For anyone even vaguely interested in the music of Sir Edward Elgar, one of this country’s greatest composers, a visit to the Elgar Birthplace Museum is a must.  It consists of a new visitor centre together with the cottage where he was born in 1857 at Lower Broadheath, a few miles west of Worcester.

Inside the visitor centre, you can pay the normal amount (£6 senior) and if you sign a gift aid form you receive a season ticket which will allow you to return within a year for nothing.



This could be a real benefit because there is so much to see (and hear through your free audio headphones).

The visitor centre has many illustrated panels, with original documents in glass cases and there is always the opportunity, once you have heard the audio explanations and history. to listen to some appropriate Elgar pieces while you look at photographs etc.  There is also a 15 minute video presentation to bring you up to speed quickly with Elgar’s life and music.

Then there is the house itself which, admittedly, Elgar’s family left before he was three years old.  Apparently, however, it was Elgar himself who expressed the wish to his only child, Carice, that if, after his death, something was to be done in his memory it could be sited there, the place he had returned to often as a child and had a great affection for.  The garden was still looking lovely at the end of September:

and a wonderful bronze of Elgar himself is seated so naturally under the trees (see featured image above).

There is so much to see in the house with most of his personal belongings on display in a natural setting and, of course, the audio commentary comes into its own, with the words of Elgar and his family and friends brought to life by actors.

There is an interesting Elgar trail which you can undertake in a car (or a Bessie of course) which takes you around the surrounding countryside, spotting various Elgar residences (and there were plenty as they moved a lot) and other places associated with him.

I particularly liked Birchwood Lodge in Great Storridge where Edward and his wife, Alice, lived at the turn of the century.




The view from the garden is amazing:







From here we drove into Malvern – such a majestic town and all ups and downs.  The 11th century Great Malvern Priory dominates the centre – now an Anglican church.

There are lots of interesting shops, including this bookshop with its cute guard-dog in a pushchair:






Just outside the museum a ladies’ Morris dancing ‘side’ was performing:







After some delicious sandwiches bought from the nearby delicatessen, we drove on to British Camp, an Iron Age earthworks on the border with Herefordshire (over 1,000 ft so qualifies as a mountain) which apparently inspired Elgar when he was composing his cantata, Caractacus,  the story of a British chieftain who fought the Roman invaders.



I have to admit I didn’t have the puff to get to the very top but Peter gamely carried on without me and took these photos.



Apparently you can see no less than twelve counties: Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Shropshire, Monmouthshire, Brecknock, Radnor, Montgomery, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Somerset and Oxfordshire.  I don’t think he counted them though!

There’s an interesting article and short film about it here:


From here we drove back along the west side of the Malvern hills – more stunning views including this panorama which Bessie managed to sneak her way into!

Unfortunately, time ran away with us and we didn’t manage to finish the trail, which includes Worcester, but perhaps we will do that on a return visit. There is an excellent website for the Elgar museum: