Ledbury to Frome Valley Vineyard
On Friday, arrive in Ledbury by train and bike into the town for lunch at The Feathers, The Ledberry or the Malthouse. Take a mooch around the independent shops and pick up provisions for dinner from Hay Wines and the deli at Ceci Paolo before jumping back on your bikes.
It's around 10 miles to Frome Valley Vineyard, passing through farming country, including cider orchards and hop yards. Time your arrival for the 2.30pm afternoon tour (advance booking required, 1 - 2 hours, £20 per person, April - September). The tour starts in the winery with a short introduction, before stepping outside into the Model Vineyard which demonstrates a selection of trellising methods and grape varieties which show you some of the ways vines are grown around the world. You’ll soon be able to tell your “single guyot” from your “Geneva double curtain”!
It's then onto the main vineyard to discuss some of the highs and lows of growing grapes successfully in our climate; how the team keeps the vines healthy; their latest efforts to keep the frost off tender young shoots, and how late they can hang on for the sugar levels to rise for harvest.
Then it’s back to the winery to taste what is currently available in the shop in a tutored tasting, followed by an opportunity to buy your favourites to enjoy later.
Afterwards, it's time to find your home for the weekend. For the full winery experience, stay amongst the vines in the eco-cabin at Coddington Vineyard (8 miles away). Alternatively, pick the romantic Clocktower at Barton Court (10.5 miles) or the charming Hayloft at Perrycroft (11.5 miles).
Tastings in the garden at Coddington Vineyard
Enjoy a lazy morning or if you would prefer to burn off some energy, take a ride around the Malvern Hills and then hike up British Camp for the most spectacular 360-degree views.
Coddington Vineyard is our destination today, you may be staying on site or under 5 miles away if you booked one of the recommended options. This beautiful family-run vineyard produces a small selection of wines from its 2300 vines. Tours start at midday (Saturday only, April to October) with an introduction to the lifecycle of the grapes from ‘bud to picking’ and a brief history.
This is followed by a relaxed tasting in the garden (£39 each). Sit by the pretty pond and try three of their wines, such as the award-winning Bacchus and sparkling Pinot Gris. Nibbles are then served to accompany a complimentary glass of wine. Larger sharing platters are also available to book and your favourite tipples can be purchased, along with a variety of local produce, in their shop in the old apple press house.
It's then time to pootle back to your accommodation or if you would like to linger longer, make for nearby Colwall to tour the delightful Old Court Nurseries & The Picton Garden or seek out the pretty 16th-century half-timbered Ale House and Colwall Church.
Heritage delight & cider adventures
On the Sunday, wind down the hill to Ledbury and onto Much Marcle (around 11 miles). Hellens is a historic manor house with various attractions including heirlooms of Anne Boleyn, the haunted bed chamber prepared for Queen Mary Tudor, the panelled Music Room adorned with its English Renaissance frieze and paintings by Gainsborough, Van Dyke, Peter Lely and Goya. Tours start at 11am (£9.50. book in advance) and there's also a chance to wander the garden and grounds before visiting the Tea Room.
Alternatively, gen up on all things cider at Westons Cider Mill, also in Much Marcle. Tours also run from 11am (£15, book in advance) with an expert guide showing you the ropes. See where they weigh and wash the apples, before venturing into the heart of the mill to learn how they press, ferment and mature before blending and packing. You'll also see the UK's largest collection of oak cider vats, rounded off with an opportunity to sample from their range of ciders.
Lunch on site at The Scrumpy House, before making your way back to Ledbury train station for your onward journey home.