An Explorer’s Paradise
An Explorer’s Paradise
One of Britain’s best kept secrets, Herefordshire is an idyllic rural country on the Welsh borders, three hours west of London. Loved for its unexploited peace and beauty, visitors come seeking wooded green hills and hedge-lined fields, its old market towns and villages – and its cider and perry.
The county’s red clay soil and equable climate mean that orchards have peppered the landscape for centuries. Today small and medium-sized cidermakers join bigger producers in opening their farm gates and cellar doors to share their ciders and perries.
With the River Wye winding through the county, Herefordshire saw the beginnings of commercial tourism in Britain. Steeped in history, visit stately homes and majestic castles. Look for old black-and-white timber-framed houses tucked away down country roads and cobbled streets, or explore enchanting gardens and windswept hill forts.
The cathedral city of Hereford is one of only five Areas of Archaeological Importance in Britain. With its strong farming heritage, the region is world-famous for both Hereford cattle and hops. In charming country pubs and town restaurants, talented chefs showcase seasonal local ingredients.
Come and find us. There’s lots to see.
While orchards have been here since Roman times, the first written evidence for cider and perry in Herefordshire dates back to the 15th century. In the 17th century Viscount Scudamore began pioneering work, developing the famed Herefordshire Redstreak apple. Two hundred years later the Bulmer brothers set up production, swiftly becoming the world’s largest cider maker and being responsible for the planting of millions of trees.
Established in 1973, The Cider Museum, Hereford, tells the story of cidermaking from farmhouse to factory. As well as old mills and presses there are 18th century cider glasses, 19th century apple watercolours and rare cidermaking artefacts. The cellars share the development of champagne-method cider.
Elsewhere, old stone mills dot the countryside, Berrington Hall (National Trust) has a heritage orchard and Westons still boasts magnificent Shire horses.
What sets the ciders of the West Country apart are the region’s peerless bittersweet and bittersharp apples and its precious perry pears. With their tannins, the ciders have depth and character as well as complexity and food friendliness. Popular cider apples include Dabinett, Michelin, Yarlington Mill, Foxwhelp and Kingston Black. Herefordshire cider and perry each have a Protected Geographical Indication.
Begin your cider visit at The Cider Museum in Hereford. See how cider was revered in the 18th century, explore the underground cellars where Bulmers perfected bottle-fermented sparkling cider, then sample a cider in the café while you plan your next visit. Look up the Herefordshire Cider Route with over a dozen cidermakers to visit. Head east to Westons for its Cider Mill tours illustrating the family producer’s 130-year-old history. Lunch at the Scrumpy House Restaurant or head to Woolhope to visit the cosy award-winning cider pub The Crown Inn. Visit nearby cider and perry specialist, Greggs Pit, to gaze at its ancient, giant perry pear trees within sight of the iconic May Hill. Venture south to Ross-on-Wye Cider & Perry and its atmospheric pub, The Yew Tree. Reserve tickets for an orchard tour and tasting, visit for Cider Club or the Ross Cider Festival, but whatever you do, don’t miss its amazing shop. North of Hereford are the famed cellars of Tom Oliver. Follow the road to Leominster for Newton Court, booking in to see Butford Organics along the way. Stay in a pub or return to Hereford and head to The Green Dragon Hotel. Be sure to visit the Hereford Beer House with its warm welcome and quality cider selection, and return to The Cider Museum to select your ciders to take home.
Plan your trip around The Big Apple’s annual celebrations, Blossomtime and Harvestime. Meet the makers at the famed Putley Trials or take a Westons tractor ride to Hellens, the manor house so important to the history of the perry pear.
Brave the winter and join the locals for Wassail, the ceremony to banish evil spirits and offer up cider to the goddess Pomona for a good harvest. Dating back to pagan times, expect fires, loud noises, singing and toasts from the Wassail cup.