Car-free guide to KidderminsterWorcestershire
Stroll in wild hills, forests or gardens, learn about carpet-making or ride a steam train by the river. Here are just a few of the places to visit by train near Kidderminster. The area makes a surprisingly lovely base for a staycation with all kinds of adventures nearby accessible by rail and bus. Scroll to the end for tips about where to stay and how to get around.
1. Kidderminster: railways, rugs and riverside walks
A wool-weaving Worcestershire town, Kidderminster was full of carpet factories by the mid-nineteenth century. Head to the Museum of Carpet to celebrate this aspect of Kidderminster’s heritage. The River Stour, five minutes’ walk from the museum, runs through the town with waterside paths on its banks. And in 1852 Kidderminster’s first railway station opened. You can arrive on the mainline railway from Birmingham, Worcester or London.
- From next to the mainline station, ride a steam train along the Severn Valley from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth. Our feature writer, stayed in Bridgnorth last year and wrote about it in the Guardian. The cliff railway there is a great way of travelling car-free. The Severn Valley Railway runs for 16 miles through the Worcestershire countryside with lots to see and do along the route, including walks along the River Severn.
- The Stour Vale Mill houses the Museum of Carpet. There are hand and power loom demonstrations and four galleries exploring the surprisingly interesting history of carpet design.
- How to get to the Museum of Carpet car-free: simply stroll down the main road from the station and take the left hand exit from the underpass at the bottom onto Green Street (see map below).
2. Hartlebury Castle
Walk through history at Worcestershire’s County Museum in a former Bishops’ Palace. Just stroll down from the station through the village of Hartlebury. A colourful collection of Gypsy caravans, an 18th century cider mill, a collection of toys through time and lots more. Winner of Visit England’s Hidden Gem award in 2018 and 2019, the museum is packed with interesting things to see, from mammoth tusks to flapper dresses. At weekends, you can see the restored palace itself. And, in the grounds, there is a short leafy walk near the old moat.
- How to get to Worcestershire County Museum car-free: A mile’s walk from Hartlebury station with pavement all the way. The roadside walk from the station starts off, a little unpromisingly, by heading under the main road, but you are soon strolling through the village, past flowering gardens and St James’s church. (See map below).
- Don’t miss the village pubs: the White Hart, serving great food just steps away from the entrance to the castle and museum, or the Tap House in the old station building – very handy if you need to wait for a train!
3. Whitlenge Gardens
Whitlenge Gardens are full of fairies and hobbit holes, water features and leafy walkways. They are easy to get to without a car – just 3/4 mile north of Hartlebury station up Whitlenge Lane (see map for 2 above).
- Winding paths leads visitors past pergolas and gazebos, rockeries and herb gardens, out into the meadows. Here, standing stones, a spiral tor and turf labyrinth stand among the wild flowers and grasses.
- Don’t miss the delightful tea room, serving everything from full English breakfasts to trad cream teas (the cherry scones are particularly good!)
- For adventurous visitors, who prefer not to walk along the road, which is quiet but narrow, there is an alternative route to the gardens using footpaths. It’s slightly longer, but passes through some lovely Worcestershire countryside (see map below).