Day 1: Independent Shopping, Historic Strolls & Wye Valley Walk
Known as the birthplace of English Tourism, Ross-on-Wye is a friendly and thriving market town with an abundance of antique, vintage and retro shops. Follow the Vintage Shopping Trail to track down treasures ranging from curios and collectibles, to nostalgic knick-knacks and jewellery. Art fans will love Gallery 54 and Lyons Gold whilst there's interiors and lifestyle stores to satisfy all tastes. Made in Ross is a cooperative of local designer-makers, found in the distinctive sandstone Market House at the top of town.
Pause for lunch at Caffe Eleganza or Truffles Deli before delving in to the town's history. Book a Guided Walking Tour or download Ross' augmented reality 'Museum Without Walls' app to discover secrets from the past, starting at The Prospect, a beautiful lookout point behind the Church. Wander past the pastel-painted houses to the river meadow.
Take a gentle stroll along the river, which is a section of the famous Wye Valley Walk, or enjoy a longer 5.6 mile circular walk which passes the restored ruins of Wilton Castle and the striking pillars of Backney Bridge.
Day 2: Exploring Goodrich Castle & Coppett Hill
On your second day, visit a small village happens to be home to one of the finest and best preserved medieval castles in England. Hop on the 34 bus (services at 8.42am and 10.42am) for the 15-minute trip to Goodrich. Walk just under a half a mile from the bus stop to the English Heritage maintained Goodrich Castle. Rising from a high spur of land, it holds dramatic appeal and offers great views. Find out about medieval life, seek out the magnificent chapel and learn about the Civil War Siege which saw much of the castle destroyed. Pop into the Tea Room for a drink before descending into the village.
Here you can explore St Giles' Church with its fine stained glass before retiring to the 18th-century The Hostelrie for a delicious pub lunch, accompanied perhaps by a local ale or cider. Another option is the pop-up Hen & Dot Cafe which excels in the art of the cake and is a short walk away at Flanesford Priory.
After lunch, walk 30 minutes to the top of Coppett Hill to soak up the stunning views, before returning to Ross by bus on the 15.06 or 18.06.
In the evening, enjoy the coaching inn atmosphere of the King's Head in the centre of town.
Day 3: Canoe Adventures, Riverside Rambles & Cider Slurping
Today's star attraction is the River Wye - the only difficult decision is whether to paddle it or walk it! Canoe the Wye will provide you with all the gear for a day on the river. Pass rolling meadows and sheer cliffs as you soak up the tranquility and watch the wildlife: geese, swans, kingfishers, otters and peregrine falcons are all resident here.
Meanwhile, walkers can head for the tiny riverside village of Hoarwithy, taking the daily 44 bus from Ross at 9.35am (20 minutes). Pay a visit to the Italianate church which feels wonderfully Tuscan with its marble columns and altar with lapis lazuli. Then it's time for the 5-mile Ramble along the Wye, a super walk which takes in the delightful Sellack Suspension Footbridge which was built in 1895, with a nearby pebble beach to stop for a flask of coffee. From here, make a 1-mile detour to lunch at The Loughpool gastropub (book ahead) or continue to follow the route and eat at the New Harp Inn on your return to Hoarwithy. Return to Ross on the 14.48, bus 44.
As a final treat, book ahead for a Ross Cider & Perry Tour and tutored tasting. Jump on the 15.45, alighting at the Peterstow Post Office. It's a short walk to the Yew Tree Inn where Ross Cider is based. After sampling the county's favourite thirst-quencher, stay on for more cider and delicious pizzas (Thurs - Sun only) before returning to Ross on the 18.41 or 20.11 service.