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Wye Valley at Symonds YatOne of England’s most sparsely populated counties, Herefordshire certainly lies off the beaten track for most tourists. However, the lovely region of pristine countryside and market towns has much to delight, if you give it a chance. Herefordshire is a heaven for walkers, as evidenced by the popular annual Herefordshire Walking Festival, which is in its tenth year. The county is also well known for its ciders, and other local produce. Hereford is the county town, and several other smaller towns of interest dot the countryside. 

The Herefordshire CiderRoute is a must for cider lovers and takes you round to all the cider producers in the county – details can be downloaded from the official Herefordshire tourism website. Avid walkers will be interested in several walking paths, such as the Offa’s Dyke Path and the Wye Valley Walk. The Three Choirs Way links up the cathedrals of Hereford, Worcester and Gloucester, the three cathedrals that alternately host the Three Choirs Festival, a celebrated classical choral music festival, every year.

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Hereford CathedralThe cathedral city and county town, Hereford is the largest city in Herefordshire with a population of around 56,000. As far as county towns go it retains a slow pace of life and a quaint atmosphere. It is largely the agricultural and livestock centre for the county, and a weekly cattle market is still held on Wednesdays. 

High Town is a pedetrianised, open space that is pretty much the centre of town, functioning as a meeting and market place. The picturesque shopping street, Church Street (map-1), will take you towards the cathedral, which lies to the south of High Town, near the River Wye.


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Mappa MundiHereford Cathedral [map-2, 5 College Cloisters, Cathedral Close, +44 1432 374202, Suggested donation: £5] is home to the famed Mappa Mundi, a 13th century map drawn on a single sheet of vellum (calf skin). This fascinating map shows how scholars of the time interpreted the world, complete with mythological creatures and illustrations of historical and biblical events. The cathedral’s other attraction is its Chained Library, where you can see the library in controlled conditions, as it would have been in the 17th to early 19th centuries. Chaining books to the shelves was a common security practice in medieval times, and this is one of a few such libraries surviving today. One of the treasures of this library is a 1217 reissue of the Magna Carta. The Mappa Mundi and Chained Library exhibition carries an additional admission fee of £4.50.
Nestled within the commercial centre of the city, Old House [map-3, High Town, +44 1432 260694, Free Admission] is a beautifully preserved timber-framed building from the 17th century. Having seen many different uses in the past, it is today furnished as it would have been during the Jacobean period.

The Hereford Museum and Art Gallery [map-4, Broad Street, +44 1432 260692, Free Admission] displays fine and decorative art related to Hereford and its surrounding area. The permanent exhibits, including natural and historical artefacts, from Roman antiquities to textiles to a two metre-long fish, are organised according to four main themes. Temporary exhibitions also take place in the art gallery.

Cider Museum and King Offa Distillery [map-5 (scroll west of map limits), 21 Ryelands Street, +44 1432 354207, A: £4.00, C: £2.50, Concession: £3.50] This museum explains the history and process of cider making, and is aptly set in a former cider factory. A visit includes free samples of cider, and of course you will be very welcome to satisfy your further cravings in the museum shop.





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