My evenings at the Three Choirs Festival

By / 2nd August, 2018 / General / No Comments

Picture by Peter Jeffrey

The world’s oldest classical music festival returned to Hereford this week and I was lucky enough to be a part of it.

I managed to get tickets for two nights this week.

On Monday I enjoyed the performance of Elgar’s King Olaf conducted by the world-renowned champion of Elgar’s music, Sir Andrew Davis. The performance told the exciting saga of the tenth-century Norwegian King Olaf displaying dramatic vocals of the heroic battle and love duets.

Wednesday night was the Hymn Of Praise conducted by Peter Nardone which had performances from Philharmonia Orchestra, Sarah Fox, Anna Harvey, James Oxley and Quentin Hayes. It was a stunning evening hearing all the performers coming together to make such a beautiful melody.

There are still two more days of events before the festival ends with Brahms’ German Requiem which he wrote on the death of his mother.

I would highly recommend the Three Choirs Festival to anyone so look out for tickets when it returns in 2021. There are different styles of music to suit everyone’s taste. I am so pleased I was able to get tickets!

Alice Charles

The Three Choirs Festival

By / 6th June, 2018 / General / No Comments

Hereford  28th July – 4th August 

The world’s oldest classical music festival returns to Hereford in 2018. Featuring a week-long programme of concerts, recitals, talks, workshops and receptions.

choirsAt the heart of the modern festival are the large-scale evening concerts featuring the Three Choirs Festival Chorus and the Philharmonia Orchestra, which has been resident at the festival since 2012. The main festival’s packed schedule of daytime events is augmented by a community programme.

The week starts with an opening service at Hereford Cathedral on 28th at 11.30am. Various events then follow through the day from a drumming workshop, a piano trio, a lecture, festival reception, pre-concert dinner, opening night and finally an organ trio. All at various venues and this is just the first day!

The Artistic Director, Geraint Bowen, wrote

My plans for this year began with a single work: a long-held ambition to revive Ethel Smyth’s fine but now little-performed Mass in D. One hundred years after the passing of the 1918 Representation of the People Act – the start of universal suffrage in the United Kingdom – seemed the perfect opportunity to do so, given the composer’s prominent links to the suffragette movement. This developed a major programming strand, Celebrating Women.

In 1918, the musical world was robbed of the prodigious talent of Lili Boulanger at the age of only 24 and we present her setting of Psalm 130, composed in 1915 as a response to the horrors of World War I, in a programme which also includes Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms

At the heart of the festival since its origins in the early 18th century, the Three Cathedral Choirs of Gloucester, Hereford and Worcester combine for joint Evensongs and a performance of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, sure to be a highlight of the week.


Drumming Workshop – A Family Event

The events on offer for the week are entertaining and diverse to cover everyone’s tastes and include family theatre and workshops, historical walking tour to music and lectures. The organisers have signed up to the Family Arts Standards. All families are welcome and to help you enjoy your experience they are committed to ensuring they meet these standards.

Would you like to find out more about the Festival but don’t know where to start?

If you are a Herefordshire resident who has never been to the Festival before, you can now sample the festival for free. Thanks to the generous donations of existing audiences, now on offer are some top price tickets to every single concert in the festival programme. With almost 40 concerts packed into eight days (28 July – 4 August) there’s plenty to choose from. You’ll also be issued with a rehearsal pass giving you access to rehearsals in the cathedral during festival week, so you can get a glimpse behind the scenes of this exciting event. Go to the Festival Firsts page to find out more.

If you are taking advantage of the Three Choirs Festival and need somewhere to stay please contact us for availability.

Our visit to Shobdon Airfield

By / 15th May, 2018 / General / No Comments

Located in the magnificent Marches near the border between England and Wales, Shobdon Airfield is the only licenced airfield in Herefordshire and has been the home of Herefordshire Aero Club for more than 55 years.

Formerly known as the Pembridge Landing Ground, the airfield has been in operation since 1941 with a fascinating wartime history when it was the base for No.5 Glider Training School.

