Looking for the greatest days out in Herefordshire? Maximise your Herefordshire days out with this guide to the best ones in the county. There’s SO much to do there, so let’s break it down!
With the rolling countryside of Wales to the west, the Malvern Hills to the east and the Forest of Dean to the south, it’s little surprise that many people visit Herefordshire from England’s big cities, for a spot of camping or to embrace the clean air and green scenery of nature in other ways.
The rural county only has one main city, Hereford, which is also packed with places to visit. Ancient market towns such as Ledbury offer an array of independent shopping opportunities and medieval architecture. And if you’re looking for Herefordshire days out for the kids, you’ve got lots of places to choose from.
Read on for 15 of the best days out and places to visit in Herefordshire.
Best Days Out in Herefordshire
Herefordshire is a great county for history lovers and active day trippers. There are quite a few cool towns and villages to explore too!
Author: Ben BromleyDay Out in the Midlands Expert
Ben specialises in group travel in destinations around the world.
He lives in Warwickshire, and his favourite day out is in Stratford Upon Avon.
1. Visit Hereford Cathedral & the Chained Library
If Hereford is the centrepiece for the county of Herefordshire, then the cathedral is the centrepiece for the city. This medieval masterpiece was first constructed in the 7th century, before being rebuilt during the Norman period. Ancient artefacts are housed within the cathedral itself and the surrounding gardens are lovely.
You’ll also want to visit the nearby Chained Library, a part of the cathedral. Fans of the TV series Game of Thrones will remember the chained library of the Citadel, and this is the real life example. The chains, rods and locks are used to keep the books safe and the example in Hereford Cathedral is by far the best surviving example in the world of an authentic chained library. Some of the books in the library date back as far as the 8th century, such as the extremely valuable Hereford Gospels.
2. Go explore the Forest of Dean
The Forest of Dean is one of the wildest places in the whole of England, and perfect for an outdoor adventure. It is also one of the only places in the country where the formerly native wild boar lives wild, roaming through the trees and rootling through soil, keeping the ecosystem alive in a way lost to many English habitats.
There are endless opportunities for things to do in the Forest of Dean. Numerous campsites make great bases for walking and cycling, with plenty of forest trails winding through the trees. The River Wye is great for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing, whilst other wildlife to spot includes the rare pine marten, which is making a remarkable comeback in the forest. You may also spot deer and birds of prey such as peregrine falcons.
3. Look round Eastnor Castle
Located at the foot of the Malvern Hills, Eastnor Castle boasts spectacular views. Surrounded by a deer park and a shimmering lake, the surrounds are as impressive as the medieval castle itself. Predominantly used as a wedding venue nowadays, the castle has a rich history and is also open to visitors all year round.
Expect to find an array of medieval armor, classic paintings, and ancient artifacts amongst the castle’s collection. There are loads of things for kids to enjoy at Eastnor Castle too, with an adventure playground, Knight’s Maze and obstacle course all helping to keep little ones entertained. It’s one of the best castles in England.
4. Cycle or walk the Malvern Hills
Although located predominantly in Worcestershire, the Malverns stretch into Herefordshire and offer one of the best hiking regions in England. A number of steep but navigable peaks are located together along an eight mile ridge, with marked walking roots guiding ramblers across this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
As well as the magnificent views, visitors to the Malverns can expect to find quaint rural villages and a range of native wildlife, including soaring birds of prey. The Malverns are more exposed and windswept than the Forest of Dean but provide just as many opportunities for embracing the great outdoors.
5. Check out Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo, Ross-on-Wye
If you’re spending your stay in Herefordshire near the Forest of Dean then you won’t be far from the Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo. This indoor tropical paradise breeds and houses exotic butterfly species from around the world.
Kids will love seeing the eggs, caterpillars and chrysalis’ that form the butterfly’s early life cycle, while wandering through the zoo with live butterflies flying overhead is sure to bring a smile to every adult’s face too.
Just as importantly, the zoo helps to protect rare butterflies in the Wye Valley – the site manages a local nature reserve, which is an important habitat for rare native species. There’s also a zoo shop where you can buy a range of butterfly related gifts and souvenirs.
6. Go to the Black & White House Museum, Hereford
Another of Hereford’s most well-known landmarks, the Black & White House Museum is housed in (surprise surprise) a black and white timber-framed house from the early 1600s. The building has a rich history; it started out as a butchers shop and served time as a branch of Lloyds Bank before being transformed into the museum you can visit today.
Frozen in time, the museum houses rare frescoes, a collection of ancient English oak furniture and much more. There are interactive puzzles and dressing up opportunities to keep children entertained throughout your visit.
7. Climb up to Symonds Yat Rock
Symonds Yat Rock is without a doubt the most iconic viewpoint in Herefordshire, offering marvellous views of the River Wye and surrounding hills, forests, and valleys. From the viewpoint you can see an ancient hill fort and watch goshawks, peregrines and sparrowhawks swooping overhead.
If visiting in spring or autumn then you may even catch a glimpse of migrating ospreys, which pass through the area at these times of year. The viewpoint is connected to surrounding areas by a network of walking trails and there is a log cabin café selling a range of snacks and hot drinks to hikers – or you can bring along your own picnic to the rock.
8. Wander down Church Lane, Ledbury
In the small market town of Ledbury you are likely to come across Church Lane, a narrow medieval alley, complete with cobblestones.
