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Things to do in Alcester, Warwickshire

Malt Mill Lane © Stephen Godfrey

Alcester is an ancient Roman town in southwest Warwickshire. Lying seven miles west of Stratford-upon-Avon, Alcester has plenty of architectural attractions for visitors to enjoy without the crowds.

The name Alcester, pronounced "Alster", comes from the Roman name of "Alencestre", which means "fort town on the River Alne" The Roman settlement would have been a walled town and archaeological evidence shows that a Roman fort was once located on nearby Primrose Hill.

The site yielded evidence of a tannery, furnaces, wells and a rubbish dump with various intact vessels. Items of bronze were also recovered from the site including a harness ring typically used by auxiliary cavalry.

There are many archaeological dig sites in Alcester - it has become one of the best researched areas of Roman remains in the country.

In the 12th century a Benedictine monastery was founded in Alcester by Ralph le Botelier which thrived until the Dissolution of Monasteries in the 16th century.

Present Day Alcester

Alcester has a delightful High Street lined with well-preserved black-and-white Tudor cottages and charming historical buildings of note. It offers an atmosphere of times-gone-by.

The War Memorial Town Hall building dates back to 1620 and was an open market on the ground floor, which later became enclosed. The upstairs function room remains much the same with an interesting hammerbeam ceiling.

St Nicholas Parish Church is in the centre of Alcester and has an unusually placed clock on one corner of the tower, making it visible to the High Street. The churchyard is surrounded by older houses, particularly along Butter Street and Malt Mill Lane. The Old Rectory was built in Georgian-style and stands right opposite the entrance to the church.

Although it is a historic rural town, Alcester is thriving and is a popular place to visit, work and reside. There are a good range of local shops and services and Minerva Mill Innovation Centre provides space for offices, workshops and start-up companies.

Things to Do in Alcester

Walks in the Alcester area can be enjoyed by picking up a local leaflet and choosing one of the four trails starting from nearby Longbarn Village, a local Conference Centre and events facility.

Garden lovers will no doubt enjoy exploring the display garden rooms at Longbarn Village for planting ideas and inspiration. After enjoying the gardens, visit the lovely tearoom onsite.

If you're still thirsty, head into one of Alcester's pubs which serve real ale. Three of the pubs are in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide: the Holly Bush, the Three Tuns and the Turks Head on the High Street.

Alcester is a good base for visiting a number of stately homes in the area. Coughton Court is a lovely National Trust property along with Kinwarton Dovecote.

The grand building of Ragley Hall is the ancestral seat of the Marquess of Hertford. It is open to the public in the summer and the Great Hall with its baroque plasterwork is filled with a collection of paintings, ceramics and antique furnishings. In the grounds is the Jerwood Sculpture Park.

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Images of Alcester

Alcester at Xmas - The Old Swan Hotel © left-hand via Flickr
Alcester at Xmas - Alcester High Street © left-hand via Flickr
Alcester at Xmas - St Nicholas Parish Church, Alcester © left-hand via Flickr
Coughton Court © left-hand via Flickr
Walled Garden Coughton Court Alcester © left-hand via Flickr
St Peter and St Paul, Coughton, Alcester  © Sue Hasker via Flickr
Church Street Alcester © yellow book via Flickr

Interactive Map of Alcester

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