The Airfield held a business event on Saturday to which Diane and I were invited to attend. We were greeted by Philip Edwards the manager of the Airfield. Following the business networking, we were given a tour around the airfield which included watching a plane lesson with a visitor.

We were provided with a substantial buffet lunch after which both of us were very lucky to be taken up in the planes! An experience we will never forget.

With its beautiful surrounding countryside and uncontrolled airspace, the area really is ideal for the flying enthusiast. Whether it’s a short stop for fuel and a bite to eat at the Hotspur Café, or a longer stay on the caravan park and campsite, you couldn’t find a better base for exploring this lovely county and its local natural wonders.

Herefordshire Aero Club and the Hotspur Café are open seven days a week throughout the year with a warm welcome for visitors arriving by air or by road. With a wide range of activities involving fixed-wing aircraft, microlights, gliders and helicopters, there is usually something to see.

For anyone who has not already experienced the thrill of flying for themselves, Herefordshire Aero Club has a fully trained team of enthusiastic instructors available to take you up, up and away for a trial lesson in one of our club aircraft.

Moving forward from the trial flight Herefordshire Aero Club offers a range of flight training courses
to get you airborne, be it for pleasure or as a starting point for a career in aviation.

We had a wonderful day out and would recommend it to anyone who is in the Herefordshire area.


On the weekend of the 30th June and 1st July Shobdon are holding their annual Food and Flying Festival. This is well worth a visit on either day (or both) with cooking demonstrations, flying displays, food and craft exhibitors and live music. Something for everyone.

Alice Charles


English Tourism Week in Herefordshire

By / 19th March, 2018 / General / No Comments

Taking place in spring each year, English Tourism Week (17 – 25 March) campaigns to raise the profile of the industry and celebrate the value and quality of tourism in England.

What’s happening in Herefordshire and surrounding areas?

weeping window

Poppies: Weeping Window
14 March to 29 April 2018

We are very lucky in Hereford to welcome Poppies: Weeping Window to Hereford Cathedral – the first location of the Poppies Tour this year. It is part of the final year of 14-18 NOW’s (WW1 Centenary Art Commissions) UK-wide tour of the iconic poppies. The cascade of thousands of individual ceramic poppies is here until 29 April 2018.
The presentations by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, give people across the UK the chance to experience the impact of the ceramic poppy sculptures in a range of places of particular First World War resonance.
There is an array of events organised for the Homefront Campaign and it is well worth visiting the special Hereford Cathedral events page to find out where and when the events are.

Herefordshire Life Through a Lens
Exhibition 21 February – 2 April

The first in a series of exhibitions comes from the hop-yards of the county, featuring both Derek’s archive and contemporary images created by Herefordshire College of Art students and accompanies the newly released film “Stories from the Hop Yards” from Catcher Media.

As well as the photographic exhibitions, you can watch a wonderful seminal film, which is part of a three-year project.

Hay Festival
24 May – 3 June

The world-famous festival programme is in the process of being put together and will be complete in the Spring.

Herefordshire Walking Festival
16-24 June

Nine days of glorious walking.
Lots of ‘good walks’ over beautiful countryside along with a cycle ride. There is a twenty-miler through South Herefordshire which was fully booked last year and you have the chance to learn and practise your map reading skills in real time with guidance on hand,

Nozstock – The Hidden Valley
20-22 July

Like the very best of festivals, Nozstock was founded by a fun-loving family, their extended relatives, friends, acquaintances and pretty much everyone who had a guitar to play or a joke to tell.

The Hidden Valley has successfully retained its homely, welcoming nostalgia, woven into a delightful amalgamation of performance, art, electronic supersounds and good old-fashioned guitar-strumming and drum-bashing. Now an established family event, Nozstock is a sonic escape boasting nine stages of entertainment with surprising sights and intimate, secluded areas of theatre and discovery.

Three Choirs Festival at Hereford Cathedral
28 July – 4 August

The world’s oldest classical music festival returns to Hereford in 2018. Featuring a week-long programme of concerts, recitals, talks, workshops and receptions, there’s something for everyone. The world’s leading singers, musicians and conductors perform alongside our fabulous orchestra-in-residence, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and our wonderful Festival Chorus, which draws from the best local talent in choral singing.

