From water sports and adventure breaks to relaxing escapes and historical visits, Herefordshire has some top options for families looking to shake off the post-lockdown blues.
Multi-day canoe trip from Hereford to Symonds Yat
Taking to the water in a canoe on a multi-day adventure also offers the chance of camping overnight along the way. There are lots of companies to choose from which arrange the canoe hire such as Canoe the Wye which offers guided and self-guided trips providing the opportunity of discovering this photogenic river.
Highlights of a three-day Hereford to Symonds Yat trip include camping at Tresseck Park in the village of Hoarwithy, different suspension bridges, the market town of Ross-on-Wye, ancient castles including Goodrich and not forgetting many grassy picnic spots, plus keep your eyes peeled for peregrine falcon sightings and deer as you near Symonds Yat. To complete the week, book into the YHA Wye Valley for three nights. Set in 25 acres on the banks of the River Wye it has its own canoe landing station – ideal for families who want to get back out on the water to try out paddle boarding and wild swimming.
Wild about wildlife adventures
Families looking for a big hit of native wildlife will enjoy hiking with wild ponies at Hergest Ridge near Kington, llama treks with local farmers and visits to Herefordshire Wildlife Trust’s collection of nature reserves. White Heron’s collection of cottages, with outside swimming pool access, are said to be an ideal base.
For the thrill-seekers
What better blow out than an adventure break including high ropes, axe throwing, archery and quad trekking? All of these activities can be enjoyed by combining time at Oaker Wood Leisure - a specialist outdoors activity centre - with a visit to the Viking Games in the south west corner of the county where you can try six traditional Nordic games amongst other activities.
They are about a 55 minute drive apart so either base yourself up near Oaker Wood which offers exclusive use glamping for family groups; or down near the Viking Games either on site in one of its Belle Tents or at one of the nearby B&Bs, barns or farmstays. Either side of these two experiences families will enjoy exploring local National Trust properties, hiking trails and cycle routes.
History buffs and literary lovers
Kids and grown-ups alike are invited to explore the county’s Iron Age Hill Forts, Stone Age Burial Chambers, castles, museums, churches and ancient battlegrounds. Trying on the medieval helmets at Eastnor Castle near Ledbury promises great family fun as does exploring Longtown Castle dating back to the 12th century with magnificent views over the Black Mountains, plus other highlights include Wigmore Castle and Richard’s Castle.
2021 also marks the centenary of Alfred Watkins discovering ley lines and Visit Herefordshire will be launching a guide explaining the significance of his revelation that a system of straight lines criss-crossed the countryside worldwide, and that these tracks connect ancient spiritual sites. On the book front, fans of C. S. Lewis can spend time in the Golden Valley – his inspiration for Narnia, and those who love John Masefield’s The Box of Delights can head to literary Ledbury where John was born.
Two cider cycling circuits which link some of the county’s cider producers combine rural scenery with orchards, farms and family friendly pubs. The routes can be completed by experienced cyclists over a day, or broken up, with families enjoying shorter sections such as exploring the cider producers of Much Marcle and visiting Hellens Manor, Westons Cider with its playground and Greggs Pit. White House Glamping near Ross-on-Wye which ties in very nicely with the southern cider circuit. White House Glamping, near Ross-on-Wye, ties in very nicely with the southern cider circuit and boasts a secret ‘beach’, outdoor cinema, firepits, a dairy farm and direct river access.
Herefordshire has many National Trust properties such as Berrington Hall, Croft Castle and Brockhampton which are options for leisurely days out with family friendly cafés and adventure playgrounds aplenty. Hampton Court Castle is somewhere for little ones to let off steam and its café and gardens will keep older members of the group well occupied. Rowlestone Ice Cream with its ice cream parlour, play area, woodland adventure trail and campsite promises another unique option.
For more information about what else Herefordshire has to offer, go to www.visitherefordshire.co.uk