The Magic of the Malverns
Britain’s unrivalled offering of walks, pubs and the all-round beauty of the great outdoors is fantastically captured in the Malvern Hills, nestled in the west of England next to Worcester and not a million miles from Wales.
The area's charm, character and friendliness is one of the reasons it makes such a great location for the Malvern Caravan Show, our favourite weekend of the year and a must-circle date in the diary of any discerning caravanner.
Malvern Caravan Show
The Malvern Caravan Show will take place from the 5-7 October, and Caravan magazine will be there to welcome you! We might not sign autographs (we’re not famous enough for that) but our legendary quiz held on the Thursday will bring out your competitive side and you could win some great prizes. This superb end-of-season event offers day and evening entertainment including Boogie Wonderland, where you might spot Caravan’s team in velvet flares throwing some shapes.
When you’ve had enough of the high-octane stuff, do a little shopping – there’s going to be a great selection of trade stands for new and used caravans as well as accessories. And why not wind down with a wander into beautiful Malvern and its surrounding hills?
If you’re keen as Malvern mustard, you can book a pitch to arrive on Thursday for the Caravan Quiz.
Four nights on a pitch costs the standard fee of £37 (plus £2.25 transaction fee).
T 0844 8110050
On foot or by bike
Hike up Hangman’s Hill
If it’s walks you’re after, then you’re spoilt for choice in this neck of the woods. There’s something for everyone – as the amble from British Camp car park to Herefordshire Beacon proves. Park up (WR13 6DW is the postcode for your sat-nav, although remember that the car park isn’t the biggest and can get busy at peak times) and you’ll spend the first 10 minutes on a gentle climb up a path through some woodland.
Stick with it and you’ll soon be rewarded with breathtaking views across the ridge of the Malvern Hills, with Hangman’s Hill the perfect place to stop for a breather to take it all in. It’s a four-mile round trip and well worth it.
Beat the Black Mountain
Bracing walks don’t come much more invigorating than a two-legged yomp through the Black Mountains, in the north east of the Brecon Beacons National Park, about 50 miles to the west. This is a place for serious walkers only, with steep ascents and craggy terrain, twin punishments that you’ll certainly feel in your legs the day after.
On the annual Big Black Mountains Challenge (18 May 2019, longtownmrt.org.uk), you can choose either the 17km, 27km or 50km route, all of which will leave your thighs burning like you’ve just smeared them with molten lava. But take it from us: the views from up here are some of the most outstanding in Britain.
Get muddy on May Hill
Just south of the Malverns, May Hill offers fans of the great outdoors another chance to breathe in some bracing British air, with 30 hectares of impeccably kept National Trust land to walk around (bring your wellies if it’s been raining – it can be muddy).
Reach the summit of this gently inclining, three-mile, dog-friendly walk and you’ll be rewarded with views of the Malvern Hills, Severn Vale, Forest of Dean, Black Mountains and even the Cotswold Hills, such is the panoramic majesty of the vantage point. Historical fact fans should note that the pine trees at the top were planted in 1887 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
By the power of the pedal
The Malvern Hills are an absolute paradise for cyclists, with thousands of Lycra-clad fitness fans pedalling up and down its challenging gradients every weekend. The good news is that you don’t have to be Geraint Thomas to enjoy it: the Malverns have terrain and tracks to suit all levels, from benign paths where you’ll be dodging walkers and eager toddlers, to rocky and steep off-road paths that will test the mettle of even experienced mountain bikers. Visit malverntrail.co.uk to find the best route for you.
Pints and pies
The Chase Inn
Among the many things Britain does brilliantly is a good old-fashioned country pub, and they don’t come much diddier and cosier than The Chase Inn in Upper Colwall, nestled in the Malvern Hills. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a day’s walking: local ales, hearty grub and a roaring fire in the winter await you, and you won’t be disappointed. They even do takeaway fish ‘n’ chips. What’s not to like?
Get cultured in Great Malvern
Great Malvern is a treasure trove of historical interest, with forts and tracks dating back to the Iron and Bronze Ages. The crown jewel of this beautiful little town is the priory church, founded over 900 years ago in 1085 when Benedictine monks decided they fancied knocking up a nice place of worship in pleasant surroundings. But Great Malvern also has strong ties to the arts, having been a favourite hangout of playwright, George Bernard Shaw, and composer, Sir Edward Elgar, whose Pomp and Circumstance provides the music for Last Night of the Proms favourite, Land of Hope and Glory.
This makes the town a great place to visit for the theatre or to snap up some paintings and crafts from talented local artists.
Let’s go to Ledbury
If quaint British market towns are your thing, then Ledbury is going to be right up your strasse. It dates back to 690AD and was even mentioned in the Domesday Book. It’s hard to escape the higgledy-piggledy sense of history in the town with narrow, cobbled roads like Church Street and the impressive Market House, situated right in the centre and dating back to 1617.
Culture vultures will appreciate Eastnor Castle a couple of miles outside the town centre, with its impressive collection of medieval armour and fine art, not to mention an arboretum, lake and loads of lovely parkland strolls. When you’ve finished with all that, head back to Ledbury High Street and pop into the Seven Stars for a drink, a great atmosphere and some delicious food.
Cars with class
Among the stunning scenery and lung-busting walks, the Malverns also have an interesting automotive history – being home to the Morgan Motor Company. Founded back in 1909, these skilled craftspeople have been making elegant, 'vintage' sports cars ever since. You won’t be towing with these fancy wheels, that’s for sure.
While the likes of Rolls Royce and Jaguar have been sold off to multi-national automotive conglomerates, Morgan proudly remains the last family-owned, independent British motor manufacturer, producing about 1300 cars a year. A factory tour to see these clever chaps and chapesses at work costs £20 for an adult and a tenner for a child aged 5-11, and is well worth it if all things four-wheeled are your bag.
Find peace in Priory Park
Sometimes you just want to sit down, chill out and watch life pass by at a serene pace in agreeable surroundings. If that’s the mood you’re in, then it sounds like Priory Park in Malvern could be just the tonic. Situated in the town centre, it’s got everything you could want for a relaxed afternoon: pretty gardens, exotic trees that were planted in Victorian times, and even a bandstand that hosts free concerts every Sunday during the summer. There’s a great children’s playground as well if you’ve got little ones in tow.
Sabre-toothed tigers in Symonds Yat
OK, so it’s slightly out of the way of the Malverns (about 20-odd miles south) but we couldn’t resist including Symonds Yat in this jaunt through middle England’s western delights. A beautiful expanse of water and woodland, Symonds Yat sits by the River Wye and is a jaw-dropping place – whether you want a gentle amble or a hit of adrenaline. Arthur’s Cave is the place for budding archaeological explorers (sabre-toothed tiger bones have been found here), you can pick up a paddle for a spot of canoeing, or rope up for a climb of Yat Rock, where you can even see peregrine falcons in their natural habitat.
Finish things off with a tipple in Ye Olde Ferrie Inn when you’re done. Bliss.