If you are considering visiting the Malvern you are in for an unexpected treat. The Malverns really are a fantastic location for a holiday, an Area Of Outstanding Beauty (AONB) with lots of attractions other than just walking the hills or cycling the bridlepaths, here is just a small selection of things to do in Malvern and the surrounding areas, let us know if we've missed something ...
Okay, let's start with The Malvern Priory (1) which began it's life in 1085, tours are available and you need to go to www.greatmalvernpriory.org.uk times and information are available from that site. The Priory is now 928 years old, it was founded as a Benedictine Priory and was in fact a monastery for over 450 years. Inside you'll find a fine collection of medieval stained glass and tiles along with carved misericords (monks' seats) from the 14th and 15th century.
The Little Priory (2) is situated in Malvern Wells, dedicated to St.Giles, it's a beautiful building constructed in 1125, the best website we could find is at www.littlemalvernpriory.co.uk the grounds are stunning and well worth a visit. There is a bridleway to the right of the Priory entrance which leads to one of the best footpath climbs to British Camp, passing the reservoir on the way offering great views to the East of the hills. of the
,,,yy Malvern is the home to TheMalvern Link is the home to the Morgan Motor Car (3) where they have been building cars since 1909 and the factory visits are a great way to spend 2 hours, their official website with opening times can be found at www.morgan-motor.co.uk You can't come to The Malverns and avoid seeing Elgar (4) references all over the town, all the best information we could find, including visiting his birthplace museum was at the Elgar Foundation website at www.elgarmuseum.org. Elgar is famed for writing some of the best-loved works of the English classical music scene in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The "Enigma Variations" was one of his famous pieces and the melody reflects the contours of the Malvern Hills although his most famous composition was of course "Land Of Hope And Glory". This piece was actually based on his 1902 composition "Pomp and Circumstance March number 1", the words were added later by A.C Benson.
Edward Elgar was deeply inspired by England’s countryside and culture he also absorbed what was going on in Europe, writing dazzling choral and orchestral works as well as chamber, instrumental and keyboard music. He was born in Broadheath, a few miles away from Malvern, but lived and worked in this area for most of his life. He is buried at St. Wulstan's Church in Little Malvern. His house at Broadheath is now a small museum and there is a wonderful garden to stroll around that features a bronze statue of Elgar staring down towards The Malvern Hills.
The Three Counties Showground hosts some of the biggest events in the area including The Spring Garden Show, The Three Counties Show and The Malvern Autumn Festival, their website can be found at www.threecounties.co.uk .
All walkers must take the time to climb the two famous Beacons on the hills. The Worcestershire Beacon (6) is the highest point in the county (425metres) and offers 360 degree views, as does The Herefordshire Beacon (7) which offers views towards Wales, both peaks are walkable from Great Malvern and the paths are clearly defined and in good order. In all there are around 100 miles of footpaths across the ridge and bridleways and well behaved dogs are allowed to walk off the lead. the bridleways are also open to cyclists. The Herefordshire Beacon is often referred to as British Camp as the remains of an iron age hill fort can be found at the top.
There is adequate parking at British Camp car park which sits beneath The Herefordshire Beacon (about a 35min climb) where you will also find a small outdoor snack stall selling homemade cakes, tea & coffee. Over the road you can also stop for a pint in the bar at The Malvern Hills Hotel.
The Malvern Hills are about 13kms in length and have been described as a mountain range in miniature, the eight mile ridge containing some of the oldest rocks in Britain. " They were good enough for Mallory to come and walk in preparation for Everest whilst staying with colleagues at Malvern College. Today you can enjoy over 4500 acres of open countryside climbing to the highest point at Worcestershire Beacon or enjoying the quiet ramblings along the wooded slopes." Malvern Hills Conservators. There are only two passes over the hills, the A449 that is a little north of The Herefordshire Beacon and The Wyche (salt) cutting.
On the way up to The Worcestershire Beacon from Great Malvern you will pass St.Ann's Well (8), one of many wells in the area. If you time your visit around the Well Dressing festivals (9) you'll see some interesting sights around the hills. The photo here is the wonderful Guarlford Horse trough dressed by Steph Underwood-Webb, a gold award winner for 2011. There are lots of spouts and springs to discover although the most popular one in the 18th Century was Holywell which has recently been re-opened and a small bottling operation has started up again. St.Ann's Well was more popular as it was closer to Great Malvern and the bath houses where tourists flocked to take the water treatment.
The Priory Museum (10) in the centre of Great Malvern is also worth a look, it only costs £2 for adults and 50p for Children, opening times can be found at www.malvernmuseum.co.uk
Other things to look out for include The Malvern Theatre Complex, Priory Park andThe Malvern Splash Swimming Centre which are all within a 5 minute walk from each other around the Priory Park area of the Town.