Coast’s Choice: Herefordshire

Now the Easter weekend is over, the Coast team is busy planning our summer trips. If, like us, you’re looking for some inspiration for breaks in the UK, then you’ll enjoy this week’s Coast’s Choice, which looks at places to visit in Herefordshire.

Although not one of the best known counties in the UK, Hereford is the perfect destination for a quiet vacation as it is one of the most rural and sparsely populated areas in Britain.

Its long-standing agricultural heritage means it attracts many fans of outdoor living, both to celebrate Hereford’s history and to sample the famous local cider!

Hampton Court

This fifteenth century castle was originally a manor house built by Sir Rowland Lenthall in 1427, before developed into the spectacular castle we know of today in the early 1430s – predating its famous cousin, Hampton Court Palace.
Set in more than 1,000 acres of parkland, visitors to Hampton Court can take a tour of the Castle to view its incredible ballroom, medieval great hall, luxurious bedrooms and even the building’s original chapel.

Its award-winning gardens are also open to the public, while you can take refreshments in the Orangery Café, situated in the grand conservatory adjoining the castle. We also recommend you visit the gift shop, which stocks local crafts, produce from the castle kitchen and home-grown plants from the gardens.

Hampton court is open from April until late October every day from 10.30am to 5.00pm. Admission costs £6.75 for adults and £3.25 for children for the gardens or £10.50/£5.00 for the gardens and castle. Click here for further information.

Nearest caravan site: 9.8 miles

Gallery 54

If you’re a culture vulture, this quaint art gallery brings together modern creations in an historical setting. Its 17th century rooms have been restored to a traditional yet minimalist style, providing an ideal backdrop to display abstract works by local, national and international artists.

Gallery 54’s owners pride themselves on the caliber and integrity of its collection, which offsets the backdrop of period charm. Among the pieces on display are glass and jewellery creations by Diana Arsenau, Stuart Ellis’ atmospheric paintings, Mark Ebutt’s distinctive Inspiralight bespoke lamps and Penelope Timms’ three dimensional sculptures. The gallery also runs regular exhibitions. Click here to find out more.

Nearest caravan site: 8.1 miles

Hereford Cathedral

This stunning building offers some of the finest surviving examples of Norman architecture with thousands of visitors flocking to see its 13th century Shrine of St. Thomas of Hereford and the 14th century Lady Chapel.

The cathedral houses several award-winning libraries, which tell the story of its existence through exhibitions, displays and artifacts. Among the other highlights are a working stonemason’s yard and the Cloister Café serving refreshments.

Between Easter and the end of October, Hereford Cathedral operates daily tours of the Cathedral grounds, with a garden tour on offer twice a week in July and August. The cathedral also welcomes regular musical recitals and craft workshops, while every third year it hosts the renowned Three Choirs Festival.

Hereford Cathedral is open daily from 9.15am until Evensong, entry is free although a £5 donation is invited. Entry to the Mappa Mundu and Chained Library areas of the cathedral costs £6 with family tickets available. Visit the Hereford Cathedral website to find out more.

Nearest caravan site: HR1 2NG

Violette Szabo Museum

Half-French Violette Szabo is Herefordshire’s most famous heroine. The First Aid Nursing Yeomanry served the forces during World War II following the devastating death of her husband Etienne. Violette formed part of a task force studying Resistance possibilities in Rouen, before being parachuted into Limoges just after the Normandy landings. It was here that she was captured by the Gestapo after fighting a gun battle against the Germans, taken to prison in Paris before being transferred to Ravensbrück concentration camp. Described by a survivor as one of the most outstanding women in the camp, Szabo fought for her life until 1945 when she was fatally shot. The following year she was posthumously awarded the George Cross for her Resistance efforts; her four-year-old daughter Tania collected the award from the King on her behalf.

Violette’s story was turned into a book and film, Carve her Name with Pride, and the house in Herefordshire where her cousins once lived has been painstakingly turned into a museum in Szabo’s honour by its current owner, Rosemary Rigby MBE. Every Wednesday from 1st April – 31st October between 11.00am and 4.00pm, Miss Rigby opens her home to the public in order to tell Violette’s life story and showcase mementos from her life.

The Violette Szabo museum is free to enter. It is recommended that visitors telephone ahead to advise they are coming. The official website contains further information.

Nearest caravan site: 5.5 miles

Wye Valley Cruise

Sit back, relax and enjoy the best scenery that Hereford and its neighbouring counties have to offer on a gentle boat journey along the Wye Valley. You can pick up the cruise from Hereford or Ross-on-Wye before the captain navigates you to Abergavenny via Gloucester, Chepstow and Newport. Click here to visit the website.

Nearest caravan site: Green Crize in Hereford, Broadmeadow in Ross-on-Wye

Coast offers dedicated touring caravan insurance and motorhome insurance policies to look after your leisure vehicle while you’re out and about. To find out more about our cover, call Coast’s sales team on Freephone 0800 614 849 or visit our Quotation Page.