Best places to visit in Herefordshire

Penned on the 2nd November 2023

Best places to visit in Herefordshire

On the border of England and South Wales lies Herefordshire, a county brimming with lush green countryside and fascinating heritage and culture. If you love adventures amongst nature, discovering historic landmarks and stories, days out exploring characterful market towns and delicious locally-made food and drink, this hidden gem could be the perfect destination for your next staycation. With such a great variety to see and do, you’ll want to start planning your trip in advance! We’ve curated a list of our favourite places to visit in Herefordshire, for a trip that’s sure to be filled with magical memories. 

Outdoor adventures

The River Wye

Ariel view of the winding River Wye, encompassed by lush rolling fields and woodland

The River Wye is the fifth longest river in Britain, meandering through the Wye Valley in Herefordshire from the Welsh Mountains. It’s a protected Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so, as you’d expect, it provides some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the UK. There are all sorts of ways to explore the river and its wildlife but little offer as close an encounter as a canoe, a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard. Whether you’d prefer a gentle trip downstream or a more exhilarating adventure on the rapids, there are several different stretches to choose from. And if you haven’t got your own kit, you can hire from one of Herefordshire’s expert river adventure companies.


The Malvern Hills

Misty day over the Malvern Hills in Herefordshire

These dramatic ancient hills straddling the Herefordshire and Worcestershire border are protected by The Malvern Hills Trust. And with an abundance of freshwater springs and wildlife and stunning views in all directions on a clear day, they’re a wonderful destination for a hike in the fresh countryside air. You can choose from various distances and difficulties for walkers (and four-legged friends) of all abilities, from short strolls along easy pathways and wildflower meadows to more challenging treks along the hills’ nine-mile ridge. The Malverns’ Walk Finder is a helpful resource for planning your route. 


Symonds Yat Rock

Ariel view of the winding River Wye at Symonds Yat Rock

Symonds Yat is one of the most iconic and breathtakingly beautiful parts of Herefordshire. From Symonds Yat Rock, a limestone outcrop 120 metres up, you’ll get impressive sweeping views of the riverside village below, as well as Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Monmouthshire and the Forest of Dean. It’s said to be one of the best views in the county, so it’s a popular spot! There are several different ways you can access it, the easiest being by car, although it’s a steep drive with a single-track lane so drive with caution. You can also take the steep hike from Symonds Yat Village, or if you’re feeling extra adventurous you could opt to rock climb your way to the top alongside some experienced climbing guides! 


Queenswood Country Park & Arboretum

Autumn leaves encompassing woodland trail in Herefordshire

Queenswood Country Park & Arboretum is the only designated country park in the county – and it’s a gorgeous place for a woodland walk or family day out amongst nature. Marvel at the 47-acre tree collection at the Arboretum, where you’ll find over 1,200 rare and exotic trees from around the world. Then take your time wandering the ancient native surrounding woodland and explore its further 120 acres of pathways. There are all kinds of trails and distances available to walk – little ones will love the Gruffalo Trail, whilst the Lyrics, Leaves & Lives audio trail is perfect for those interested in the social and natural history of the woodland. Pack a picnic or head to Queenswood Café for a spot of lunch or an ice cream. 



Culture & heritage 

Hereford Cathedral

Looking across the River towards Hereford Cathedral

Hereford Cathedral is a majestic, millennia-old building standing tall in the heart of the city and it’s been a significant site of worship since Saxon times over 1,300 years ago. The Cathedral features extraordinary examples of architecture and stained glass from all periods since then. And it’s home to the historically important, world-famous Mappa Mundi and Chained Library, which draws visitors from across the globe. The Mappa Mundi is the largest medieval map to survive, giving a unique insight into how scholars interpreted the world over 700 years ago; and the Chain Library holds over 1,500 rare books including 229 medieval manuscripts. It’s a must-visit destination for history lovers. 


The Black & White House

Jacobean timber-framed black and white house in Herefordshire

The Black and White House was built in 1621 and is described as a ‘perfectly preserved Jacobean timber-framed house’. It’s another striking and iconic piece of architecture in Hereford and, now surrounded by shops in the city centre, gives a glimpse into the city’s 17th-century past. It’s had many purposes over the years, starting life as a butcher’s home, witnessing the English Civil War and narrowly escaping destruction in the 1800s. It was then a saddlers shop, a fish shop and a hardware shop before finishing its life as a commercial property as a Lloyds Bank branch in the 1920s. Now you can learn all about its fascinating history by stepping foot into the house itself, as it’s been carefully restored and furnished as a museum. 


Herefordshire’s castles

19th-century castle surrounded by lush greenery in Herefordshire

Incredibly there are eight different castles in the county of Herefordshire, so for the ultimate historic day out why not visit several of them and discover their unique histories, architecture and characters? One of the most popular is the English Heritage site Goodrich Castle, which is one of the UK’s best-preserved medieval fortresses with plenty to see and explore for all of the family. Another is Eastnor Castle, an extravagant 19th-century revival castle set in a stunning garden at the foot of the Malvern Hills. Or if you’re looking for a lesser-visited option try Wigmore Castle, an important historic site that was originally built after the Norman Conquest, or Clifford Castle, a Norman Motte and Bailey castle that’s been in ruin for over 600 years. 


