After a long day of running from castles to mansions in Worcestershire you’ll want to lay your head down and take in a little bit of natural ambience. The manor hotels I’ve selected should get you rested, relaxed and ready for another day of castling. Go for it !
– The Castle Lady
If you decide to keep Worcester as your base city from which to daytrip during your wanderings then you won’t find a more comfortable and hospitable stay than The Elms which is seated halfway between Worcester and Tenbury Wells at Abberley in 10 acres of breathtakingly beautiful countryside with meadows, forest, hop fields and orchards in the Teme Valley. This Queen Anne confection was built in 1710 by Gilbert White (a pupil of Sir Christopher Wren) with arched and mullioned windows pulling in incredible views of the sumptuous grounds. It has an international reputation for excellence offering an award-winning restaurant, Brooke, and several lounges- paneled inside and al fresco, as well. The spa facilities are world class offering several different packages and may be well worth your while if you plan on doing all your daytripping in the morning and need serious R and R by mid-afternoon.
The Elms offers 21 rooms of which 16 are en suite and are beautifully furnished with period antiques but also offer all the modern facilities. It is excellent for medium-size events and weddings with lots of outside activities including golf and horse racing nearby. There is something here for everyone and any age. Closest to the town of Bewdley and Witley Court with the markets of Tenbury Wells just over the border in Herefordshire, you’ll find the service impeccable and attentive. If you’re on a budget the coach house is a delightful and affordable alternative.
Tel: 01299 896666
Far south, the four-storied Lygon Arms Hotel on High Street at Broadway is not only historic but the entire establishment has been recently brought into the 21st century with flat-screen televisions and state-of-the-art shower fixtures in the larger rooms. Despite it being a 16th century coaching house, originally, there are 69 rooms available, en suite, with sturdy period-style furnishings and authentic architecture right up to the exposed beams, original fireplaces and leaded windows. You’ll find that everything is comfortable which is rare in almost all hotels today and it’s the oldest former coaching inn in the Cotswold area.
First opened as the White Hart (which was derived from Richard II’s heraldic symbol) it was changed to The George during the reign of James I in the 17th century. After 1772 there was a written reference to the inn as The Hare and Hounds and was sold in 1821 by John Stanley. At some point in time it was changed to Lygon Arms- possibly by 1837 but a handwritten note that was discovered referred to General Lygon’s butler, ‘Old Mullins’ (Charles Drury)who took over the inn by 1840 and renamed it for his former employer in his honor. Major General Edward Pyndar Lygon had fought at Waterloo in 1815 and he belonged to the Earl of Beauchamps’s family. The sign bears the two lions passant which was the symbol on their coat of arms.
Lygon has never been significantly altered so you’ll find this medieval house is replete with Jacobean interiors which adds to its authentic charm. Some portions reveal a 14th century farmhouse inside, but the front was rebuilt as a four gabled Tudor by the Trevis family in 1620. Its architecture has unique features which incorporate original flagstones with secret passageways and original inglenook fireplaces that will take your breath away and later have you sighing with delight. Lygon’s history uncovers rooms that Charles I slept in with the same furnishings as well as lodgings used by Oliver Cromwell ! That is definitely a proper mood builder for guests who are visiting castles and historical manors during the day. If you check out the guest book you’ll be amazed at the roster of movie stars and celebrities who have been guests. The facilities available include bar, concierge, dry cleaning, pool, hot tubs, jacuzzi and steam room. Spa and beauty services are offered and there is a gym with tennis courts along with a restaurant, conference rooms and extensive gardens to relax and unwind after a long day.
You’ll find the restaurant is housed in the new baronial hall, rebuilt in the 20th century, which hosted the North Cotswold Hunt each year for their annual ball, receiving its first Michelin star in 2005. It has a marvelous barrel vaulted ceiling and a 17th century minstrals’ gallery with painted coats of arms on the walls. Be prepared- it’s loud and friendly and offers great comfort food with the largest inglenook fireplace one may ever see.
www.thelygonarms.co.uk Tel: 13868 52255
Wood Norton Hall which is located three miles north of Evesham is a magnificent chateauesque Queen Anne country mansion which apparently has gone the way of many such beautiful places. It has been a hotel for more than a decade but has recently been sold and will be eventually be used as a retirement home and no longer as a hotel. It will still be worth a look. Its most recent use was that of being filmed in a segment of Dr. Who. During the second World War it was used as a radio station to listen in on enemy radio broadcasts and also as an emergency broadcasting center. After that, it was used as a BBC training facility and many famous writers lived and worked at the mansion at that time.
Even though the site has had dwellings since Medieval times, Wood Norton has French connections that shouldn’t surprise you. Dating back to 1872 the mansion played a role in the wedding of Princess Louise of Orleans and Prince Charles of Bourbon in 1907, being the last home in England belonging to the Duc d’Orleans, Prince Philippe. The evidence is experienced not only by the eclectic exterior embellishments but you will also find original fleur-de-lys carved into the oak paneling of the walls, grand fireplaces and elegant furniture along with its beautiful tapestries. All the rooms are en suite but you will also find public rooms on the ground floor which are furnished in Victorian style. From the windows you will see grand sweeping views of the Vale of Evesham and the River Avon. Eight large salons fill the mansion which have been used in more recent times for conferences and private banquets. A gym and billiard room are still present. You may have to go a round of golf at a nearby international course to possibly get a view inside. It will be worth it.
Tel: 01386 420007
If your visit gives you the incentive to stay around for awhile The Evesham Hotel off waterside of the Avon River on Coopers Lane will be a wonderful place to settle for a day or two. This Tudor farmhouse which was extended and then converted into a Georgian mansion in 1809 offers value and lots of little luxuries along with an excellent restaurant and beautiful pool. It offers forty en suite bedrooms and is run very efficiently by the Jenkinson family. The garden and orchards are a great place to walk, relax and unwind after a long day of touring.
