We’re never short of things to do in Herefordshire. From historical trails to vibrant experiences, City fun or rural adventures, there is always something to enjoy or explore. So we’ve put together some of the best activities and experiences from the county and hope that this summer will be full of fun for you and your family. Here are our Top 20 things to do in Herefordshire.
Hampton Court Castle
Herefordshire is a haven for historic houses and castles, usually situated in beautiful locations within stunning grounds and gardens. Hampton Court Castle is no exception. It’s one of Herefordshire’s special attractions and predates Hampton Court Palace in London by almost a 100 years.
Revel in the symmetry of the Dutch garden or appreciate the superb sunken garden with its exquisite waterfall and tunnel. Enjoy acres of pathways, herbaceous borders and water features, vast rose terraces, the spectacular 150 year old wysteria, the inspiring walled Kitchen Garden, and the maze made from 1000 Yew trees culminating in an ancient look-out tower. All set against a glorious backdrop of Herefordshire countryside.
You’ll appreciate the stunning views from the castle and the pretty river walk gives you the opportunity to explore more of the grounds. There are plenty of places to sit and enjoy your surroundings and lay out a picnic or just bring a flask for a peaceful cup of tea.
If you love history, guided tours of inside the theatrically decked out Castle are run on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. Then you can relax with the family or have fun with the kids in the exciting castle play area, complete with turrets, tunnels, scramble nets and a slide.
The Orangery Cafe is open daily for lunch or cream tea. Look out too for the various one-off events held throughout the season.
When you think about museums often you visualise a dusty location full of relics but a visit to the Waterworks Museum in Hereford City will definitely change that perception. It’s interesting, fun and interactive. This time capsule of social history charts the heritage of Herefordshire’s water supply, housing a unique collection of working industrial artefacts concerned with the supply of potable water.
Children love the Noel Meeke Heritage Water Park where they can interact with full-size water pumping devices, learn and have fun!
Look out for the popular In-Steam days and family fun days where you can see the machines in glorious pumping action and enjoy a picnic at the same time.
Virtually all the engines and pumps are among the last remaining working examples on public display, plus it has the UK’s best collection of hot air engines.
Adding to the heritage theme, you’ll also find the enthralling World War 2 bunker style display of artifacts from the era.
Families love this wonderful attraction, it really is a hidden gem!
Hereford Cathedral – Escape Room & Tower Tours
Hereford Cathedral is one of our most wonderful landmarks and a fabulous place to explore at any time of the year, sitting majestically looking out across the meandering River Wye and Hereford’s historic city. This wonderful cathedral is home to the Mappa Mundi, the incredible 17C Chained Library and the stirring ‘Ascension’ SAS memorial window which was created by Royal Academy sculptor John Maine.
If you like an adventure, you can climb the 218 steps up the Cathedral tower and view some of the finest panoramas the city has to offer. Tours include the Lantern Gallery and Ringing Chamber, giving you an insight into how the bell ringers work together to create the magnificent sounds from the cathedral bells. Certificates are issued to all who manage the climb to the top.
Take a tour inside the cathedral with one of the knowledgeable guides who will offer you a trip through the rich history and beautiful architecture of this stunning building. Learn also about how St Ethelbert met his demise, why Sir Richard Pembridge has three legs, and why the cathedral has carvings of many pigs.
If you like a challenge then grab your family and friends and see if you can crack the ‘Escape Room’, located in the Old Chapel in the Cloisters, this interactive clue-cracking and decoding game is a lot of fun. Imagine….
‘It is 1890. You have been accused of embezzling money from the funds of the Vicars Choral. The police have been called and are on their way. You have been shut in the Old Chapel until the police arrive, and you have just one hour to work out who has committed the crime. If you can successfully convince your guard that you are innocent, you will be released before the police arrest you…Can you prove that you are innocent?’
Finally if you love well-tended gardens then take a tour of the Cathedral gardens. Explore the four acres of terraced lawns, beds and ancient trees which stretch right down to the River Wye. The Cloisters garden, which was traditionally planted with apothecary plants for healing purposes and the historic Chapter House Garden nestles amongst medieval ruins and is quite magnificent.
