Oh, Herefordshire. You may fall through the cracks of UK tourism but you will always have a firm place in my heart. A lucky escape from my South London roots (noah fence Sutton), my family moved to Herefordshire when I was just eight years old. And it’s safe to say I could not be more grateful to my parents for bringing me up in the most beautiful, rural county.
Herefordshire, a luscious county hidden in the West Midlands, is one of England’s best-kept secrets. Boasting breathtaking countryside, scrumptious local produce and enough art, history and literature to satisfy even the greatest of culture vultures, there are so many things to do in Herefordshire. So if you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, here are my top 25 things to do in Herefordshire.
1. Visit the county town of Hereford
There is plenty to see and do in Herefordshire’s county town including strolling along the River Wye, visiting the famous Hereford Cathedral, enjoying one of the city’s many traditional pubs, bars and cafes or catching a show at The Courtyard Theatre.
2. Explore the Forest of Dean
Straddling the border of Gloucestershire, the Forest of Dean is Herefordshire’s adventure hub and a Harry Potter filming location. Visit for expansive forests, amazing cycle trails, rural walks, beautiful lakes and even Go Ape.
3. Visit Hampton Court Gardens
Explore the gardens, get lost in the hedge maze, and travel back to 15th Century Britain on a day trip to Hampton Court Castle, Gardens and Parkland. Fun for all the family, Hampton Court often plays host to a number of exciting events and has a hedge maze to keep little’uns happy.
4. Grab some grub at The Beefy Boys
Got beef? Well, The Beefy Boys certainly has. You are probably surprised to see a restaurant on a list of things to do in Herefordshire but don’t you worry, The Beefy Boys certainly warrants its place. Situated in the heart of its hometown, Hereford, The Beefy Boys has won the award for best burger multiple times at the World Food Championships.
5. Feel like royalty at Eastnor Castle
Step back in time by visiting Eastnor Castle, a historic castle home to lots of medieval armour, fine art and spectacular views. If history doesn’t take your fancy but greenery totally does the job for you, you will also find a beautiful deer park, arboretum and lake surrounding the castle.
6. Visit Berrington Hall
A fan of the National Trust? Well, you’ll love Berrington Hall, one of the top things to do in Herefordshire. Built in 1778-81, Berrington Hall is a stunning neo-classical mansion boasting fine interiors and landscaped grounds.
7. Wander through the cobbled streets of Ledbury
I have lived in Ledbury for well over ten years now so I may be a little biased, but a visit to Ledbury should be at the top of your list of things to do in Herefordshire! Recently hailed as one of the ten best places to live in the UK, Ledbury boasts plenty of cute cafes and independent fashion boutiques tucked down a myriad of mews and side streets. Plus, if you’re a lover of all things literary, the town puts on the largest poetry festival in the UK for ten days every July.
8. Get your history on at Croft Castle
If you couldn’t tell by now, Herefordshire has enough castles to make any history fanatic fall weak at the knees. Sitting deep in the heart of the Herefordshire countryside surrounded by 1500 acres of historic woodland, farm and parkland, Croft Castle is almost 1000 years old and is one of Herefordshire’s most beautiful castles.
9. Walk the Malvern Hills
Perched on the border of Herefordshire and Worcestershire, the Malvern Hills are as captivating as they are rich in wildlife. It’s no wonder they inspired such literary legends as J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. With views over Herefordshire which are really second to none, the Malvern Hills never fail to leave me speechless.
10. Browse our independent bookshops
If you are a big ol’ bookworm like myself, Herefordshire is chockablock with independent old-timey bookshops for you to peruse. Some of my favourite bookshops in Herefordshire are Rossiter Books and Ross Old Books in Ross-on-Wye, Albion Books and Matthew Nutt Books in Leominster, Chapters Charity Bookshop in Hereford, Three Counties Bookshop and Ledbury Books and Maps in Ledbury, and pretty much every bookshop in Hay-on-Wye (there are just too many to list!).
11. Marvel at the views at Symonds Yat Rock
Symonds Yat Rock certainly deserves its place on this list of things to do in Herefordshire. As the most iconic viewpoint in Herefordshire, Symonds Yat Rock offers breathtaking views of the River Wye and the surrounding area. Be sure to bring your camera!
12. Party at Lakefest
Set in the beauty of Eastnor Deer Park (a park which has played host to a number of festivals over the years), you will find Lakefest. Lakefest is a family-friendly rock festival which has welcomed artists such as The Charlatans, The Darkness, The Proclaimers, Newton Faulkner and The Coral. The festival also has a “Talking Tent” dedicated to comedy, poetry, debate and interviews.
