While staying at the house
To help you enjoy your visit to Herefordshire, we have put together a summary of some things of interest in the area.
The following are the sections:
SEE AND DO - tourism highlights
FOOD & DRINK - places to eat but also much more
LOCAL AMENITIES - nearest shops for supplies
WALKS - a selection of places to get out and about
TAXI - Local taxi and minibus services
See and Do
Hay-on-Wye is the second hand book capital of the World and the location of the famed Literary festival. This should definitely be on your list of places to see during your stay.
Should you want to sample some more modern entertainment, Hereford also has a
Black & White - To the North of the county, there is a range of small market towns and villages, many of which are well worth a quick visit.
Cider Route - If you are interested in one of Hereford's greatest exports - cider.
Cider Museum - Hereford has a Cider Museum too.
Weston's Cider is a local cider producer, it's lovely
There is also a tour available.
food & drink
In Herefordshire, we are extremely lucky to have some amazing produce, restaurants and pubs.
Given Hereford's link to cider (not just the home of Bulmers, the world's largest cider with Strongbow, Scrumpy Jack etc as part of its portfolio but also a multitude of smaller craft producers) and beef (the eponymous breed being synonymous with the most flavoursome meat), this may not surprise you.
Anyway, having spent a lifetime sampling as much as we can, these are a few thoughts on things to do out and about (don't forget, if you want to bring back some of that produce, we really have done our best to make The Old Vicarage's kitchen fully stocked to help you cook a storm. We also have a herb garden just outside the back door and fruit in the orchard. What's not to like?!)
We have broken this section down into a few areas:
Places to eat Food - Pubs & Restaurants
Drinks to go with Food (cider and others)
Festivals for Food
Shopping for Food
PUBS & Restaurants
There really is a plethora of possibilities in and around the surrounding area and the following is just a selection of them.
Bridge Inn - If you want a quaint country pub on the river that serves local beers and great food, you can't do much better than the Bridge. They can get busy at weekends but you won't regret visiting. Sample menu is available.
Pandy Inn - The Pandy is a great old pub dating back to the 12th Century. All beams and dried hops, it ticks most of the boxes when you think of a country pub. Food is also available. Sample menu is available.
Hereford has a great selection of new places offering a far greater variety than used to be available.
The Den - If you don't fancy a burger, how about the nearby Den.
Shack Revolution - Possibly pizza and cocktails with the cool kids, try shack revolution.
All Saints - For lunch, a coffee or a snack, something a bit different is the café inside All Saints church.
Granary - If you go into Hay on Wye, there are a variety of places to eat but we usually end up at the Granary for a lunchtime snack. Good, simple food with a range of veggie and vegan choices as well.
La Madeleine - French inspired cafe with Bistro Garden
Drinks to go with Food (Cider and more)
This website (http://www.ciderroute.co.uk/) gives an overview of the history of cider production in the area and also the process followed.
You can obviously drive around the various locations but it also gives details of a cycle route taking you along some of the best producers of both cider and perry . As you can see from the map, there is not a lack of choice of producers!
If you want to try local, you only need to go a few minutes down the road to find Denis at Moorhampton
They spend a lot of the time travelling around festivals but you can sample the produce at many local pubs and supermarkets and can also call in yourself to the farm to select it from source. This is cider made the proper way - not the mass production techniques of the larger producers!
A little bit further afield (about 40-45 mins drive), a big favourite is Westons who are now sold across the country and further but still maintain that independent feel. Stowford press is a very drinkable cider that is very widely available (and still tastes of apples) but Wyldwood is possibly my personal favourite. It's organic but at 6%, care needs to be taken. The Henry Westons vintage has even more of a bang at 8.2% but is still very drinkable.
They have a visitor centre that explains all about cider making and the company. Tours are also put on several times a day (11, 12.30, 2, 3.30 last time we checked) - suggest you pre-book but these are highly recommended and we have been on them several times. This is not just for the tasting session at the end - honestly!
They also have tea rooms, a restaurant and various animals to see - something for everyone.
If you're in Hereford itself, there is a cider museum which may not offer quite the experience of Westons but still gives a good insight to the history and process and if you don’t want to head over to Westons is worth a visit.
Finally, I feel we need to mention Butty which is an ale rather than a cider but is the pride of Herefordshire.
It is available in bottles in most local supermarkets and shops but is at its best when drunk on draft.
Known as a "burnished gold, full-bodies premium ae", it has won many prizes.
Wye valley brewery also offer a pale ale which I would normally expect to be more to my taste but butty is always my go to drink. You should try it!
They have built up a stable of 8 pubs in the local area, all of them specialising in offering great beer and reasonable prices. The Barrels in Hereford is mentioned in more detail in the pubs and restaurants section.
There really are a multitude of walks available. The following are a few of our favourites:
Olchon Valley (Cat's Back) - A 20 min drive to start. A ridge walk that gives stunning views (but is often windy!). Probably about 90 mins. This is also the setting for Resistance by Owen Sheers as referenced in this Hereford Times walk
Hay Bluff- Walk to the top of the bluff and along the ridge or if the weather isn't great, you can just walk along the quiet road and back again to the car. Walk duration can be anything from 10 minutes to 90 minutes.
King Arthur's Stone - Not really a walk but something you can possibly call in at on your way back from somewhere! Just a few miles up the road towards Hay.
Other stuff:- Slightly further afield and you have Brecon Beacons and Pen Y Fan, you have The Sugarloaf ,the Blorenge and the Skirrid down towards Abergavenny. If you fancy something longer and can plan transport, how about a walk along Offa's Dyke itself, maybe from Pandy to Hay.
If you want to print out the Olchon Valley and Hay Bluff walks, try this pdf document that we have created.
Closest Shop - The closest place for picking up your milk etc is the Londis which is 2 miles up the road in Peterchurch.
Bigger Shop - Locks garage is a 10 minute drive down the road and comes highly recommended. Open 5am to 10pm 7 days a week. Described by The Times as "The Fortnum and Mason of the Borders" this is the hub of local life and offers a ridiculously broad range of everything you could ever need.
Big Shop - The closest supermarket is Tescos, which is open 6am - midnight (10-4 on Sunday). Delivery to the house is available.
There is a bus service travelling between Hereford and Brecon that goes right past the front door but given that they only travel a few times a day, it is probably not something that you are likely to be using.
Taxis are available in Hereford and will come out to Vowchurch.
An approximate cost for a taxi to Hereford is about £35.
Some possible companies shown below:
www.blueline-taxis.co.uk - 01432 343435
www.herefordranktaxis.co.uk - 01432 278279
www.hitowntaxis.co.uk - 01432 354321
If you do fancy a night out and would rather not have to drive, another option is to use a local minibus
Prices are very reasonable so please call 01981 550840 or 07896 984349 to check availability (NB this is a service offered by someone living locally not a faceless 24 hour taxi company so check early for availability!) Approximate prices for a return journey (for up to 16 people):
The Bridge - £50
Hereford - £65
Hay - £65