The prettiest River Severn village in the Midlands, ideal for paddleboarding and watersports


Nestled along the River Severn in Worcestershire, picture-perfect Arley is like stepping back in time. Steam trains pass at regular intervals and there is a traditional tea room with streamers, scones and cream whips.

It may be small but there are plenty of hidden attractions in this pretty village that attract families, hikers and even TV studios who want to film in this idyllic location. But one of the main draws is its waterside position and how easy it is to swim, canoe or paddleboard along the Severn.

You don’t have to sit for long before you see a paddleboarder or other water sports enthusiast arrive and calmly let the tide take them on their next adventure. It’s part of the restful beauty of this village near Bewdley and the Shropshire border.

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Arley is at one end and Upper Arley is at the other with a range of cottages, Victorian and pre- and post-war houses in between. There is even a labyrinth and an arboretum with some of the oldest trees in the country. Here are some of the other highlights around Arley and what makes it so special.

Steam trains galore

The village is a base for the Severn Valley Railway whose spotless steam trains stop at well-maintained Arley Station on their route between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth. The best place to see the steam trains cross the beautiful Victoria Bridge at Arley.

It has become a haunt for photographers and onlookers who want to catch a steam train passing over the River Severn. It looks like something out of a movie. As far as movies go, the traditional Arley station has been on the big screen several times, most recently in Netflix’s 2020 movie Enola Holmes – a Sherlock Holmes spin-off.

A steam train crosses Victoria Bridge on the Severn Valley Railway at Arley.

You’ll also recognize its pristine platforms and red-brick facade from other shows, from ChuckleVision to Disney’s Candleshoe.

Property prices in Arley

The average price of properties sold in Arley is £330,000 over the past year, 38% more than when property prices peaked in 2015. This shows just how in demand this village is.

There have only been seven properties sold in the last five years. These range from the detached £710,000 Hayes View to the small but castle-like twin-bedded stone Arley Tower for £330,000 and the sweet Rose Cottage at £272,000.

Country roads leading to Upper Arley

A beautiful place by the river

The River Severn makes this an enchanting place to picnic or just sit and watch the world go by. In the last century there was a small ferry to take passengers across the Severn, but now there is a road and a footbridge.

Hikers also love this location as there were plenty of walks around the River Severn which take them to Victoria Bridge and Trimpley Reservoir. The unblemished countryside is full of wildflowers and wildlife to enjoy.

In front of the Riverside Tearoom and Post Office in Arley Lane is a ramp straight into the water which paddleboarders and wild swimmers make the most of. This is also where the ducks flock and often come up to waddle around the village in search of food. When it’s hot, expect to see a lot more people drawn here to swim too.

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The tea room, with its many cakes, sandwiches and sweets, has tables and chairs outside for al fresco dining by the river. It is a truly idyllic place to have lunch.

Arley Arboretum and Labyrinth

Arley Arboretum and Gardens is in Upper Arley and includes a maze. There is plenty to see and do in the park which has a cafe and a children’s play area with picnic benches. Formal gardens with archways that lead to fountains and hidden nooks of blooming flowers transport you to another world.

It’s worth wandering around the giant centuries-old trees and landmarks, like an old icehouse, just to take in the views of the rugged Worcestershire countryside, where you can also see the Severn Valley steam trains Railway.

The maze is exciting fun for all ages and a large, immaculately maintained piece of greenery that has been finely designed. Admission to Arley Arboretum is £6 for adults and £3 for children aged three and over, while children under 3 enter free.

Arley is directly on the River Severn
Arley is directly on the River Severn

The Harbor Inn pub

Just down the hill from Arley station is the only pub in the village. The Harbor Inn at Arley Lane is distinguished by a white and black building. It has the feel of a traditional country pub and is a short walk from the river.

Food is served from noon to 9pm daily and there is a wide range of ciders and real ales to choose from before closing time at 11pm. They include Greene King, Wye Valley Butty Bach and HPA.


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