Malvern is a spa town and civil parish in Worcestershire, England, governed by Malvern Town Council. As of the 2001 census it has a population of 28,749, and includes the historical settlement and commercial centre of Great Malvern on the steep eastern flank of the Malvern Hills, and the former independent urban district of Malvern Link. Many of the major suburbs and settlements that comprise the town are separated by large tracts of open common land and fields and, together with smaller civil parishes adjoining the town council boundaries and the hills, the built up area is often referred to collectively as The Malverns.
Archaeological evidence suggests that Bronze Age people had settled in the area around 1000 BC, although it is not known whether these settlements were permanent or temporary. The town itself was founded in the 11th century when Benedictine monks established a priory at the foot of the highest peak of Malvern Hills. During the 19th century Malvern developed rapidly from a village to a sprawling conurbation owing to its popularity as a hydrotherapy spa based on its spring waters. Immediately following the decline of spa tourism towards the end of the 19th century, the town's focus shifted to education with the establishment of several private boarding schools in former hotels and large villas. A further major expansion was the result of the relocation of the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE) to Malvern in 1942. QinetiQ, TRE's successor company, remains the town's largest local employer.
Malvern is the largest urban development in the parliamentary constituency of West Worcestershire and is also the administrative seat of the area governed by Malvern Hills District Council (MHDC) and lies adjacent to the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.