In 2010 over 30 garden bloggers from all over the world met for the first ever UK get together at RHS Malvern Spring Show. This blog documents the lead up to that event plus the subsequent informal get togethers we've had in Malvern. There are also insights into the events of 2009, insider views from various exhibitors and personal views of Malvern and surrounding places of interest.

Thus this blog also forms a valuable resource for anyone wanting to visit either the spring or autumn versions of the show, or contemplating a visit to the area.

Accommodation

Springtime at The Lighthouse - May 2010
Accommodation fills fast in Malvern when there's a major event on and the Spring Gardening Show is no exception. This page has a selection of tried and tested [by bloggers] self catering, B&B and campsite accommodation (which also fills fast) together with other suggestions of places to try in and around Malvern.

Anyone wanting to stay a little longer or to stay with friends may have to sacrifice convenience for availability. There's lots of lovely market towns and villages very close to Malvern, so these are worth considering if you're having trouble in finding something close to the showground. Car parking there is plentiful and free if you don't go for the Gold parking option. See the Getting There page for travel and parking information.

Failing that then the nearby city of Worcester is 15 minutes away by train and forms a good base for a visit to the area. The local tourist information office will be able to help you with this option if you need it - see their details towards the bottom of the page. NB There's a shuttlebus service from the railway station to the showground during the show.

NB Whilst there's plenty of blogger tried and tested accommodation, this site's editors cannot guarantee they are the same standard today e.g. The Old Drinkhouse mentioned below is undergoing a refurbishment ready for 2011. Contact the website links given or the Malvern Tourist Information Centre (details below) for updated information.

Tried and Tested - in Malvern

Bredon House - within a short walk of all the facilities in Malvern Town Centre. It has a faded elegance about it, ( think it was built in the 1820s) the owners are lovely and very eager to please. It has a relaxed ambiance (honesty book for drinks you serve yourself in the lovely drawing room) fabulous breakfasts, ranging from the traditional full English, all made with local organic produce, to home made marmalades (there were at least 8 flavour variations to choose from) and masses of fresh fruit and berries to have with organic yogurt, or cereals.

Being diabetic, they were more than willing to accommodate my specific needs. Only minor downside was the rather loud opera music that accompanied us at breakfast one morning - although when we asked them to turn it down as we couldn't hear what each other was saying, they obliged gracefully. The plumbing was a bit temperamental too, and I succeeded in flooding the bathroom because of a dripping tap and very slow water drainage in the sink etc.

Family rooms are en suite, and came equipped with all the usual facilities you would expect in a hotel these days. Breakfasts were including in the room rate, and basically you ate as much as you wanted. It cost £50 per night per person on this basis in the rooms we were in, which I though exceedingly good value compared to other hotels I have stayed in. (via Zoe, 2010)

Cottage in the Wood - a long time favourite with magnificent views, so be prepared for a stiff climb if walking! Fills quickly, so early booking advised.

Copper Beech House, Malvern. Ok but would not particularly recommend it. Average overall. Friendly owner but inadequate shower in our room and skimpy breakfast (they simply left off the meaty bits). (via Easygardener 2010, who tested the vergetarian facilities) Good location and ideal for Great Malvern station (via Helen).

Tried and Tested - around Malvern

Old Country House - Mathon: Centuries old Farmhouse B&B with an orchard and links to Helen Ballard's hellebores. The 220 acre farm is managed for wildlife. The grounds also house the eco-friendly The Lighthouse (sleeps up to 10) and The Annexe (sleeps up to 4) self catering accommodation. Self catering bookings are for a minimum of 3 nights. There's blogger experiences and views of the B&B here and The Lighthouse here, here and here.

There's The Old Drinkhouse which sleeps 2, well recommended especially as it overlooks a walled garden with courtyard area for visitors. NB this is being refurbished and is due to reopen in January 2011 - the link currently has just contact details (via Anna, 2010)

In Hanley Swan village there's Mere End Cabin, a pine cabin about ten minutes walk from Hanley Swan. Sleeps 4, very comfortable with pleasant sitting out area. (via Anna, 2010)

Orchard Cottage, Ledbury. Good. Friendly owners. Nice room and breakfast.Extra eggs offered without prompting as we are veggie. Well tended garden with outside seating area. Would recommend it though it is not in Malvern. (via Easygardener, 2010)

Huntlands Farm B&B, Whitbourne (between Worcester and Bromyard, north of Great Malvern). A 400 acre working farm with a 15th century brick and timber farmhouse. @Lickedspoon had an enjoyable stay there before her appearance at the 2014 spring show. The B&B is Sawdays listed.

Tried and Tested - Campsites (via Anna, 2010)

A popular place is the Caravan Club site at Blackmore. This is a 20 acre site with a glorious backdrop of the Malvern Hills. Click on the link to find out more about pricing/facilities or have a look at their slideshow on YouTube:



You can also contact the site directly on 01684 310505 during office open hours. The site is open to non - members but you may find they are unable to make advance bookings until mid March.

There is also a Caravan and Camping Club site next door. You can contact the site during office open hours: 01684 310280. Again non-members are welcome.

Both sites are in close proximity to the Three Counties Showground. It is possible to walk there but it will impede your plant buying activities. Both sites are also within walking distance of the village of Hanley Swan which has a small but well stocked Post Office store, a butchers shop and a pub 'The Swan' which serves both lunches and evening meals.

The Marlbank Inn in Welland has a small 22 pitch site at the back of the pub. Although the views are not as picturesque it was still a good place to get our heads down for the night. The pub served evening meals and again the site was near to the showground.

There's also the Three Counties Park in Malvern but was blogger tried and tested a good few years ago.

Other places to try (not tested yet)

Hotels and B&Bs

Malvern Hills Hotel - reviews seem ok. It's at the top of the Malvern Hills - some rooms may have good views

Treherne House - seems a bit pricey but great location for access to the show and going out in evening

Guarlford Grange - this is also ideal for the showground and town

Priory Holme - good location and also ideal for Great Malvern station

The pub The Swan at Hanley Swan and The Marlback Inn in Welland (campsite tested only for the latter) also have B&B accommodation.

Campsites

This website lists other campsites in the area.

And last but not least - here's a very generous offer from Julia Goodfellow-Smith:

I’ve just stumbled across your blog about meeting at the garden shows held in Malvern.
My husband and I are keen gardeners and have recently moved to Malvern – just a mile or so, I’d guess, from the showground and ½ mile from Great Malvern train station. We’re also couchsurfers – see www.couchsurfing.com – so that means that we’re happy to put up gardeners visiting the show, free of charge.

If you'd like to know more about this before taking the plunge on the Couch Surfers website, I posted about it here.

Further help with finding accommodation if needed

Malvern Tourist Information Centre:

Tel: 01684 892289
Fax: 01684 892872
Website: Malvern TIC
E-mail: malvern.tic@malvernhills.gov.uk

The Malvern Bed and Breakfast Consortium:

Website: http://www.malvernbandbconsortium.co.uk/