Hereford, England and Hay-on-Wye, Wales

Hereford Cathedral in the foreground of Edward Elgar leaning against bicycle by sculptor Jemma Pearson
© Natalie Rabinowitz

The perfect Saturday to Monday getaway escape. I just love that you can hop on a train and find yourself anywhere in England or Wales.

Hereford is an interesting stopover seeped in history. A must-see is the Hereford Cathedral that houses the Mundi Mappa medieval map of the world dating back to 1300. The map details drawings representing Biblical events, countries, cities, plants, animals, mythological creatures, and people. 

In the adjoining room, you can visit the Chained Library which houses over 122 medieval and early transcript books. Chained libraries dotted throughout England was an inspirational idea for Game of Thrones season finale. 

You will need to enter through the main Cathedral and as you wander through, take a look at the stunning effigy of Sir Richard Pembridge, who was appointed as a Knight of the Garter in 1368. Gotta love English History! (cost £6/adult Mon-Sat 10 am – 3 pm but do check website for opening hours and possible changes due to COVID https:/ www.herefordcathedral.org/)

Hereford Cathedral and Chained Library © Natalie Rabinowitz

Another highlight is the Black and White Museum. You can’t miss this Tudor framed splendour built-in 1621 and centrally located in the main square. Originally a butchers home and shop that transitioned into Lloyds bank in the 1920s and finally a museum. It is worth the wander inside looking at all the fine detailed furniture, rare frescoes as well as the delicious bed, and crooked and creaking floors. (cost £3/adult. Check website for opening hours and possible changes due to COVID https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/history-lives/hereford-museums-art-gallery)

Black and White Tudor Museum © Natalie Rabinowitz

After a fruitful day exploring Hereford, I jumped on the early Bus to Hay-on-Wye (Bus 3A) from Hereford Train Station. It is key to visit this website and plan accordingly as there are limited bus times. Also, note that only cash is accepted £6 approximate/adult. https://bustimes.org/services/39a-hereford-hay-on-wye?date=2020-08-16

The best part of public transport is getting off the highway and meandering through the narrow country roads passing through villages and watching as traffic manoeuvres to pass each other. I was in awe when the bus met a tractor on the narrow road.

Hay-on-Wye, Worlds First Book Town. The © Natalie Rabinowitz

Hay-on-Wye is technically in Wales. Known as the world’s first book town village and rightfully so because of its abundance of book shops. If you are a bibliophile, this is the place to be. Books for every taste imaginable and some great bargain hunting found. While I enjoyed perusing the bookstores, I was only there for a day and overnight and wanted to enjoy the small village as well as its nature.

The footpath along the River Wye is a must walk to get away and decompress as well as interesting animal wood sculptures seen along the way. There is also canoeing offered.

I plan to go back. Firstly, I am a fan of Wales but would like to explore Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail that follows the English/Welsh border along an 8th-century dyke and historical sites.

© Natalie Rabinowitz

Hello and thanks for reading my blog. Would love to hear your thoughts :)