With a 7th century Saxon origin, Hereford was extensively developed by the Normans who rebuilt its famous cathedral and the castle, the latter sadly no longer standing. This Wales/England river crossing point (Here-Ford) still has an abundance of stunning half-timbered buildings, together with architectural marvels like The Shire Hall and Town Hall. These sit alongside the modern developments of the Old Market Shopping Centre, Maylords shopping centre and the Courtyard; Herefords Centre for Arts.
Packed with myths and legends, daily guided walks reveal the treasures of Hereford Cathedral, with summer tours of the tower and the cathedral gardens. Wonder at the Mappa Mundi, the world’s leading example of a medieval map and the Chained Library, a unique collection of 1,500 books dating back to the 8thC many with their original security chains. High Town, the original Norman marketplace for almost 1000 years, is still the busy retail heart, with weekly and seasonal food, craft and retail markets. Explore the stunning Jacobean Old House now open as a museum, marvel at the tiny half-timbered former apothecary’s shop up high opposite Boots and for a taste of Victorian trading explore the Butter Market still in the heart of High Town. Don’t miss Hereford’s Independent Quarter centred in quaint cobbled Church Street, Saxon and once Cabbage Lane, it leads to the cathedral and, along with the little streets nearby, is home to a wide selection of small retail shops, eateries and pubs. The City’s foodie culture is seeing a revolution and including the well-known national chains, also has plenty of independent casual sandwich and coffee stops, gourmet burger bars, tapas, bistros and winebars, as well as fine dining at beautiful Castle House.
Learn about cider making in the Cider Museum located in the original Bulmer’s factory, once home of the world’s largest cider maker thanks to the abundant Herefordshire apple orchards. The Coningsby Hospital museum, originally a medieval home for old soldiers is said to have inspired the Royal Hospital for Chelsea Pensioners. A short walk or drive will bring you to the Waterworks Museum, an engineers dream, where you will see Victorian methods of supplying water to Hereford City, especially on their regular live steam days. Hidden away next to the River Wye is Castle Green, an early example of a city park laid out in 1745 on the site of the Norman castle. Join in the regular events that pop-up or stroll on over Victoria Bridge to St George’s Playing Fields and river walk, lovely for a picnic. Becoming more and more popular as a film location, discover some of real places featured in Phil Rickman’s Midwinter of the Spirit book and recent TV series. The City’s affinity with the arts will reveal composer Elgar’s legacy during his years here, marked with a bronze statue in the cathedral grounds, and the annual celebration of Europe’s oldest music festival the Three Choirs Festival. Jointly hosted by the choirs of Hereford, Worcester or Gloucester cathedrals for 300 years, Hereford Cathedral next hosts in September 2018. But for a real insight into the City, we highly recommend a guided walking tour with www.herefordguidedwalks.org.uk Plan your next visit, as there is so much more to see and do.