It winds past a warren of timber framed houses, many of which are hanging directly over the street. Many of these old buildings now house local businesses and museums telling the history of the area. The lane starts at the medieval Church of St Michael and All Angels and winds for around 100 metres to the Market House.
Wandering down the lane is like stepping back in time, and you can enjoy a cup of tea at nearby Mrs Muffin’s Tea Shop or something a bit strong at the Prince of Wales pub.
9. Explore King Arthur’s Cave, Ross-on-Wye
Located in the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding National Beauty, not far from Symonds Yat, is King Arthur’s Cave. Tucked away in the forest, surrounded by the river and green forest, this cave is a designated nature reserve, managed by Herefordshire Nature Trust.
The two main chambers can be entered by visitors who are walking in the area – the cave is easily navigable along well marked trails. King Arthur’s Cave is so-called because of the strong evidence that the cave was inhabited by a man during the Upper Paleolithic era (around 40,000 years ago). Flint tools and the bones of a woolly mammoth suggest that a prehistoric human carved out his living in this dangerous environment.
10. Have a drink at the Cider Museum, Hereford
Keen cider drinkers will be familiar with the Bulmers brand, one of the most well-known cider companies in the UK. Bulmers’ original factory was established in Hereford in 1887 and this building is now a museum, since the company moved to a more modern facility in the 1980s.
Visitors to the Cider Museum can learn more about the cider history of Hereford and its orchards, as well as the process used to make cider, from the milling of the apples to the fermenting of the juice. Lots of the original factory has been preserved for visitors to see and there’s a shop where you can buy a tipple or two of your own to take home.
11. Go to the Wye Valley Brewery, Bromyard
Another alcohol-related destination for visitors to Herefordshire is the Wye Valley Brewery, found on the edge of the Malvern Hills in Bromyard. The brewery is the creator of many well-known beers, such as Butty Bach and 1985, which can be found on pub menus up and down England.
Wye Valley Brewery is open to the public, with guided tours showing visitors how the company’s award winning ales and beers are brewed – there are plenty of tasting opportunities too!
12. Enjoy Berrington Hall, Leominster
One of many grand English estates managed by the National Trust, Berrington Hall is located around 15 miles north of Hereford. The red sandstone exterior and imposing porch columns are impressive, and this grandeur continues on the inside, with numerous elegant reception rooms and the mighty Staircase Hall, where sunlight is allowed in through a rooftop dome.
Once you’ve finished exploring inside the house, you’ll want to take a stroll through Berrington Hall’s walled garden and 14 acre grounds, where native wildlife thrives and where a tranquility falls over the landscape.
13. See Market House, Ledbury
At one end of Church Lane lies Ledbury’s most recognisable landmark.
Market House is raised above ground by 16 wooden stakes, and an open market has been held underneath since the mid-1600s. If you visit Ledbury on a Tuesday or a Saturday then you can visit this historical market, with fresh produce, arts and crafts being sold to locals and visitors alike. The building itself is impressive, the black and white timber structure dominates the surrounding area due to its raised appearance.
14. The Weir Garden, Swainshill
The 10-acre Weir Garden in Swainshill was created by owner Roger Parr and is now open for the enjoyment of the public. Managed by the National Trust, the garden stretches down to the banks of the River Wye and notable attractions in the garden include a ruined Roman temple.
Native wildlife including swans, kingfishers, sand martins and dragonflies inhabit the area and the banking, south facing slopes of the garden allow plenty of sun, meaning there is an array of naturally growing vegetation to enjoy. On a pleasant summers day, the garden is a truly attractive place to enjoy a stroll.
15. Mappa Mundi, Hereford
Housed in the grounds of Hereford Cathedral, the Mappa Mundi is a 14th century medieval map of the world. It is the largest and most detailed example of a medieval world map to survive today. It is also a relatively large artifact, measuring 158 X 133cm, etched onto a sheet of calf skin.
The map shows Jerusalem at its centre and you can also see around 500 drawings of places such as the Garden of Eden. The map won’t resemble anything you have seen in a modern atlas, but with the help of an onsite expert, some understanding of medieval thinking can be gleaned. The Mappa Mundi is without a doubt one of the most important historic artifacts to be seen anywhere in England.
Day out in Herefordshire
Herefordshire is known primarily for its natural surroundings, with rolling hills, verdant forests and the winding River Wye providing pleasant scenery and homes to some of the UK’s rarest and most enthralling wildlife. But there are plenty of historic attractions too, as well as places that children will enjoy.
Whether it’s a few days camping in the Forest of Dean, or a more upmarket hotel in Hereford, however you plan to spend your time in the county, you’ll find plenty to keep the whole family entertained.
Quicklist: days out in Herefordshire
- 1. Visit Hereford Cathedral & the Chained Library
- 2. Go explore the Forest of Dean
- 3. Look round Eastnor Castle
- 4. Cycle or walk the Malvern Hills
- 5. Check out Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo, Ross-on-Wye
- 6. Go to the Black & White House Museum, Hereford
- 7. Climb up to Symonds Yat Rock
- 8. Wander down Church Lane, Ledbury
- 9. Explore King Arthur’s Cave, Ross-on-Wye
- 10. Have a drink at the Cider Museum, Hereford
- 11. Go to the Wye Valley Brewery, Bromyard
- 12. Enjoy Berrington Hall, Leominster
- 13. See Market House, Ledbury
- 14. The Weir Garden, Swainshill
- 15. Mappa Mundi, Hereford