Last year I took my Dad on a whirlwind tour around the National Trust properties on the Warwick/Worcestershire/Gloucestershire border. He’s nearly recovered in time for this year’s NT crawl. Snowshill Manor stood out that day;
Despite the lure of the Fleece in Bretforton and several Cotswold options we stopped in Evesham looking for food, or at least a sighting of the asparagus the Vale is know for. Spoons apart, we found nothing, and pressed on to Worcester for a curry near the Cathedral.
On Friday I gave Evesham another chance, hoping a sunny interlude would improve it. It still looked very rundown to me, testament as much to the decline in market gardening around the Vale as the “quality” of town planning.
This street art near the pedestrianised shopping street may well be a metaphor for the town, which was as shabby as ever, despite a few glossy touches. The busy A4184, the major artery through the town, does it no favours either, contributing to a Wetherspoons in a historic building that has seen better days.
That’s the bad stuff. Approaching the Market Square it suddenly makes sense. A clutch of black and white buildings is genuinely unspoilt, or shamefully undeveloped if you prefer.
Exploring the nooks and crannies is only going to occupy you for 20 minutes of so, but the proper little boozer in the square detailed me rather longer. The Red Lion sold a few OK Cannon Royall beers at prices not seen in Worcestershire for many years. It was just a place for folk to have a chat and a drink, rather than the dining pub you might expect in the most attractive part of a Worcestershire town.
Fresh flowers, pub dogs, proper bench seating; a worthy new, and Evesham’s only, Guide entry.
A few yards south you come to the two legitimate tourist sites, starting at the Almonry, which is now a museum I was mildly surprised to find open.
The walk through the church grounds is another highlight, with the spring blossom and flowers Dad enjoyed last year still in evidence. The park by the Avon is splendid.
Evesham reminds me a lot of Ely 20 years ago. A small riverside town with old fashioned facilities overshadowed by larger neighbours, with some beautiful redeeming features. Ely has smartened itself up considerably this century, though its comparable pub, the Prince Albert, is close in feel to Evesham’s Red Lion.