Since moving to the heart of England, one our favourite places to visit is the Greater Malvern Hills. In fact, it’s become sort of a Saturday ritual, especially during the summer months. When the weather’s just right, we get the bug to make the journey ala the film, Chocolat (minus the red hooded capes).
It’s usually me and my daughter Hannah. We get up early with no time for cosmetics (gasp), get dressed and make the 45 minute drive south of the city into Worcestershire to the beautiful Malvern foothills, then up the Link to the main road leading into the historic, hillside town.
On our route, the first stop is usually the Malvern car boot sale where you can rummage all manner of goodies, old and new. This is actually how our ritual got started as Hannah loves to shake-down every stall looking for treasures to up-cycle. It’s her passion, and mine of course is the food and produce.
I love that not only can I buy fresh produce, I can also meet the local hero’s face to face that grow the herbs, bake the bread and pick the cherries by hand. These are interesting, living, breathing people that work hard to bring us the freshest fruits and vegetables around, and their spirits really shine through.
I purchased these delicious , super sweet red cherries (below) from this very handsome and well-seasoned gentleman from Malvern View Old House Farm for £1.00 per basket. When he told me he picked them himself, for me, the value increased ten-fold.
The bread I bought from this lovely young lady of Churches Bakery, Cheltenham was also freshly baked that morning, looked and smelled mouth-watering and was reasonably priced. Plus, who can resist fresh baked bread?
After our morning haul, next on the agenda is breakfast. We’re usually starving by then and ready for some hearty sustenance and coffee. Once we make the drive to the top of the hill, there’s a Wetherspoon’s chain pub located on the main strip called the Foley Arms Hotel that not only features a decent and VERY affordable breakfast, it also has the most breath-taking view anywhere!
Although you can get a vegetarian full-English breakfast, I prefer fresh fruit and blueberry topped porridge made with water (not milk), which they’re happy to arrange. Unfortunately it’s pre-packaged porridge, but it’s all part of the fun…
Yes, the coffee is instant and comes from a self-service machine, but it’s hot and plentiful. On high note, the service is fast and the faces are friendly. Overall, the day is meant to be an adventure and once we’re fed and watered, it’s onto a stroll around the town and to the antique shops. One of the most wonderful things about the town is how friendly people are and how welcome they make you feel.
At the end of each month, you can find market stalls that sell vintage items as well as fresh bread, homemade jams, jellies and chutneys, fresh produce, beer, handmade soaps, wooden bowls, ceramics and other craft discoveries. However you slice it, Greater Malvern is a haven for simple, local pleasures and we love it!