There’s so much to see at Hereford Cathedral, we recommend taking your time to enjoy every moment.
Need to see more amazing Herefordshire castles? Then head east of the county to Eastnor, just beyond Ledbury. This dramatic, fairy-tale castle is situated in a 5000-acre estate in the Malvern Hills within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Guided tours of the dramatically staged castle take place on Tuesdays, when their friendly and knowledgeable guides bring this amazing building and those who once lived here to life. It’s informative, interesting and quite astonishing, especially when you realise that this is still a current family home for the Hervey-Bathurst family, who have held this seat for 200 years!
With magnificent views of the rolling Herefordshire countryside, this stunning castle is surrounded by a beautiful lake, arboretum and deer park. Check out their jam packed schedule of events throughout the season. From the very popular Chillifest, Steam & Vintage days, Open-air Theatre and Music Festivals which will entertain the adults, to their popular children’s activities for all ages, Animal Encounters, Archery, Teddy Bears Picnic & Storytelling, Circus Skills and Dance Workshops to name but a few.
It’s always a very enjoyable day out with family and friends and perfect for a stroll or picnic.
National Trust Properties
If you feel that the great outdoors is calling you and you need to immerse yourself in a whirlwind of beautiful places, nature and wildlife, take a trip to any one of the National Trust properties located within beautiful Herefordshire. All you need is your wellies and a great picnic!
For history lovers, NT Croft Castle near Yarpole is nestled in 1500 acres of historic woodland, farm and parkland and dates back before the Domesday Book. With its wealth of veteran trees including a 1000 year oak, the Croft estate is one of the top ten sites in the country for the quality and diversity of ancient trees.
The Croft family have been key players and confidantes to England’s leaders since 1055. From Edward the Confessor to Winston Churchill, find out how the family played their part in major historical events, and how Croft Castle was eventually passed to the National Trust.
Discover the working walled garden complete with historic orchards, vineyard and 1908 glasshouse. If you’re feeling really energetic you can also hike up to the Iron Age hill fort which overlooks some superb views including the Brecon Beacons.
Berrington Hall is the neoclassical 18th-century mansion designed by Henry Holland, home to the Harley, Rodney and Cawley families. The picturesque, moated manor house was built over 600 years ago and portrays life through the eras. The 1,700 acre estate with woodland, orchards, parkland and farmland is absolutely glorious.
Explore this vast estate and enjoy renowened designer ‘Capability’ Brown’s final legacy, which includes a serpentine pool (now used as a boating lake), woodland and grazing cattle and sheep. Not to mention the very rare curved walled garden and pleasure grounds.
The spectacular The Weir Garden is a place to enjoy some peace and tranquillity and awash with natural beauty. This delightful ten acre riverside garden was created in the late 18th century. With its ancient trees, rockery and Roman ruins, it’s the perfect place to have some quality family time while watching the wildlife on the River Wye.
Noted for its abundance of spring bulb blooms and tranquil river views this is a great place to bring a picnic and enjoy some easy walking.
The 1,700-acre Brockhampton Estate near Bromyard, remains an active farm and Lower Brockhampton Manor House is the romantic white timber-framed house dating back to the late 14C, reminiscent of story books of ancient times..
The house is surrounded by a moat and is entered via a charming timber-framed gatehouse, built 1530-40, and this highly photogenic building is a stunning capture all year round.
Brockhampton is home to 21-acres of traditional orchard, accessible on hard-standing paths. Hoping to follow the style of the afrementioned Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, Thomas Leggett was commissioned to produce a layout of the parkland and designed his landscapes in a naturalistic style. Sadly his ambitious plan to include a serpentine lake was never realised. There are miles of walks through the orchards, park and woodlands, featuring ancient trees, the picturesque Lawn Pool and great views of the surrounding Herefordshire countryside.
At each National Trust property they hold a range of activities and events throughout the year for families, so keep an eye on their website.
