Annually, and usually over the first weekend in December is the showcase in Worcesters tourist calendar... The Victorian Fayre. The streets of Worcester are transformed back to the 19th Century (sort of!); stallholders dressed in Victorian costumes are selling crafts and gifts, the smell of mulled wine fills the air along with the aroma of hot chestnuts. It can get very crowded with people visiting (usually coach trips) from all over the UK. The atmosphere is great though... a really christmassy' feel. The band of the Salvation army playing carols and the sound of organ music being played from the "merry-go-round"adds to the festivities.
Taking place daily from Thursday until Late afternoon on the Sunday there's plenty of time to visit... I prefer the Friday evening, not as busy as the Saturday night but busy enough to give it some atmosphere.
The Victorian Fayre also includes a modern day fun-fair... although what this has to do with Victorians is beyond me. Often congregations of teenagers here too... in my opinion it does let the character of the Fayre down... but I suppose it keeps lots of people entertained.
Overall it's worth a visit... take it in with a weekend break to Worcester... oh yes it's free too, no entrance fee that is, the mulled wine costs around £2.00 and likewise for the chestnuts.
Porcelain is one of the things that Worcester is famous for and there is plenty to do at the Royal Worcester Porcelain Factory. Guided tours are available to see how figurines and various plates, mugs etc. are made and painted with their intricate designs. There is also a museum with an audio tour. Kids are not forgotten, there is a Fascinating Facts Trail to explore and the chance to paint a plate.
The Best Ware Shop sells the full Royal Worcester range with Seconds and Clearance shops for those of us who haven’t got a King’s ransom to spend.
Open 7 days a week, check the website for opening times of the various attractions.
The reason I visited Worcester was because I would like to see how the hometown of my favorite Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce looked like.
Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce is made to the original recipe in two factories. The original factory in Worcester, and a sister factory in New Jersey USA. The New Jersey factory follows the same recipe as the Worcester factory, although some ingredients are sourced locally. Product sold in the rest of the world is manufactured and exported from our factory in Worcester, UK. (Worcester refers to the town itself, whilst Worcestershire indicates the 'shire' or county in which the town of Worcester is located).
Just 6 miles south of Worcester following the river Severn is the pretty little town of Upton, a popular destination for day trippers during the summer months.
There is a marina at Upton and you can take a boat trip along the river to look at the beautiful Worcestershire countryside with the Malvern hills glimmering in the distance.
There are plenty of pubs and cafes to cater for the visitors and the town itself is very pleasant with a number of half timbered buildings that characterise Worcestershire.
My favourite sight here though is the medieval Pepperpot, a church tower that was retained when they knocked down the old church in the 18th century to build a new one. When they decided to build a cupola on the top of the tower to keep the weather out it gave it the appearance of a pepperpot, hence the name.
The tourist information office is also housed in the tower.
Edward Elgar (1857-1934), Britain's greatest classical composer, came from Worcester. There are several memorials to him, including this statue at the end of Worcester High Street, facing the cathedral, only yards from where his father's music store once stood. Elgar was an active member of the Worcester Glee Club, along with his father, and he accompanied singers, played violin, composed and arranged works, and conducted for the first time there. At 22 he took up the post of bandmaster at the Worcester and County Lunatic Asylum in Powick, three miles south-west of Worcester, a progressive institution which believed in the recuperative powers of music.
He is one of my favourite composers and one of England's cultural heroes. From 1999 until early 2007, Bank of England twenty pound notes featured his portrait. His music is always played at the Last Night of the Proms. Possibly his most famous works are the Enigma Variations and Pomp and Circumstance Marches from which came 'Land of Hope and Glory', which in my opinion should be the British national anthem, rather than that awful German dirge, 'God Save the Queen'. But, my personal favourite of his works is his beautiful, melancholy Cello Concerto
When we walked up the the Cathedral, we went through big gate. The gate would admit one car, but there were poles in the middle of the gate. A person could get the pole to retract if they had an appropriate key or pass to put into the receptacle.
