The town of Broadway in the county of Worcestershire is a prime destination in the Cotswold Hills, a role that hearkens back to the town’s historical roots as a key staging post on journeys between Worcester and London. While only three of these historical inns remain, the town once boasted thirty-three. It is home now to numerous bed and breakfast establishments, many with deep historical roots of their own.
Broadway’s High Street is lined with wide grassy lawns and red chestnut trees and features a stunning array of architectural styles which showcase different periods of the town’s history. Called the “Jewel of the Cotswolds” and the “Show Village of England,” Broadway features architecture in the Tudor, Georgian, Victorian and Stuart styles. Some of the buildings are so old that they date back to the time of the Romans.
Along with serving as a staging post for travelers, Broadway has served other parts in history. Its idyllic and serene beauty caused the famed Broadway Group of Artists to settle there in the late 19th century. Francis Millet, Edwin Abbey, Henry James, John Singer Sargent and Fred Barnard are among the many famous personages to have made Broadway their home at that time. They stayed in the Abbots Grange, a beautiful 14th century honey-coloured monastic manor house that now serves as a bed and breakfast for tourists!
Francis Millet, one of the artists in the Broadway Group died on the Titanic. His memorial forms the gate into the upper graveyard at St. Eadburgha’s Church.
For tourists interested in seeing some great art, Broadway’s art galleries may provide some diverting leisure. Picton House, the John Noot Galleries and Russell House are several well known galleries in Broadway which feature fine art by some of the artists who inhabited the town. The Gordon Russell museum features the work of the famous Arts and Crafts movement designer in the original workhouse in which he crafted his designs into being.
One of the most famous sites near Broadway is the distinctive, impossible-to-miss profile of the Broadway Tower up on top of Cotswold Ridge. This folly is the second highest point in the Cotswolds at 312m and offers a stunning view of thirteen of the surrounding counties. The tower was commissioned by Lady Coventry in 1799 and built to resemble a castle. Since then it has served as a home for Sir Thomas Phillips’ printing press and also for Arts and Crafts movement artisan William Morris.
If your interests tend toward the outdoors you can visit a number of gorgeously cultivated and romantic English gardens within a short drive of Broadway. Hidcote Manor, Bourton House, Snowshill Manor and many other properties feature sculpted hedges, cultivated woodlands, lakes and rainbows of flower beds in which you can stroll for hours.
Where can you stay while visiting Broadway? There are a dozen fine bed and breakfast establishments throughout the town offering modern accommodations in historical lodgings. A whole range of architectural styles and time periods are represented and there is surely something for everyone.