We’d been living in London for around twelve years when we finally decided to up sticks, pushed out like most young families by the house prices, air quality and crime; my beloved Vespa was stolen one too many times. We knew we needed to move to another city as swinging from the liveliness of London to a sleepy village with no Deliveroo would have been too much of a culture shock. Plus we’d heard rumours that strangers outside London said things like "good morning"? We had no clue how to react to that social intrusion.

So to find the perfect city we decided to consult our digital oracle, that's right, opened up Google and typed in ‘best cities in England’ and Bath, over on the west side, was the top of the list. A few months later we were settling into the West Country way of life. It didn’t take us long to readjust, mainly because that area feels like the home you never knew you had. We’ve been here for three years now and have already made more friends than we made in our twelve years in London.

Exploring the West of England is our favourite thing to do, there is so much to discover, so many incredible places hidden in plain sight. We got the opportunity to explore Herefordshire during a weekend in a beautiful part-medieval home called Atelier Rose, hidden in a quaint riverside village near Leominster. The first thing I did when I arrived was kick myself for not studying harder at school, perhaps then I could go to medical school and be able to afford a house like this, but then my wife sympathetically reminded me that it wasn’t that long ago I asked Google if you could untie your belly button knot. After we calmed down the kids and bribed them to sleep, we opened a bottle of red and did some reading in the library.

Herefordshire is famous for their apples and cider so we decided to make that the theme of the day, in the morning we collected several wooden crates of freshly picked apples from the grounds of Atelier Rose then drove them all to The Little Cider Press Company about 30 minutes away, run by a lovely couple called Deborah and Nigel who help people in the area turn their surplus apples into cider. We learned all about a scratter, a bladder press, and how to ferment the apples and make them into something that makes you feel more interesting and charismatic for a short while.

The whole weekend was one big wonderful experience, not only did we unearth another amazing part of the West of England but we also left feeling like we wished it could have lasted a bit longer and that's how you always want to feel when the music ends. It was a perfect trip for a family who wants to escape and explore. 

Words, images and video by Stefan and Hannah Michalak: www.themichalaks.co.uk