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.



Trumpet Corner Tea Room

By / 26th July, 2017 / General / No Comments

trumpet galleryI was lucky enough to be able to visit the Trumpet Corner Tea Room, gallery and art workshop last week. This hive of activity is located at Trumpet crossroads only 11 miles from Hereford and four miles from the market town of Ledbury.  The Tea Room offers freshly made tea and coffee and local cakes and you can browse around the art galleries and purchase high quality, locally produced artworks. There is also a collection of workshops where a number of resident artists create their masterpieces.

I was offered a traditional cream tea with a beautiful pot of fresh tea. The tea room offers a breakfast menu, light lunches and afternoon tea. I was given a tour around the garden and all the craft workshops and was able to watch the embroidery class that was underway.

There are events and courses running throughout the year and coming up is the Craf-Tea Garden Fair on 29th July. For a suggested £4 donation you can watch craft demonstrations and workshops, enjoy a homemade scone with jam and cream, Trumpet ‘House Blend’ tea and a raffle entry.

trumpet classThe Trumper Corner Tea Room is well worth a visit – you can even get there by bus!

Diane Rogers

National Parks Week 24th – 30th July

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

National Parks Week has come round again and it is an annual celebration of everything that is unique and wonderful about Britain’s breathing spaces. It runs from Monday 25 to Sunday 31 July 2016.

With diverse landscapes, activities, and events there’s an adventure waiting at whatever scale suits you! And aren’t we lucky to have the wonderful Brecon Beacons National Park on our doorstep?

The Brecon Beacons National Park is the youngest of the three national parks in Wales. Established in 1957  it covers 520 square miles and offers a host of events and activities for you and your family to partake in and enjoy, with an added bonus of beautiful views and scenery. The name refers to the range of Old Red Sandstone peaks which lie to the south of Brecon which include South Wales’ highest mountain, Pen y Fan. The range forms the central section of the National Park and to the east lie the Black Mountains.

Here are  just a couple of facts below of many from the park:

  • Prince Charles has his Welsh residence at the western edge of the park near Myddfai
  • There really are sheep everywhere-with around 1250 farms within the park
  • Britain’s largest breeding population of lesser horseshoe bats can be found in the Usk Valley.

We have included a list of what’s on offer below which you may find useful:

For more information on what to see and do got to Brecon Beacons – our National Park

On the last day of National Parks Week, 30th July,  Brecon Becaons is celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Park Authority. These celebrations are taking place at two venues: The National Park Visitor Centre near Brecon and Craig-y-nos County Park, Pen-y-Cae. Pick a venue, take a picnic and go along and celebrate. Activities are all free but must be booked in advance at the information desk.




Big Tea Event in support of St Michael’s Hospice

By / 11th July, 2017 / General / No Comments

On a sunny afternoon last week, we were very pleased to help support St Michael’s Hospice by hosting our third big tea raising funds for our local Hospice.

Big Tea for Hospice 1We were lucky enough to be inundated with bunting and spent the whole morning decorating the house and gardens. A variety of local businesses offered their assistance with our event, which helped make it so successful. Apart from tea and home-made cake, our visitors enjoyed freshly picked local strawberries and cream, Prosecco and locally brewed beer and cider.

The new mayor of Hereford, Sharon Michael, joined us in support of the Hospice and it gave her the opportunity to meet representatives of local businesses.

Big Tea for Hospice 2To add to the funds raised, we held a raffle with prizes ranging from a Denby dinner set, various bottles of alcohol to a cuddly Teletubbie!

At the time of writing, donations are still coming in and we hope that the amount raised will be over £200.00.

St Michael’s Hospice is an independent charity, and all their services are free of charge. It costs over £13,000 per day to provide patients with all the care they need and 90% of that amount is raised by the local Herefordshire community.

Thank you to everyone who donated:

  • S & A Produce
  • Tescos Belmont
  • College Estate and Holme Lacy Rd Co-op
  • Westons Cider
  • Swan Brewery
  • Hampton Hire
  • Tina Bendle Cakes
  • Nat West and Lloyds Banks

Learning in work week

By / 19th May, 2017 / General / No Comments

learning at workEvery day I am learning more and more as I go along. I am learning through working and also through dealing with customers and enquiries.

Learning whilst I work suits me better as I find it interesting. I feel that my confidence has really come along whilst being employed and trained at the guest house. Through the training, I am beginning to be a lot more independent and therefore am able to work on my own. I have to think for myself which is good as it tests my knowledge.

If there is something I don’t do quite as well as I could have, I get told how I could improve on it for next time. This is good as I am constantly getting feedback. which can only help me improve my performance and make sure guests are always satisfied. The next time I do a task, I remember the feedback I have had and use that to ensure I don’t make the same mistake twice.

I would recommend to anyone to pursue further education whether it be in college, university or in the workplace.

Olivia Wright

Hereford in Local and Community History Month

By / 15th May, 2017 / General / No Comments

The meaning of Hereford is believed to come from the Anglo Saxon word ‘here’ which is an army or formation of solders, and ‘ford’ which is a place for crossing a river.  It suggests that Hereford was a place where a body of armed men forded the River Wye.


In the 7th Century the Saxons arrived and settled at the ford and by 700 AD Hereford had grown into a busy market town. Warfare began between the English and Welsh late in the 9th Century, Alfred the Great created fortified settlements across the country, Hereford being included, in case of Danish attack. Hereford resisted a Danish attack in 914 and about 100 years later a castle was built. The Welsh burnt it down in 1055!

During the civil war in 1642 between king and parliament, Hereford supported the king. Between 1642 and 1645 rule was split between royalists and parliament forces until the royalists were finally defeated.


