Malvern is a spa town sitting at the foot of the Malvern Hills, within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

A sign of one of the best caravan parks is going back to the site repeatedly, and we have been visiting the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s Malvern Hills campsite, in the village of Hanley Swan, for years now. In all that time, little has changed.

This pretty village is within easy walking distance of the site and comes complete with a gastropub and small shop, not to mention a picturesque duck pond, where you can sit and watch the wildlife.

Unusually, the CAMC site is virtually adjacent to The Camping and Caravanning Club’s Blackmore site, the two only being separated by 100m or so.

Malvern Hills CAMC Site
Splendid views of the surroundings at Malvern Hills CAMC Site

We chose a hardstanding pitch in the lower part of the site, from which we could observe the beautiful Malvern Hills in the background, a particularly enchanting sight as dusk falls and the twinkling lights come on in all the hillside houses.

Dining and shopping

The next morning, we made the 10-minute drive into Malvern and on the way, passed two attractive pubs, the Plough & Harrow and the Green Dragon, both providing good food at lunchtime and in the evenings.

Should you wish to do some basic food shopping, you could try the little village of Barnards Green, on the way to Great Malvern, which has an excellent selection of shops, including two supermarkets.

Arriving in Malvern, we parked in the car park near the Malvern Splash Leisure Complex – very handy for keeping the children entertained on a wet day!

Malvern is at the base of the hills, so is itself quite a hilly town to walk around, but strolling up Church Street past the magnificent Priory will eventually bring you up to the higher level of shops, bars and restaurants, spread along Wells Road. As this appropriate street name suggests, fresh water still flows from a number of springs here, where the locals can fill their own containers for free.

There are several car parks where you can access routes to the top of the hills and the Worcestershire Beacon. This is a steady, rather than steep, climb and on a clear day, you will be rewarded with magnificent views over the surrounding countryside.

In keeping with most long-established towns these days, a modern ‘out of town’ shopping complex has sprung up – Malvern Retail Park is more than a couple of miles away, but here you will find all the familiar high street names, as well as a supermarket and plenty of fast food outlets.

For those interested in the automotive industry, the town also has its own unique car manufacturer. Established in 1909 by HFS Morgan, the Morgan Motor Company continues to this day, building the iconic range of three- and four-wheel open-topped sports cars for which it is famous.

Cars in showroom
Instantly recognisable vehicles in the showroom of the Morgan Motor Company in Malvern

Factory visits are available and when I took the tour a few years ago, I left with a new-found respect for the dedicated team of workers here. Don’t expect to see any production lines, rather just an open factory where expert staff assemble these wonderful cars, virtually by hand from start to finish.

Morgan Motor Company
You can take a tour of the premises to see the experts crafting these iconic cars

If you’d like to find out about similar destinations to head to as well, be sure to take a look at our guide to 10 attractions for car lovers to find our pick of the best touring spots for motoring enthusiasts.

Riverside strolling

The following day, we opted to explore the pretty market town of Pershore. En route, however, we stopped off at the charming riverside town of Upton upon Severn.

On the edge of town, close to the river, you can’t miss the main landmark, a stone tower topped by a copper-clad cupola. Known affectionately by the locals as the pepperpot, this is now all that remains of the former church of St Peter & St Paul on this site, the original nave having been demolished in 1937.

We have often spent a happy afternoon strolling around Upton, exploring the quirky and unusual shops, or stopping for afternoon tea in one of the teashops.

One of the places I particularly love browsing in is The Map Shop, where you can find all types of maps, from walking to touring, and loads of local guides. They can even print out a particular section of an Ordnance Survey map if requested.

Upton upon Severn
Riverside pubs at picturesque Upton upon Severn

After Elaine eventually dragged me away from there, we strolled a little further up the High Street and called in for coffee at The White Lion Hotel.

Dating back to 1510, this old coaching inn comes complete with oak-beamed ceilings and can provide everything from a cup of coffee to a three-course meal and overnight accommodation. We contented ourselves with coffee and biscuits before returning to the car and continuing on our way towards our next destination.

Historic abbey

Pretty Pershore is a small town, about a 15-minute drive from Upton upon Severn. It sits on the banks of the Avon and the two rivers come together further south in Tewkesbury. This attractive town is dominated by Pershore Abbey.

Pershore shops
Pershore has plenty of excellent shops, pubs and restaurants

The Abbey Church of the Holy Cross, to give it its full name, has been on this site for over 1300 years, while the current building has been standing for more than 1000 of those years, but during that time, suffered the ravages of age and fire.

Pershore abbey church
The historic abbey church at Pershore

The community has rebuilt it, time and time again. Today it remains a magnificent edifice and tours are available, although these must be booked in advance.

It is also usually possible to find parking close to the town centre and it is a pleasant way to while away an hour or two, strolling around the shops.

The surrounding area is most famous for growing delicious plums – there have been orchards here since medieval times. Every year, the Plum Festival is held in August, while at the same time, the Abbey hosts
a splendid gathering of vintage and classic cars, ranging from Rolls Royces to WWII military vehicles.

These are just a few of the many ways to enjoy this wonderful area, in addition to walking, cycling or simply chilling out. We try to visit at least once a year!

Where we stayed

Malvern Hills Caravan and Motorhome Club Campsite

Blackmore End, Hanley Swan WR8 0EE

When to go to the Malvern Hills

The summer months are probably the best time, as the better weather means there is more to see and do. However, you are only five minutes away from the Three Counties Showground, where events and shows are held all year round, and the showground also has its own campsite (see below).

Way to go

Malvern is easily reached from the M5 and the M50. From the north or the south, leave the M5 at J8 and head onto the M50, leaving at J1 to join the A48 north. Then, after about four miles, take a left to Upton upon Severn, then right towards Hanley Castle and left to Hanley Swan, and follow the sign for Blackmore Campsite.

Food and drink

Find out more

Lead image: Getty

Head to our Best of British: Touring Adventures section for more inspiration for your next trip.

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