This is a very short insight into what’s going on in the area. To see what else is on offer it is worth going to the trip advisor page.


Local Racing

By / 28th February, 2018 / General / No Comments

Based in the heart of Herefordshire, Hereford Racecourse entertained over 20000 racegoers last season with jump racing and beautiful views over the city.

The racecourse is owned by Herefordshire Council, leased and operated by Arena Racing Company. The first recorded race meeting was in 1771 and many horses have started their racing careers on this course. After a four year closure, the National Hunt Racing resumed in October 2016 with 5,000 racegoers attending.


Champion jockey Richard Johnson had his first winner at Hereford. The Rusty Bridge fine dining restaurant is named after that horse and offers the finest produce sought locally. The ground floor restaurant is at the heart of the course and has stunning views.

For a more informal day, Kidwells Grandstand and Paddock Bar overlooks the parade ring and also the finishing straight. Here you can enjoy your day with home cooked food and a drink.

A private box gives the racegoer an elevated view over the whole racecourse from the balcony. Packages are provided to suit individual needs – and you can even make your bets from your dining table!

Kidwells grandstand

Upcoming events

Ladies Day – Saturday 10th March. Gates open at 11.40

What a day is planned with prizes for the best-dressed couple and best-dressed lady. Live entertainment with a dance display team and comedy fitness instructors. The Rusty Bridge restaurant is providing various ticket options and if you want to take advantage of watching France v England 6 Nations game after racing you can get a pie and a pint ticket option for the Paddock Bar. Visit the website to book.

Irish Raceday – Tuesday 27th March

This is the last fixture of the season and to celebrate the end of the Hereford racing calendar, the organisers are putting on an inaugural Irish Raceday with live music from an Irish Band and other themed activities and entertainment. The race day package on offer for this event is the Pie and Guinness package. Visit the website to book.

North Ledbury Hunt Point to Point – Saturday 14th April

The last horses on the course of this season will be the Ledbury Hunt point to point. If you like horse racing, the point to point is always a good day out with friends and family.

Venue Hire

Apart from racing, the racecourse is used throughout the year on non-racedays for various events from weddings, birthday parties, conferences, fun fairs and festivals. It can cater for numbers from 5 – 300 indoors and for up to 10,000 for outdoor events. If you are looking for somewhere to hold your event it might be worth enquiring.

Whatever event you may be attending at the Racecourse, if you require accommodation why not contact us and see what we have to offer.



Networking over apple cake and cider

By / 8th February, 2018 / General / No Comments

We were delighted to be a part of the celebrations to launch The Hereford City Tourism Group’s new leaflet at the Cider Museum. The event was well supported with many familiar faces from local businesses attending.

Hereford has not had a tourism leaflet since 2015 but with a grant from Hereford City Council this has now been made possible. The new leaflet includes a map of Hereford pinpointing various tourist attractions and upcoming events.

hereford new tourist leafletHereford Tourist Information can be located in The Butter Market where Liz Hill can help you with any information you may need.

We have plenty of the new leaflets on reception for any of our guests to help themselves to.

The reopening of Hereford Tourism Information Hub

By / 30th October, 2017 / General / No Comments

The Rural Concierge spotted a niche business opportunity in Hereford’s current market so opened a new tourist information centre. This was officially opened by our mayor, Sharon Michael. Being located in the Butter Market gives it a perfect central location for all passing tourists looking for an adventure! Winning the ‘rural business awards-best rural tourism business 2016’, the future’s looking bright.

The team based in Herefordshire has extensive knowledge of the area including: The Wye Valley, Forest of Dean, the Marches, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Cotswolds, West Midlands and Wales. They organise day trips and holidays in these areas, showing the charm of these beautiful locations. They also promote exciting local tourism attractions, activities and the latest events so you can enjoy every day to its full potential.

Forget the stress of planning the event yourself. Just sit back and just relax! Rural Concierge will plan every detail, minor or major including transport such as coaches, local buses and train services, bicycle hires or even helicopters! They embrace the local culture by working closely in conjunction with local tourism businesses and organisations. You’re ensured to have the best time no matter your budget.

