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Our guide to luxury Herefordshire holidays

From its cathedral cloisters boasting cartographical credentials to its proud cider-producing heritage and chocolate-box towns made up of bakers and makers, this is the Unique guide to luxury Herefordshire holidays.

Bordering Wales but firmly nestled in England's green heart, Herefordshire is a county of continuity; where the undulating Malverns meet the Black Mountains’ limestone grasslands, and the River Wye ripples through moorland, mountain peaks, and meadows regardless. It's a place that heralds history buffs; think medieval craftsmanship in Hereford (where the cathedral plays host to the world-famous Mappa Mundi and Chained Library), half-timbered Tudor buildings lining the black and white villages of Leominster and Weobley, and the Neolithic chambered tomb that is Arthur’s Stone.

At the centre of it all, fertile farmlands yield a bounty of orchards (over 15,000 acres, in fact) that bring clouds of apple blossom in spring, and a harvest of cider apples in autumn that yields scrumpy by the barrel. The unique guide to luxury Herefordshire holidays covers the bases for a visit – from last-minute breaks to those coveted long-term lets when only escaping the city sounds and letting littles run wild with abandon among the rolling hills will do. Here’s the things to see, do, and dine on in this agrestal county, plus the most coveted self-catering properties to call home while you’re here.

Locations in Herefordshire

Unfurl the map and plot days dotting between the historic market towns of Leominster and Ledbury, before braving the craggy summits of Cat´s Back in the Black Mountains, which draw bikers, botanists, and backpackers.

Collections in Herefordshire

Whether you´re stocking the fridge with baby formula for the first of many family holidays, or bubbles for a raucous New Year´s celebration, our curated collections are guaranteed to impress – whoever´s on the guest list.

Things to do in Herefordshire

Trek with llamas through the Black Mountains, glide across the border into Monmouthshire aboard a Canadian canoe for two, or unleash the inner bookworm whilst browsing treasured first-editions in nearby Hay-on-Wye.

Things to see in Herefordshire

Disappear within the wild flora of the Wye Valley, drink in mountain air on the western edge of the Brecons, or peruse contemporary art and sculpture at Canwood, where permanent collections are bolstered with visiting exhibits.

Where to eat in Herefordshire

Try local ales in old drover´s inns (where muddy walking boots are always welcome), savour field-to-fork street food rustled up by three farmers´ sons, or secure a coveted seat at one of the county´s Michelin-starred restaurants.

Journals about Herefordshire

Hear one former Londoner´s tales of a new life in the country (including learning all about a scratter, a bladder press, and how to ferment apples), and read about the Herefordshire home that made the Nordic round-up.

The British Nordic

The British Nordic

We owe much to The Nordics. Givers of Edvard Munch and the Moomins, of saunas and smörgåsbords. Here, we offer up our most earthen homes, built on hygge foundations.

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City dwellers take on Herefordshire: a weekend at Atelier Rose
Travellers' Tales

City dwellers take on Herefordshire: a weekend at Atelier Rose

The Michalaks, a young family who share their life through cinematic-style videos, explore Herefordshire during a weekend at luxury medieval homestay Atelier Rose.

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Channel 4’s Extraordinary Escapes

Channel 4’s Extraordinary Escapes

Sandi Toksvig returns with a star-studded line-up of celebrity friends to showcase the very best homes across Britain and Ireland, with a few Unique Homestays visited en route.

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The best surfing beaches in the UK and Ireland

The best surfing beaches in the UK and Ireland

Surfing nirvana needn´t be confined to far-flung places. Whether a seasoned boarder or a born-again “grommet”, surf trips on home soil know how to pack a punch (and stay under the radar).

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Herefordshire FAQ´s

Looking for advice on when to visit for Hay Market Day? Want to know the biggest town in the county? If you have a Herefordshire-specific query, you might find the answer here. For everything else, visit our general FAQs.

What is Herefordshire famous for?

There is plenty to write home about, from Herefordshire cider cake to Hereford Cathedral, but perhaps most famous is the county’s abundance of castles. Sitting close to the Welsh border, conflict was rife in eras gone by and great castles were built to defend England. Shrouded in myth and legend, sites like Longtown Castle, Clifford Castle, and Goodrich Castle at the border were often involved in heavy conflict. Mightiest of all is Offa’s Dyke, a 140-mile defensive earthwork built by King Offa of the Mercians, an English warrior tribe, in an act of defence against the Welsh.

How far is Hereford from the Welsh border?

Hereford is just over 20 miles from the Welsh border. That said, with beautiful scenery and lush valleys en route, the journey time is likely to take around 40 minutes by car or by train. Once part of Wales, Herefordshire became an English county under Anglo-Saxon rule but many of its street names remain Welsh to this day. Just don’t talk to the locals about it on rugby day – it’s a fiercely debated topic.

What is the largest town in Herefordshire?

Hereford. Its golden-stoned cathedral, mediaeval Mappa Mundi, and Chained Library are the main attractions but this pretty market town is more than just a cathedral city. Half-timbered houses line the streets and independent shops – clustered along Church Street – hide artisan treasures. The River Wye runs peacefully past the city, weeping willows sweeping into the gentle current; no better place for a mindful stroll.

Is Herefordshire the least populated county in England?

Herefordshire is a rural idyll, and those looking for peace and solitude need not look hard. With only 86 people per square kilometre on average, the county has the fourth lowest population density in England. Rolling hills carry shades of green as far as the eye can see and a patchwork of orchards, meadows, and ancient forests provide serenity from the highlands of the Black Mountains and The Malvern Hills. The dramatic vistas of the Wye Valley and the romantic ruins of The Golden Valley, interspersed with the occasional lively village, are almost guaranteed to be all yours.

What day is market day in Hereford?

Most of the towns and cities in Herefordshire host local artisan markets every week, with stalls ranging from farmers’ produce to arts and crafts, plants, and alcohol. In Hereford, market day is generally on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday with plenty to offer; freshly baked Welsh cakes, fine art, and hand-knitted woollen blankets. At the Welsh border, Hay-on-Wye celebrates Hay Market Day every Thursday and has been doing so for over 700 years. Leominster runs a market day every Friday at Corn Square, and word from the locals says the pies are not to be missed.

Own a property in Herefordshire?

Are you the keeper of an estate in the valley? Or the custodian of a chic shack on high? From Eardisland to Ross-on-Wye to timber-framed Ledbury, we´re seeking Herefordshire´s most unique homes to join our growing portfolio.

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