The historical centre of the town, to the west of Malvern and with the scenic backdrop of the hills behind, is called Great Malvern, and is the part of most interest to visitors.
The centre is quite compact, and centred around Church Street and Bellevue Terrace, lined with a mix of buildings covering a wide range of architectural styles. Much of the town developed following Malverns emergence as a Victorian spa town so there are a lot of buildings dating from this period of prosperity. There is also a wide selection of shops (books and antiques are a speciality here), cafes, restaurants etc in the heart of Great Malvern.
The grand white building at the top of the hill is the Royal Library, built in 1819 and the statue on Church Street is a tribute to Edward Elgar (1857-1934), the renowner English composer who lived in Malvern (slighly overshadowed by the large 'Enigma Fountain' that celebrates the importance of water to the town).
Great Malvern Priory
The most important monument, that dominates the heart of the town and is of great historical importance to the early development of Malvern is the Great Malvern Priory. Originally dating from the second half of the 11th century, much of the priory we see today dates from substantial alterations in the 15th centuries. The priory was a Benedictine monastery until 1540 when the 'Dissolution of the Monasteries' act was passed by Henry VIII, after which it became the church for Malvern. The highlight within the impressive building include the very impressive stained glass windows and the carvings of the misericord seats.
Next to the Priory is Priory Park, home to the Winter Gardens and also the cultural centre of Malvern with a theatre, cinema and concert hall and a leisure centre with swimming pool etc.
Visit also the Malvern Museum, not just to learn of the history of the town but also to admire the stunning building containing the museum - the medieval Abbey Gateway.
The town has had a good reputation for the quality of its water (and its healing properties) for several hundred years. Emerging as a spring from the Malvern Hills, the water still has a very good reputation and is one of the leading brands of bottles water in the UK.
There are lots of springs that emerge around the base of the hills, with the two best known being Saint Anns Well and Holy Well (Saint Ann's Well is also a cafe, straight up the hill from Great Malvern centre and popular with locals and visitors alike). Some of the fountains in the town are also sources of 'natural Malvern water' such as the new Malvhina Fountain (Belle Vue island).
Map of Malvern and places to visit
Malvern places to visit
See more places nearby in the Worcestershire guide