The city of Worcester is quite delightful at Christmas time. The mediaeval centre is compact enough to walk around and Foregate Street railway station is centrally located. We visited for the Christmas market, which although it was bustling, it was not too packed to enjoy looking around the stalls. Many of the stall holders were in Victorian costume including “Scrooge” himself. There were street entertainers too, all adding to the festive atmosphere. The stalls within the Guildhall were particularly attractive. It is obvious that the people of Worcester are especially gifted when comes to creating hand crafted items.
The Guildhall itself is a beautiful building dating back to 1721. Situated on the High Street it is available for functions. The Tourist Information Centre is located on the left-hand side of the main building. Upstairs is the splendid Assembly Room with its oil paintings and Italianate ceiling.
We stopped in Friar Street at the small National Trust property of Greyfriars House. The downstairs was open and costumed guides were telling the story of the house. And of course, we stayed for tea and cakes – it would be cheeky not to!
The magnificent Cathedral, originally built in 1084, is well worth a visit. King John is buried in front of the High Altar and the tomb is the oldest royal effigy in England. To the right of the altar is the tomb of Prince Arthur Tudor who died aged 15 years (This tomb was opened in 2002 to ascertain the cause of death, then reinterred) Architecturally the cathedral is very interesting, with styles ranging over several centuries. The library has an extensive collection of mediaeval manuscripts. The stained-glass windows are impressive too and depict the story of England from the 9th century. One window depicts Sir Edward Elgar’s “The Dream of Gerontius” with a memorial plaque, while his baton is on display in the library. The verger told us that Elgar, who lived near Worcester, was actually a Roman Catholic. He conducted his own choral and orchestral works within the cathedral. There are also forty-two 14th century carved misericords showing fantastic beasts (where to find them – ask the verger!)
The day we visited the was the Christmas Tree Festival display, which was a lovely surprise. There was a magical avenue of trees decorating the cloister, exhibiting the great imagination of local organisations. On that day it was free flow, so we did not have to pre-book and there was no queing.
We will certainly consider returning to Worcester at Christmas time again.