Embraced by the River Wye, Ross-on-Wye is an inviting place to potter. When William Gilpin wrote Britain's first travel guidebook about the Wye Valley in 1782, he sparked a trend for 'picturesque tourism'. Today, you can browse independent shops, saunter the historic streets or, if you are feeling more active, launch a canoe. Many moons ago this region was dubbed Archenfield or 'Land of Hedgehogs' - peek into St Mary's Church to find examples of the town's icon dating from the 17th century to the Second World War.
Ross-on-Wye: The essentials
Perfect Base for Canoe Trips
Ross-on-Wye makes the perfect putting in point for canoes and there are plenty of operators who can hire you all the necessary gear. Travel downstream through the dramatic Wye Valley to Kerne Bridge and on to Symonds Yat, spotting Goodrich Castle as well as swans, geese, buzzards, herons and ducks as you paddle. You may catch a glimpse of a kingfisher, otter or perhaps one of the resident peregrine falcons.
Stunning Views & River Walks
From its sandstone perch, Ross-on-Wye commands an iconic view over the horsehoe bend of the river. Head to the top of town, behind the church, to find The Prospect - a lookout point created by the "Man of Ross", the local philanthropist John Kyrle (1637–1724). Later, descend past the pastel houses and through the fragrant terraced public garden for a promenade along the river, part of the Wye Valley Walk.
Independent Shops & Vintage Trail
Ross-on-Wye boasts a fantastically independent high street, including an abundance of shops selling antique, vintage and retro items. Follow the Vintage Shopping Trail to track down treasures, from curios and collectibles to jewellery and furniture. There's plenty of gift and lifestyle shops, as well as art galleries, a bookshop, cook shop and toy shop. A few minutes drive will take you to Baileys, which is haven for interiors lovers.
Ross-on-Wye: Plan your trip
Ross-on-Wye: Top attractions
In and around Ross-on-Wye...an amazing castle, vineyard tour & tasting, beautiful churches & craft cider makers
Explore Near Ross-on-Wye
Standing in open countryside above the River Wye, Goodrich Castle is one of the finest and best preserved of all English medieval castles, boasting a fascinating history and spectacular views from the battlements. Learn about the Civil War Siege, spy the 'murder holes' built into the castle walls, and admire the beautiful stained-glass window in the 13th century chapel. Be sure to find the famous 'Roaring Meg' – the only surviving Civil War mortar – and cache of cannonballs.
Wythall Estate Vineyard Tour & Tasting
Planted in 2010, Wythall Estate produces award-winning still and sparkling English wines. Join a tour that begins with a walk through the vineyard, exploring the grape varieties grown here, along with pruning methods, harvesting and more. Then enjoy a tutored tasting session in the beamed dining room of the 16th-century manor house.
A gem in rural Herefordshire, this captivating church will transport you to Tuscany with its Italianate style, including mosaics, marble columns and an altar with lapis lazuli.