Hereford is a small cathedral city on the banks of the River Wye and is the county town of Herefordshire, England.
The town is really an overgrown market town serving the needs of a pretty and historical agricultural county, full of orchards and grazing Hereford cattle.
Hereford is approximately 16 miles (26 km) east of the border with Wales, 24 miles (39 km) southwest of Worcester, and 23 miles (37 km) northwest of Gloucester. The town’s origins are very old and for many centuries it was the subject of border disputes between the Welsh and the English.
Being near the border, a large castle was built at Hereford. This was a base for repelling Welsh attacks and a secure stronghold for English kings, such as King Henry IV during his campaigns against Owain Glyndŵr in the Welsh Marches (1400–1415).
Hereford Castle was eventually dismantled in 1746 and landscaped into a recreation area, Castle Green. Castle Pool Lake is all that is left of the moat. The Victoria Footbridge across the River Wye links to walks along the riverside.
The present Hereford Cathedral dates from the early 12th century, and is a major tourist attraction. Special items of interest are the unique 13th century Mappa Mundi and the medieval Chained Library. Another iconic building in the city centre is a beautiful black and white half-timbered building, The Old House. This three-storey Jacobean house is now a fascinating museum.
Herefordshire is a global centre for cider production as it supports many acres of orchards. The city hosts a large number of breweries and associated organisations. There is even a Cider Museum.
- Spinning Dog Brewery in the city brews traditional beer
- Wye Valley Brewery produces beers such as Butty Bach and Hereford Pale Ale (HPA) and other real ales
- Western’s Cider on the outskirts of the city produces award-winning cider and perry
- Bulmers, now owned by Heineken, produces cider brands such as Woodpecker, Strongbow and Bulmers.
Hereford’s economy is mainly based on its role as a trading centre for the county. A new market handles large numbers of locally bred Hereford beef cattle. Products from the city include: cider, beer, leather goods, poultry, nickel alloys and chemicals. Hereford is also the administrative centre for the county’s National Health Service.
Tourism is becoming more important because Hereford is also a centre for the arts and music.
Classical composer Sir Edward Elgar lived at Plas Gwyn in Hereford between 1904 and 1911. During this time he wrote some of his best known works including The ‘Enigma’ Variations. He was a keen cyclist, and his association with Hereford is commemorated with a delightful sculpture in Cathedral Close of Elgar, dressed in cycling gear, propping up his bicycle and gazing at the cathedral.
Another reminder of Elgar’s association with the city is a wooden statue of a dog beside the River Wye. The ‘Dan the Bulldog’ Statue is a memorial to the Cathedral Organist’s dog that fell into the Wye and inspired one of the ‘Enigma’ Variations.
Three Choirs Festival
The city’s most famous musical event is the Three Choirs Festival. The three great Cathedrals of Hereford, Gloucester and Worcester take turns in hosting the festival. This annual musical event originated in the 18th century and is one of the oldest music festivals in the British Isles. In his lifetime, Elgar was a regular Three Choirs performer, composer and conductor.
Hereford’s turn to host comes once every three years but the participating cities are so close that it is easy to attend performances wherever they are held.
Hereford is home to a charitable musical school for the blind, has a Youth Orchestra and has two secular choirs, the Hereford Police Male Voice Choir and the Railway Choir.
Arts & Crafts
The Art Gallery is part of the Hereford Museum in Broad Street. There are a number of small independent galleries in the city.
The Hereford College of Technology is home to the National School of Blacksmithing, the oldest established Blacksmithing college in the UK, and the largest facility for training smiths in Europe.
- H.Art or Herefordshire Art Week, is an annual county-wide exhibition held in September, displaying the work of local artists. Many places usually closed to the public are opened during this week, such as the Bishop's Palace at the Cathedral.
Hereford is surrounded with lovely country estates such as Lower Brockhampton (NT), and picturesque little villages such as Eardisland and Pembridge on the Black and White Village Trail. We have included some ‘black and white’ villages in this website’s Picturesque Villages Tour.
Contact & Further Information
+44 (0)1432 268 430
- By Car
Main roads to Hereford are the A49, A465, and A438.
- By Train
Hereford is served by the Welsh Marches Line. The station is currently operated by Arriva Trains Wales. Services regularly connect to Worcester, Birmingham, London, Manchester, Cardiff and other settlements in south Wales.
For train timetables, fares and Ticketing, go to Web: National Rail Enquiries
Google Maps - Hereford City