- Parking: Fifteen car parks
- Food: The Coconut Tree / The Ivy Montpellier Brasserie
- Reason to visit: History, charming shopping
- Famous for: Tewkesbury Abbey, Battle of Tewkesbury
- Hidden gem:
- Distance: 15.8 miles
- Parking: Eight car parks
- Reason to visit: The majestic beauty of the Hills
- Famous for: The Malvern Hills, Sir Edward Elgar, Morgan cars, The Three Counties Show, the RHS Spring Garden Show
- Hidden gem: Malvern Theatres
- Distance: 23.3 miles
- Parking: Fourteen car parks
- Food: Terrace on the Hill / Bluebird Tearooms
- Reason to visit: History
- Famous for: Warwick Castle, Austin-Healey sports cars
- Hidden gem: St Nicholas Park
- Distance: 23 miles
- Parking: Fourteen car parks
- Food: La Mesa / Wylie’s Café
TWO FEET, FOUR WHEELS
Let’s start with the Blossom Trail, because there are few better places or times to climb into the saddle or stroll around when spring bursts into life.
The popular Bikeaway event is an organised tour, but you can also immerse yourself in the picturesque landscape as part of the National Cycle Network. For more information, visit the Blossom Trail page at www.visitevesham.co.uk.
On BVCC’s doorstep, there are three Blossom Trail walks, ranging from a leisurely three-mile stroll, a four-and-a-half mile leg-stretcher and a six-mile walk, all rewarding the walker with sights and scents that will reward the effort. More information from the Evesham Tourist Information Centre on 01386 446944.
If you look just a little further afield, there’s plenty to keep mind and body in perfect harmony with nature – Bredon Hill, the Malverns, the Cotswolds should be top of your list. For reasons you’ll appreciate when stay here, try this taster…
Bredon Hill is geologically part of the Cotswolds although, as the result of erosion over millions of years, it’s now isolated in the Vale of Evesham.
At its summit, you’ll find the remains of earthworks from an Iron Age hill fort known as Kemerton Camp, which is believed to have been abandoned in the 1st Century after a considerable battle. There are also Roman earthworks and a number of ancient standing stones on the hill.
The Hill’s also one of England’s most important wildlife sites, with a range of habitats and a host of public footpaths and bridleways criss-crossing from the villages around its base, among them The Wychavon Way, which passes over the hill and runs close to the summit.
If you haven’t already supplied yourself with a guide, of some kind, you could to a lot worse than take a stroll through the Visit Evesham – Small Town, Big Heart website’s walking and rambling pages, where you can download walks of many local flavours in a printable format.
If you’re keen to see this wonderful, rich landscape from one of the ‘big’ footpaths, all within easy striking distance, you’re spoilt for choice….
The closest footpath to us, here at Bredon-Vale, is Wychavon Way. The route was originally opened in 1977, to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II, and meandered from Holt Fleet on the Worcestershire stretch of the River Severn to Winchcombe, where it linked with the Cotswold Way.
Since 2012, it has started at Droitwich Spa and largely follows the original route to just before Fladbury, where it deviates to Pershore before heading to the summit of Bredon Hill on its way west to finish at Broadway.
Waymarks contain a logo with a trebuchet on a green hill above a horizontally stretched V-shaped blue river.
The Cotswold Way
The Cotswold Way is a 102-mile long-distance footpath, running north-east along the Cotswold Edge escarpment of the Cotswold Hills from Bath to Chipping Campden, including a small stretch around Broadway. Apart from that section, the entire walk is within Gloucestershire.
You can delve a little deeper on several websites, including The National Trail. If you know of any others, please share them with us.
The Monarch’s Way
The Monarch’s Way is a 625-mile long-distance footpath that echoes the escape route taken by King Charles II, in 1651, after being defeated in the second Battle of Worcester.
It starts in the Faithful City, 15 miles west from us, then runs north to Boscobel on its first (almost circuitous) 180-mile stage to Stratford-upon-Avon, around 15 miles in the opposite direction, before continuing south to Stow-on-the-Wold. From there, it heads south-west towards Bristol via Cirencester. Then, it turns south-east and passes through Yeovil on its way to Brighton.
All of the footpath is waymarked. Look for a yellow sign with an image of the ship Surprise above the Prince of Wales three-point feathered crown, which is superimposed on a Royal Oak tree (the one at Boscobel House) in black.
