Easter Malvern Cotswolds Black & White Villages

Easter Malvern Cotswolds Black & White Villages

An Easter break in Great Malvern, including a guided tour of the Black & White Villages


An Easter break in Great Malvern, including a guided tour of the Black & White Villages


Bridgnorth sits high on a sandstone cliff and its history, well, lets say its had it's ups and downs and all have left their marks in Bridgnorth's development.

The town is divided in two - a high town and low town. There are caves, a castle, a cliff railway, a civil war and catastrophes that all had a bearing on the town you see today.

Bordered and divided by Britain's longest river, The Severn, there are spectacular views of the valley and low town from the high town.

Oh yes, then there was King Charles I, who upon visiting the town in 1642 remarked that the view is "the finest in my domain". With a recommendation like that one should surely come and have a look!

The town has two unique heritage railways: a Cliff Railway that climbs from the Severn to the high town and the famous Severn Valley Railway operating vintage trains on a beautiful sixteen mile stretch of riverside line.


Great Malvern

Malvern is largely Victorian but its roots go back much further.The oldest parts of the town can be seen around the Priory Church which was founded in 1085 when Benedictine monks settled here and built a Priory, which was a daughter house to Westminster Abbey.

Malvern originated as a spa village with therapeutic qualities attributed to its springs. It was the Georgian fancy of taking the waters and later the Victorian popularity of the water cure that transformed Malvern into a Water Cure town. Although you can no longer take the water cure in Malvern many of the impressive buildings are still in use as public buildings.

George Bernard Shaw and Edward Elgar brought Malvern into the 20th Century with their music and theatre festivals held in the Winter Gardens.


Black & White Village Trail

The trail, as the name suggests, is characterised by the large number of timbered and half-timbered houses in the area some dating from medieval times, others from more recent periods.

‘Unrivalled in England’!  This is how Alec Clifton-Taylor described the half timbered ‘black and white’ buildings of north-west Herefordshire. The Black & White Village Trail is a motor/cycle route through some of the prettiest villages and most beautiful landscape in England. The 40 mile circular trail leads west from the ancient town of Leominster, through a rich landscape of orchards, hopyards and distant hills, taking in the most picturesque black and white villages along the way as well as the little market town of Kington.

The villages are more than just pretty places to visit. Each one has its own character and community, with tea-rooms, shops, craft workshops and pubs waiting to welcome the visitor.


A cathedral city and county town of Herefordshire lies on the River Wye, approximately 16 miles east of the border with Wales, 24 miles southwest of Worcester, and 23 miles northwest of Gloucester. The name "Hereford" is said to come from the Anglo Saxon "here", an army or formation of soldiers, and the "ford", a place for crossing a river. If this is the origin it suggests that Hereford was a place where a body of armed men forded or crossed the Wye. The Welsh name for Hereford is Henffordd, meaning "old road", and probably refers to the Roman Road and Roman settlement at nearby Stretton Sugwas. An early town charter from 1189 granted by Richard I of England describes it as "Hereford in Wales". Hereford has been recognised as a city since time immemorial, with the status being reconfirmed as recently as October 2000. It is now known chiefly as a trading centre for a wider agricultural and rural area. Products from Hereford include: cider, beer, leather goods, nickel alloys, poultry, chemicals and cattle, including the famous Hereford breed.

Mappa Mundi

The Hereford Mappa Mundi is unique in Britain's heritage; an outstanding treasure of the medieval world, it records how thirteenth-century scholars interpreted the world in spiritual as well as geographical terms. The map bears the name of its author 'Richard of Haldingham or Lafford' (Holdingham and Sleaford in Lincolnshire). Recent research suggests a date of about 1300 for the creation of the map.

Mappa Mundi is drawn on a single sheet of vellum (calf skin) measuring 64" by 52", tapering towards the top with a rounded apex. The geographical material of the map is contained within a circle measuring 52" in diameter and reflects the thinking of the medieval church with Jerusalem at the centre of the world. Superimposed on to the continents are drawings of the history of humankind and the marvels of the natural world. These 500 or so drawings include around 420 cities and towns, 15 Biblical events, 33 plants, animals, birds and strange creatures, 32 images of the peoples of the world and 8 pictures from classical mythology.



This historic region covers an area of 790 square miles in the upper part of the southwest region of England and attracts visitors from all over the world, the area is well known for gentle hillsides ('wolds'), outstanding countryside with river valleys, water meadows and beech woods, sleepy ancient limestone villages, historic market towns and for being so 'typically English' where time has stood still for over 300 years


A famous Cotswold beauty spot, and popular throughout the year. As its name suggests, Broadway is dominated by a wide main street lined with independent shops, restaurants, hotels and plenty of antique shops. St Eadburgha’s Church is tucked away on the Snowshill Road, but worth searching out. The Lygon Arms Hotel was once a manor house and is something of a Cotswold institution – in its time it has hosted both Charles I and Oliver Cromwell. 