The Courtyard

Theatre show of the lion the witch and the wardrobe

The Courtyard is Hereford’s innovative ‘centre for the arts’, housed in a large glass-fronted building just outside of the city centre. Its vibrant and varied programme includes theatre performances, pantomime, musical events, art-house films, comedy nights and more. From well-known names to up-and-comers, there’s always something worth seeing, including plenty for children and families – find out what’s on during your visit. Pre- or post-show you might like to allow time for a spot of lunch or coffee and cake at the Courtyard Café Bar, or perhaps a glass of wine and some decadent small plates on the rooftop terrace in the Courtyard Lounge. And if you fancy flexing your creativity or learning a new skill, there are often inspiring workshops happening at The Courtyard too.



Food & drink

The Cider Circuits

Exteriors of Museum of Cider covered with green leaves

Herefordshire has been renowned for its cider for centuries. It’s home to the world’s biggest cider-makers, Bulmers, as well as Weston’s and many other smaller craft producers. To learn more about this thriving industry and sample some of the apple tipples, you can visit the Cider Museum. Or if you fancy making a day of it Herefordshire’s Cider Circuits are a great way to immerse yourself in the county’s cider culture... There are three different circuits to choose from, from 48 to 59 miles long, and they’re all perfect for travelling by bike! Each takes in some of the county’s heritage, orchards and farmlands, offering plenty of opportunities to quench your thirst along the way.


Beefy Boys

Two stacked beef burgers (left) and funky, colourful interior of burger restaurant (right)

Burger fans will love Beefy Boys’ flagship restaurant in Hereford city centre. What started as four friends BBQing in their back gardens, Beefy Boys now boasts titles such as World Burger Championship Finalists and the winners of the National Burger Awards – so as you might expect, it’s hugely popular with locals and visitors alike. On the menu, there’s a big selection of mouthwatering 21-day-aged Hereford beef burgers in freshly baked buns. Choose from the likes of ‘The Chilli Cheese Boy’, ‘The Macaroni Boy’, ‘The Chipotle Boy’ and more. You can also order loaded fries, chicken wings, cocktails and boozy milkshakes on the side. Burger joints don’t get much better than this so make sure you turn up hungry! 


De Koffie Pot

Exterior of brick cafe/bar along the bank of the River Wye with the Hereford Cathedral in the background

In the centre of Hereford on the banks of the River Wye sits De Koffie Pot, a well-loved café and bar serving locally brewed coffee, homemade cake and tasty meals. On a dry day, you can sit outside in the picturesque courtyard and enjoy some of the city’s most iconic views across the cathedral and the river whilst you savour your hot drink (there are fire pits to keep you warm in the winter!). Or if it’s raining, find yourself a cosy spot indoors amongst the rustic folky interiors. There’s often local art on display in the gallery upstairs, if you’ve got time for a browse, and occasionally De Koffie Pot hosts live music too – take a look at their Facebook page to find out what’s on.



Interior of Michelin star restaurant with large windows with black panelling

Pensons is an ingredient-led, Michelin-starred restaurant on the historic Netherwood Estate, right on the border of Herefordshire and Worcestershire. With Head Chef Chris Simpson at the helm, the acclaimed restaurant celebrates ‘hyper-localism’ with much of its produce sourced from nearby or grown and foraged on the estate itself. Even the interior is adorned with locally-made seat covers, lampshades and baskets, as well as steak knives forged by their blacksmith neighbour. The a la carte menu features five courses with meat, pescatarian or vegetarian options. Expect dishes like ‘Fallow deer with beetroot, pickled cabbage, leek and kale’ and ‘Celeriac with kohlrabi, sunflower seeds and green beans’. 



Independent shopping

Church Street

Street in Herefordshire with colourful bunting

Church Street is one of the most picturesque streets in the city of Hereford, with ample traditional shops and boutiques lining its narrow cobbled lane towards the Cathedral. You could happily enjoy a morning or afternoon dipping in and out of its antique stores, clothing boutiques, craft shops, florists and delis – don’t miss The Mousetrap Cheese Shop! There are a number of cafés and pubs too if you fancy a post-shopping pit-stop. Rocket Kitchen Café is an excellent choice if you can get a seat, serving freshly made pizzas, wraps, flatbreads and salads as well as tasty cakes and hot drinks.



Ariel view of market town nestled within the countryside in Herefordshire

The historic market town of Ledbury is filled with eclectic independent shops, many of which are housed in or amongst its beautiful black and white Tudor buildings. From gorgeous art galleries and homeware stores to luxury fashion boutiques and charming toy shops, there’s no shortage of retailers to browse and pick up a treat for yourself or your family. Grade I listed property The Feathers Hotel is a gorgeous place to stop and enjoy a sumptuous afternoon tea, or if you’d rather a cosy traditional pub and a pint of real ale, try The Oak Inn Staplow just outside of the town.



River flowing through the market town of Ross-on-Wye

Perched above the river in the south of Herefordshire is the small market town of Ross-on-Wye. This pretty town has a lovely mix of independent retailers and eateries, perfect for a slow-paced day of pottering and shopping. There are lifestyle stores, gift shops, vintage and antique shops and galleries to discover – and at the centre of the town in the 17th century Market House you’ll find ‘Made in Ross’, a creative cooperative of local artists and makers offering everything from wooden crafts and pottery to jewellery and knitwear. Twice a week (Saturdays and Thursdays) the House hosts a bustling market too, where local traders sell their goods and produce. 



Staying in Herefordshire

Antique stone cottage with a hot tub in the forest in Herefordshire

In our opinion there’s no better way to become totally immersed in nature and local life than staying in a gorgeous, rustic hideaway deep in the countryside. In our handpicked Herefordshire collection you can choose from a riverside safari tent, an off-grid antique cottage, a picture-perfect oak shepherd’s hut and more. Explore our hideaways and start planning your perfect escape. 


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