Day 1 - Hereford's foodie scene
Herefordshire’s incredible food and drink is all around you from the moment you arrive - it’s in the orchards, farms and fields as well as the mouth-watering menus of its restaurants, cosy pubs and cool cafes. On your first day, you’ll want to get acquainted quickly by heading into Hereford for your first bite to eat. You might try The Bookshop, a modern ethical restaurant loved by locals where the brunch menu includes shakshuka, kedgeree, and apple-crumble pancakes, and every evening is a grass-fed steak-led affair. Or you start from Castle House Hotel where head chef Gabor (Katona) and general manager George (Watkins) are passionate about the fresh produce on your plate - much of it coming straight from George’s family farm at Ballingham Hall just eight miles away.
Whenever you start, make sure to set aside a few hours to seek out some of the city’s real culinary treats - affogato from The Buttermarket; pistachio coffee and baklava from The Meze; wild sourdough from award-winning NIZI bakery. If you’re self-catering, be sure to stop at Fodder for vegan treats, at Hereford Deli, Mousetrap Cheese, Hereford Beer House and the shop at Hereford Cider Museum. Time it right and your trip might coincide with Bastion Street Feast, a semi-regular street food festival that is heaven for Herefordshire foodies.
A 20-minute drive from the city centre is Chase Distillery. Premium Chase gin and vodkas are made here using potatoes grown in Herefordshire soil. Pre-book the tour and look forward to your first taste of Chase vodka-based cocktail.
Your only must-do activity before turning in for the night? Draw straws to decide who’ll be tomorrow’s designated driver.
Day 2 - Cider Country - Leominster
En route to the market town of Leominster for a mooch around the antiques stores and a drink at the Press Room - an independent bar in a former newspaper office, stop at Monkland Dairy for a cheesemaking tour or at Newton Court Farm to meet cider maker Paul. On the first Friday of every month Swan Brewery runs Tasting Days, alongside tours and only 15 minutes drive from town is Butford Organics. Try the apple juice or the cider brandy.
Cards on the table here - for a real slice of the ‘Shire, you need to delve deeper into the world of fine cider and perry, discovering the craft, the heritage, the cool trends, myriad flavours and the memorable people who make it. Find inspiration in one of our Cider Circuits and, if you call ahead, many of Herefordshire’s cider makers will gladly give you a taste and a tour of the orchards.
In the evening, it’s got to be dinner at either the The Riverside at Aymestrey, a 16th-Century black and white timber-framed nestled in the natural beauty of the River Lugg valley, or The Stagg at Titley, a rustic dining pub sitting at the crossroads of two old drovers' paths.
Day 3: Apples, hops & fine dining in Bromyard
Start the day with a bracing walk on the Bromyard Downs or through National Trust’s Brockhampton Estate followed by a hearty breakfast at Legges Cafe on the Linton Trading Estate. This cute cafe, with indoor and outdoor seating, is the sister site to the phenomenally well-stocked Legges deli and butcher in Bromyard town itself.
In Avenbury, you’ll find Little Pomona’s on-trend Cider House and Tap Room. This is where James and Susanna Forbes, two of the leading lights of the UK’s craft revival, make full juice cider and perry to rival your favourite wines. Book a tour and a tasting.
Down the road in Ocle Pychard you’ll find Tom Oliver’s place and, if you know anything about fine cider by now, it’s that Oliver’s Cider & Perry sets the standard for minimal intervention cider making and Tom is a living legend.
Beer-drinkers are equally at home in Herefordshire. For centuries now the fields around Bromyard and the Teme Valley have been home to hop-growing. At its peak in the 1890s hop fields covered more than 12,000 acres of local land, while that’s greatly reduced, a significant proportion of hops used for today’s brewing industry are grown in the region. Brook House Farm and Townend Hop Farm both offer on-site accommodation, and the Hop Shed in Suckley has been known to host Friday night food pop-ups with house party vibes.
Just over the border into Worcestershire you’ll find the Live and Let Live on rolling Bringsty Common, serving both local beer and cider. With its low wooden beams and cottage garden, it feels a bit like stepping into The Prancing Pony.
Coming back into Herefordshire, round out the day with a real treat - dinner at Pensons on the Netherwood Estate. The Michelin Star ingredient-led restaurant with a focus on sustainability is open for dinner Wednesday to Saturday and for lunch from Thursday to Sunday.
Day 4: Foraging & Farm Feasts in the Golden Valley
On your fourth day, it’s time to uncover the wild and rustic food scene of the Golden Valley. Spend half a day with Liz Knight who runs Forage Fine Foods and has been teaching people how to eat their weeds since 2011. As well as two-hour foraging walks, Liz offers wild walks and workshops for groups up to five. Call ahead to check dates and details.
Also in the shadow of the Black Mountains is Wild By Nature. Based at a regenerative family farm, their farm-to-table restaurant is big on flavour and without pretence. See for yourself at one of their wood fired pizza nights. Honourable mentions also to The Kilpeck Inn and fish and chips from The Old Stables in Ewyas Harold, while just over the Welsh border in Llanddewi Skirrid, Abergavenny, is The Walnut Tree, a Michelin starred inn run by Shaun Hill.
Having set out to discover Herefordshire’s independent food and drink scene over the past few days, you’ll now understand why so many critics and industry trend-setters have their eyes on the county’s food scene and, when you’re next seeking culinary satisfaction, know exactly where to come for more!