Broadway Tower sits high up on the Cotswold scarp overlooking the town and is a true delight to the landscape. The folly, which was designed by Capability Brown, sits 312 metres above sea level. It’s the second highest point on the Cotswolds escarpment with really beautiful views, so it’s definitely worth a visit.

Stow on the Wold

At nearly 800ft, Stow is the highest of the Cotswold towns, located on the Roman Fosse Way and at the point where several roads meet, hence an important trading centre. It has a long history and had a special importance in the English Civil War, the last battle was fought close by in Donnington back in 1646. St Edward’s Church, was used as a prison for the defeated Royalist troops, as it was the only lockable building in the town. Some of the damage sustained at this time can still be seen today.

The Market Square is large and impressive and testifies to the town’s former importance. It is surrounded by town houses, independent shops, antique centres, cosy cafes and inns all built in the mellow local stone, and it has been the focus of town life over many centuries, with the medieval market stocks at one end, the ancient market cross at the other and the impressive St Edwards Hall standing in the centre. Some of the largest sheep fairs took place in the town with up to 20,000 sheep for sale in one day. 


Located in a small valley amongst the gentle rolling hills of the Cotswolds, Bourton-on-the-Water is a ‘must see’ for all visitors to the area. This popular village is often referred to as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ because of the attractive little bridges that cross the gently flowing River Windrush, which runs through the centre of the village. Bourton has a charm all of its own at any time of the year.

Bourton is still considered a village despite having approximately 4,000 inhabitants. This is roughly equal to the combined population of nearby Stow-on-the-Wold  and Burford, both of which are considered as small market towns.

Friday 10th April

A morning departure from Cumbria for the journey south to Bridgnorth, where we have time for lunch, why not take a ride on the oldest and steepest inland funicular railway that connects the low town and the high town. From Bridgnorth we only have a short drive to Great Malvern and our hotel the Abbey. Dinner in the hotel.


Saturday 11th April

Following breakfast today we are joined by our local guide, we begin with a drive through Bromyard to Leominster for a short stop. From here we travel through some of the villages in Herefordshire’s beautiful ‘Black and White’ villages trail. Our route takes in delightful cottages, inns, shops in timber framed hamlets including Eardisland, Pembridge, Eardisley and Weobley. This brings us to Hereford in time for lunch and the afternoon free to explore. Hereford Cathedral is home to the rare Mappa Mundi. Dinner in the hotel tonight.

B, D

Sunday 12th April

After breakfast we have a scenic full day tour of the northern Cotswolds including the jewel of the Cotswolds, Broadway, then on to Stow on the Wold, an ancient wool market town before our final destination, Bourton on the Water described as the Little Venice of the Cotswolds. We return to the Abbey hotel for dinner.

B, D

Monday 13th April

We leave our hosts at the Abbey hotel and travel to Ludlow, a thriving market town renowned as the food and drink capital of Shropshire. Time for lunch before continuing home to Cumbria.


B=Breakfast Included, D=Dinner Included

Abbey Hotel, Great Malvern

The Abbey Hotel in Great Malvern in Worcestershire is close to a number of interesting and historical cities, yet situated right in the heart of the tradtional English countryside, at the foot of the Malvern Hills. With sensational views of the scenic Vale of Evesham and beautiful Malvern Hills, the hotel offers you a tranquil haven in which to relax and retreat. The Priory View lounge is an excellent place for a coffee, afternoon tea or a nice refreshing pint after your days out. 

At The Abbey’s Priory View Restaurant you can enjoy seasonal British and Mediterranean cuisine with stunning views over the Vale of Evesham. The restaurant is open daily for breakfast and dinner.

All the bedrooms at the Abbey are individual and unique. The hotel has a total of 103 bedrooms, many of which have breathtaking views of either the Malvern Hills or the Vale of Evesham. They also have all the features you would expect including complimentary WiFi access, comfortable working space, Satellite television with 24 hour news channels, hospitality tray, ironing centre and hairdryers.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Name Address Contact Details
Appleby The Sands Appleby
Aspatria Car Park beside Spar Aspatria
Brough Monument Bus Shelter Brough
Carlisle Entrance to Sands Centre Car Park Carlisle
Cockermouth Monument Main Street Cockermouth
Dearham Commercial Corner Dearham
Distington Outside Prospect Works Distington
Egremont Conservative Club Egremont
Flimby Railway Station Flimby
Harrington Galloping Horse bus stop Harrington
Keswick Bell Close Car Park Keswick
Kirkby Stephen Market Square Kirkby Stephen
Maryport Outside Coop Maryport
Penrith Sandgate Bus Station Penrith
Shap Village Hall Shap
Tebay Old Services Car Park Tebay
Thursby Bus Stop Thursby
Waverton Bus Stop Waverton
Whitehaven Old Bus Station Whitehaven
Wigton Old Bus Station Wigton
Workington Lay By opposite Grahams Travel Jane St. Workington
From Price Call Back Telephone Favourites

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Summer Brochure 2019
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Summer Brochure 2020