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Worcester is a historic city in the West Midlands of England and well worth a visit whilst on your narrowboating holiday in Worcestershire. Nestled between the picturesque River Severn and the Birmingham and Worcester Canal, it has a rich heritage, dating back to the Roman era, and you can visit a number of important historical buildings, including Worcester Cathedral, the Commandery, and the Guildhall.

Worcestershire canal boat holidays
Worcester city hall

Worcester: Top Attractions to Visit

Worcester Cathedral is quite stunning.  Founded in the 7th century and having been rebuilt several times over the centuries, it has some superb examples of Gothic architecture and is home to a number of important historical artifacts, including the tomb of King John.

The past is brought back to life at The Commandery, a museum that tells the story of Worcester from the Middle Ages to the present day. The museum building itself is historic building that was once used as a military headquarters during the English Civil War in 1651 – its timber frames and slightly out of kilter structure giving it plenty of character. The museum has a number of interactive exhibits that make it a great place to learn about Worcester’s history, even the kids will enjoy it!

Another museum that dates back even further to the sixteenth century is the Tudor House Museum. The museum has a number of exhibits that show how people lived, worked, and played in Worcester during this period.

If you are into your pottery, then head to the Museum of Royal Worcester, a museum that tells the story of the Royal Worcester porcelain factory. The museum has a collection of over 3,000 pieces of porcelain, including some of the most famous pieces ever made by the factory. The museum also has a number of interactive exhibits that show how porcelain is made and you can even go into the creative studio and paint your own pottery.

When you need a bit of fresh air after all the museums, you can stretch your legs in Gheluvelt Park, a large memorial park dedicated to those lost in World War I. The park has a number of gardens, a boating lake, and a children’s playground and is a great place to relax on the banks of the River Severn

River Severn, Worcester

Shopping, food and drink

Worcester has a number of good shopping areas, including The Shambles Market Hall. This beautifully old fashioned indoor market has boutique shops and market stalls, great for browsing round.

Not far from the Cathedral are historic Friar Street and New Street where two of Worcester’s oldest and most historic pubs are located. The Cardinal’s Hat in Friar Street is the city’s oldest inn dating back to the 14th century, serving craft ales and good typically English pub food. The King Charles House on New Street is now a restaurant and holds a special place in British history. As King Charles II fled after defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, the residents of New Street held off Cromwell’s army so he could make his escape from the house.

A Short History of Worcester

Anglo-Saxon Worcester

After the Romans left Britain in the 4th century, Worcester was abandoned for a time. However, it was resettled by the Anglo-Saxons in the 7th century. The Anglo-Saxons built the cathedral in Worcester, which is the base of the cathedral today, and the town became an important religious centre.

Medieval Worcester

Worcester continued to grow and prosper during the Middle Ages. It was an important wool town, and glove making was also a major industry. The town was also a center of learning, with two early grammar schools.

Worcester in the 17th and 18th centuries

Worcester was badly damaged during the English Civil War in the 17th century. However, it was rebuilt and prospered in the 18th century. The porcelain industry was founded in Worcester in 1751, and the town became a major centre for the manufacture of porcelain. This lead to the development of the canals, which were used for transporting both the raw materials used for pottery making and also for transporting the delicate goods which were produced. The canal running through Worcester is the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. 

Worcester in the 19th and 20th centuries

Worcester continued to grow in the 19th and 20th centuries. It became an important industrial town, with industries such as machinery, textiles, and wire. The city’s population also grew rapidly, and it became the second largest city in Worcestershire.

Worcester today

Worcester is still an important city today. It is a major center for education, healthcare, and manufacturing. The city is also home to a number of cultural attractions, including the Worcester Cathedral, the Worcester Museum of Art, and the Commandery.

How Can I Visit Worcester?

To visit Worcester, book a canal boat holiday from our narrowboat hire base in Worcester at Stoke Prior in Bromsgrove. 

We offer short breaks from 3 or 4 nights to longer holidays or two weeks or more.

Search for availability in our Holiday Search box above, choosing Worcestershire, Stoke Prior as your location.

Cruising Routes near Worcester

Stourport Ring canal boat holiday

76 Miles
105 Locks
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Stourton and return canal boat holiday

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82 Locks
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Avon Ring canal boat holiday

120 Miles
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2 Week Cruise
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