Vale of Evesham Asparagus Festival
The Vale of Evesham’s regarded as the major centre for British asparagus production, and the British Asparagus Festival has evolved to celebrate the fact.
A series of events like asparagus auctions run through the festival season, which runs from late April to late June – but the main focus is on St George’s Day, the start of the British Asparagus season, and on Spring Bank Holiday weekend, which usually involves Asparagus Auctions and a Family Fun Day at Bretforton’s historic Fleece Inn, which features plenty of music and dancing and a special asparagus-themed menu.
Pershore Plum Festival
Pershore has long been famed for its plum harvest, with orchards dating back to medieval times, and each August Bank Holiday this heritage is celebrated in the town.
The tradition dates back to 1827, when the landlord of the Butcher’s Arms pub, in Church Street, discovered a seedling of a wild plum growing in the ancient Tiddesley Wood on the outskirts of the town.
Events take place over the whole weekend, with the main festivities on Bank Holiday Monday.
ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE
The Regal Cinema is one of Evesham’s gems, a restored art deco cinema with coffee shop and gallery that becomes a wine bar in the evening. It hosts a broad range of events including art exhibitions, an educational program that includes keynote lectures, live music, acoustic live music, comedy and other live performances, a live sports feed, fashion shows, exhibitions and corporate events.
Number 8 is a thriving Community Arts Centre inspired and led by the people of Pershore. Their mission is to provide arts and leisure activities to the local community and beyond with the aim of improving the social well-being of the inhabitants of Pershore and surrounding areas. That includes a vibrant programme of film, live music, theatre and dance – plus ballets, operas and the National Theatre seasons beamed live. For more information, https://www.number8.org/
If your Bredon-Vale break includes plans for a trip to the theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon will be in your satnav address book already. The RSC’s three theatres – the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the Swan Theatre, which both share a building on Waterside, and The Other Place, which is a short walk away, on Southern Lane – give a wealth of options, with more places to book the pre- or post-show meal than you could shake a quill at. For more information, https://www.rsc.org.uk/whats-on
For something a little more intimate, the 100-seat Bear Pit Theatre, in Rother Street, is a voluntary organisation that works to build a greater awareness of the performing and visual arts in the historic town. It’s a real gem. For more information, https://www.thebearpit.org.uk/
Then there’s the Stratford Playhouse, which is also in Rother Street. Theatre, jazz, comedy and so much more are on the bill. For more information, https://www.stratfordplay.co.uk/
Malvern Theatres is housed in the Winter Gardens complex in the town centre of Great Malvern. It has been a provincial centre for the arts since 1885 and is strongly associated with George Bernard Shaw and Edward Elgar. Its rich history has seen many included its most recent transformation in the late 1990s, when a new complex was built with an 850-seat Festival Theatre, a Forum Theatre, a 400-seat cinema, and a bar and restaurant. For more information, https://www.malvern-theatres.co.uk/
The Roses offers an eclectic programme of live events, take-part activities, exhibitions and festivals. In addition to the 370-seat auditorium, The Roses boasts a relaxing bar and coffee shop where you can enjoy a pre-show and interval drinks as well as live entertainment including jazz and folk music and stand-up comedy. For more information, http://www.rosestheatre.org/
The Battle of Evesham happened a mile away on the stormy morning of August 4, 1265, and marked the defeat of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, and the rebellious barons by the future King Edward I, who led the forces of his father, King Henry III.
A little over 400 years later, Worcester was the scene of the first and last battles of the English Civil Wars, which started on on August 22, 1642, when the Roundhead Parliamentarians and Royalist Cavaliers fought for control of the country. They came to an end on September 3, 1651.
The ghosts of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot also travel the highways and byways. The failed assassination attempt against King James I was carried out by a group of provincial English Catholics, led by Robert Catesby, with a host of county connections. Coughton Court, near Alcester, is a good place to start.
If the age of steam sets your pulse racing, you’re in luck. The Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway runs between Broadway and Cheltenham, while the spectacular Severn Valley Railway has stunning riverside views between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth.
For a full guide, https://www.visitworcestershire.org/explore/history-heritage/
LET’S NOT FORGET…
- Hillers, a delightful farm shop with steam railway, plants, bird hide, restaurant and gift shop. Just six miles north at the Dunnington crossroads on the B4088. You won’t be disappointed.
- Ellenden Farm Shop and restaurant, around a mile away at Harvington, has approximately 60 acres of homegrown produce which are sold in the shop. It’s open from 9am to 6pm, seven days week.