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Worcester is a beautiful cathedral city with a fascinating history of industry, a wealth of interesting architecture, countless top-class venues, and an unrivalled selection of independent boutiques. Perhaps best-known for its world-famous Worcester Porcelain, Worcestershire Sauce and one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the country, Worcester also claims to be home to the world’s oldest newspaper, Berrow’s Worcester Journal.
Worcester’s most striking landmark is, of course, its Anglican cathedral, whose crypt dates from the 10th century. It also has the distinction of housing the tomb of King John. Near the cathedral is the spire of St. Andrew’s Church, also known as Glover’s Needle, while limited parts of Worcester’s city wall remain in situ. The Hive is a prominent feature of the city’s skyline, a joint public and university library and archive centre. With seven towers and a golden rooftop, it has earned recognition for its design and sustainability.
Historians will love to explore The Commandery to learn about Worcester’s role in the English Civil War, art enthusiasts can take in an exhibition at the City Art Gallery, while architecture admirers will enjoy a stroll down Friar Street, which is lined with half-timbered buildings. If you’d prefer a guided tour, why not join a daily walk from the Guildhall? Be sure to stop for refreshments in one of the city’s delightful cafés or welcoming public houses. For those who enjoy the great outdoors, there are three main parks in Worcester – Cripplegate Park, Gheluvelt Park and Fort Royal Park – as well as two large woodlands, Perry Wood and Nunnery Wood, covering 12 hectares and 21 hectare respectively.
The city became an important centre for many light industries in the late-Victorian period – in particular, iron founders (such as Heenan & Froude, Hardy & Padmore and McKenzie & Holland), glove makers, tool makers and machinery manufacturers. Worcester Porcelain operated in Worcester until 2009. The former factory is now a museum and visitor centre. One of Worcester’s most famous products, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce is still made and bottled in the city at its Midland Road factory. It has been its home since 1897. Other businesses to call Worcester home include the European manufacturing plant of Yamazaki Mazak Corporation, a global Japanese machine tool builder, and Worcester Bosch. Worcester is also a major retail centre, with several covered shopping centres, as well as a host of independent shops and restaurants in both Friar Street and New Street.
The M5 motorway runs to the east of the city, making Worcester very accessible by car to other parts of the country, including London. Several A roads pass through the city including the A449, A44, A38, A4103, A422 and A4440, which is one of Worcestershire’s busiest roads. For those who prefer to travel by rail, Worcester has two stations, Worcester Foregate Street and Worcester Shrub Hill, with plans in the pipeline for a further third station, Worcestershire Parkway Station, to be built. The main operator of bus services in and around the city is First Midland Red, while the nearest airport is Birmingham Airport, which can be accessed by both road and rail.
Worcester is home to the University of Worcester. From 2005 to 2010, it was the fastest growing university in the UK, more than doubling its student population. The city also has two colleges which take its name, Worcester Sixth Form College and Heart of Worcestershire College, along with a good selection of high schools and independent schools, including New College Worcester, which caters for blind and partially-sighted pupils from the ages of 11 to 18.
Most of the property sales in Worcester over the past year were semi-detached houses, which sold for an average of £216,023. This is lower than the overall average price for Worcester of £240,406. It is clear that this city is a popular place to live, having seen an increase in house prices of 3 per cent on the year before.
So, just what makes Worcester so popular? The aforementioned points aside, Worcester also offers plenty of sporting opportunities, a heady programme of annual festivals and events, arts and cinema galore, as well as a great range of literary connections. Go on, be inspired to see for yourself by planning a visit to wonderful Worcester!