OK, so it’s one ‘Ma’ short of the 1973 Electric Light Orchestra track title, but it will serve my purpose in pulling together the initial letters of two belle English towns/areas where I have holidayed many times. Yes, this is an undisguised advertisement for the joys of spending holiday time in your own country, rather than fighting with airports and cultures that may not be familiar. It must be said that the British traveller, humoured for so many years by the more refined cultures of most European countries, due to the amount of tourist money that he brings in, is now regarded in many places increasingly as an unwelcome pariah, who may be tolerated, but only just – and Brexit will not have helped to smooth choppy waters.
So we shall relax into a more traditional, quiet English holiday, in both Ma-tlock and Ma-lvern, which I heartily recommend you visit to sample the very best of an English holiday. Give e other or both of them a go.
Firstly do they have anything in common part from being a long way from a sandy beach?
Indeed they do:-
- They both owed their initial prosperity to the fad for healthy water (hydrotherapy as a rest-cure) in mid Victorian times. Both towns have natural springs, which were ‘borrowed’ by the entrepreneurs and snake-oil salesmen of the time, and marketed as giving you the healthier life. With most town water being of dubious quality at the time, it was an inspired move which made many men rich on the proceeds of….clean water
- They are both set on the hills from whence the waters flow.
- Their architecture and their town parks are of that famous, classic Victorian type – mature and well-maintained.
- They both have classic Victorian railway stations – Matlock’s being at the end of the line up from Derby, but Great Malvern being a ‘two track’ station on the Birmingham to Hereford line. The stations are worth a visit on their own merits.
Matlock is set amongst the hills of the Peak District of Derbyshire, with much to do in the town itself, and even more within walking and cycling distance on specific trails (former railway lines). Great pubs and villages abound.
Part of the Cromford Trail, a former railway to the south of Matlock (it’s actually steep downhill in this photo. The trains were dragged up the incline by an ingenious system which is well worth investigating)
Great Malvern is set on the eastern slope of the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire, with the flatlands of the Severn Valley in front, and the rolling Herefordshire countryside on the other (western) side. Again, great walking and cycling country, with villages galore in easy striking distance, but the range of hills have a magic all of their own, and are c 10 miles long in a north-south line, and it makes for a great walk.
You need to go to appreciate the places – lots of different styles of accommodation, from hotels , b&b, to airbnb, depending on your pocket. You won’t be disappointed with either, and you can do your homework on the places before deciding.
Sue atop North Hill in the Malverns. The Severn Valley is behind her.