Winter in Herefordshire heralds festivities galore and we have sought out some of the great markets, events and shopping treats.
As is traditional, the whole county kicks off its festive run around six weeks before Christmas, with the individual market towns staging their own big lights switch on events followed by late night shopping and Sunday opening.
Hereford City has a great weekend of activity planned through High Town and the Old Market Shopping Centre 19-20 November, Ledbury’s is 26 November, Ross is on 20 November, and Bromyard’s annual extravaganza starts on 19th.
If you’re looking for gifts with a difference, something thoughtfully chosen, perhaps handmade, look no further than the myriad of festive markets in December. The Herefordshire Guild of Craftsmen holds its seasonal emporium of handmade Herefordshire gifts in Ledbury town centre and Leominster stages its authentic Victorian Street Market 10 December. Or visit one of the county’s amazing galleries, like Old Chapel in Pembridge, brimming with all British textiles, ceramics, jewellery, art, sculptures and more.
Hereford City itself hosts Hereford Contemporary; the showcase of artisan makers and designers at Left Bank. Hereford Arts Markets come alive in High Town and the Cathedral has its own beautiful Christmas Fair accompanied by angelic carols. Festive family fun, activities, music, street food and crafted gift shopping warms up a winter’s day on the Castle Green 27 November.
Certainly Christmas is a foodie’s time for indulgence. The regular town farmers’ markets carry speciality products and Kington even has its own Festive Food Fair 3 December. The Hop Pocket Wine shop has daily, yes daily tastings and the whole of the Bishops Frome based shopping village is packed full of gourmet gifts, home and garden decorations, as is The Nest’s wonderful delicatessen and coffee shop towards Ledbury.
Fancy creating your own Christmas accessories? