Bordered by two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and within touching distance of Birmingham, Worcestershire has plenty of pulling power.
The county is famed for growing fruit and vegetables – and is the home of Worcestershire Sauce. At its heart is the elegant cathedral city of Worcester, which is joined by the historical towns of Redditch, Bromsgrove, Droitwich, Kidderminster and Malvern.
The county’s appeal is reflected in its house prices. The average house price for Worcestershire is £247,000, although attractive towns such as Malvern can command even higher sums (take a look at the latest figures).
Living in Worcestershire: what to expect
You’ll find the traditional high street alive and well in Worcestershire's historic towns and villages. Worcester itself boasts one of the most impressive, with timber-framed buildings that are home to a selection of boutiques.
Worcestershire also has some of England's most famed countryside, with two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Malvern Hills and the Cotswolds lie to the west and south respectively.
It boasts a good range of schools too. St James' Church of England Primary School, for example, received an 'outstanding' rating from Ofsted. Independents, such as the RGS Worcester (Royal Grammar School), are also sought-after.
Top places to start your property search
Worcester: Worcestershire's only city has a historic centre and handy motorway connections.
Regency townhouses are scattered around the city centre. Look at Britannia Square and St Georges Square for elegant homes with easy access to Foregate Street Station. And Georgian architecture is particularly prevalent to the north of the city.
There are also modern homes on Charter Place and Hamilton Square, while new housing developments include The Lyppards and The Harleys.
Bromsgrove: This traditional market town has access to the M5 and M42 and is surrounded by open countryside. The most up-and-coming neighbourhoods are located near the updated station. The satellite villages of Aston Fields and Finstall are particularly popular.
Droitwich: A former spa town, Droitwich is filled with Georgian and Victorian architecture. St Peter’s Road, Corbett Avenue and Tagwell Road have many of the largest properties, some with enviable views over Droitwich Lido Park.
For more contemporary homes, try the Ridings estate, which has housing dating back to the 1980s, and the Harrison Park development.
Kidderminster: This town is just 17 miles south west of Birmingham. Victorian properties pack the town centre, on Farfield, Hemming Street and Offmore Road. For a modern estate of detached and semi-detached homes, look at the Spennells development.
Malvern: This spa town has largely Victorian properties but older buildings can be found close to the church. For stately homes with extensive gardens, consider Orchard Road, Abbey Road and Worcester Road.
Redditch: There’s a great deal of Victorian and Edwardian houses in Redditch. Search Archer Road for Victorian semis and terraces and Mount Pleasant for larger terraced homes with bay windows. Also try the satellite village of Astwood Bank for more Victorian properties.
Best ways to get around Worcestershire
From Worcester Foregate Street, catch trains to major cities such as Birmingham, London and Oxford. Worcester to London Paddington takes two hours, whereas Worcester to Birmingham New Street just 45 minutes.
By air: Birmingham Airport is a circa 50-minute drive from Worcester. From here, you can access flights to 289 destinations, including New York.
Best things to do in Worcestershire
History: Historical days out include Forge Mill Needle Museum in Redditch and the Severn Valley Railway, which runs from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth. Alternatively, learn about the county's role in the English Civil War at The Commandery in Worcester.
Visit Worcester Cathedral, which features medieval cloisters, royal tombs and an ancient crypt. Climb the tower in summer for views of the city.
Cultural: Local festivals include the Worcester Music Festival, which runs over three days in multiple venues and is absolutely free. There are hundreds of gigs by new and emerging artists and many workshops.
The Salt Fest in Droitwich is one of the more unusual fixtures in the cultural calendar. It began in 2006 to celebrate the town's salt heritage, which led to its emergence as a spa town. Enjoy activities, shows and wander around the many market stalls and trade stands.
Worcestershire theatres include the Artrix theatre in Bromsgrove. It shows 200 film screenings, 12 exhibitions and 200 performances every year, including orchestral concerts, comedy and drama.
Outdoors: Head south to explore the ancient woodland and wildflower meadows of the Cotswolds. The area covers nearly 800 square miles and has 3,000 miles of footpaths and bridleways.
Alternatively, visit the Malvern Hills, which is set in dense woodland and rolling pasture. Explore the area in greater depth by following one of the Discovery Walks (download a guide from the Malvern Hills website).
Enjoy panoramic views from Arley Arboretum, which is filled with rare and ancient trees. Walled gardens with water features, follies and dovecotes are also open.
Shopping: Worcester is filled with a mix of old and new shops. Explore independent shops and boutiques housed in Tudor timber buildings on Friar Street. For high street names, look around the CrownGate Shopping Centre.
Tenbury Wells is another shopping hotspot, where independent stores include JG Banfield & Sons Ironmongers and the Fish Shop.
Food and drink: The Fleece Inn is one of the best pubs in the county. Based in a medieval farmhouse, it is now run by the National Trust. Come here to enjoy ales, folk music and Morris dancing.
Alternatively, the King Charles II pub prides itself on providing eight real ales on tap as well as a selection of local ciders and perries.
Restaurants in Worcester range from chain favourites to eateries such as The Old Rectifying House. Based in a former brewing house, this restaurant serves hearty classics such as confit game pie.
For fine dining, book a table at L'amuse Bouche in the Cotford Hotel in Malvern. The restaurant uses fresh local ingredients in dishes such as apple cider-braised belly of pork and seared Malvern Hills lamb's liver with spinach and pancetta mash.
The town hall in Kidderminster has been the platform for many speeches by influential figures, including Winston Churchill, Stanley Baldwin and Emmeline Pankhurst.
5 reasons to live in Worcestershire
Good transport links
Proximity to the Cotswolds and the Malvern Hills Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Historic riverside towns and villages
Packed cultural calendar
Have we forgotten any of Worcestershire's highlights? Let us know in the comments below…