The Worcestershire village near Kidderminster that seems to come out of a fairy tale

With its own castle, historic black and white wooden houses and enchanting woodland, Hartlebury seems to come out of a fairy tale.

The picturesque village between Kidderminster and Stourport even has its own moorland where butterflies and wild flowers flourish at Hartlebury Common.

While Hartlebury Castle may have housed the Bishop of Worcester, rather than a King or Queen, its grand fortifications now protect the Worcestershire County Museum.

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It’s Old Moat Coppice takes you on a walk in the woods, where you feel like Hansel and Gretel as you wander through a beautiful nature reserve spotting poisonous mushrooms and maybe a frog or two.

Around every corner is a piece of Old English nostalgia and charm. A sign for Old Cheesepress, the Victorian Gothic-looking St James the Apostle Church and the pretty cottages that look like something Belle and her father lived in before they met the Beast.

Horses running freely through grassy fields on the outskirts of Hartlebury have been photographed resembling scenes from Black Beauty.



Three horses take flight under the Sunday sun in a field in Hartlebury near Kidderminster.

Hartlebury is a historic village

While there is a mix of new and old houses, the buildings that stand out are the black and white half-timbered houses and the pretty cottages around Quarry Bank and Chadwick Lane.

Home to just over 2,700 inhabitants, this charming Worcestershire village is unique with a fascinating history which saw the Virgin Queen grant Hartlebury one of the country’s first schools – the Queen Elizabeth I Grammar School.

Well maintained and spotlessly clean, it reached the Britain in Bloom final in 1992 when the judges rode the streets in horse-drawn carriages.



The walls of Hartlebury Castle as a steam engine passes through
The walls of Hartlebury Castle as a steam engine passes through

But that’s nothing new for this quirky village where you can see penny farthings, vintage cars and mini steam locomotives passing by from the transportation section of the County Museum.

Pubs

The White Hart at Rectory Lane near the Castle is an attractive pub in a large, well-kept Victorian building with a large fireplace.

The interior is modern and cozy and is divided between a large restaurant and a cozy bar area with a real fireplace, where it is ideal for snuggling up with a hot chocolate in cold weather.

They offer a wide range of events, from quizzes to special meal nights, and the staff make you feel right at home from the moment you walk in the door.



There’s also The Tap House, at Station Road, just across the street from Hartlebury Brewery, which is shortlisted in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2022.

It is a conversion of the old Hartlebury station and even backs onto the platform of the old station and is full of traditional features and railway remains.

Rural shops and businesses around the village

To add to the magic of this village, it is surrounded by Christmas tree farms which add a touch of sparkling fairy lights and dazzle during the holiday season.



The White Hart pub in Hartlebury
The White Hart pub in Hartlebury

Given its location in the countryside, it’s also no surprise that it owns businesses such as Moorlands Farm Course Fishery and other farms nearby.

Despite a few shops the village still has a post office at Hartlebury Stores in Inn Lane and is about to have one of the new Asda On The Move convenience stores in the gas station on the A449 Crown Lane .

A sense of community with eccentricity

The parish council bulletin board has lots of updates, as do the church notices, and you get the feeling it has a tight-knit, public-spirited community.



A medieval fair at the County Museum included a re-enactment of a battle
A medieval fair at the County Museum included a re-enactment of a battle

Hartlebury seems quick to try out new ideas as he was already piloting solar panels on his bus shelters years ago, to give them a glow of light for free after dark.

There is also a quirk unique to this village due to the castle museum, which means they are used to attracting visitors to the area.

Whether it’s knights in shining armor dressed for battle or vintage and kit cars, this magnificent site of beauty is nothing new, which truly transports you to another world.

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