Historically significant and culturally rich Wolverhampton is a city and a metropolitan borough in the United Kingdom. Located in the West Midlands, the city’s origins date back to as early as 910 A.D. At present, Wolverhampton is a vibrant city with rich cultural diversity which has still retained its historic grandeur. Being a perfect mixture of bustling urban setting and rustic greenery with ancient historic remains, the city is a highly recommended place for tourists to visit. Here’s a list of all the things you shouldn’t miss doing and all the places you must visit to spend some quality time in Wolverhampton.
Breathe in the ambience of nature in West Park
West Park is a frequently visited picnic spot. It just takes ten minutes to reach this Victorian Heritage site from the city centre by walking. Opened in 1881 and still retaining elements of Victorian architecture, this park consists of a Grade-II listed bandstand, a lakeside pavilion, a lodge, ornamental lakes and open grounds. It has various facilities for both children and adults, such as boating facilities, tennis courts, tearooms, children’s playground, an area for voluntary drill, archery and other activities. Count yourself lucky because all these are either free or can be afforded at a nominal cost. And to add to this, West Park also organizes multiple events like Weekly summer brass band concerts, Annual Bonfire, Stream Rally, Fireworks display and Wolverhampton Summer show for its visitors. All the nature lovers are surely going to love watching the beautiful flower beds and flocks of Canada Geese that frequently visit this place.
Look on in awe at David Austin Roses
Wolverhampton is also a home to numerous beautiful gardens and plant centres. Out of all of them, David Austin’s Roses is undoubtedly the best of its kind. Founded in 1950 by the internationally renowned rose breeder David Austin and comprising both rose gardens and a plant centre, it grows 700 varieties of roses in an area of about two acres. Different kinds of roses are grown in different gardens, all separated by hedges. For instance the Patio Garden, the Renaissance Garden and the Lion Garden breed English specimen roses and are decorated differently while the Species Garden features wild roses and their hybrids. All these gardens are modelled after Victorian gardens. You’ll surely find here reliable purchases of wonderful rose species with a guarantee of five years. Roses like damasks and gallicas here mesmerise the onlookers with their unmatchable beauty. Even if you aren’t particularly a rose lover, once you visit this garden, you are certainly going to be amazed by its unique beauty.
Step back in time at Moseley Old Hall
The famous Moseley Old Hall located in the North of the city is another historical property owned by National Trust where Charles II had taken refuge after being defeated in the battle of Worcester in 1651. This two-storeyed Elizabethan farmhouse consisting of a hall with a back door through which the king had entered, the Priest-hole where he hid himself, a four-poster bed on which he rested, rooms, chapels, ante-room, garret, a knot-garden and an orchard, enables its visitors to visualise how 17th century life was like. Moreover the tour guides and costume interpreters narrate stories from the time when Charles II lived here in the disguise of a farmer. It’s an ideal family-friendly place where children can also have fun exploring the tree-hide in the King’s Walk Wood and listening to interesting stories while touring the house.
Observe the splendid intricacies of St Peter’s Church
This ancient collegiate church had been central to the development of Wolverhampton and it was the only existing church in the town until the 18th century. St Peter’s Collegiate Church has been a part of the Anglican Parish of central Wolverhampton since 1848 when it was fully modified into diocesan structure. The present site of St Peter’s church was once occupied by a monastery for which Wulfrun granted lands in the ancient Wolverhampton and its surrounding areas in 994. Owing to this, there’s a splendid statue of Lady Wulfrun outside the church. It was sculpted by Sir Charles Wheeler. The church is also renowned to have bells which are the third oldest complete ring of 12 in the world and second oldest in England. Its intricate designs and architectural patterns evoke a deep sense of wonder in all the spectators.
Take a tour of Bantock House Museum and Park
Having a reputation of being one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, this museum running over 48 acres of land is an embodiment of Edwardian life and local history. Built in 1793 as New Merridale Farm, it was later bought by the Bantocks and was last modified in the early 20th century. This Grade II listed building got its name from Albert Baldwin Bantock who was its last owner. In fact, the gardens surrounding the house namely the Dutch Garden at the back, Rose Garden and Woodland Garden were all designed by Bantock himself. The park is comprised of a play area for children, a golf course and football fields. The Bantock House Museum is one of those few museums which allows visitors to sit on any of the furniture that it exhibits. Housing a vast range of collections from steel jewelleries, local enamels, Japanned wares to various artefacts and paintings, it may be rightly said to be a cultural heritage site.
