Day 1 - Heritage in Hereford
Head to Hereford’s magnificent cathedral, home to a host of iconic treasures including the famous Mappa Mundi, the only complete medieval map of the world, and the atmospheric Chained Library. From here, take the short, scenic circular walk along the River Wye, crossing the pretty Victoria Footbridge and arched Old Bridge. Continue to mooch along the cobbles of Church Street, taking in the independent shops, and find the 400-year old Black and White House Museum, furnished with Jacobean interiors. Next stop, the Museum of Cider, easily accessed by foot or on a Beryl Bike. Here you’ll uncover the story of the county’s favourite thirst-quencher and perhaps pick up a craft cider or perry in the well-stocked Bottle Shop. In the evening, try out Hereford’s burgeoning food scene. Kick back with a cocktail at the divine Offa’s Bar, followed by modern British flavours at The Bookshop or Italian specialities at COTTO and Ponte Vecchio.
Day 2 - Historic Houses & Local Tipples
Start the day with an amble around Ledbury’s pretty jumble of 17th-century and Georgian buildings. Wander the cobbled lanes and secret alleyways, visiting the eclectic boutiques. Nearby, you’ll find the enchanting Eastnor Castle, with its sumptuous interiors and extensive grounds, featuring an arboretum and lake. Or pop to Hellens Manor, known for its rich history (and accompanying ghosts!) as well as a 17th-century octagonal dovecote and yew labyrinth.
The rich, red soil of Herefordshire is as distinctive as it is fertile. In the afternoon, why not sample the earth’s bounty? The nearby Chase Distillery, Westons Cider Mill and Wye Valley Brewery all welcome visitors, as do the Coddington Vineyard and artisan cidermaker Little Pomona. Alternatively, follow Bromyard’s Blue Plaque trail or satisfy your inner geek at the town’s Time Machine Museum of Science Fiction.
Day 3 - Black and White Villages Trail
It’s up and early today to loop the county’s characterful black and white villages. Quintessentially English, the timber-framed architecture is picture perfect. The delightful 40-mile route takes in orchards and hopyards as it travels from Dilwyn to Eardisland.
Be sure to allow plenty of time for interesting distractions! Particular delights include Pembridge’s Old Chapel Gallery and nearby Dunkerton’s Cider Mill; a tour of the British Cassis farm in Lyonshall; and the splendid Hergest Croft Gardens, near Kington. Factor in a stop at a fabulous gastropub, two favourites are The Riverside at Aymestrey and The Stagg Inn at Titley.
Day 4 - Enchantment in the Golden Valley
On the final day, get to know the wild, rolling hills of the Golden Valley. Drink up the lush landscapes on the drive to Kilpeck. Here you can savour the church’s extraordinary carvings, one of the finest surviving examples of the Herefordshire School of Romanesque Sculpture. Continue on to Dore Abbey, it’s a beautifully tranquil spot where Cistercian monks once lived and farmed. Follow the narrow roads to Longtown, enjoying a quiet moment at the small castle. Stop for lunch at the highly recommended Bridge Inn at Michaechurch (or the Kilpeck Inn is another excellent option), before spending the afternoon in Moccas Wood or Brobury Scar - both with spectacular views. Close the day at Arthur’s Stone, the spellbinding Neolithic tomb, watching the sun set over the Welsh mountains.