A lot of our family members still live in Worcester – we moved to live in West Wales 17 years ago -so we regularly visit. It is a long journey by public transport, bus to Aberystwyth, bus to Llandrindod Wells (which seems to be the centre of the universe for connecting bus routes), bus to Hereford through Weobley and Kington, then train to Worcester Foregate Street station. Clearly, we then have to stay overnight as you cannot do the trip there and back in one day!
We have tried several types of accommodation, all in the city centre within easy walking distance of the train station, and some have certainly proved to be better than others. Our favourite is Wetherspoon’s hotel The Crown, followed by Fownes Hotel and Ye Olde Talbot, with the least favourites Riize and Farriers Arms.
The Wetherspoon hotel is clean and comfortable, refurbished to a high standard as are all their hotels. I love that they all feature artworks that relate to that particular location. In Worcester, the theme is music with instruments, cartoons and paintings in rooms and corridors, often with reference to links with Edward Elgar – we love that as Leslie’s mother used to play piano with Elgar when she was a little girl! The Crown Hotel is always quiet and generally around £50 a room for a Sunday night’s stay.
The Fownes is a traditional hotel, originally the old Glove Factory. Creaky floors and doors, but again clean and tidy and close to city centre restaurants, bars, and the canal towpath if you like to walk. It has a car park, but be careful you do not get caught out with a parking fee if you don’t notify reception of your car details.
Just along City Walls Road, Ye Olde Talbot is another old traditional bar and restaurant with rooms. An excellent breakfast, continental selection as well as freshly-cooked hot food. The staff are very helpful. Especially sorting out a change of room for me for my second night’s stay. Note, as a solo traveller, do not book room 16 (they only make it available if nothing else is available). A terrible tiny little room, nowhere to hang clothes, not even a hook on the door! I was happy to move to another room (room 21).
The worst ones we have found? There is a Travelodge, but not one of their better ones and not as comfortable as others we have stayed in. All places have good and bad days, and you may be unfortunate to catch one of these. For us, Riize is not one of our “go to” places in the future. Code lock on street door/ inner door/ room door and you had to get the timing exact for the door(s) to open. A narrow staircase to the second floor with an unsafe banister, and we would have struggled if we had a suitcase. In our 70s, the double bed was in the window alcove so enclosed on three sides and not a good option for us! Finally, we were also confused by the request for guests to “clear the bedlinen before you leave”. Really? That might be acceptable for a hostel at £20 a night, but not for a more expensive hotel.
My stay at the Farriers Arms was also disappointing, despite the positive reviews it had on Booking.com. In particular, the room had already been paid for but the hotel still charged me and we had to fight to get it repaid.
The one highlight of a stay in Worcester is Cote Brasserie 100-101 High Street. An exceptional Fish Parmentier, very tasty with big chunks of fish and seafood and just the right amount of potato topping. It was perfect with French beans, as suggested by the waiter, and a glass of crisp Muscadet de Sevres et Maine – £6.25 for 175ml, £31 in total. Finish with a tasty crème caramel, and yes, I will definitely eat here again.
Worcester is easy to get to by car or public transport and is, of course, steeped in history since the time of the Cavaliers. Definitely worth a stopover if you are travelling through the Shires.