At the center of the county’s agricultural area, the city of Hereford offers up its cathedral, first built in the 11th century, burned down by the Welsh, and rebuilt in the 12th century. Of particular note is the Lady Chapel, built in the 13th century.
At the cathedral is the Chained Library where 1500 books and manuscripts are still in place thanks to that chaining. The best known feature of the library is the Mappa Mundi, a 13th century illustrated world map. The story of the library and its contents is told through models, original artefacts, and interactive computer technology.
In the centre of the city is the timber-framed The Old House, dating from 1621, and the last remaining of a row of houses, Butcher’s Row. It now houses a museum with the interior set up to reflect a home of the 17th century.
Herefordshire is replete with cider apple orchards. In the springtime a riot of blooms greets the visitor. In the autumn, cider making takes place, and visitors can tour some of the processing operations.
The Bulmer Cider Company and the Cider Museum, where the history of cidermaking is on display, are located in Hereford. The brewery offers tours of their modern factory where mechanized machinery makes much noise and quickly turns apples into cider using advanced technology. Near Much Marcle, the smaller Weston Cider Mill, in business since 1880, also offers tours of its smaller and less mechanized plant.
Herefordshire is a dream county for lovers of black-and-white-houses. It offers a trail the visitor can follow from village to village, each packed with interesting architecture and camera-pleasing views. Among the villages on the trail are Pembridge, Eardisland, Weobley, and Eardisley.
Weobley is a large attractive village. A walk around this picturesque village offers rewarding views. The high church steeple marks the landscape from far away.
One of Eardisley’s attractions is its church built from the 12th through the 14th century and containing a 12th century font.
Eardisland, beside the River Arrow, is noted for its many historic houses, among which is the Staik House, built c1300 as a Yeoman’s Hall. A dovecote houses the heritage centre.
Pembridge is the star of the black-and-white villages with every street boasting a medieval building. Among the delights are a 14th century coaching inn, a 16th century Market Hall, and a 17th century shop. St Mary’s Church, like several others in the area, has a detached octagonal bell tower. The fascinating timber structure inside the bell tower has massive beams crisscrossing each other.
Rural churches of charm abound in the county, and many days can be passed in the pleasant pursuit of them. Yarpole’s church has, like Pembridge’s, a detached bell tower dating back to the 1200s.
Shobdon’s church is a departure in style from most village churches. Constructed in the Romanesque style, its all white interior is reminiscent of a wedding cake.
Madley’s parish church is a pilgrim place from Celtic times. Completed in 1320, it contains medieval glass and wall painting.
The large and atmospheric Abbey Dore, now the parish church of St Mary, is the only reminder of the Cistercian Abbey that was once active in the village of the same name.
The tiny village of Kilpeck has a Norman church filled with decorative sculpture. Its exterior is adorned with interesting gargoyles.
Near Kington, a Saxon village, are the Hergest Croft gardens with their collection of rhododendrons and azaleas, woodland glades, flower borders and much more.
Leominster’s priory has a Norman doorway and a magnificent 45-foot high Perpendicular window. Antique shops line the town’s streets.
Since the 15th century Bromyard has been Herefordshire’s hop growing centre. A heritage centre in the town highlights the history of hops. St Peter’s church in the village dates from its 12th century foundation.
Ledbury’s historic Market House, one example of its black-and-white architecture, sits on the town’s main street. During the Civil War a battle took place here between the Roundheads and the Royalists.
The Feathers Hotel dates from 1570. A folk museum, Butchers Row House, contains objects of local history. The Old Grammar School, serving as such since Elizabethan times, houses the town’s Heritage Centre. The building dates from 1480. The Church of St Michael and All Angels is easy to spot with its soaring spire set on a separate tower.
Winding its way through the county is the Wye River valley, protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is considered one of the most beautiful river valleys in England. Rolling green hills and valleys shelter tiny villages, while sheep and white-faced Herefordshire cattle graze the farmlands. A famous viewpoint, Symonds Yat, takes in the River Wye, limestone cliffs, and the Forest of Dean.
Ross-on-Wye sits on the east bank of the River Wye and provides pleasant riverside walks. A heritage centre in the 17th century Market Hall building details the town’s history. The high spire of the 13th century St Mary’s church can be seen from a far distance.
Between the towns of Ross and Monmouth, the imposing red sandstone ruins of Goodrich Castle (English Heritage) reflect Edward I’s desire to guard the border against the Welsh.
The National Trust’s Lower Brockhampton estate has a small moated 14th century manor house. Its timber framed black-and-white gatehouse, of no defensive value, was built to celebrate a marriage. Inside the house are a medieval great hall and a minstrel’s gallery. The large acreage provides woodland walks.
At the National Trust’s Croft Castle, a former Marcher stronghold, there are woodland walks, while inside the downstairs rooms are on view. Plasterwork ceilings, furniture, and porcelain are the highlights. Next to the house is an interesting small church, St Michael and All Angels built in the early 1500s.
Berrington Hall, owned by the National Trust, gives the feeling of a small and cozy mansion. The Minton china is of note as is the walled orchard where 43 different types of historic apples are grown.
A more modern castle, Eastnor, was built in 1812. Set in a large deer park, it offers views over the Malvern Hills. Tapestries, paintings, and furniture grace the interior. An arboretum and lake are further attractions. Weddings are a specialty of the castle.
Near Much Marcle is a Tudor manor house, Hellens Manor House (Historic Houses Association). A guided tour of the 15th-17th century house includes an old courtyard door where the Roundheads tried to break in and a ring that belonged to Charles I. Many interesting tales are told during the tour.
