A wealth of antique shops has brought TV stardom to Leominster (pronounced ‘Lemster’) – but this beguiling market town remains charmingly down-to-earth, with its array of vibrant independent shops and blend of medieval, Tudor and Georgian architecture. Lying in the heart of Mortimer Country, the many castles and historic houses in the surrounding countryside are ripe with stories of the area's dramatic past. Walkers roam nearby woods and long-distance paths including the spectacular 30-mile Mortimer Trail.
Love Your Leominster Break
Beneath medieval overhanging eaves, in Georgian townhouses and under ancient wooden beams, more than 120 antique dealers ply their trade in Leominster, selling historic pieces ranging from fine furniture to vintage interiors, barometers to medals, alongside a host of fabulous independent shops. Don't miss the skilfully carved Grange Court, a timber-framed masterpiece built by the 'King’s Carpenter’, 17th-century craftsman John Abel, now a lively cultural hub and cafe.
Ducking the Scold
The last ducking stool to be used in England is on view at Leominster Priory Church. Its final outing was here back in 1809, and its unfortunate occupant was Jenny Pipes, a so-called 'common scold'. Fortunately, the story ends well for Jenny: two dunkings in the river were not enough to quieten this spirited woman, and she rose from the water still shouting. In tribute, the local women's morris-dancing troupe is named after her.
Walks & Woods
Follow the circular 4.5km Riverside Walk, following the signs from Corn Square in the town centre. Or take a short drive to the inviting, tree-lined paths of Queenswood Country Park and Mortimer Forest. The magnificent 48km Mortimer Trail runs just a little to the north.
Explore Near Leominster
Hampton Court Castle
Explore the long, fascinating history of this magnificent castle, dating back to the early 15th century, before wandering around the magnificent gardens, with its maze, grotto and photogenic wisteria arch. There's plenty to entertain children, too, including a playground, tree swings, quirky wooden bridges and a waterfall you can walk behind. Enjoy lunch at The Orangery, overlooking the extensive grounds.
National Trust Croft Castle & Parkland
Discover 1000 years of power, politics and pleasure in an intimate family home. Amble the waymarked trails that stretch for miles, including the path through the magical Fishpool Valley. Visit in spring to admire the dazzling carpet of bluebells. Children can go wild in the brilliant natural play area and get regal in a mini castle.
Stockton Bury Gardens
These delightful four-acre gardens are home to a medieval pigeon house, kitchen garden, water gardens and well-planted borders. Inspired by the floral designs and techniques? Mull your own garden plans over lunch at the café, then pick up the plants you need from the array on sale.
Out and About
Leominster is the ideal starting point for the 40-mile 'Black and White Villages Trail’, linking ten picture-postcard villages packed with historic timber-framed houses. Drive or cycle between them, past hopyards, orchards and beautiful farming country – it’s a small slice of heaven.