Worcestershire offers a wide variety of attractions for sporting enthusiasts. It is home to Worcester Warriors Rugby Union Club, Worcester Racecourse and to Worcestershire County Cricket Club – reputed to be one of the most picturesque grounds in the world. There’s premier league basketball and state of the art Paralympian sport located at the University of Worcester’s Arena. One of Britain’s oldest horse-racing courses can also be found in the County as well as Europe’s oldest motor-sports venue: Shelsey Walsh.
The Worcestershire LEP recognises the importance of sport for the local economy. In 2014, Worcestershire LEP hosted Stage Four of the 2014 Tour of Britain which saw tens of thousands of supporters turn up at the Start point and along the route and brought nearly £1m to the local economy. Worcestershire welcomed world class riders and 20 teams to the county, including cycling champion, Sir Bradley Wiggins, and Mark Cavendish and the event highlighted the county’s strength as a tourist destination
Building on this success, in 2015, the LEP helped to promote the #60DaysOfSport campaign with a number of events attracting national and international attention. As well as excellent fixtures at the County’s sporting grounds, this included: the European Wheelchair Basketball Championships, which were the qualifiers for the Rio 2016 Paralympics, the Worcester 10k Run, Bike, Run with Jo Pavey the 10,000m European Champion taking part as well as the official sportive of the Tour of Britain, the Aviva Tour Ride, which saw four times World Champion and Commonwealth Games Gold medallist Hugh Porter MBE participating.
Worcestershire offers a wonderful array of events throughout the year. The Malvern Theatre presents a first-class programme of arts and drama, whilst Upton upon Severn is the venue for the Upton Folk Festival in April, The Jazz Festival in June and the Worcester Festival in August and the hugely popular Worcester Victorian Fayre in November. The Three Counties Showground stages two major gardening events in spring and autumn, and the Three Counties Show in June attracts visitors from far and wide.
Worcestershire is a gardener’s paradise with a wide variety of award-winning attractions from walled cottage gardens to specialist’s collections of Spetchley Park, or the beautiful walled gardens of Stonehouse cottage garden. Visitors can explore a magnificent Arboretum near Wolverley or admire the landscapes sculptured by “Capability” Brown at Croome Park. The largest garden centre in the Midlands is to be found at Webbs of Wychbold just off junction 5 on the M5.
Rivers and canals have helped shape the beautiful Worcestershire landscape and played an important role in the life styles of many towns and villages. Britain’s longest river, the river Severn flows through the county and the attractive Georgian towns of Bewdley and Stourport on Severn are well worth exploring. Riverboat trips during the summer offer a tranquil journey along this delightful river.
The river Avon also meanders the county passing the lively market town of Evesham and Pershore with its famous Abbey. Both rivers are popular for boating and fishing and are the setting for numerous events throughout the year.
For those who enjoy walking, strenuous day walks or more leisurely countryside strolls, Worcestershire has many miles of way-marked footpaths for visitors to explore and some lovely country parks, nature trails and forest trails.
Major attractions in the county include Britain’s premier steam railway, the Severn Valley Railway, Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings, the once magnificent stately home Witley Court, now a fire ravaged ruin and its’ splendid Baroque church, Hanbury Hall and Harvington Hall.