11 Things To Do In Herefordshire



Crossed by the River Wye and sandwiched between three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (Shropshire Hills, Malvern Hills and Wye Valley, the latter partly within its borders), Herefordshire is a magnet for fans of outdoor activities, from hiking to canoeing.

There is plenty for less energetic explorers, too, such as the medieval treasures of Hereford Cathedral, pretty market towns and independent cider producers, as well as parks and gardens with kid-friendly spaces and pursuits. 

Whatever you’re into, you’ll find it in this historic county. After booking your accommodation in the area, start browsing our list of the top 11 things to do in Herefordshire.

View of the river Wye (Mike Erskine on Unsplash)

Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum

Wildlife spotting and a child-friendly Gruffalo Trail

One of Herefordshire’s top attractions (and its only country park), Queenswood has something for everybody – and it’s got free entry, too.

Stroll through ancient woodland, or amid the Arboretum’s California redwoods and Japanese maples, spotting resident dormice, woodpeckers and butterflies. Alternatively, take your pick of several trails, including one scattered with sculptures of the Gruffalo and his friends. 

There are tables and barbecue stations if you want to bring a picnic, or stock up on pizza bases, mozzarella cheese and assorted toppings and hire the pizza oven for the day. 

Look for campsite accommodation near Queenswood Country Park.

Wye Valley

Outdoor activities and river views in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Outdoor enthusiasts, please form an orderly queue: there is plenty here to keep you all busy for the best part of a day – or three. 

Start with a hike through meadows of wildflowers or forested hills, then work your way up to Symonds Yat Rock, a limestone outcrop with expansive views of the River Wye below and peregrine falcons hovering above. 

You might also see kayakers gliding along the river from up there. If you fancy joining them, local outfits run family-friendly canoeing trips and paddleboarding classes, as well as hiring any gear you might need to explore independently. 

Book a campsite in the Wye Valley, or check out more Herefordshire walks here.


In and around Hereford

Hereford Cathedral

Medieval cathedral with a chained library and the Mappa Mundi 

Built around the 12th century on the site of an earlier church, Hereford Cathedral combines Norman and Gothic styles and has a decorated vaulted ceiling, ornate arches and stained-glass windows.

The architecture is splendid enough, of course, but the jewel in the cathedral’s crown is the Mappa Mundi, a large map of the world created around the year 1300. 

Like the London Underground map, this one pays little heed to the size of places and accurate distances between them. Instead, it focuses on religious importance (Jerusalem has pride of place at its centre) and interesting peoples and animals, such as lynxes, camels and, um, unicorns.

Also worth a look is the cathedral’s Chained Library, with more than 200 precious medieval manuscripts secured to the shelves by chains. These are long enough to take a book out for reading while also preventing it from slipping off the shelves.

Inside Hereford Cathedral (Stephen Radford on Unsplash)

Waterworks Museum

Hands-on kid-friendly exhibits in a 19th-century waterworks 

Parents who are constantly reminding their kids to turn off the tap when they brush their teeth might find that a visit to this museum (free for under-16s) will drive the message home once and for all. 

Housed in a former Victorian pumping station, the museum includes a heritage park with exhibits illustrating ways of obtaining water through the ages. Kids can have a go at pushing the capstan pump (a job that would have been performed by donkeys or ponies) or try carrying a yoke and buckets. 

After that back-breaking work, head next door to the Hereford Society of Model Engineers for short trips on miniature railways or a spot of model boating.

Hereford Museum and Art Gallery

Roman mosaics and a prolific local artist 

A 19th-century neo-Gothic building is home to the Hereford Museum and Art Gallery, with displays ranging from locally excavated Roman mosaics to textiles and farming curiosities like a two-headed calf.

The museum’s Brian Hatton Gallery focuses on this local artist, who created hundreds of works in a range of media, from watercolours to pencil, before dying in World War I, aged only 29. 

Less than 10 miles east of Hereford, Canwood Gallery and Sculpture Park displays contemporary works, including a steel bull, a driftwood horse and several abstract shapes, all within a green, hilly landscape.