Tel: 01386 765566
At Chaddesley Corbett, which is situated far north between Bromsgrove and Kidderminster, Brockencote Hall is a picture in 18th century French Chateau style right down to the furnishings, some of which is French provincial including other period styles. You’ll know you’re staying in Worcestershire in grand style upon seeing the twin wings sporting mansard roofs amid seventy acres of tranquil parkland alongside a beautiful lake and landscaping with grand walks at your disposal.
Brokencote is several hundred years old but inside you are treated to old world style furnishings along with every modern luxury and convenience. A good portion of the appointments are genuine period pieces and the elegant dining room, which offers traditional French cuisine along with regional specialties, will delight you and make you feel royal. For those who need it, two natural sunlit conference rooms with modern equipment are available. You’ll also find the service friendly and discreet. Most rooms are from £80 per room, per night which is quite reasonable for a luxury hotel. Most of the major attractions- castles and halls- are convenient from this hotel.
Tel: 01562 777876 info
Also located in Broadway, The Broadway Hotel is a sixteenth century half timbered historic former staging post. Parts of the building date from 1575 but a good portion dates from 1772 and has not been significantly changed from that time. The entire village of Broadway was owned by the Abbey of Pershore for a time and later became a stopping point on the route from Worcester to London. It was used by the Abbots but was also a private home in the 16th century.
This genuine Elizabethan Cotswold inn looks upon the village green on the end of the main street where the shops located in an historic district offer up mostly a fine array of antique furnishings. It is convenient to The Broadway Tower and its extensive parkland, Chipping Campden and Stow-on-the-Wold (both of which lie along the border between Gloucestershire and Warwickshire). Broadway village is an enchantment itself with the variety of cafes and shops to say nothing of the Cotswold countryside to explore with its many beautiful golf courses and nearby gardens. The amenities and offerings for large events are extensive and the Courtyard restaurant and Jockey Club bar offer many choices with fine wines to accompany the cuisine offered by both for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Tel: 01386 852401 to book a table: 01386 852401
There are few other hotels I would like to mention for Broadway such as Buckland Manor Hotel and Dormy House– both excellent choices which aren’t far from the village and offer luxury accommodations at luxury prices but they are far beyond the normal expectations and vie with England’s luxury castle hotels in historical ambience and beauty.
Once acclaimed for its outlook across the Severn Valley plains, Cottage in the Wood near Malvern Wells on Holywell Road is a small but cozy and intimate hotel that, at one time, was the private residence of the Duke of Gandolphi and, a couple of decades earlier, the neighbor to Sir Edward Elgar when he resided at Craeg Lea and taught music at Wells House School. It is claimed that he found the inspiration for his masterpiece, The Dream of Gerontius while in residence there and once you see the view from atop the mountainside you’ll understand why. He and his wife Alice are both buried at St. Wulstans which is in the area.
This small wonder was, at one time, part of the Blackmore Park seat of Thomas Hornyold. He married into the Lygon family in the 16th century and became among the largest landowners with a combined estate which covered land from the Malvern Wells to Pershore. That’s twelve solid miles of various properties and lands! When he died, Thomas’ estate passed to his nephew, mid-19th century, who became the Count of the Genoese Republic- the title was bestowed on him by the Pope. His heirs decided to divide up the estate because apparently he left no will.
When Lot 107 (what now is The Cottage in the Wood Hotel) was auctioned towards the second day of sales of the Duke’s estate in 1919, Mrs Russell became the tenant for £125 per annum rent. The name sums up the hotels essence since woods have grown around it and the seclusion is welcomed by many guests. The list of amenities and services is very impressive and impeccable.
Tel: 01684 588860 http://www.cottageinthewood.co.uk
The Hundred House Hotel at Great Witley prides itself on a friendly atmosphere and catering to guests every need. It excels in offering large facilities for conferences, meetings and weddings from small groups up to two hundred people. The hotel gets its unusual name as a former tax collecting house for one hundred districts in the county. Today, it is a 27 bedroom luxury accommodation hotel and banqueting venue with a fine restaurant which uses local produce from neighboring farms and features an extensive à la carte menu.
The exterior is that of a Georgian townhouse and the interiors are absolutely beautiful whether a bridal suite or al fresco celebrations on the picturesque patio. You’ll find Hundred House is most convenient to Witley Court, which is within walking distance, as well as well as Bewdley and the Malvern Hills.
Tel: 01299 896888 enquiries
While visiting Hartlebury Castle, Harvington Hall and Hanbury Hall, you may want to have Lock Cottage as home base. This Landmark Trust rescue is a true rarity in that very few such houses still exist because they were demolished. It served as a type of port or pit stop for part of the canal system of Worcester and Birmingham canal. It was built between 1790 and 1815 next to the canal which runs for 30 miles from Diglis Basin to Gas Street in Birmingham. You will have the unique luxury of being able to take pleasure boat cruises up the various locks on the canal.
Inside the cottage you’ll find a lovingly restored interior with two floors of spacious accommodation for up to four people, comfortably, plus period fireplaces and beautifully furnished rooms. There is a small enclosed yard for children.
Tel: 01628 825925 firstname.lastname@example.org
As a last mention but certainly not least, Colwall Park Hotel has a great location very close to the Hereford border and the Malvern Hills. Their beautiful gardens with the view and all the wonderful amenities- rooms, restaurants and technology will make you want to stay here for your entire Worcestershire visit. T- 01684 540000
the weekend’s here !