Herefordshire is world famous for its cider and and still produces over half of the UK’s cider. The fabulous Hereford Cider Museum is located on the original Bulmers Cider factory site and is a wonderful way to discover the history of this great drink and the traditions of how it was made, right through to the modern day.
Founded in 1973, Hereford Cider Museum is celebrating 50 years of preserving the history of cider making worldwide with an amazing exhibition which will run until this autumn.
Their extensive collection of memorabilia includes cider mills, presses, bottles, old photographs, watercolours, advertising materials and a rare collection of English lead crystal cider flutes dating from the 18th century.
Explore the champagne cider cellars, copper’s workshop and VAT house and peruse the wide range of cider, perries and Hereford Cider Brandy for sale in their lovely gift shop. Their cosy tearoom also offers drinks and light snacks.
Hereford Cider Museum is brimming with great artefacts so why not journey back in time and enjoy the story of cider.
Oaker Wood Leisure
Oaker Wood is a favourite choice for family days out and holidays… not just for kids. This amazing activity centre offers paint balling, quad bike trekking, raft building, clay pigeon shooting, low rope assault course, high ropes and target shooting. Set in 175 acres of mature woodland and lakes and deep within Mortimer Country in North Herefordshire, it’s a popular choice for all ages.
Their new Escape Room provides real code cracking conundrums and the Woodland Krypton Trail tests your problem solving skills even further.
Why not combine all these great activities with a stay in their superb glamping village and make that family or group get-together or special celebration one to remember.
Hereford Canoe Hire
If you’re thinking of a tranquil day out exploring Herefordshire waterways, Hereford Canoe Hire offer extra special and unique experiences that you’ll remember forever.
Enjoy some of the country’s best countryside as you paddle one of the quietest and safest stretches of the River Wye, surrounded by an abundance of wildlife while drifting down the water with recommended stop-offs for a picnic or pub lunch and a bit of exploring.
There are a range of experiences available from half days, full days and multi-day. With an affilliation with several campsites en route, you can plan overnight stays and stop-offs easily.
So if you’re a novice or a more experienced paddler, Hereford Canoe Hire will ensure a robust safety briefing and give you plenty of advice on how to get the best from your river adventure.
Escape to the country, within the picturesque grounds of Eastnor Castle, near Ledbury and spend a relaxing day or weekend learning how to make pottery on the potter’s wheel.
Whether you have an urge to explore a new talent, just fancy a creative day out, have a group or family occasion, or are experienced and want to explore more advanced techiniques with master potters Jon and Clare, Eastnor Pottery offer remarkable pottery experiences for individuals and groups.
Working with all ages and abilities, exploring creativity and sharing the therapeutic benefits of working with clay, you’ll love the wonderful welcome you’ll receive and it’s great fun too.
Wye Valley Falconry Experience
Rated by TripAdvisor as the No.1 outdoor attraction in Herefordshire, Wye Valley Falconry offers enthralling experience days to fly and handle birds of prey, raptors and owls.
Meeting at approved countryside locations to suit you, handler Luke will enchant you with his knowledge and delights in you getting hands-on with his family of birds, including owls, falcons and hawks.
This is a brilliant activity for all ages and can be arranged 1-1 or in groups, and is a super gift or way to mark a special occasion … Luke’s birds have even been known to fly a wedding ring down the aisle!
The Viking Games
Ever wondered what Vikings used to do in their leisure time? Well think no more, a day at the Viking Games will soon answer that. From Axe Throwing, Archery, Bullrings, Kubb, Molkky or Stige, become a Viking for the day and compete for the crown of the Viking warrior. Try your hand at traditional Nordic games that have been adapted for some twenty-first century fun.
It’s a brilliant opportunity to get friends and family together for a fantastic day out. Located in the gorgeous surroundings of Herefordshire’s Golden Valley. If you prefer paintballing or laser clay shooting then you can do these activities too. Prepare yourself for a fun experience that that will have you laughing all day, especially the Viking cosplay photo at the end. Shields ready!
Indie Food Fest
Hereford Indie Food is a 3 day urban festival of street food, music, makers, and produce – set in the heart of Hereford city. This incredible festival is all about great independent food & drink businesses from of Hereford and beyond. A foodie paradise set against the backdrop of some amazing music.
