Sunday, 20 September 2015

Worcester, Worcestershire

We were meant to go to Leominster (pronounced Lemster by the locals), just a 25 minute drive from Ludlow, but when we got there it was closed as it was a Sunday.  Therefore we just popped into to a Wetherspoons and had a very functional Sunday lunch.  Our plans were pretty much scuppered, so after a quick look on Google maps, I found Worcester was a 45 minute drive away (A44).

The drive to Worcester was quite eventful for all the wrong reasons.  Firstly we were running low on petrol and the petrol station in Leominster had run out of unleaded petrol.  We had no idea where we could get petrol and hoped that we had enough to take us to Worcester.  So I decided to drive at a sensible speed and turn off the air-con to Worcester to conserve petrol, which is a complete anathema to me.  Thankfully there was a petrol station Bromyard, so crisis was averted and I could drive at my usual just-legal speed.  The other event was the terrible thunderstorm we had to drive through.  The rain was so heavy the road was a grey blur and the windscreen wipers were at warp speed.  When the rain had cleared up, it was so warm you still couldn’t see the road as it was steaming.  By the time we got to Worcester I was soaked through with sweat and could have drunk a pint of gin and tonic.
We parked at the multi-storey at Crowngate shopping centre and as it was a Sunday it was just £1 for the day.  The centre of Worcester is pedestrianised so that helps to make shopping a little more pleasant.  The shops in Worcester are typically mainstream and just what you would expect in a city centre.  However when you get off the beaten track it gets more interesting with independent shops and intriguing places to eat and drink.

On a Sunday, charity shop opening hours can become a bit hit and miss as they rely on volunteers.  Thankfully in Worcester many of the charity shops were open.  St Richard’s Hospice shop on St Swithins Street was a particular gem, as not only did it have a community cafĂ© but also had an excellent book section with two older ladies busily processing stock.  I love a good second hand book shop and I could have spent a good hour browsing its shelves.  I’m sure having a university nearby helps boost the diversity of the books in this place.  They also stock vinyl which was a great distraction for Neil.
If you like architecture then Worcester is a great place to visit as there is a lot to see: Tudor – check; Georgian – check; Medieval – check; and even 60s brutalist – it’s got it all. Visually it’s an interesting place and, maybe it’s just me, but I did find some of the architecture reminiscent of parts of central London.  This place would definitely make a fine film location.
We really didn’t know what to expect when we came to Worcester.  Sometimes the Midlands conjures up image of 60’s concrete shopping precincts and whilst Worcester does have a tiny bit of that, it’s packed full of centuries of architecture which is a delight.  All in all, I definitely want to come back here again, as not only is it a pleasant place to visit but also I reckon you could have a good night out here with the amount of bars and restaurants we found.