Last Updated on
St Andrew's, Wroxeter, dates from before the Norman Conquest, though, like all medieval churches, it has been added to and developed over the years. It contains re-used Roman stonework, including columns used as gateposts to the churchyard and the base of a column used as a font. It has Saxon features in the walls. It also has a set of astonishing Tudor tombs, with scarily life-like effigies. If you're minded to, you can also stay overnight in the church. Use the link to Churches Conservation Trust.
Viroconium - Roman Wroxeter - was the fourth largest Roman city in Britain, equal in size to Pompeii and with a population of maybe 10,000 people. It began as a frontier fort, then a legionary fortress and went on to have a 500-year history before fading away. Now, it largely lies under the Shropshire countryside. But the excavated bath complex provides a fascinating insight into Romano-British urban life, with tantalising glimpses into the post-Roman period - the Dark Ages. There is also a reconstructed Roman town house on the site, built using Roman methods. Down the road, along Watling Street, is the modern village of Wroxeter. St Andrew's church has re-used Roman columns as gateposts and an adapted column base as its font.
Originally a 12th century chapel for the adjacent castle, the church was severely damaged during the Civil War and the nave was rebuilt in 1654 during the Commonwealth. It contains a large number of boxed pews, two of which have canopies, and several texts, including the Lord's Prayer, painted on the church wall. There's a charming war memorial in the churchyard.
A perfect medieval fortified manor house, little changed since it was built in the 13th century, including original timbers. A wonderful timber-framed gatehouse was added in the 17th century. The castle stands next to the parish church of St John the Baptist and, as English Heritage says, it's unforgettably picturesque.
One of two RAF museums in Britain (the other one is in Hendon, north London), RAF Cosford displays 70+ aircraft, including the world's oldest Spitfire, with exhibits shown in three historic hangers. On site is the National Cold War Exhibition, which tells the story of this uncertain period in our history and where you can see all three of Britain's V-Bombers - the Vulcan, Victor and Valiant.
Blists Hill is an open air museum, recreating a Victorian town on an industrial site that included mines, blast furnaces and a section of the Shropshire Canal. Some of the buildings are original, others have been relocated and some are replicas. It's a 52 acre site. There's a fascinating range of things to see, from shops, a bank and public house, to industrial premises. Costumed staff keep the whole thing themed and there are various demonstrations and events etc. It's a good day out for all ages.
Blists Hill is one of 10 museums in the area run by the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust.
The medieval Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Mary the Virgin, Worcester, perches beautifully over the river Severn. It was founded in the 7th century, rebuilt by St Oswald in the 10th century and the present building was begun by St Wulfstan in 1084. The Norman crypt is particularly worth seeing. Worcester Cathedral was badly damaged during the Civil War in the 17th century and has been subsequently restored, notably by the Victorians. It is the burial place of King John, Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales (Henry VIII's older brother) and Stanley Baldwin, three times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
It may come as a surprise that one of - if not the - finest Baroque churches in Britain is not in London, but in rural Worcestershire. It dates from 1735, replacing an earlier medieval parish church which stood a little way to the west. It was built by the then owners of neighbouring Witley Court, the Foleys, possibly for their convenience, but not as a private chapel; it has always been a parish church. In 1747, the interior was transformed by the installation of internal decoration from the chapel at Canons, Lord Chandos' Edgware palace - and the impact is astonishing. Dedicated to St Michael and All Angels, Great Witley Church also boasts the Foley Monument, at 26 feet (8 metres) reputed to be the tallest funerary monument in the country.
Not long ago, in the great scheme of things, Witley Court was a Palladian mansion with a staff of over 100 servants, where the great and the good - including the Prince of Wales (Later Edward VII) attended lavish parties. Jewellery was hung from Christmas trees for lady guests. In 1937, it was burnt to a shell in an accidental fire. Its ruins echo with the past and its ornate gardens, including two astonishing fountains, have been lovingly restored. The Perseus and Andromeda fountain, in particular, needs to be seen in action - it is 'fired up' at particular times. There are also woodland walks, lakeside views, places to picnic and a play area for kids.