24 Hours In: Herefordshire

Old inns, that ancient map, and everywhere the cider culture. And, just over the border, the second-hand bookshop capital opens a whole new chapter...

1 A new day, and old oak

08:00: No apologies for the early start, for there's a long day ahead and attractions close early in winter. Wake up in an old oak four-poster double bed in Olchon Court in Llanveynoe, Longtown (01873 860356; golden-valley.co.uk/olchoncourt). This characterful 14th-century b&b is in the secluded Olchon valley, 20 miles south-west of Hereford. Bruce Chatwin stayed here while researching On the Black Hill and, with its inglenook fireplaces and antique surroundings, this is one of the most atmospheric b&bs you could hope to come across. Run by Jean and Tony Carter, this ancient house is reputed once to have been the lookout for Longtown castle, which lies at the centre of the superb view down the valley. Breakfast is served on an ancient oak table. Then there is just time for a quick stroll outside, perhaps along one of the many footpaths that start from the door - Offa's Dyke is close by. B&B costs £32 per person, per night, which drops to £30 for two nights.

2 Border town. Now read on

09.30: Hop in the car and trundle the 12 miles north to Britain's book capital, Hay-on-Wye, tucked just over the border in Wales but boasting a Herefordshire postal address. The views of the Black Mountains along the route are magnificent. Hay, as any fule kno, is a fantasy town for book-lovers. Importantly, it meets all expectations and has avoided becoming too popular for its own good. If there's a book you've been searching for, chances are it'll be here among the 40 or so bookshops. For more visit hay-on-wye.co.uk.

3 Michelin star in the Marches

12.00: You've made an early appointment for lunch at the Stagg Inn at Titley (01544 230221; thestagg.co.uk), 16 miles up the road from Hay in the heart of the Welsh Marches. The Stagg Inn was the first pub in the United Kingdom to be awarded a Michelin Star and is the only restaurant with the award in the county. Head chef is Steve Reynolds, who trained at Le Gavroche under Michel Roux before returning home to Herefordshire. Typical dishes include a starter of pigeon breast with herb risotto and thyme juice and main course of Herefordshire beef with red wine sauce. Expect to pay around £35 per person for three courses and wine.

4 Learning held in chains

14.00: Hereford is a 30-minute drive away and it's a bustling, attractive city. Head straight for the cathedral, which has two outstanding attractions. The Mappa Mundi, a 13th-century calfskin map, is thought to be the oldest map of the world in existence. The Chained Library - featuring a 17th-century anti-theft system comprising chains and rods - is home to 229 medieval manuscripts, the most important of which is the eighth-century Hereford Gospels. Admission to both the Mappa Mundi and the library costs £4.50. Last admission 3.30pm, closed Sundays (01432 374202; herefordcathedral.org).

5 Add fizz at the Cider Museum

15.00: About 63 million gallons of cider - well over half that is produced in the UK - comes from Herefordshire each year. You can learn more about traditional cider-making, visit a reconstructed farm ciderhouse and sample some cider brandy at the Hereford Cider Museum (01432 354207; cidermuseum.co.uk) at 21 Ryelands Street. Last admission 3pm. Closed Sunday and Mondays. Entrance £3.

6 Yield to temptation

18.00: There are some wonderful inns hidden away outside Hereford, but you've had enough driving for the day, and you're probably fed up that you had to watch your partner enjoying the fine wines at the Stagg Inn. So, instead check into the Castle House at Castle Street (01432 356321; castlehse.co.uk), a Georgian townhouse renovated at the turn of the century. There are 10 suites and each room is stylishly furnished with antiques. Double rooms from £200 per night, though for special occasions book the opulent Nell Gwynne Suite (she was born in Hereford) at £245 per night.

7 Keep Left for cocktails

20.00: For dinner, head for the Left Bank restaurant complex on Bridge Street (01432 349000; leftbank.co.uk.) overlooking the River Wye. Enjoy a cocktail at the riverside terrace before sitting down at the Floodgates Brasserie. Reckon on £35 per person for three courses, with drinks. Afterwards, head upstairs to Charles' Bar, which serves cocktails and tapas until 1am.

Arts and Entertainment
Chris Martin of Coldplay performs live for fans at Enmore Theatre on June 19, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Dave Mackay lifts the FA Cup in 1967 having skippered Spurs to victory
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
Arts and Entertainment
As depicted in Disney's Robin Hood, King John was cowardly, cruel, avaricious and incompetent
Life and Style
Travis Kalanick, the co-founder of Uber, is now worth $5.3bn
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Lifeguards / Leisure Club Attendants - Seasonal Placement

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Qualified Lifeguards are required to join a fa...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Exhibition Content Developer

    £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in South Kensington, this prestigi...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - major leisure brand

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Partner

    £25000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Partner is required to ...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn