Presentation of the destination
This beautiful cathedral city in the heart of the pretty rural county of Herefordshire is situated on the River Wye. With a population of just 55,000, Hereford nonetheless has plenty of attractions for the visitor, including winding medieval streets, interesting museums and historic buildings. The city has a rich history, particularly during the Anglo-Saxon period where the kings of England clashed with the Welsh in this area. The city also played a central role in the Civil War, when it changed hands several times. Hereford enjoys mild wet winters and sunny summers. The currency is the British pound, the time zone is GMT, with an hour added on during the summer months for daylight savings time, and the language is, of course, English.
Points of interests / things to see
Established in 1079, the Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin and St Ethelbert the King is an unmissable destination, and all the more so because it contains the incredibly precious Mappa Mundi. This beautiful and unique map of the world was carefully drawn on vellum around 1300, with the religious capital of Jerusalem right at the centre. Easily the most important and celebrated medieval map in the world, the Mappa Mundi’s great charm is in the small details, which reveal so much about life and thought eight centuries ago: a centaur roaming the plains of Mongolia, sea monsters inhabiting the depths of the ocean and historical happenings from the Bible. Another wonderful sight at Hereford Cathedral is the Chained Library, where the books are, as the name suggests, chained to their shelves to protect them from light-fingered readers. The collection contains 229 beautiful medieval manuscripts, including the eighth-century Hereford Gospels, and is completely unique, as it is the largest library in Europe to survive with all its chains, rods and locks intact. Find out more about the cathedral at the website: http://www.herefordcathedral.org/
This fantastically wonky early Jacobean house typifies the black and white half-timbered buildings of its era. Constructed in 1621, the distinctive building now houses a museum, but was originally home to a master butcher, and the butchers’ guild coat of arms can still be seen carved over the door in the south porch. It has also housed many other businesses, including a saddler, a china, glass and hardware shop, a fishmongers and even Lloyds bank. Now the only surviving building of its era in what was once a row of Jacobean houses, the museum has a range of fascinating exhibits that shed light on life in the 17th century. The 15th century fireplace, original wall paintings and built-in cupboards give some clues as to what the house might have looked like at that time. Don't miss the four-poster bed, dating back to 1625. Many believe the bed to be haunted, claiming that the curtains open and close without the touch of human hand, and there have also been reports of ghostly forms and unexplained noises. Address: Old House, High Town, Hereford. Phone: 01432 260694.
Housed in a stunning Victorian Gothic building, the Hereford Museum and Art Gallery has a wonderful range of items on display, from visual arts to local history. The museum was founded in 1874, and features both a permanent collection and a range of current exhibitions. Don't miss the Kenchester Mosaic from 350 B.C. Found in the nearby Roman town of Kenchester, the mosaic features images of fish and other sea creatures picked out in red, blue and white. Another exhibition of interest at the museum is the beautiful timeline mural, created by the modern woodcut artist Harry Brockway. The exhibits within the museum are organised into four main themes: ‘cultural county’, ‘productive county’, ‘natural county’ and ‘border county’, and feature all kinds of interesting items such as a working hive of bees, a range of taxidermy including a calf with two heads and a two-metre long fish, local costumes and textiles and weaponry. The museum offers an app with an audio and text guide to the exhibits. Address: Hereford Museum and Art Gallery, Broad Street, Hereford, HR4 9AU. Admission: free. Opening hours: Wednesday to Saturday 11am to 4pm.
