A visitor’s guide to Malvern
PUBLISHED: 14:00 17 April 2019 | UPDATED: 14:00 17 April 2019
We’ve assembled a brief guide to help you to get the most from your visit to Malvern, sponsored by Francis of Malvern
Francis of Malvern | 01684 573823 | francisofmalvern.co.uk
The spa town of Malvern grew fashionable from the 18th century onwards thanks to the fashion for taking mineral waters for their health-giving properties. The town has always been bound to the nearby hills and springs and these attracted fashionable Georgian and Victorian visitors to the Malvern, resulting in a programme of housebuilding and expansion. The newly completed Great Malvern route with its information panels, fun pavement studs and a series of benches with pertinent ends offers a fun way to uncover the town's history, famous visitors and curious features step by step. Cap it off with a visit to St Ann's Well Café and find out more at Malvern Museum in the priory gatehouse.
Most noted for... the Three Counties showground. Purpose-built, it has exhibition halls, arenas and show rings, with parking, offices and general amenities on a 90-acre site. More than a million visitors attend its many and varied events annually. Besides the Three Counties Show held on June 14-16, 2019, look out for the Royal Horticultural Society's Malvern Spring Festival (May 9-12), antiques fairs, transport festivals and animal shows.
While you're here... catch a performance at the Malvern Theatres complex, which offers top-class drama, ballet and live music throughout the year.
But try not to... get lost in a fantasy wonderland. It's said the sight of a single lamp post one snowy night inspired CS Lewis's iconic Narnia chronicles. Around 80 of these lamps remain around the town and a marked trail is available from Malvern Tourist Information Centre.
The Pomp and Circumstance composer Edward Elgar lived most of his life around Malvern, and was buried in Little Malvern cemetery. Charles Dickens's daughter Annie, Victorian soprano and philanthropist Jenny Lind, and thesaurus compiler Peter Mark Roget also have graves in Malvern's cemeteries. Novelist George Bernard of Pygmalian fame, was a regular visitor and instrumental in founding Malvern's drama festival. Author CS Lewis frequented the pub and the hills with his Oxford pal JRR Tolkien. Young Franklin D Roosevelt – later 32nd President of the United States – convalesced locally in 1889. Other notables include songwriter Stephan Duffy, novelist David Mitchell, cricketer Graeme Hick, violinist Nigel Kennedy, and former home secretary Jacqui Smith.
Celebrate composer Edward Elgar's life by cycling around Malvern. An archive of his maps and marked routes, including a photograph of Elgar cycling in the Malverns near his Birchwood Lodge home, has been set at his birthplace in Lower Broadheath. A letter from the time declares there was hardly a Malvern trail he hadn't ridden.
A literary haven
Malvern has inspired a number of acclaimed writers, starting with the 14th century poet William Langland, author of Piers Plowman, whose narrator begins with a vision in the Malvern Hills. During the 1930s, the poet WH Auden taught at The Downs School in the Malvern Hills, and his poem, The Malverns, reflects on their beauty. And JRR Tolkien drew comparisons between the hills and the White Mountains of Gondor in The Lord of the Rings.
Festival of innovation
Malvern celebrates links with dynamic and creative people and businesses, such as the Morgan Motor Company, and those based at the Wyche Innovation Centre. RADAR was developed at Great Malvern College during World War II, and today Malvern is a centre for cyber security. Find out more at the annual Malvern Festival of Innovation, which runs from October 7-12, 2019.
Move here for...
And get: A split-level architect designed mid-20th century home, with five bedrooms, wrap-round gardens and spectacular Severn Valley views.
Eat at: The Terrace on the Hill
Why? This lovely little café and brasserie-restaurant opens from 10am-6.30pm midweek. Its hours are extended on Friday and Saturday nights for fine dining, and on Sundays for brunches.
Drink at: The Nag's Head
Why? It's a free house with an excellent range of local ales, guest beers and wines, plus 24 whiskies and 18 different gins ranging from handcrafted botanicals to well-known brands.
Stay at: The Abbey Hotel
Why? This grand ivy-clad four-star hotel has 103 bedrooms and great views across the Vale of Evesham. Built on the site of the Priory House, it is flanked by both Malvern Priory and Malvern museum.