Worcester is a cathedral city in Worcestershire, known for being the burial place of King John, the home of composer Edward Elgar, and the birthplace of Worcester sauce. Quite a range of claims to fame! A city steeped in history, Worcester is located on the River Severn, and is nestled into the wider Worcestershire countryside.
The city is medium-sized, with a population of just over 100,000 people. Worcester can be an expensive place to live, though this varies by area. House prices can be attributed to the growing popularity of the city and the wider region.
Worcester is notoriously picturesque, with its grand cathedral and historic architecture. The Shambles, a main street in the city centre, is home to all the tell-tale signs of Tudor buildings, from beautiful black and white timber framing to overhanging upper stories. It is a perfect example of Worcester’s cultural heritage.
The wider city has examples of medieval, Tudor and Victorian architecture, emblematic of its rich history. The Battle of Worcester in 1651, for example, brought an end to the English Civil War, and the city was once an important Roman settlement.
Worcester is now home to a series of museums, reflecting its fascinating past. The Tudor House museum on Friar Street offers an insight into the city in the 16th Century, and the Museum of Royal Worcester holds the largest collection of Worcester Porcelain in the world. The Commandery was once the Royalist Headquarters, and is now a wonderful museum exploring the Civil War story. Worcester’s impressive past makes it a lovely place to live.
Things to Do
Aside from the essential trips to the Cathedral, Worcester is a busy and bustling city with lots to keep you occupied. Worcestershire is renowned for its beautiful countryside, and Worcester Woods Country Park is only a stone’s throw from the city centre. A wonderful place for a family outing, to walk the dog or for a solo stroll, the site contains a popular café and a brilliant children’s playground.
Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum hosts a number of works by Worcester’s own Benjamin Williams Leader on permanent display, and offers many temporary exhibits, including showcasing the work of impressionist painter Dame Laura Knight. The museum also has many exhibits exploring the history of the city, and is free to enter.
The Guildhall is another period building in the heart of the city, dating back to 1721. It was once the seat of Justice in Worcester, even hosting a prison, but is now home to the Council Chamber, the city’s former Court Rooms and the Mayor’s Parlour. Craft fairs are regularly held at the site, and guided tours are available to learn about the building’s history.
With a number of wonderful parks, from Cripplegate to Ghelvulelt, there are plenty of impressive green spaces in the city. Cripplegate has several children’s play areas, tennis courts and bowling greens, and is known for its giant climbing frame. Ghelvulelt Park is a memorial park built to honour those lost in the First World War. It has a splashpad which is popular with children of all ages, and some lovely flowerbed displays.
The city centre is jam-packed with shops and activities, from cinemas to escape rooms. Worcester’s prime location means it is an easy journey to Birmingham, England’s second city, and to lots of smaller Worcestershire towns, perfect for a pleasant afternoon out and about.
As well as the sheer number of things to do and see, Worcester is also a very convenient place to live, with an excellent public transport network. Home to Foregate Street, Shrub Hill and Worcester Parkway train stations, and its very own bus station, the city is easy to commute to and from.
There are also an impressive number of food and drink outlets, from classic country pubs to upscale bars and family-friendly restaurants. Worcester is home to every takeaway outlet you can imagine, and the centre hosts a wide range of cuisines.
The diverse city is also home to a range of places of worship, for a multitude of different faiths. With mosques, churches and temples, all faiths are welcomed and catered for in the ‘Faithful City’.
The heart of the Worcester is its array of shops. From big chains to independent businesses, Worcester is the perfect place to get started on your Christmas shopping, or to spend an afternoon browsing at any time throughout the year. With shopping centres like Crowngate hosting big-name retailers, and smaller arcades like the Grade II listed Reindeer Court with lots of charming independent jewellery, homeware and fashion shops, there is something for everyone.
The shopping facilities are a big draw for lots of people living in the surrounding towns and villages. There are also a large number of supermarkets in the centre and in the more residential areas.
Food and Drink
The recent addition of a food court to the city centre, located in Cathedral Square, has only amplified Worcester’s reputation as a fantastic culinary space. With popular chain bars such as All Bar One and The Botanist boosting the city’s night life, Worcester is also home to a series of excellent independent bars, such as Bolero. Whether you’re planning a bottomless brunch or a post-work pint, you’re catered for in one of the city’s pubs or bars.
The restaurant scene in Worcester is also very impressive. With smaller businesses, such as Friar Street Kitchen, providing unique menus and quality dining experiences, the city has something to cater to every palate. A range of cuisines can be found at locations like Chester’s, which is an independent Mexican restaurant and bar, or Benedicto’s restaurant, another independent dining location serving Italian food.
City-living often prompts fears about high levels of crime. Worcester is recognised as a very safe place to live, with comparatively low crime levels to other cities. In 2016, the city was named the safest in England in The Unbroken Britain Survey, and Rightmove ranked it as the 15th happiest place to live in the United Kingdom in 2022.
As far as health and safety is concerned, Worcester’s Royal Hospital is a large and multi-faceted NHS medical facility, with a newly refurbished 24-Hour Accident and Emergencies department. There are also a series of GP Practices, opticians, dentists, and orthodontists, meaning your health is in good hands.
Worcester is a university city, with students making up to one-tenth of the local population. The University of Worcester specialises in sustainability and climate change research, and is comprised of over ten thousand students and over a thousand members of staff. The city is also home to a number of prestigious independent schools, including RGS and King’s Worcester. A number of other well-performing schools and colleges in the area, such as Christopher Whitehead Language College, mean Worcester is an excellent place to study.
Outside of standard schooling, the city is known for its impressive library. The Hive was built by the university and the city council and is recognisable for its gold-cladding and impressive scale. The library is home to over a quarter of a million books and twelve miles of archive collections, and regularly hosts literary events and clubs. It is a wonderful place to study, and is open to the public. Anyone with a library card can borrow from the collection.
Ultimately, Worcester is a wonderful city to live in. With excellent schools, a well-connected public transport network, fantastic shopping facilities and sources of entertainment, and such an impressive history, it is the perfect place to relocate to, or to settle down in.