The Hereford Cider Museum celebrates the famous drink of the West Country: cider. People have been making cider in this area for hundreds of years, and this long history, coupled with the huge number of apple varieties that grow in Herefordshire’s fertile soil, means that they’ve got it down to a fine art. The Hereford Cider Museum is housed in a former cider making factory, and offers visitors the chance to explore the old cellars, learn about cider making, barrel making and West Country culture, and watch apples being pressed and cider being made. The museum features a number of items associated with cider, including horn cups, old cider presses and beautiful china tureens. There are plentiful historic photographs and paintings, old advertising posters and a rare collection of English lead crystal cider flutes. The museum also events from Morris dancing to an international cider and perry competition and an annual cider making festival. The museum also offers information on local orchard walks. More information is available at the website: http://www.cidermuseum.co.uk/
Kentchurch Court is one of England's most beautiful stately homes, located in the village of Kentchurch not far from Hereford. This Grade 1 listed building and its grounds are a tranquil haven for anyone interested in English history and nature. The current building dates back to the 14th century, although the land has been in the Lucas-Scudamore family for almost 1,000 years, since Ralph Skudamore arrived during the Norman invasion in 1042. The 5,000-acre estate features beautiful formal gardens, woodlands and farmland. Roses, rhododendrons, snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells can all be found here, and there is even a deer park, originally belonging to the Knights Templar, where some 250 fallow deer play among the ancient yew, sweet chestnut and field maple trees. Tours of the house are available by prior appointment, taking in furniture, textiles, ornaments and many other interesting items, including a pair of Queen Victoria’s stockings and a eulogy written by Winston Churchill for his aunt. The house has been a popular location for film and television productions. Admission to gardens: £5. Cost of tour: £8. Website: http://www.kentchurchcourt.co.uk/
This impressive 15th century medieval castle comes complete with maze, formal banqueting halls and jousting competitions, and is situated between Hereford and Leominster. Wander down the wisteria walkway, enjoy the tranquil lake and bulrushes on a frosty morning, view the extensive collection of hunting trophies and suits of armour or attend one of the many events held here, from eagle and vulture flying displays, to opportunities to meet rare creatures such as armadillos, meerkats and chinchillas, and a range of plays. Visit the website to find out what's on: www.hamptoncourt.org.uk.
Lock and load at Battlelands Paintball not far from Hereford, where you can experience paintballing in 60 acres of beautiful Herefordshire countryside. With a range of three different zones and some 15 scenarios, Battlelands drops you into the heart of the action and is guaranteed to get your heart racing. Prices start from just £5 per person, with special deals available for stag and hen do’s, birthday parties and groups of friends. This family-run business put safety first and offers a great way to enjoy the fresh air and break out of your daily routine. Open seven days a week, players must be 12+. Visit the website for more information: http://www.battlelands.co.uk/
Get up close to some of the most beautiful insects in the world at the Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo, where you can see many vibrant free-flying tropical butterflies, hunt for eggs, caterpillars and chrysalises, and find out more about butterfly conservation. The Upper Wye Gorge was once a prime destination for butterfly hunters, who would gather here in droves with their nets looking for rare specimens. Sadly, many butterflies have since become extinct, but the Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo is seeking to preserve those that are left by managing their own nature reserve of wildflower meadows, where the butterflies can flutter freely. Website: http://butterflyzoo.co.uk/
Sci-fi fans are in luck with a trip to the Time Machine Museum of Science Fiction, located in Bromyard, just 20 minutes drive from Hereford. Permanent collections include Doctor Who props and costumes featuring many items from the television series, a display of brilliant Star Wars memorabilia including life-size R2-D2, Jar Jar Binks and C3PO models, and items from cult British show Red Dwarf. There is also a selection of puppets on display from classic television programmes Thunderbirds and Stingray. Open daily 10.30am – 4pm. Admission: £8 adults/£6 children. Address: 12 The Square, Bromyard, Herefordshire, HR7 4BP.
Vacation rentals in Hereford (England)
How to get there ?
Despite Herefordshire's rural reputation, Hereford is still easy to reach by international standards, though if you're used to the fast roads of the south of England you might be disappointed. One rail line links Hereford to Manchester and Wales, and the other runs through Worcester, the Cotswolds and Oxford to London, taking around 3.5 hours to arrive in the capital, where there are a number of international airports including Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted and Luton. Daily National Express coaches run to Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford, Gloucester, Swindon, Heathrow Airport and London. Local trains link Hereford with nearby towns such as Ledbury and Leominster and can also take you over the border to Abergavenny in Wales. Local buses are slow but at least picturesque, departing from the bus station to the rear of the Tesco supermarket in Bewell Street. The medieval city centre is easy to walk around, with a good choice of both high street and independent shops. Or why not hire a bike and explore the beautiful landscapes of Herefordshire? Halo Leisure has teamed up with the city council to provide bike hire from half a day to 5 days. Head to the cabin on Bishop’s Meadow to pick up your two-wheeled steed.
Hereford city hall
Hotels in Hereford (England)