Mix shopping with sightseeing in this cool cathedral city that is the perfect combination of town and country, with the fabulous Malvern Hills and Black Mountains right on its doorstep.
You get the best of both worlds when you visit Hereford, a thriving modern city surrounded by beautiful countryside, including the Malvern Hills and the Black Mountains. So while Hereford is a great place to shop, hang out and grab a drink in one of the local pubs or cafés, it also maintains strong links with its rural neighbours, and is synonymous with the area’s famous beef cattle and cider production.
Visit the Hereford Museum and Art Gallery, and once you’ve finished admiring its decorative Victorian exterior, step inside and discover Herefordshire’s rich cultural and farming history, including paintings by local artist Brian Hatton, a Roman mosaic and a two-headed calf. It’s the perfect introduction to the area and will set you up for exploring further afield.
Small, young and ambitious, Madam & Adam is an independent restaurant serving local produce with all the flair you’d expect from a Michelin-starred outfit. It’s run by local couple Beth Thompson and Swav Lewandowski, who serve up dishes such as crab salad, confit duck, mushroom tortellini and honey panna cotta. The menu is seasonal, so check them out on Twitter if you fancy finding out what they’re going to be dishing up next.
Castle House Hotel is an upmarket guest house close to the centre of town, just a short walk from the cathedral. The décor is simple and elegant, making the rooms feel both stylish and homely. A double room will set you back £125 per night – a particularly popular deal with businessmen and women. The hotel restaurant also comes highly recommended, and if you happen to be visiting at the weekend, make sure you grab a Sunday lunch – you won’t regret it.
The interior of Hereford Beer House is refreshingly unremarkable, with its brick bar and limited seating, more akin to continental café culture than British pub-going. There’s nothing fancy about the concept either – Hereford Beer House mainly serves craft beers and Herefordshire ciders – but the vibe is homely and relaxed, making it a top place to spend an evening.
No one visiting Hereford should leave without visiting the city’s wonderful cathedral. Dating from the 11th century, this classic piece of Norman craftsmanship is also home to the Hereford Mappa Mundi, the largest medieval map known still to exist.
The Old House is a beautifully preserved Jacobean building right in the centre of Hereford. Built in 1621, the house was originally a butcher’s home and shop, but is now a museum furnished in the style of the period. There’s a pleasingly modest original wall painting that’s well worth taking a look at.
Coningsby Medieval Museum, just north of the city centre, sits on the site of a former Dominican monastery. Inside is a museum dedicated to the building’s history, covering its medieval past as well as its role as an ex-serviceman’s hospital.
The Cider Museum explores the history of cider production, with artefacts from around the world including cider mills, presses and advertising memorabilia. And if you take the tour, you get to taste some local produce at the end.
Old Market is a great place for shopping. Built on the grounds of the former cattle market, which is now on the outskirts of town, it’s full of top retailers like H&M and Debenhams.
The Hereford Society of Model Engineering is just a walk away from the centre of town. Set up by a group of model engineering enthusiasts, the society opens its doors to the public approximately once a month, letting visitors ride their tiny trains. Check their website for more details.
A museum exploring the history of drinking water might not be at the top of your list of must-see attractions, but the Waterworks Museum is actually a fun day out for the whole family, with a great steampunk vibe.