If you’re looking for somewhere rural, beautiful and peaceful that’s tucked away in the English countryside and perfect for a UK holiday, then Malvern ticks all the boxes. With numerous country pubs, famous spring water, and a rich history, it’s no wonder that Malvern is such a popular tourist destination. The town is situated on the border of Worcestershire and Herefordshire, under the watchful eye of hills that offer incredible views of the Wye Valley and the Welsh border on one side, and the Cotswolds on the other.
Due to its healing spring water, Malvern became a renowned tourist destination in the 19th century. Charles Darwin endorsed the water’s healing properties and as a result, many hydrotherapy centres and clinics have sprung up in the region over time. It is also said that the queen drinks Malvern water due to the its healing properties. Visitors come from all around the UK to gather fresh water at the springs, and the views and scenery along the way is an added bonus.
Here are the best places to visit during your stay in Malvern:
Hike the Malvern Hills
There are hundreds of walking trails to choose from, suitable for people of all ages and abilities, spread throughout the town. The Worcestershire Beacon and North Hill are the highest points on the Malvern Hills, which are part of the 50-kilometer-long Worcestershire Way.
Each hill has designated pathways that have been carved out during the years, or if you want to be a little more spontaneous, there are plenty of secluded tracks hidden away. There is parking at many sites, including British Camp, where easy to find pathways and signs lead straight up to North Hill and the Beacon. Maps of the hill can be found online or in local tourist offices in Great Malvern Town.
If cycling is your preferred method of travel, Malvern ticks another box here too! Cycling is a common sport in Malvern, with many road cyclists and mountain bikers riding the streets and hills on a daily basis. On the Malvern Hill and Commons, there are over 56km of bridleways to choose from, including three mountain biking paths that have been clearly marked as part of a recent initiative to promote responsible mountain biking on the hills.
Visit the Malvern Tourist Centre for a guide showing you the best tracks for cyclists as well as places you can stop for refreshments on the way. One thing’s for sure, some of the tracks aren’t for the faint hearted!
If you love the idea of camping underneath the stars then you’re in luck. Around almost every turn in Malvern there are places that welcome campers. If you’re staying for a week or so, you could find large tents for your family to pitch with breathtaking views of the Malvern Hills.
There are popular campsites in spots such as the Three Counties Showground or if you’re looking for something a little more private, you can find cosy spots to pitch your tent such as The Marlbank Inn, an intimate pub that welcomes dogs and campers alike.
Drive Around Malvern
The Morgan Factory, home to the world’s longest-running production car, welcomes tourists and potential Morgan owners Monday to Friday to learn more about the company’s cars and history. Factory tours are offered on a daily basis and take visitors on a two-hour journey through each stage of the manufacturing process. Each group is led by a Morgan owner and fanatic, and they get to see the professional craftsmen build each component of the vehicle. Even non-petrol heads will enjoy the experience, which includes a visit to the museum and store, as well as afternoon tea.
If you are a petrol head, you can level up your Morgan experience by booking an experience day, which will allow you to drive the car for an allocated amount of time. Take one of their stunning cars and see the sights around Malvern, enjoy the wind in your hair and the feeling of pure luxury! It’s recommended to book ahead as many tourists are disappointed that the cars are pre booked. The factory is also closed at certain points during the year, so it’s always worth calling ahead to book your experience.
Walk around Priory Park
Priory Park, which is bordered by the Malvern Theatres and Malvern Splash Leisure Complex, was once the grounds of the Priory Mansion, which was constructed in 1874 and is now used as the Council House. Priory Park used to be known as the Winter Gardens back in the day.
Priory Park is surrounded by a huge duck pond that is encompassed by a pair of bridges and is surrounded by beautiful mature trees. During the summer months, a Victorian bandstand, constructed in 1875 and rebuilt in the 1980s, proudly stands in the park and hosts free Sunday afternoon concerts. Many of the trees in the park date from about 150 years ago, when it was popular to have as many exotic trees from all over the world in your garden as possible. A children’s playground sits in one corner of the park, next to a beautiful wooden carving made by Tom Harvey from a fallen tree.
You can get to Priory Park from Grange Road which runs beside the Malvern Theatres. If you’re coming by car, there’s parking along the road in public car parks with a short walk up by the Malvern Splash required. Priory Park itself is situated on the ‘Route to the Hills’, which connects the park to Great Malvern Station.
Eat at St Ann’s Well Cafe
There’s nothing quite like a much needed refreshment after walking the Malvern Hills and if you’ve never walked them before, you’ll understand it once you reach St Ann’s Well Cafe. This tiny, cosy cafe is tucked away in the hills. Although the walk from Malvern is short, it is steep, and you are soon rewarded with a beautiful view of Malvern and a historical well.
Sandwiches, cakes, cold beverages, and tea – with free refills! – are served at this vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free cafe. Outdoor seating is available on a lovely terrace, which is ideal for a sunny day, and the cafe welcomes your dogs too! However, the beautiful cafe isn’t always open, so it’s best to check out their opening times so you don’t miss out on the opportunity!
Be entertained at the Malvern Theatre
So there’s lots to do during the day in Malvern, but what about evening entertainment? Look no further than the Malvern Theatres. Situated overlooking Priory Park, tourists from all over the UK flock in to see high-end productions in such a scenic area. Along with world-class touring productions and critically acclaimed theatre and movie productions, there is an incredible variety of drama, comedy, music, film, and dance on display.
Within, there are two theatres and a cinema with the capability of live-screening productions from around the world. Additionally, Malvern Theatres has become a popular destination for pre- and post-West End productions, so keep an eye out for a chance to see one of these fantastic shows. The theatre has a restaurant and lounge, but with its location in the heart of Malvern, there are plenty of choices for drinks and food to fit any budget within walking distance of the theatre.
Sleep at Stanbrook Abbey
Stanbrook Abbey Hotel is a former Grade II listed monastery that has retained its original architecture. The dramatic stone chapel and the gothic stained-glass windows give visitors a rare glimpse of what life in an abbey was like in the early 16th century.
A recent £4.2 million renovation introduced a modern brasserie-style dining experience in The Refectory restaurant, which was constructed on the site of the original nuns’ cafeteria. There are eight new bedrooms on the second floor and another seven rooms built in the original schoolhouse in St Anne’s Wing, all meticulously planned to celebrate the hotel’s heritage. Stanbrook Abbey Hotel, set in 26 acres of extensive gardens, is one of Worcestershire’s best-kept secrets and the ideal retreat, whether you’re looking for a romantic break or an exclusive venue for a special event, wedding, or meeting. Ask about their dog-friendly breaks if you want to share your experience with your furry friend!
Visit the Three Counties Showground
As well as being a popular destination for campers, the Three Counties Showground is home to a plethora of events all year round. From trucker festivals to dog and duck shows to grand parades, there are always fun events to attend that are fun for the whole family.
Since the hit of the pandemic, vaccination centres have opened which have allowed the town of Malvern to effectively distribute vaccines to its residents. If you’re planning on visiting the Three Counties Showground, it’s a good idea to call ahead to speak about the restrictions they have in place to keep everyone safe.
As you can see, there are a plethora of incredible reasons to visit Malvern, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! With friendly residents and amazing things to do, you’ll want to go back year after year!