The Weir Garden

Riverside garden with wildlife and children’s activities

If you fancy some zero-kilometre vegetables for your cooking pot back at the campsite, visit this National Trust-run attraction, which sells seasonal produce grown in its 18th-century walled garden. 

Sitting on the banks of the River Wye, The Weir Garden is also a haven for birdlife such as kingfishers, oystercatchers and swans. Spot them, alongside colourful butterflies and the occasional otter, as you picnic on the wildflower-filled meadows, reading about which Herefordshire gardens to visit next. 

Meanwhile, the kids can tick off ‘cloud watching’, ‘making friends with a bug’ and other items on the ‘Things to do before you’re 11¾ at The Weir’ (downloadable from the National Trust website). 

Book a campsite near Hereford.

Goodrich Castle, Ross-on-Wye

English Heritage castle remains with River Wye views

About five miles south of the market town of Ross-on-Wye are the ruins of this 13th-century Norman castle managed by English Heritage. 

The cannon in the courtyard is known as Roaring Meg. Don’t be fooled by the fairly innocent name: this is the very mortar that was used during the English Civil War (1642–51) to bombard Goodrich Castle into its current sorry state.

Explore the well-preserved remains of this stronghold, from the rocky moats to the chapel, with its contemporary stained-glass window. Then climb up to the keep to take in expansive views of the River Wye and the surrounding countryside. 

Search for campsites near Ross-on-Wye, or read about other Herefordshire castles.


Around Ledbury

Eastnor Castle

Lavishly decorated interiors and a yew maze 

Prepare to be wowed by the opulence of 19th-century Eastnor Castle and its monumental interiors. 

Designed by Augustus Pugin, better known as one of the architects behind Westminster Palace, the Gothic Drawing Room has gilded fan-shaped vaults and a painted ceiling, while both the Long Library and the Staircase Hall are hung with large, centuries-old tapestries.

As well as a deer park and a lake, the grounds have multiple play areas for kids, from a treetop walkway and mini zipwire to the Knight’s Maze, which is so challenging that those who dare enter it are given a map – just in case.


Market town with black and white architecture and nearby cider producers

Ledbury is famed for its black and white timber-framed buildings, including the early 17th-century Market House, which is raised up on stilts. 

Saunter along cobbled streets and alleyways looking for historic pubs like the Prince of Wales, or hire a bike and head about six miles south west to sample the wares of independent cider producers such as Westons and Gregg’s Pit. 

For more of Herefordshire’s half-timbered architecture, make a beeline for Leominster. Here you can pick up the Black and White Trail, which takes in villages and towns like Weobley (extra points if you can locate the black and pink house among all the monochrome) and Pembridge, where there’s yet more cider to be added to your haul.

Book a campsite near Ledbury. The area around Ledbury is known for its cider producers (Matthew Rumph on Unsplash)

Around Leominster

Berrington Hall

Country estate with gardens designed by Capability Brown 

Summer days were made to be spent at Berrington Hall, a late 18th-century country estate managed by the National Trust. 

Stroll through the vast parkland stopping for a picnic in the woods or by the artificial lake, where you can keep an eye out for herons, swans and voles. The grounds were designed by Georgian-era gardener to the stars Capability Brown, who also created the walled garden with its colourful flowers and fragrant herbs.

Embroidered silk waistcoats and satin and velvet dresses from the Wade Costume Collection are on display inside the hall, which is known for its delicate plasterwork and an elegant staircase under a glass dome.

Croft Castle and Parkland

Country house with play areas and a bee-friendly walled garden

A short drive west of Berrington Hall, 18th-century Croft Castle is another National Trust property. Kids can let off some serious steam in the grounds of this country house, with a castle-shaped adventure course and a natural play area.

Follow the marked paths through ancient woodland (home to a massive 1,000-year-old oak tree), and stop by the water basins at Fishpool Valley. 

When it’s time for lunch, head into the walled garden for a picnic among the vibrant floral displays. The entertainment? The various winged guests checking in and out of the elaborate five-star bug hotel.

Search for campsites around Leominster.


If the Wye Valley has piqued your interest and you’re keen to spend more time exploring the other Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in and around Herefordshire, be sure to check out our Central England Camping Guide for more hints and tips.