My trip to Charlton yesterday was my first there in a while. It’s not a place you’d ever pass on the way to anywhere else. A bit like Withernsea.
In contrast, I seem to be whizzing past Bromsgrove on a monthly basis these days on the way down to Somerset and Cornwall. Occasionally I use it as a base for trips west, as it’s surprisingly well equipped with budget hotels and transport links.
The town itself can claim some decent countryside to the north-west, on the way to the wonderful Clent hills (there’s a good Worcs walks blog here). Batham’s most attractive pub is only a few miles away too.
Bromsgrove can argue with Kidderminster over which of them is the true home of Led Zeppelin, whose spiritual successors play in Lickey End this Friday. I preferred Dread Zeppelin myself.
The town’s main claim to fame, part from a Big Brother runner-up, is that it’s not Redditch. The pedestrianised High Street is also marginally more interesting than that of its neighbour, particularly on market day when the pork baps are hard to beat. There’s a statue of AE Housman, who seemed to prefer the solitude of the Shropshire Marches, and I can’t say I blame him.
I had one new Guide pub to visit, a micro, but no trip to Bromsgrove is complete without a return visit to this near classic, which keeps the decent opening time of 10am;
Yes, the best real pub is a Marstons, and one of my favourite basic town pubs anywhere, with me the only drinker under 70. It could be Dartford. The only thing against it is the huge posing beer barrel seat thing that obscured my photo.
Not my hearing though, and above the piped Elton I enjoyed the debate about the Elvis song that Johnny Cash made famous. The argument is still raging as you read this; answers on a postcard to B61 8AQ.
There’s an adventurous use of the Banks guest list. A local asked where the “Bootle-eg” came from; “Bootle I think” came the reply. I’m sure Bootleg will be delighted that their Chorlton Pale (NBSS 3.5, a bit “strawy”) was being enjoyed in Worcestershire though.
I could have had a sandwich here, but I waited for the Little Ale House. A Malvern Hills Spring (NBSS 4) and cheese and onion cob was as good as life gets. Beer at the Herne-prescribed rate and very high seating, even for a six-footer. A top micro.
That’s as good as central Bromsgrove gets, though the Wetherspoons is probably the most attractive building in town. Head to Avoncroft Museum for it’s collection of telephone kiosks.