Explore the famous Banks Brewery
When you are in this city, you certainly can’t miss touring one of the most famous breweries in the country and it’s none other than Wolverhampton’s Bank’s Brewery that has been producing excellent beer and beverages since 1875. It also allows the visitors to see and touch the ingredients that are used in the making of its beverages and makes one learn the entire fermentation process. Make sure that you taste some good beer before leaving the place.
Do some shopping at the city centre
If you are a shopaholic, you’ll be in heaven while exploring the shopping centres in Wolverhampton. Street shopping is an excellent way of meeting local people and learning about their lifestyle while discovering local products. The Wulfrun centre and the Mander centre, together constituting the main indoor shopping centre of the city, can offer anything and everything that you need. However, nothing can beat the Wolverhampton market where you can strike the best bargains with the local traders. Starting from designer clothes and handpicked items for gifting someone to fresh fishes and aromatic spices, and all that you can think of in between, you are likely to find everything in the independent shops of High Street Stores and colourful cabins of the city market.
Find the best places to eat and drink
Bar cum Restaurants known for servicing special cuisines are scattered throughout the entire city. You may start by trying Alice’s Tea Room, Biscotto Café, Central Café and Café Maxsim, all of which serve delicious snacks and special coffee preparations. If you want to have traditional English food at a reasonable price, Top Nosh Café is your go-to place. Just don’t forget to try cold and hot sandwiches and jacket potatoes that they serve the best. The New Spice Restaurant offers spicy Indian food, Made in Thai offers authentic Thai food, Dilshad serves the best seafood dishes from the Bay of Bengal, the highly rated restaurant Hamilton provides mouth-watering contemporary British dishes and the canalside restaurant Fiueme is known for providing best Italian menu, just to name a few. Braised beef shoulders with creamy mash and buttered leeks famously served by a rustic eatery Cowshed also deserves a special mention. Wheatsheaf also serves amazing shots and delicious homemade lunch. And the list is never-ending!
Consider visiting Wild Zoological Park and Northycote Farm
Both these places are ideal for animal lovers and children. Wild Zoological Park is a small zoo sheltering a wide variety of wildlife creatures like Spectacled Caiman Crocodiles, Chanel billed toucan, Green Iguanas, Red footed Tortoise and Scarlet Ibis, just to name a few. Northycote Farm is a beautiful half-timbered farmhouse comprising a Tudor house and surrounding areas which contain paddocks and aviaries where cheeks, ducks, geese and fowl are kept. Norfolk Black Turkeys and Shropshire sheep can also be found here sometimes. And that’s not all! This park also hosts events like Spooky Goings-on of Halloween and Egg Hunt on Easter.
Watch a match at Molineux Stadium
If you are a sports lover you would surely love watching a live match of Wolverhampton Wanderers which is now at the top of English Professional football and has recently got promotion to Premier League. With a seating capacity of 31,000 spectators Molineux stadium hosts all the football matches of Wolverhampton Wanderers. This stadium has also hosted many international matches. Outside this spacious stadium, there is a statue of Billy Wright who was capped for England many times. If watching a match is not your cup of tea, you can take a tour of the stadium and discover its behind the scene stories.
Explore Victorian aesthetics in Wightwick Manor and Gardens
Built by Theodore Mander and designed by Edward Ould, this beautiful Victorian manor house stands on the Wightwick Bank in Wolverhampton as a manifestation of the industrialist Mander family’s love for Victorian art and craft. Constructed in 1893 and extended in 1897, the manor exhibits half-timbered vernacular style. Initially, the interior of the house was decorated with designs of William Morris and his contemporaries by Theodore and his wife owing to being influenced by Oscar Wilde’s 1884 lecture on 'the House Beautiful'. Later on Geoffrey Mander and his wife persuaded the National Trust to own this manor house when it was only fifty years old, preserving its existing collection as well as adding more Pre-Raphaelite paintings by Rosetti and his followers. At present the house showcases original wallpaper and fabrics by William Morris, De Morgan tiles, Kemple glass and art works by famous Pre-Raphaelite artists like Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Evelyn De Morgan, Edward Burne-Jones, Ford Madox Brown and many others. The accompanying Jacobean outhouses and the lovely gardens further add to its beauty.