Liz is your Rural Concierge UK holiday co-ordinator and she specialises in researching quality sightseeing itineraries, tours, talks and holidays. You won’t need the internet or books when it comes to planning your trips or holidays because Liz is a pro at all the local knowledge and tourism. Happy and memorable are two words the Rural Concierge want you to associate with your travels.



World Tourism Day 2017: Walk Hereford

By / 27th September, 2017 / General / No Comments

Hereford is a small town founded around 700 AD. With it’s serene countryside and strong, vibrant town, there’s something for everyone. It has strong historic roots which you can relive on a walk across Hereford.

Time to get your walking boots on.

With various walks to choose from, it’s no easy decision. However, there’s one that I’m sure will get everyone putting on their walking boots. Are you tired by the end of a walk, with no energy to go on? Well you won’t with this one, you’ll be full of excitement while running to the finish. At the end of this walk sits a 15th century building called the Lichfield Vaults, reported to have an underground link with the Cathedral. Yes, you guessed right! It’s a pub with a tasty baguette and a fresh local Bulmers cider calling your name.

The walk.

This circular-routed walk ventures across much of Hereford’s unique heritage and cultural links. In the quaint high town, the timber framed old black and white house, built in 1621, will catch anyone’s eye. It’s now open as a museum for a first-hand, eye-opening experience of life all those years ago.

St Peters Church is located opposite the outstanding pillared Shire Hall. Also, the war memorial and statue of Sir George Cornewall Lewis, local MP stands proud in the centre. Another historic building you’ll pass is St Ethelbert’s hospital dating back to the 13th century, before passing the pond which was once part of the original moat. Furthermore, the green lawn that once held an 11th century castle now holds a statue, bowling green and the Nelson Memorial of 1809.

The Victoria Bridge leads you to the Bishop’s Meadow and a delightful walk overlooking the river. A cedar tree and beautifully flourished gardens surround the outstanding Bishop’s palace. Overlooking the river is the famous dog statue that tells the tale of Dan the bulldog.

A bridge built in the Civil War takes you to the modernised Left Bank Village which winds through to the Cathedral. Founded in the 7th Century, it holds a collection of rare books in the Chained Library and the 13th Century Mappa Mundi.

Finally, what you’ve all been waiting for is the Lichfield pub! While you’re in the town, why not take a look at the Library, Museum and Art Gallery? Or you could explore the catholic church of St Francis Xavier or even the Butter Market.

Get ready to be surrounded by rich history!


National Fishing Month

By / 24th August, 2017 / General / No Comments

fishing month

I have just returned from a three day stay at Kidwells House for a fishing trip.

This picture was taken on my last day fishing the Wye on 22nd August. I had seven barbell up to 8 lb.

Thanks for an enjoyable stay hopefully see you in mid-October.


National Fishing Month offers unique opportunities for the protection and promotion of angling. It has the potential to:-

  • Increase the number of people getting involved in the sport.
  • Inform the general public about the economic, social and environmental benefits of angling.
  • Influence decisions about access, environmental policy and wildlife management so that they take the importance of angling into account.
  • Improve diversity amongst anglers to counter any perception that it is exclusively a male, white, able-bodied only pursuit.

National Fishing Month is a celebration of the sport of angling. All over the country qualified coaches give their time to welcome newcomers to this marvellous sport. Fees are waived and tackle is often made available free of charge too. Events are organised around the UK to show people who have never fished before how to do it.

What actually happens?

From 21st July to 3rd September, there are hundreds of locally organised angling events. These events offer non-anglers the opportunity to be taught how to fish, FREE OF CHARGE, by a qualified licensed Coach and within a controlled environment.

Organisers can be angling clubs, schools, tackle shops, fisheries – in fact, anyone with an interest in fishing. Many clubs and societies use National Fishing Month as a way of increasing membership.