Once a disputed area between England and Wales, Herefordshire now exudes charm. Its historic houses, rural villages, hills and valleys offer an intriguing mix that never fails to delight. Sir Nikolaus Pevsner had it right when he said, "Wherever one goes, there will not be a mile that is visually unrewarding".
For opening times and full details of attractions see the Attractions section of our website.
Three miles north of Leominster, off the A49
Tel. 0 1568 615 721
Brobury House Gardens
Tel. 0 1981 500 229
Web: Brobury House
Brockhampton Estate and Lower Brockhampton
Two miles east of Bromyard, off the A44
Tel. 0 1885 488 099 (info line); 0 1885 482 077
Bromyard Heritage Centre
1 Rowberry St, Bromyard
Tel. 0 1885 482 341
Broxwood Court Gardens
Tel. 0 1544 340 245
Bryan’s Ground Garden
Minor road near Presteigne, Wales
Tel. 0 1544 260 001
Web: Bryan’s Ground
Five miles west of Leominster
Tel. 0 1544 388 222
Cider Museum & King Offa Distillery
Tel. 0 1432 354 207; Fax. 0 1432 371 641
For photos and more on cider making see our article Cider of Herefordshire
Web: Cider Museum
Five miles north-west of Leominster, approach from B4362
Tel. 0 1568 780 246
Abbeydore, near Ewyas Harold
Tel. various clergy and church warden phone numbers in Contact section of website; for pre-booked conducted tour phone 0 1873 821 456
Web: Dore Abbey
Two miles south-east of Ledbury, on the A438
Tel. 0 1531 633 160
Web: Eastnor Castle
Five miles south of Ross-on-Wye, off the A40
Tel. 0 1885 488 099
˝ mile east of Much Marcle, access from B4024
Tel. 0 1531 660 504
For photos and more details see our article Hellens House
Web: Hellens House
5 College Cloisters, Cathedral Close, Hereford
Tel. 0 1432 374 200
Web: Hereford Cathedral
Hergest Croft Gardens
Ridgebourne Rd, Kington
Tel. 0 1544 230 160
Tel. 0 1981 570 315 (church warden)
Kyre Park Gardens
Kyre Park, just off B4214, four miles south of Tenbury Wells
Tel. 0 1885 410 247
Madley Parish Church
Madley, on the B4349, west of Hereford
Tel. various contact numbers given on website
Museum of Trains, Boats and TV Memories
Tel. not given
Old Bakery Teddy Bear Museum
12, The Square, Bromyard, HR7 4BP
Tel: 0 1885 488 329
Old House (The)
High Town, Hereford
Tel. 0 1432 260 694
On the B4399, left into Chapel Rd
Van Kampen Gardens at Hampton Court Castle
Hampton Court Castle, Hope-under-Dinmore, Leominster
On the A417, just off the A49
Tel. 0 1568 797 676, ext 200
Web: Van Kampden Gardens
Weston Cider Mill
The Bounds, Much Marcle
Tel. 0 1531 660 108
Web: Weston Cider Mill
Tourist Information Centres
Bromyard Tourist Information Centre
1 Rowberry Street, Bromyard HR7 4DX
Tel (summer). 0 1885 482 038
Tel (winter). 0 1885 482 341
Open: Easter-end of Sep, Mon-Sat, 10am-4pm; Oct-Easter, Mon-Sat, 9am-5pm; also Easter-end Sep, Sun and BH, 10am-1pm
Hay-on-Wye Tourist Information Centre
Oxford Road, Hay-on-Wye HR3 5DG
Tel. 0 1497 820 144
Open: daily throughout the year; Easter-end Oct, 10am-5pm, closed 1pm-2pm; Nov-Easter, 11am-4pm, closed 1pm-2pm; closed Christmas for two weeks
Hereford Tourist Information Centre
1 King Street, Hereford HR4 9BW
Tel. 0 1432 268 430
Open: all year; Mon-Sat, 9am-5.30pm; Easter-end Sep, Sun and BH, 10am-4pm
Kington Tourist Information Centre
2 Mill St, Kington HR5 3BQ
Tel. 0 1544 230 778
Ledbury Tourist Information Centre
3 The Homend, Ledbury HR8 1BN
Tel. 0 1531 636 147
Open: year round Mon-Sat, 9am-5:30pm; also Easter-Dec, Sun and BH, 10am-4pm
Leominster Tourist Information Centre
1 Corn Square, Leominster HR6 8LR
Tel. 0 1568 616 460
Open: Easter-end Sep, Mon-Sat, 9.30am-5.30pm; Oct-Easter, Mon-Sat, 9.30am-5pm; also Easter-end Sep, Sun and BH, 10am-1pm.
Queenswood Tourist Information Centre
Queenswood Country Park, Dinmore Hill
Leominster, HR6 0PY
Tel. 0 1568 797 842
Open: summer season
Ross-on-Wye Tourist Information Centre
Swan House, Edde Cross St
Ross-on-Wye, HR9 7BZ
Tel. 0 1989 562 768
Open: Easter-end Sep, Mon-Sat 9am-5.30pm; Oct-Easter, Mon-Sat 9.30am-5pm; also Easter-end Sep, Sun and BH 10am-4pm
Photos by Barbara Ballard
All photos on the website are copyright
Go Back: [Top of Page] [West Midlands] [England Home Page]
Be a Destinations-UK-Ireland Sponsor
Some of our Herefordshire Articles Cider of Herefordshire
Hellens Manor House
Black and White Trail
St Leonard Church, Yarpole
Other England Articles