Enjoy your visit to Baggerride Country Park
This Local Nature Reserve covering an area of 150 acres is a beautiful natural attraction that lies to the south of Central Wolverhampton. The Northern part of the park is a hilly area of woodland, grasslands and wetlands while the southern part consists of flat terrain. Along with a bandstand café, miniature railways, gardens, camping and events fields, it also has many walks leading to its main lake Bog Pool. Though it is quite far from Wolverhampton, you may not want to miss a chance of witnessing its beautiful scenery.
See something different at RAF Museum Cosford
If you want to explore something different, you simply have to visit this museum. It exhibits collections of aircrafts, planes, engines, missiles and other devices to present an idea of the history of aviation. The museum is divided into four sections namely Hangar One, Test Flight, War in the Air and Cold War. Planes such as Hawker Siddeley P.1127, Saunders-Roe SR.53 and a Short SB.5 are put on display at Test Flight. In February 2007, the National Cold War Exhibition was inaugurated in this museum with an aim to display Cold War aircrafts and depict the international tensions related to technology during the Cold War period through “Silo Theatres”. Second World War military displays make up the exhibitions of War in the Air.
Learn about the city’s culture in Wolverhampton Art Gallery
This art gallery, established in 1884 from bath stone and built in neoclassical fashion, is a reflection of Wolverhampton’s age-old culture. Containing a collection of artworks produced in the last 300 years, it represents Wolverhampton’s culture and art through precious objects like archaeological and geological remnants, decorative art pieces, Japanned wares, steel jewelleries, Old Master Paintings, Fossil Collections and not to mention sculptures, toys and dolls that reflects the local history of the place. Listed as a Grade II building, its exterior has sculptural designs portraying sixteen characters, each manifesting an element of art and craft like painting, pottery, architecture and metal working. Among the decorative art works, the Japanese carved ivory netsuke and swords are the best, although Mediterranean ceramics, Roman glass, Persian metal wares, Chinese and Indian craftworks are also worth mentioning. Its famous Pop Art Gallery, having vast collections of British and American Pop Art, features works of Allen Jones, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and many other eminent Pop artists. This family friendly museum offers guided tour, group visits, shopping facilities and rooms for hiring.
Watch a show in the Grand Theatre
The Grand Theatre on Lichfield Street is another reputed cultural site of Wolverhampton. It is one of the oldest theatre houses in the West Midlands. This Grade II listed building having a three-tiered Victorian auditorium with an accommodating capacity of 1200 visitors was designed by the famous architect Charles J Phipps in 1894 and was opened in the same year. The Grand had suffered a decline due to the post WWII depression and was on the verge of closure until it was reopened in 1983. Thereafter it emerged as one of the country’s leading regional theatres. Reputed for hosting Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill, The Grand Theatre hosts internationally renowned touring productions including comedy plays, live musicals, dance performances, opera and tribute acts. Moreover, in the year 2017 it started bringing forth its own productions.
Spend some time relaxing at Willenhall Memorial park
Situated in East Wolverhampton and founded in 1902 to honour the WWI dead, the park having a bandstand at the centre of flowerbeds and lawns, a lake, and mounds that are testaments of mining activities is a nice place to relax. It also has a pavilion with a café, tennis courts and playgrounds for children.
A city as big as Wolverhampton has obviously got much more to offer! The City Centre Walking Trail will help you discover more heritage sites like the statue of Prince Albert and the fountain in Queen Square. And if you want to explore more about the city’s artistic side, attend international film festivals and media events in the Light House Cinema, watch theatrical programmes at Arena theatre and witness the magic created by musical and band performances in Civic and Wulfrun Halls. And last but not least, don’t forget to leave out Boscobel House, Essington Fruit Farm and Black Country Living Museum if you manage to complete touring rest of the places.