Welcoming big names to Hereford to headline the event, this year sees Craig Charles, Jetski and the Undercover Hippy. A mix of bands and DJ sets are planned to wow the crowds. Attracting over 7000 people over the weekend, this amazing street party has established itself as one of Hereford’s key events.
Tickets are available for the 26th, 27th and the 28th of August 2023, the festival will also now be open on the Monday daytime.
Come and have some fun!
Cup Ceramics located in Hereford City is a hot bed of pottery experts with an absolute passion for getting their hands on clay and turning it into something rather fantastic! They love sharing their knowledge with absolute beginners or those with more experience and are never happier when they’re discussing kilns, glazing, ceramics or having a ‘throw down’.
Their shop showcases the crafts of their talented makers and cute cafe offers welcome tea and cakes.
Be inspired, choose from a wide variety of sessions depending on your experience and you’ll enjoy every moment spent with this amazing team.
Black Mountains Gin School
Come and spend an afternoon at award-winning Herefordshire distillery Black Mountain Botanicals, where their master distiller will give you all the training needed to distil your own personal bottle of Gin. Located at the foot of the Black Mountains you’ll receive a very warm welcome from the team, whose experts will guide you every step of the way.
Firstly you’ll embark on a tour of the Gin distillery room, in the rustic farm buildings where the alchemy happens and learn about the gin making process before you’re let loose on creating your own tipple.
With the help of the master distiller, you’ll soon know what ingredients you need, which flavour profile you fancy and your most favourite botanicals to add. Then with a little bit of G&T magic, you’ll have your own personalised stoneware bottle of the good stuff to take home and share.
Before you leave you must check out their emporium of fantastic craft gins, which range from silky smooth cuts, to fruity Herefordshire apple blends, perfect to take home as a treat.
Gwatkin Cider & Down on the Farm Music festival
If you love a good rural festival where you can dance the night away head to Down on the Farm.
This year celebrates the tenth Gwatkin Cider’s Down on the Farm Festival. Starting out as a one day event, this wonderful festival has now expanded to three full days of party fun!
Over the last few years the festival has hosted the superbly entertaining Dr & The Medics, the fantastic tribute act Hats off to Led Zeppelin, Guns n’ Roses Experience, Dr Feelgood , Bootleg Blondie, folk-punk legends Sons of Clogger, the fuel injected rockabilly band The Delray Rockets, Under A Banner, Artstar, Headsticks, local favourites the BBC Acoustic band and many others.
Gwatkin Cider itself is a working family farm famous for its 35 varieties of cider and perry set in the very beautiful Golden Valley. With fruits plucked from their own orchards (random fact – the above-mentioned Black Mountain Botanicals above uses Gwatkin’s surplus for their spirit mash) owner Denis Gwatkin favours traditional brewing methods and when not on the farm you’ll see his distinctive beard at festivals and shows on a Gwatkins stand.
The cider shop stocks these ranges as well as local beers and spirits.
New to the farm location is the Red Cow Tavern, their fabulously rural restaurant serving good quality hearty homemade food, from their tavern style building overlooking the fields. Pop in for real feast or just tea and cake as you explore this beautiful part of Herefordshire.
Hop Pocket Shopping Village
Walking into the fabulous Hop Pocket Shopping Village always gives us a feeling of excitement. The one you used to get as a child when you stepped into the best toy shop or sweet shop and couldn’t decide what to look at first.
From decadent food and drink delights, artisan chocolate, shoes, fashion for all ages, jewellery and homewares from independent retailers, The Hop Pocket Shopping Village at Bishops Frome is full of all sorts of lovely things.
Set on a large site at the base of Fromes Hill on the Herefordshire/Worcestershire border, it’s a real year-round 5.5 acre shopping destination. Beautiful interiors meets quality garden products and plants, while the vast craft emporium has gift and impulse buys galore.
With a childrens’ play area in sight of the restaurant, it’s the perfect venue for meeting friends, for a family day out or simply some indulgent retail therapy.
