Worcester

The picturesque city of Worcester was ranked eighth in a 2013 survey measuring the happiest places in the UK for residents. The city is particularly noted for its cathedral, impressive architecture, and the surrounding countryside that offers residents the best of both urban and rural living. The city stands on the River Severn in the middle of the county, with the Warwickshire town of Alcester to the east, Droitwich Spa and Kidderminster to the north, Leominster and Hereford to the west, and the towns of Malvern, Tewkesbury, Pershore and Evesham to the south and south-east.

Worcester is on the M5 motorway that runs north to provide drivers with access to Birmingham, and heads south to Cheltenham and Gloucester, and several A roads head out of Worcester towards Alcester, Malvern, and Hereford. There are two stations in the city – Foregate Street in the city centre and Shrub Hill just outside the centre, both of which offer trains to Birmingham city centre in around 45 minutes.

The property types available within Worcester range from modern apartments within the city to 20th century suburban houses, many of which feature mock-Tudor half-timbering, and period properties on the outskirts of the city and in the rural area that surrounds it. The city is known as an educational centre with the University of Worcester being one of fastest growing universities in the UK. The city is also home to King’s School, Worcester and the Royal Grammar School, Worcester, both of which are historic schools with reputations for academic and sporting excellence.

The city was originally a pre-Roman settlement which grew significantly during the Roman occupation of Britain before becoming a religious centre in the Anglo-Saxon period. During the English Civil War Worcester was a royalist centre and the scene of a major battle in 1651 that led to the exile of the future Charles II. In the 18th century the city became a centre for glove-making, the manufacture of engineering tools, and famously, Worcester Porcelain. Much of the historic centre of the city remains, including the Guildhall and Cathedral Close.

Worcester is a prominent cultural centre today – the city hosts the Three Choirs Festival, one of the oldest music festivals in the UK, and many events associated with the local composer Edward Elgar. The Swan Theatre runs productions through the year and has launched the careers of many leading actors. There are plenty of high street shops in the city centre between the city walls and the banks of the Severn and in the Crowngate Shopping Centre. Within the city there are hockey, cycling, basketball, rowing, and athletics clubs. The city is also home to Worcestershire County Cricket Club and Worcester Rugby Club, both of which play on a national level.

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