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The best hotels in Herefordshire 2023: Where to stay for landscapes and rural charm

Whether you’re there to indulge in afternoon tea, mooch around Tudor villages or explore the outstanding countryside, here’s where to lay your head in this historic country

Portia Jones
Tuesday 11 April 2023 15:22 BST
Indulge and relax at one of our top hotel picks
Indulge and relax at one of our top hotel picks (The Feathers)

Known for cider farms, walking trails and charming Tudor villages, the rural county of Herefordshire straddles the Welsh border and has plenty to offer anyone dreaming of an Enid Blyton-style getaway.

Here, you’ll find a restful countryside stay among undulating landscapes and leafy orchards, perfect for exploring by foot, thanks to the numerous winding paths.

Sitting pretty in the West Midlands region of England, the county is home to Herefordshire’s Black and White villages trail, which leads visitors by car or bike around small but perfectly formed medieval villages, packed with half-timbered houses, proper pubs with nooks and log fires, plus quaint tea rooms galore.

Whether you’re a history buff, a family of adventurers, or a couple after a rural, romantic retreat (trying saying that with a mouthful of scones and jam), if you’re looking for a quintessentially English holiday, Herefordshire is sure to delight and deliver.

As for where to call home, you’ll be spoilt for choice, with everything from grand castles and luxury manors to gastro inns and made-for-action abodes.

Best for a city break: Castle House Hotel

Chill out in the hotel’s orangery where you can sip cocktails in stylish surroundings (Castle House Hotel)

Neighbourhood: Hereford

Owned by a local farming family, this Grade II-listed hotel was named one of 20 of the most charming UK city hotels by the Good Hotel Guide in 2017. Located by an ancient moat and just minutes away from Hereford’s impressive cathedral, with its famed Mappa Mundi and Chained Library, Castle House is ideally positioned to explore the city’s historic centre and local attractions.

The 24 individually designed rooms and luxury suites are split between a classic Georgian villa and the adjacent contemporary townhouse. Inside, country casual décor appears throughout, with floral designs, plush furnishings and a modern orangery where you can sip cocktails in stylish surroundings.

Dining is particularly good here, with dishes full of local produce, including organic salads, fruits and vegetables taken straight from the hotel’s kitchen garden at the nearby Ballingham Hall farm.

Best for history lovers: The Green Dragon Hotel

Dating back 900 years, this coaching inn oozes old-style charm (Green Dragon)

Neighbourhood: Hereford

Considered to be one of Britain’s oldest hotels, the Green Dragon dates back 900 years and has retained its coaching inn charm and original features, despite a refurb a few years ago. Known for its royalist connections, the cosy inn was occasionally used by Edward Earl of March (later King Edward IV) as his headquarters during the Wars of the Roses (1455-1487).

Rooms range from classic singles to luxurious doubles, and each one has a unique design with modern amenities, smart furnishings and bold splashes of colour.

Dining options are plentiful here, with modern and sustainability-focused dishes served in the retro 1920s-panelled dining room, casual dining in the relaxed Garrick Lounge, and carefully crafted cocktails in the grand Offa Bar.

Parents can take advantage of the lively ‘Mini Brunch Club’ for kids, with bottomless mocktails and Disney-themed entertainment to keep them occupied during the summer holidays.

Best for budget travellers: The Feathers Hotel

Fancy afternoon tea fit for a queen? (The Feathers)

Neighbourhood: Ledbury

This Tudor-era hotel has stood for over 400 years in Ledbury and is one of many timbered black and white structures that line the streets of this historic market town. Walk along the pretty High Street and discover a plethora of independent shops, galleries and bookshops, packed with vintage finds and local produce.

The town is surrounded by colourful orchards and walking trails, and you can also sample traditional ciders at nearby Westons Cider – its ‘Old Rosie’ cloudy cider offering is particularly crisp.

Inside The Feathers, spacious en-suite rooms have been recently refreshed and are individually designed with rustic furniture, bright floral throws and muted wooden beams. Enjoy a classic cream tea in the colourful bar and feast on finger sandwiches and crumbly scones.

Best for foodies: The New Inn

These bedrooms are as cosy as they are luxurious (Photopia Photography)

Neighbourhood: Hereford

Herefordshire’s rich farming heritage is celebrated throughout this modernised, 16th-century coaching inn. Alongside chic furnishings and modern dining, many historical features have been retained, with stone inglenooks, wooden beams and warming fireplaces.