Many Frenchmen came to settle in the town after the Norman Conquest and the town grew, with the market being moved to a new position in the north.

Also joining the French at this time was a Jewish community. They lived in the area of Maylord Street until 1290 – until all Jews were expelled from England.

The poor and the sick were looked after by the church. They ran the only hospitals those being the Hospital of St John in the 12th Century and St Ethelbert in the 13th Century. The lepers were kept in a hostel outside of the town.

To further the rise of Hereford, Bishop Thomas Cantilupe died and was buried in 1282 and 40 years later he was canonised bringing pilgrims to the town.

As around the country, the town suffered from outbreaks of plague four times from 1566 until 1610 but each time recovered.

1801 saw the first census and Hereford had a population of 6,828. It was a fair sized market town then but by the end of the century the population had reached 21,000.

Hereford in the 20th Century saw the population rise from 24,000 in 1931 to 47,000 by the early 1970s


Hereford historyIt is believed that the castle of Hereford was rebuilt as in 1055 it was used to repel and attack the Welsh until most of it was destroyed. In the 1650s the stone was used for other buildings within the City. The castle was written to be ‘nearly as large as that of Windsor and one of the strongest in England’. The area that the castle stood is now today Castle Green.

The stone bridge was built across the Wye in 1100 to replace the wooden one and at the end of the 12th Century stone walls were built around the town.

Hereford Cathedral was built as a small church as early as the 670s where it stood for some 200 years until in the reign of Edward the Confessor it was altered.  It was burnt in 1056 by a force of Welsh and Irish. The current Cathedral dates from 1079 when the Normans began rebuilding from the ruins. At about the same time a new bishop’s palace was built.

Coningsby hospital was built in 1614 followed by The Old House in 1621 and Aubrey’s almshouses nine years later showing the prosperity of Hereford was still growing.

In 1710 a blue coat school opened and in 1783 Hereford hospital was built. Towards the end of the 1700s, the streets were paved and lit by oil lamps.

On Easter Monday 1786, the west tower of the Cathedral collapsed ruining the whole part of the west front and part of the nave. In 1841 the restoration work began and continued continuously until 1863.

Because the gates around Hereford were impeding traffic it was decided to demolish them. This happened from 1782 when Friars Gate and Wye Bridge Gate went and by 1798 St Owens Gate, Eign Gate, Bysters Gate and Widemarsh Gate had all gone.

The 19th Century was fast moving and there were many improvements. Gas street lighting was provided and, mid-century, Hereford had a fire brigade. Following the Hereford Improvement Act in 1854 a waterworks and a network of sewers were built. From the end of the 19th Century, Hereford had an electricity supply.

In 1845 a canal was dug from Gloucester to Hereford but closed in 1880 due to the railway reaching Hereford in 1854. It was the last major town in Britain to be connected by rail.

Building continued with several new churches as the town continued to expand. These being, St Paul’s at Tupsley and St James’ in Green Street. In 1873 a museum and library opened followed twenty odd years later by the Victoria suspension bridge.

At the beginning of the 20th Century, Hereford gained a new Town Hall. In the same year of 1904 came a College of Education with a cinema by 1911. The War Memorial in St Peter’s Square was erected in 1922 to remember the fallen from the First World War.

Hereford Cathedral is now famous for the Mappa Mundi. The Hereford Cathedral Chained Library is the largest surviving chained library in the world. In the early 17th Century, chained libraries could be found in universities and cathedrals, but this is the only one still to be chained. It contains about 1,500 books, dating from around 800AD to the early 19th Century, including 227 medieval manuscript books.


Because of its position near the Welsh border and warfare between the two countries, a great deal of business came to Hereford. The fact that St Ethelbert was buried in the town also brought prosperity to the town as people travelled long distances to visit shrines of saints and they spent money.

At the beginning of the 12th Century, Hereford gained a fair (market) held annually for a few days in June. People would come from all around to buy and sell their wares. 100 years later a second fair was given, this being held in October.

The main industry during this time was making wool but leather working was another important industry.

The wool industry was declining by the end of the 17th Century due to competition from the north of the country. Hereford became known for cider making and brewing and the leather industry continued to grow.

Although industry continued to grow – brewing and cider making, leather working, boat building, furniture making and a brick and tile industry – Hereford was a market town for the surrounding countryside.

Hereford is mainly known now as a trading centre for a wider agricultural and rural area. Industry still includes the brewing of beer and cider, leather goods, nickel alloys, poultry, chemicals and of course cattle.

Hereford has a fascinating history, far more than can be written here. The City is well worth a visit whether you are local or visiting from further afield.


Our visit to The Hop Pocket Shopping Village

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

Hop Pocket 2

The Hop Pocket Shopping Village was a port of call I made with Diane this week. The village is made up of a unique collection of independent shops offering clothing, furnishings, art, local wines, butchers and a deli to garden furniture and original gifts including a wonderful selection of traditional and modern wooden toys.

Within the Hop Pocket is a family restaurant providing morning coffee, a light farmhouse lunch and scrumptious homemade cakes and scones. Sunday is all about a traditional roast. Everything is cooked with fresh local ingredients.

The Hop Pocket 1Outside is a unique garden centre with an astonishing range of plants, many of which are locally grown. If the whim takes you, you can also purchase a choice of decorative items for your garden.

Take the children – there is a large grassed play area with traditional wooden climbing frames for tots to bigger ones. The restaurant will even serve you a meal and drinks in this area so that everyone is kept happy!

The Hop Pocket is free to enter with free parking. It is open Tuesday to Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays and is well worth a visit.