Food and Drink Festivals around Herefordshire

By / 21st August, 2017 / General / No Comments

Hereford second Indie Food Festival
Weekend of 26th, 27th and 28th August

The Indie Food Festival is a community-driven project celebrating the independent food scene, chefs, producers, and makers in Herefordshire.

The three-day and two-night event will consist of street food, music, chefs suppers, food talks, producers market and more.

Food festivalFor the second year, on Saturday 26th through to Monday 28th August, Hereford Indie Food will take over and transform the car park behind Burger Shop and The Bookshop on Aubrey Street. The result will be a bank holiday weekend hangout, celebrating the very best of Herefordshire’s independent food and drink culture.

There will be street food dining areas, craft beer and cocktail bars, sun-drenched hangouts, DJ’s and Live Music all day and night. Food talks with knockout food full of interesting bits from Hereford’s finest.

Bromyard Hop Festival
27th August 2017

The day-long Bromyard Hop Festival on Sunday the 27th August 2017 will celebrate the market town’s long-standing link to hop-growing, dating back to 1577.  In the hop growing hey-day of the late 20th century, hundreds of people from the industrial South Wales, the Midlands and the Black Country would travel to Bromyard to work on the hop harvest. Times have changed but, with the rise of craft brewing, Herefordshire remains the largest hop producing area in the UK with new Hopyards being planted close to Bromyard in recent years.

The exciting all-day programme of events  includes a children’s Scooter Race, a Vintage Vehicle parade through the streets, an arts and craft market at The Falcon Hotel, rural crafts demonstrations in the courtyard at the Falcon Hotel, a sale of decorative (and highly aromatic!) hop-bine products in The Mews at the Falcon Hotel  and live bands in a ‘mini music festival’ in the town’s Market Square.  And of course, it’s all free of charge to come along and watch!

The Hop Pocket Festival includes the famous World Championship Hop Pocket Race, the only one of its kind in the world, specially invented when the Hop Festival began in 2011.  In the past, the Race has attracted crowds estimated at around 5000 to the town’s Broad St and High St.  Teams of four run through the town carrying a full hop pockets (sacks) weighing up to 70kg (1.5cwt).  The main Race is open to all classes, and there are also Ladies, Youths and Junior races with lighter sacks.  This year for the first time there’s a Fancy Dress race which will also have a much lighter sack. The winners of the overall World Championship race, and the Ladies World Championship race will win considerable cash prizes, cases of beer, specially produced mugs and trophies. All people entering the races will receive a Hop Festival medal, and winners will receive various prizes presented by Toni Mcdonald from the BBC.

The Leominster Food Fayre
Saturday 2nd September

The Leominster Food Fayre is a not-for-profit event aimed at showcasing local food and drink producers in the “Leominster Country” and surrounding area. It also aims to put on a great community event for those who live in and around Leominster and visitors to the town. At present, there are 27 exhibitors to the Fayre which will take place in Leominster Town Centre in Corn Square and ‘The Secret Garden’. Food demonstrations and lids activities will take place within the Town Hall, 11 Corn Square.


Ludlow Food Festival
8th – 10th September 2017

Voted last month as the ‘Best Food Festival in the Midlands’

Ludlow is certainly one of the prettiest settings for a food festival. With the event taking place inside the ruined castle.

food festivalSituated on the River Teme in the outstanding countryside of the Welsh Marches, its medieval street pattern survives almost intact. This along with many ancient properties including the magnificent ruined castle and one of the largest parish churches in England.

There are over 180 exhibitors, predominantly from Ludlow and the Welsh Marches. It is a perfect time to discover your favourite foods and try something new.

The Festival’s famed Sausage Trail became a magnet for 2000 lovers of the British banger. To that has been added competitions for the Pork Pie of the Marches, Cake Competition, the Ludlow Sandwich the Best New Product and more! There is also the Ale Trail, which attracts over 1000 real ale drinkers exploring the pubs around the area.

There is so much planned for this festival. Activities include childrens’ activities, taste workshops, talks, demonstrations, tasting, music and a masterclass that it is worth going to the website to find out the vast array of activities on offer.

All events in Ludlow Castle and most other venues are suitable for wheelchair and mobility scooters access.