• Photo of Worcester Cathedral with autumn trees in foreground


Pikes and Pubs, A History Buffs Itinerary

Explore Worcestershire's rich history over a couple of days!

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Worcestershire is home to an amazing and ever-evolving history, which includes being home to the first and last bloody battles of the Civil War, key industries included glove, needle and carpet manufacturing, as well as our much renowned Worcestershire sauce and Royal Porcelain.

The first Magna Carta was signed here which led to a visit from future presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson who were keen to see the site they regarded as the place where democracy was effectively born.

And as you would expect, with a County so steeped in history – we have an array of amazing museums, experiences and of course, atmospheric pubs to give every history buff the perfect 48 hours in the county.

Here is Visit Worcestershire’s perfect history buffs tour of the county:

Day One:

Any historical visit to the county should start in Worcester City Centre, the bustling yet accessible City that holds many of the county’s historical secrets.

Why not start the day at Worcester Cathedral – a stunning architectural gem, which is the final resting place of King John, two saints, a prince, a duke and a prime minister. Highlights in the cathedral are the magnificent stained glass – keep an eye out for the pink giraffe! As well as the 11th century round chapter house and beautiful Norman crypt, open daily from 9am till 6pm with guided tours held daily by knowledgeable guides.

The site is fully accessible except for the Crypt. Why not head out via the cloister exit to take in the beautiful College Green, turning right and walking towards the River. The stairs down the river are under the ‘Water Gate’ entrance to the original city – here you will see an unassuming wall which displays the severity of Worcester’s floods since c.1700.

Following the river south until you come to the stunning Kings School Boat House and Diglis Hotel, head left and follow the road until you come across the world-renowned Worcester Porcelain Works.

The Worcester Porcelain Works was redeveloped in 2018 and is home to the Museum of Porcelain. The museum encompasses 250 years of the city’s history and tells the story of Royal Worcester and its remarkable workforce. Visit and admire the exquisite creations of highly skilled craftsmen and women, learn about the people behind the porcelain, industrial techniques and the factory community and Royal Worcester’s famous customers including the Queen.

Following a visit to the Museum, why not head across the road to Goodroots for a delicious local lunch (or pop into Piston Gin to purchase a cheeky bottle, they offer evening taster and master class sessions too!)

From here you can walk down to the Commandery. You will cross over the famous Worcester to Birmingham Canal – the Commandery is a beautiful Tudor black and white building nestled alongside the canal which is most famous for its role in the Civil war, as the base for the Royalists. Find out about the faithful cities role, how King Charles escaped the city and even see Oliver Cromwell’s death mask – on certain weekends and holidays you can see reenactments and live battle displays.

Worcester Tourist Information Centre (which is based at the Guildhall) can offer a special Pike and Porcelain Ticket where you can explore both museums at a reduced rate.

If you want to take your Civil War history level up a notch, you could walk up Fort Royal Hill where the old Worcester Castle once sat. The hill is now a lovely park which boasts wonderful views over the cathedral and surrounding city. Wander back via the Commandery gardens and stop for a coffee at the locally renowned Commandery Coffee – the best cake selection in town.

To end day one, why not wander up the historic Friar Street, full of beautiful Tudor buildings and home to the Tudor Museum and NT Greyfriars as well as local independent shops before heading to the King Charles Pub. A quaint traditional pub which is home to the tunnel King Charles used to escape Oliver Cromwell – now home to real ales, local wines and a really tasty pie and mash.

If you have had enough history for one day, then Worcester is home to an amazing array of chain and independent restaurants such as Globe Modern Bistro, Olive Branch and Impasto – why not check out our ‘Eat like a local' blog for inspiration?

For evening entertainment, you could check out a local ghost walk or see what’s on at Huntington Hall.

Worcester offers you an array of different accommodation options to prolong your historical stay with us, from the Premier Inn which sits overlooking the Cathedral to the beautiful Georgian rooms at the oldest pub in town, The Cardinals Hat.

Day Two:

With so much to see, you could easily fill your 48 hours just in Worcester City.

With the ‘Discover History’ walking Tour, exploring the Guildhall, visiting Greyfriars or heading to the Worcester City Museum and Art Gallery which is situated in a stunning Victorian building. Collections include natural history, geology, archaeology and social history, art and items from the Worcestershire Regiment and Yeomanry Cavalry – there is enough to fill your day in the city alone.

