With its rolling agricultural landscape, Herefordshire is a countryside-lover’s dream. This laidback county in the West Midlands is an easy place to visit, with the likes of riverside trails along the wriggling River Wye and charming towns like Hereford making for an appealing agenda. Beyond Hereford, the picturesque Ross-on-Wye is an attractive town in the southeast of the county, and Symonds Yat is perfect for aquatic adventures. Continue reading to discover why Herefordshire is well worth a visit.
By far the best time to visit Herefordshire is in summer, when the long hours of warm sunshine and balmy summer evenings mean you can really make the most of a day out. Better still, when you return to your accommodation for the night, you can continue soaking up the atmosphere: stay at a campsite and gaze up at the stars, or relax in a hot tub.
A slightly milder time to visit Herefordshire, the autumn months promise a quieter feel to the county. You can enjoy a range of outdoor activities with vibrant foliage to appreciate, before stopping off at a beer garden or tearoom for a respite. Sit out on the balcony with a hot chocolate and watch the sunset, or curl up on the sofa with a good book.
Winter is another great time to visit Herefordshire; this will create ultimate cosy vibes as you layer up for an invigorating countryside walk before stopping off at a pub for a drink to warm up – especially if you position yourself by a crackling fire. Even if there’s more rain, there are plenty of indoor attractions and experiences to take on.
Spring is the best time for countryside walks, when nature is blossoming, wildlife is springing and the temperatures are still milder than the ‘heat’ of the summer months. Many places still consider this to be off-season, too, so you’re likely to find great value accommodation deals.
From exploring medieval castles to buying local contemporary art, the variety of things to do in Herefordshire highlights its versatility as a destination – and ensures there’s never a dull moment in this beautiful county.
Goodrich Castle is a medieval fortress that is incredibly well preserved; it’s one of the best of its kind in the country. Its exposed position looms over the River Wye; head up to the battlements for breathtaking views of the green land that surrounds this impressive castle. Located five miles south of Ross-on-Wye, this English Heritage site also has a tearoom that serves local-sourced food and drink, so it’s a great day out for all.
If you’re looking for a bit of grandiose to your Herefordshire trip, look no further than Berrington Hall. This Georgian mansion has a red sandstone exterior with elegant and intimate family rooms on the inside. Even if you don’t wish to go inside, simply venturing around the grassy parkland is scenic enough, where you’ll be rewarded with the sight of a 14-acre serpentine lake. There’s also a walled garden here and you can stop off at the on-site cafe for a bite to eat (vegetarian options also available).
Located in Bishops Frome in between Bromyard and Ledbury, Greenstage Gallery is a great thing to do in Herefordshire for art lovers. If art galleries are your thing, you’ll enjoy browsing the works on display here, showcasing art created by local, national and international artists. There’s a real range of artistic disciplines and styles to uncover; be inspired by abstract and still life, check out the statement oil and acrylic pieces and be wowed by the unique sculpture.
If you only have time to visit one place in Herefordshire, make it the county capital, Hereford. It’s home to a plethora of restaurants, hotels and interesting sights – one of the best being Hereford Museum and Art Gallery. Housed in a phenomenal Anglicised Venetian Gothic building, there’s even more of a treat waiting for you inside. Check out the Hatton Gallery, the Kenchester mosaic and a wooden-engraved timeline of Hereford.
There’s plenty of watersports to try out in Herefordshire. Canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding are among the most popular, and is an ideal option for groups of all ages and sizes. The River Wye is the perfect place for an aquatic adventure, with plenty of companies providing everything from equipment to lessons. There are also wild swimming pools and whitewater rapids to choose from, so you can go at your own pace.
Simply heading out on a walk is another top thing to do in Hereford, and proves exactly why Hereford is worth a visit. History and nature await you across a variety of routes. There are some 2100 miles of dedicated footpaths; the 154-mile Herefordshire Trail is an ideal option if you’re looking for a multi-day route, otherwise you can explore the Malvern Hills, Mortimer Forest, Golden Valley and more. Herefordshire’s so-called ‘easy peaks’ are simple to climb and reward walkers with stunning 360-degree views and, in the case of Garway Hill and Hergest Ridge, also come with the chance to meet the wild mountain ponies which graze these heights.
Ledbury is the town you’ll want to base yourself in if you’re planning on exploring the Malvern Hills. This historic town has plenty of history charm so you can easily while away a day or two exploring all the things to see and do here. There’s seventeenth-century architecture, cobbled lanes and plenty of local cider, gin and wine to sample – yum! The shops here are also worth a browse, including interiors mecca Tinsmiths and scandi delight, Hus & Hem.
The uniquely named Black and White Villages are located in central Herefordshire, and a visit here is like travelling back to yesteryear with its Tudor villages, half-timbered buildings and stately homes. While you’re here, you might want to rent a bicycle and cycle through some of the prettiest villages – Pembridge, Dilwyn, Weobley, Eardisley – as well as past hopyards, orchards and farmland. It doesn’t get more quintessentially English than this – and this is what makes Herefordshire one of the best places to visit in 2021. One of Visit Herefordshire’s excellent Cider Circuits – The Newton Wonder – journeys through this part of the county and recommended craft cider producers to visit en route.
A very popular museum in its own right, the Museum of Cider is one of Herefordshire’s top attractions. And it’s not hard to see why; the site tells the history of cider, set in the former Bulmer’s factory with 19th-century champagne cider cellars. Even if you’re not a fan of the drink itself, it provides a fascinating insight into the social history of this rural, local product. It’s a perfect rainy day option.
