“ City streets, markets, shopping malls, large retail parks... „
The shops in Worcester city centre were a pleasant surprise given the fact that the city has a population of less than one hundred thousand. Although I have lived in the city for 13 years I remember visiting and falling in love with it before I moved in.
On street parking is strictly limited during the week but there are plenty of car parks in and around the city centre. Charges vary with those closest to the shops tending to charge more and it's worth considering using the Perdiswell park and ride if coming by car (don't head for the sixways park and ride site if you want to go into the city centre). You can research car parking and the park and ride by going to the city council website at www.worcester.gov.uk.
Foregate St train station and the bus station are both located centrally and handy for the shops. Shrub Hill station is a 5-10 minute walk from the city centre but if you arrive there look out for trains going to Foregate St.
The banks and cash points are generally found towards the northern end of the city centre between the pedestrianised high street and Foregate St station or towards the top end of Broad St. There is also a Tesco express with a free cash point next to Foregate St station.
The shops are located in mixture of modern and historic buildings. The city's main shopping streets (High St, Broad St and The Shambles) along with the Crowngate centre have department stores as well as the clothes, shoe, stationary, book and mobile phone shops etc that can be found in most city centres. Charity shops are dotted around but tend to be concentrated in Mealcheapen St. There is also a small outdoor market in Angel place near the bus station and an indoor one between The Shambles and New St.
New St and Friar St (parallel to the Shambles) are worth taking a look at as is the hopmarket. As well as having interesting looking buildings they house a number of small shops. Yet more small independent shops can be found by heading out of the city centre either along Lowesmoor (towards Shrub Hill station) or up Foregate St (which becomes the Tything then Barbourne Rd) towards the Perdiswell park and ride site.
If you are going to be in Worcester for any length of time and like little shops it is also worth taking a look at St John's (AKA the Village in the City). It can be reached by walking across Worcester bridge and up New Rd or catching a number 44 bus from the bus station. St John's has its own bakery, green grocer, charity shops, library, butcher, chemist, pet shop, bank and post office etc as well as a moderately sized co-op. A large Sainsburys store recently opened there too after years of controversy although it hopefully won't kill off the little businesses.
There are also eateries and take away food shops both in the city centre and St John's. A McDonalds and Subway can be found at the top of Angel St close to the bus station and a pizza hut near Shrub Hill station. Worcester also has coffee and sandwich shops such as Greggs and Costa that would be found in most town centres as well as independent eateries.
This opinion is written shortly after a trip to Great Malvern, a trip which included a half-day shopping in Worcester. Because of the short duration of the visit, much more could be written, I am sure, but as there are no other ops on Worcester's shopping, this resume may be better than nothing! I guess most visitors to Worcester will arrive by car. The town is reasonably well signposted, and there are clear signs for car parks. It's pot luck as to how near the town centre you park, but the multi-storey at the Crowngate Centre is about as central as you will find, I think. However, we parked outside County Furnishings, reassuringly close to Oddbins, and opposite Majestic Wine Warehouse! No prizes for guessing one of our greatest loves in life! A short walk from there lead us to Shambles, a lengthy street full of small shops. We were impressed by the variety of shops, and correspondingly, the variety of goods on offer. Parallel with Shambles is High Street, and you will find just as many shops again. From High Street you gain access to Crowngate Centre, where many of the chain stores are located, and you can walk through this to a market area, which was the most disappointing part of our shopping trip. What was pleasing was the number of specialist shops in what is a medium-sized town. Very tasty Cornish Pasties, party goodies (costumes, masks, tableware), hi fi equipment and books were amongst the items we noted were well catered for. And, as a town with more than its fair share of students, there were plenty of establishments happy to serve modestly-priced items, particularly refreshments. If you're in the area, you will be kept happy for a full day in the exploration of this town centre. I currently live just north of Manchester, and in comparing Worcester's shopping to that in the Lancashire towns of Blackburn, Bury, Bolton, Rochdale, Oldham, etc., I have to say that Worcester comes out way on
top. Perhaps we missed something, but we did find the market disappointing. Perhaps someone could add a further opinion (or provide a comment to this one) putting me right!