But, if you fancy exploring Worcestershire a little further, we have a day two that takes you out of the City and towards the Malverns, heading out of Worcester on the Elgar Route to the National Trust property where the great Edward Elgar was born. The museum comprises the Birthplace Cottage and its garden, and the modern Elgar Centre, which opened in 2000, houses further exhibitions including an opportunity to see original music manuscripts. After an obligatory national trust slice of cake head back out on the road to the hauntingly beautiful Witley Court.

Just 15 minutes up the road, Witley Court is an English Heritage property which takes you back to a very different stretch of Worcestershire history, one of the lavish house parties, decadence, scandal and royal visitors. Discover elaborate parterre gardens and monumental fountains then find your way through enchanting woodland. As you explore the extensive grounds, remember to keep an eye out for the beautiful birds, including the great crested grebe, which makes up Witley’s varied wildlife. Also on the site is the best example of a Baroque church in the UK – which is next to the café. A perfect lunch spot…

Round off a perfect two days in Worcestershire by treating yourself to dinner at the Elms Hotel and Spa. This quintessentially English hotel serves the best of British food in a charming country setting.

You could even stay another night? Make Worcestershire part of your story.

Key information

Duration :
48 Hours
Categories :

History & Heritage

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Worcester Cathedral

Worcester Cathedral has been a place of prayer and worship for fourteen centuries.

Highlights include the spectacular end to end vista, King John’s tomb, Prince Arthur’s Chantry, St Wulfstan’s Crypt, the early 12th century round chapter house, medieval cloister and magnificent Victorian stained glass.

Museum of Royal Worcester

Learn about the talented workforce and everyday life as you travel through the Georgian, Victorian and 20th Century.

The Museum of Royal Worcester’s collections date back to 1751 when Dr. John Wall an eminent local surgeon and William Davis the elder, an apothecary, perfected the secret recipe for manufacture of soft paste porcelain in Worcester.

The Commandery

Encounter the past brought to life in a beautiful Grade I listed building with an 800 year history.

Set in the heart of historic Worcester, The Commandery is most famous for being the Royalist Headquarters during the deciding battle of the English Civil War – the Battle of Worcester 1651.

Huntington Hall

Huntingdon Hall is Worcestershire’s premier live music and comedy venue.

Countess of Huntingdon’s Chapel was a thriving Methodist church in the early 18th Century. By 1970 the building had closed as a chapel, remaining closed until the late 1970s when it was purchased by the City Council with the view of redeveloping the site. With financial support from the City and County Councils, Huntingdon Hall re-opened in 1987 as a concert venue.

The Cardinals Hat

The Cardinal’s Hat is Worcester’s oldest pub and originally dates back to the fourteenth century.

Spacious rooms with high ceilings boast comfy king-size beds and luxury bathrooms, and of course the characteristic cosy pub that can be found downstairs.

Discover History Walking Tour

A 90-minute historical walking tour about the making of Worcester which is led by one of its past characters.

Do you want to find out more about the historic city of Worcester?

Then come and join on of our costumed guides as they walk you through the days of yesteryear, allowing you to relive the Worcester Story and the making of our Cathedral City.

The Firs - Elgar Birthplace (NT)

The birthplace of Sir Edward Elgar is most definitely home to ‘Land of Hope and Glory’.

Set in sight of his beloved Malvern Hills, this small family home in the village of Lower Broadheath is the perfect environment for nurturing a creative genius.

Perhaps by wandering around the garden over the cottage threshold a spark of inspiration may alight in our welcomed guests.

Witley Court & Gardens

Step back in time to a bygone age of great wealth when the house played host to royal parties.

njoy the beautiful gardens & lake, woodland walks, amazing fountains – a magical world for children to explore.

A hundred years ago, Witley Court was one of England’s great country houses, hosting many extravagant parties. Today it is a spectacular ruin, the result of a disastrous fire in 1937.

The Elms Hotel & Spa

Stunning Queen Anne fine mansion, set in 10 acres of gardens and grounds.

The Elms is a quintessentially English, four-Silver-Star country house hotel and spa, set in idyllic Worcestershire countryside. For years, The Elms served as a grand home and, now, it offers an equally warm welcome to its guests.

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