We later found this tower guarding a gateway in the city wall was thought to have been build in the 10th Century by Edgar, but in fact is probably really 14th century (picture 2). It was the main gate to the royal castle and priory and is the only original gate remaining
From Old Town Books and Maps
Worcester in 1843
WORCESTER, a city and capital town of the English county of the same name, is situated on the river Severn, upwards of 100 miles in a direct line west-north-west of London, or 112 miles by the road. The boundary of the city was formerly determined by a wall which commenced near Edgar’s Tower, at the Castle gate, passed at the back of St. Peter’s to a gate which was called Sidbury Gate, and thence to Friars’ Gate, which stood near the present city prison ; it curved inwards on the north-east of the present corn-market, round the hop-market, to a bridge built in 1313, and fortified with a strong tower, which stood near it. It then followed the course of the river to the Priory gate, and thence to the Castle mound. This work may still be traced in some places.
This wonderful 18th century building with it's magnificent painted facade and statues of King Charles I, King Charles II and Queen Anne is located on the High Street a short walk away from the cathedral. The tourist information office is located here as well a cafe to stop for some refreshments. The building is owned by the city council and used as a venue for meetings and private functions.
Impressive half timbered building in the city centre that dates from the 15th century now owned and run by the National Trust.
There are panelled walls inside and a walled garden outside and a cafe for visitors.
There is an admission charge of £4 per adult (2009 prices).
At the entrance to College Green and the cathedral precinct stands this sandstone gatehouse that dates from the 14th century. The name comes from what is thought to have been an earlier tower built in the 10th century by King Edgar.
Although a church has existed on this site since the 7th century the cathedral dates from the 12th - 13th centuries and is built in the Norman gothic and early English styles.
In typical English design it has a central tower with transepts and a chapter house and cloisters. The cathedral retains its original Norman crypt.
Overlooking the river Severn and the Malvern hills to the west and the city centre to the east the cathedral is blessed with just about the most perfect position within the city.
The cathedral close is a tranquil oasis just yards away from the ring road and shopping centre.
Entrance is free but there is a small charge to visit the tower and you must also purchase a permit for photography.
There is a cafe and shop within the cathedral as well.
Wonderful intact fully covered cloisters (unlike many French ones that have open sides) that enclose a small courtyard are one of the cathedral's main attractions. The chapter house adjoins the cloisters on the southern side.
For a small charge (£3 for adults and £1 for children in 2009) you can climb the 235 steps up to the top of the cathedral tower for magnificent views of the city and the surrounding countryside. Tower access is subject to the weather so check before you go if that is your key objective. Also the spiral stairs become VERY steep and narrow towards the top and there are no resting places other than the half way landing.
Worcester has been the seat of a bishopric since the seventh century, A first cathedral was established on this site by Bishop Oswald in 983 AD. In the 11th century, it was rebuilt on a far grander scale by Bishop Wulfstan.
Since the Eighteenth Century, the Cathedral has been famous for its part in the annual Three Choirs Festival, the oldest choral festival in existence.
We now know that the Edgar Tower was built in the 14th century as the main entrance to the cathedral close. But, because at one time it was believed that it had been built during the reign of King Edgar, in the 10th cenbury, it was called the Edgar Tower.
We decided to take a tour of the Royal Worcester Porcelain factory whilst in Worcester. The cost of the tour was £9 per adult and this included the museum with audio guide. You can also do the two things separately for £5 each per adult. There are also concession and family rates available. Opening times are 9am-5.30pm Monday to Saturday and 11am-5.00pm on Sunday. Tours are not available on the weekend. The tour took us through the process of making the pottery and we visted the workshop where artists paint pieces to order by hand. The museum's audio guide explained all about the pottery and had many examples on display. There are several shops on the site to buy pottery seconds, luggage, kitchenware and gifts as well as a cafe.