Stylish rooms are simply furnished with touches of luxury, including cosy cotton robes, a freestanding bath and crisp linen sheets.

Dining is the big draw here – modern British dishes are expertly dished up by award-winning chef Michael Fowler, with Herefordshire produce used where possible. Foodies must try the seasonal tasting menu with wine. Typical dishes include shellfish risotto, fillet of beef and rhubarb soufflé.

Best for a spa break: Burton Hotel

Neighbourhood: Kington

Ideally located near Herefordshire’s Black and White Villages Trail, the family-owned Burton Hotel lies just off Offa’s Dyke footpath in the market town of Kington. This quintessentially English area is best explored on two wheels, and as luck would have it, you can rent bikes from Wheely Wonderful Cycling and meander through half-timbered villages, rural farmlands and river valleys.

Set within an updated coaching inn, the hotel’s spacious rooms are simply appointed and reasonably priced, considering spa and pool access is also included.

The Cloud Nine swimming pool and fitness club has all the usual spa offerings, including a sauna, steam room and an inviting indoor pool that’s perfect for a morning dip. Bookable treatments are also on offer should you wish to indulge in a facial or energising Swedish massage.

Best for a dog-friendly stay: The Talbot Hotel

Neighbourhood: Ledbury

A traditional black and white coaching inn that proffers the typical cosy ambience you might expect of a 400-year-old high street property in Ledbury. Weary travellers and their animal companions are welcome here, with a dog-friendly and rather charming pub on site, complete with a crackling open fire and local ales to sup on.

For dinner, all your classic pub faves are available, with beer-battered haddock and chips, steak pies and burgers featuring on the menu, along with sharing platters and veggie dishes.

Rooms are tastefully decorated, blending contemporary touches with historic features, and have a range of amenities, including toiletries and fresh coffee. Dogs are welcome in three of the rooms if you’re exploring Herefordshire with your pooch.

Best for luxury: Verzon House

Step into a true retreat at this countryside spot (The Verzon House Hotel)

Neighbourhood: Ledbury

A luxurious countryside escape in Ledbury, with nine en-suite rooms overlooking the verdant kitchen gardens and Malvern Hills. Rooms range in size and style, with most featuring a sizeable bath to sink into, along with the finest Egyptian cotton sheets and coffee-making facilities.

A hearty English breakfast is also included, loaded with local produce, such as sizzling smoked bacon from Knightwick Butchers.

Seasonal specials are served in the chic restaurant and bar, and incorporate ingredients from the hotel garden and Herefordshire suppliers where possible. The tender Wye Valley asparagus with egg and Monmouthshire ham is especially moreish.

Best for a stay in the suburbs: Charades Guest House

The modern guest house keeps elements of its period charm (Charades Guest House)

Neighbourhood: Hereford

Located in the leafy ’burbs of Hereford, this family-owned Victorian villa is just a short walk from the compact city centre, but is also an excellent base for exploring the surrounding countryside and small, medieval villages.

While it has been updated to be a more modern hotel, Charades has period property features that have been carefully preserved, with traditional tiled flooring, high ceilings and fireplaces still intact.

Large ensuite rooms vary in design and offer views of the city and its gothic cathedral, and most are decked out with vintage furnishings and Victorian-era touches.

Breakfast is served in the traditional dining room and is seasonally minded and locally sourced where possible. Herefordshire free-range eggs, cured bacon and plump sausages from the local butcher’s grace the morning menu, along with cereal, fruit and veggie options.

Best for outdoor enthusiasts: The Green Man Inn

This cosy cottage-style inn will make your Herefordshire dreams come true (The Green Man)

Neighbourhood: Fownhope

Rustic wooden beams and open fireplaces are some of the original features of this 500-year-old property in Fownhope. Thanks to the hotel’s proximity to the great outdoors, activities nearby are plentiful, with fishing and canoeing opportunities on the River Wye. You can also go cider tasting on Herefordshire’s famous cider circuits, which showcase local tipples and artisan producers for a boozy day out.

After a day of exploring, the Greenman is a welcome retreat, with a warming fire and locally sourced, seasonal comfort food served in the informal dining room.

Modernised boutique rooms blend heritage with contemporary design, alongside luxurious bedding, fluffy robes and sleek bathrooms stocked with complimentary L’Occitane products. Dogs are welcome here, with several pooch-friendly rooms available on request.

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