In the well-stocked Food Hall you’ll find some superb local produce and gifts, including free range eggs, meat, chocolate, fudge, crisps, bread and ice cream complementing the local preserves, beer, cider, wines, gins & liqueurs that the Hop Pocket is so well known for. Sound yummy? It really is!
The welcoming cafe is a great place for a shopping pitstop with some delicious freshly prepared dishes for you to enjoy. Or you could go straight for the scrummy cakes, the choice is epic!
With FREE parking and great accessibility, this is a day trip rain or shine.
City Walking Tour
Want to find out more about historical Herefordshire? Then let the Hereford Guild of Guides take you around the City and share stories and secrets about Hereford times gone by. Hear about the history of the city through the ages from Saxon times, its role in the Civil War and its famous people.
Guided daily walks take place at 11.30 Mon – Sat and at 14.30 Sundays, starting from Hereford Cathedral, taking in current landmarks and the sites of those no longer in existence but what once made Hereford the second most important city in England. Usually running from the week before Easter until October 31, but do check the website. Tickets can be obtained from the Cathedral shop or just rock up and let this amazing team bring Hereford City to life.
Look out too for the themed walks which are great fun, Hauntings & Horrors, Elgar in Hereford, Famous People of Hereford and The River Wye.
Meet your Guide outside the main entrance to the Cathedral at the North Porch and get ready for a very interesting hour!
Other enthralling Hereford City must-visits include Hereford City Heritage Suite in the architecturally stunning Roccoco Gothic Town Hall alongside the Mayor’s Parlour, home to Hereford’s orginal ancient charters which made it a City, and the City’s silver collection. And The Black & White House Museum in High Town wonderfully depicts life in Jacobean times from this picturesque central atmospheric building.
The Woodee – Fire Pit cookery course
On a ‘Woodee Experience Day’ you’ll learn how to cook up a veritable feast of delicious food. Learn about fire lighting techniques and fire pit management and how to cook a variety of easy-to-replicate dishes at home. In no time you’ll be able to confidently make your own tasty creations on a fire pit to share with family and friends. Think canapes and starters, main course and delicious puddings!
So whether you’re a beginner or into more advanced entertaining, you’ll love spending the day with the Woodee in the gorgeous Dorstone countryside, cooking up a foodie storm.
Summer wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Nozstock, The Hidden Valley music festival. Set in an absolutely stunning rural location this popular festival draws party people from all over the UK and beyond.
Like the very best of festivals, Nozstock was founded by a fun-loving family and their friends.
Nozstock is a sonic escape boasting eleven stages of entertainment with surprising sights and intimate, secluded areas of theatre and discovery to be unearthed. Music lovers can look forward to a weekend of fun, thrills and adventures as a plethora of bands and acts entertain party go-ers.
There’s a feast of artisanal food and drink, colourful characters and a clear connection to enjoying nature and the beautiful surroundings on this pretty working farm.
The festival features a huge range of entertainment, activities and inspiration for families and kids, and has a fresh theme each year. Prepare yourself for an absolute blast!
Herefordshire is blessed with an abundance of horticulturally lavish and visually inspiring privately owned gardens, open to the public to share the owner’s passion for plants and landscapes.
You’ll adore the love story that inspired the work of Sir Roy Strong to create The Laskett Garden, now operated by horticultural charity Perennial. The influence of RHS judge and author Tamsin Westhorpe is highly apparent at relaxed Stockton Bury Gardens, which is owned by her uncle. The ebb and flow of Westonbury Mill Water Gardens and its water-powered giant cuckoo clock, and glass bottle folly will entrance you. The year round terraced spendour of Brobury House and Gardens with their new walled garden cafe changes with every season. Hergest Croft Garden’s 70 acres brings you 5000 rare trees and shrubs under the care of former RHS Presidents Lawrence and Elizabeth Banks. And the intricate gardens of one of the oldest dwellings in England, Hellens Manor, will show its history in every outdoor ‘room’.
Download our free Gardens Guide Map to plan your next tour
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