Day trips less than hour from Birmingham: Malvern, Ledbury & Tewkesbury
My favourite bank holiday in August is often spent in Scotland or on a UK road trip. It comes hot on the heels of the anniversary break in Lithuania and having also enjoyed the big adventure in Hong King earlier in the summer, another trip now seemed unnecessary.
So we decided on some day trips in the local region and pulled into Malvern on an especially warm Friday. (Yes, technically not the actual bank holiday but Tim was going to see a man about a drum anyway).
A few years ago I attended an event here and I met several people who ran businesses with social impact. I spotted one, Malvern Cycles/Café as soon as we arrive in the town. Sadly I learn it is closing due to a change in family circumstances so I'm glad to have had the chance of an old school cappuccino in there to start my day.
I headed into town - a good 20 minute walk past a park if you're looking at attempting it. The part of town I left behind, referred to as Malvern Link had a few home goods shops and I can never resist a quirky furniture store.
We went into the recommended Abbey Road Coffee for breakfast. I found a perfectly adequate sausage sandwich but it was all on the tourist priced side. I'd also heard about the (legendary in my mind) Malvern Bookshop, threatened with closure and saved by a bunch of people who formed a Co-op. A good browse in the maze of tiny rooms was essential before leaving Malvern for Ledbury.
With two great finds, we are definitely going back here:
- Hus & Hem is the Scandinavia influenced shop Tim & I would run if we were that way inclined. It's full of cosy and comforting things that none of us need in the house, and yet want. Found completely by accident as I just happened to look left into an alleyway, it even had a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory window display. This just a few days before the death of actor Gene Wilder made it more poignant that we'd come across it. That and the fact that we'd found a Hygge candle; I'd bought a sign for our house and we now call it House of Hygge. A Danish expression that's tricky to translate but sums up our outlook to life perfectly
- The other find is the Prince of Wales; a proper pub with traditional food that was welcome and had regular prices. I got my Friday fish 'n' chips!
Finally on this trip, we came back via Tewkesbury, an historical market town in Gloucestershire (rather than a regular market town like the one I come from, Bedford). It has an Abbey amongst it's 350 buildings 'listed as being of special architectural or historical character' - and plenty of pretty houses that are always under threat of flood. (There are signs of this everywhere). We managed to park right outside Coffee #1, where we were greeted by a delightful menu including their speciality welsh cakes for just 60p. The place looked like a Nero - never a bad thing - but with up-cycled furniture. Morphi even claimed his own seat (throne).
I particularly enjoyed wandering own the little streets and spotting the sign for Green Shield stamps which were the Nectar points of my childhood.