Herefordshire is home to a dizzying range of accommodation options. Whether you want a luxury stay in a historic hotel or stylish glampsite, go back to basics with a stay in a vintage caravan or cosy up at an inviting B&B, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to figuring out where to stay in Herefordshire.
You can stay on a llama farm at Old King Street Farm, where you can take the llamas out for a walk (or sometimes the other way around…). The farm is situated along a quiet road, with two holiday cottages – the Cider House and Pomona Cottage – to choose from. It makes for one of the more unusual places to stay in Herefordshire, but that’s part of the fun.
If you’d rather stay somewhere a little more basic than a holiday cottage, camping is a great way to reconnect with nature in Herefordshire. Tresseck Campsite is situated along the banks of the River Wye and is the ideal place to stay if you’re looking for tranquility – and maybe a digital detox. During the day you can launch for paddleboard just a few short footsteps from your tent, while come evening you can watch the crackling flames of the campfire.
Those searching for luxury B&Bs will love Royal Parade B&B, located in the heart of Ross-on-Wye. You’ll feel tucked away amidst all the action here with its private outdoor space (patio, garden), free parking and secure cycle storage. Breakfast is also available here, so you needn’t travel far in search of food – although when you do fancy venturing out, it’s ideal that the town centre is right on your doorstep.
There are plenty of self-catering options in Herefordshire for whatever your group size. Think barns, coach houses, holiday cottages and farms.... And with all the modern stylings and fittings, you don’t have to feel like you’re going without. To really go all-out, consider a stay at Rowden Mill Station, a former nineteenth-century train station that has been renovated into two self-contained spaces – the Station Building and the Parcel Office – that are modern on the inside but have been restored to its delightfully traditional aesthetic on the outside.
That said, you can’t beat a classic hotel stay in Herefordshire. With plenty of stylish rooms full of character, you’ll really be able to relax and get ready for another day of sightseeing by staying at a hotel. Consider The Feathers Hotel, located in Ledbury, with its traditional Coaching Inn vibe and eatery and coffee house on-site. The Green Dragon in Hereford is another stylish option, otherwise there’s the likes of the family-run Old Court Hotel, a Grade II-listed manor house in Symonds Yat – which is also a popular wedding venue.
Planning on driving or getting the coach to Herefordshire? Hereford is roughly a three-hour drive from London and 1.5 hours from Birmingham, while National Express coaches run from London Victoria and Birmingham to Hereford, Ledbury and Ross-on-Wye. Meanwhile, there are train stations at Hereford, Leominster, Colwall and Ledbury, where you can travel to and from the likes of Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff and London.
In terms of getting around Herefordshire, we hope the following information helps.
With public footpaths aplenty, the best way of getting around Herefordshire is by foot – not just for convenience, but as a way to soak up all that scenic beauty, too. With country walks, town-centre trails and multi-day hikes, walking actually makes for one of the easiest ways of getting around. It’s a very attractive option for those travelling on a budget, too – just make sure you pack decent, suitable footwear.
Similarly, getting around Herefordshire by bike is another popular way to discover this green county. You can either bring your own bike – plenty of accommodation types provide secure cycle storage facilities – or you can rent one instead. With a network of cycle paths, low traffic levels and small rural lanes, cycling around Herefordshire makes for a fun activity in itself. In Hereford, you can rent a Beryl Bike – just download the app, unlock the bike and off you go.
Getting around Herefordshire by bus is a convenient way to travel between towns in Herefordshire. The local service is Traveline, so it’s best to check there for the latest timetables. In general, though, you can expect a regular service from Monday to Saturday, but it’s worth stating that the service is severely reduced on Sunday. For reference, it takes roughly 1hr to travel from Ross-on-Wye to Hereford. If you’re still unsure, head to a tourist office to find out more.
Travelling by car is a convenient way to get around Herefordshire, with plenty of car parks, disabled parking and electric car parking points. While you don’t necessarily need a car to travel between places in each town, if you’re planning a larger visit to more destinations in Herefordshire then travelling by car is worth considering. If you’re planning on travelling by motorhome, it’s worth visiting the Herefordshire Council website for details.
These travel tips will help you make the most of your visit to Herefordshire.
At Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum in Dinmore, there are walks without stiles with easy access paths, hard surfaces and no steps. Those with accessibility requirements can also enjoy waymarked circular walks in Cradley and Colwall.
There are also Blue Badge parking spaces, accessible toilet facilities and a Shop Mobility scheme (Ross-on-Wye).
With woodlands, mountains and open spaces, Herefordshire is a great place for those travelling with dogs. Stay responsible for your pooch by ensuring they’re on leads, particularly around farms where livestock are, and always make sure your dog is in sight so you don’t lose track of them. An increasing number of accommodation, restaurants and pubs are becoming dog-friendly, but make sure you stay respectful of your hosts and/or fellow guests.
Mother Nature reigns supreme in Herefordshire, and there are plenty of ways that you can do your bit to support it too. Whether you’re having a picnic or a quick respite, always make sure you clean up after yourselves by using the bins provided, or carrying your rubbish with you until you find the nearest bin. You could also consider swapping the car for public transport, while if you have an electric car then there are various charging points spread over the county.
This article was written in partnership with Visit Herefordshire.
Aimee is an in-house Senior Travel Editor at Rough Guides and is the podcast host of The Rough Guide to Everywhere. She is also a freelance travel writer and has written for various online and print publications, including a guidebook to the Isle of Wight. Follow her on Twitter at