13. Become a Jedi at Puzzlewood
Puzzlewood, a fourteen-acre ancient woodland, is so magical and otherworldly! The unique setting of Puzzlewood has been a filming location for many popular movies and TV-shows including Star Wars, Doctor Who, Merlin and Atlantis, thanks to its enchanting maze of pathways, mossy rocks, deep stony canyons, bridges and lookouts.
14. Embark on the Black and White Trail
If you fancy visiting some of the prettiest and quintessentially English villages the country has to offer, you should embark on Herefordshire’s Black and White Trail. The trail, as the name suggests, is characterised by the age number of timbered and half-timbered houses, some even dating from medieval times.
15. Visit the romantic Brockhampton Estate
Brockhampton Estate is an absolute must-visit in this list of things to do in Herefordshire! It doesn’t get much more British than this romantic, black and white, timber-framed manor surrounded by a moat, woodland and plenty of wildlife.
16. Take a stroll around Bodenham Lake
Bodenham Lake is a beautiful nature reserve and breeding area for birds and other aquatic wildlife. If you are looking for a peaceful walk to wind down your trip to Herefordshire I’d recommend a gander through the beautiful orchards and lakeside meadows
17. Wind down in the Stargazor’s Wagon
Herefordshire Hideaways offers beautiful and unique holiday accommodation in the rural North Herefordshire countryside. Last year I stayed in their rustic and chic Stargazer’s Wagon, a 27-foot long wagon which was originally part of a ghost train in 1940s Germany. If you truly fancy escaping from the world on your trip to Herefordshire, there is no better place you could stay.
18. Grab your tent and head to Nozstock Festival
Lovingly known as ‘Noz’ amongst Herefordians, Nozstock: The Hidden Valley is more akin to a massive party than a festival. Like the very best of festivals, Nozstock was founded by a fun-loving family, their extended relatives, friends, acquaintances and pretty much everyone who had a guitar to play or a joke to tell. At Noz, you will stumble across a delightful amalgamation of performance, art, music, the job lot.
19. Get literary in Hay-on-Wye
Hay-on-Wye is probably Herefordshire’s most famous market town and whilst it straddles the border of Wales and Herefordshire, we Herefordians like to claim it as our own! Hay-on-Wye is most famous for being “the town of books” and as soon as you arrive in the town, it’s not hard to see why.
With over 30 antique, specialist and secondhand bookshops, Hay is a treasure-trove for bookworms. Top tip: Visit during May to attend Hay Festival, one of the most highly regarded events in the international literary calendar.
20. Go back in time at Goodrich Castle
Goodrich Castle is pretty good. (Come on, you are better than that, Luce). But really, Goodrich Castle is one of the finest and best-preserved of all English medieval castles and a must-visit for history buffs and ordinary folks alike.
21. Embrace the outdoors at El Dorado Festival
Described as a place to “escape everyday life in search of something far more exotic”, El Dorado Festival is all about leaving the confines of urban cities behind in favour of the good ol’ outdoors. Like Lakefest, El Dorado is nestled in the beautiful grounds of Eastnor Castle, so you can certainly embrace the countryside here!
22. Take a gander through the Weir Garden
If whimsical gardens sound right up your street, why not take a gander through Herefordshire’s Weir Garden? This peaceful 10-acre riverside garden provides the perfect setting in which to unwind after a long week at work, which makes it just one of the many great things to do in Herefordshire.
23. Explore the side streets of Ross-on-Wye
In the heart of the Wye Valley lies Ross-on-Wye, a quirky little market town filled with independent shops galore. Whether you’re after clothing, gifts, furniture or food, Ross-on-Wye has it all – it’s a thriving place for those who prefer their high street a little less corporate.
24. Choose independent at Borderlines Film Festival
Coming up for its 17th year in 2019, Borderlines Film Festival is the UK’s largest rural film festival. If you like your film a little more on the independent side, then join Borderlines as they banish the bright lights of Hollywood in favour of an exquisite selection of world cinema, and UK and US indies.
25. Go down to the woods at Queenswood
Queenswood Country Park is a vast, ancient woodland chock-full of exotic trees from around the world. Especially striking in spring, but gorgeous year-round, Queenswood is one of the most tranquil places in the whole of Herefordshire.
So have you ever visited my beautiful county? What did you think? Would you add anything else to this list of things to do in Herefordshire? Let me know in the comments below!
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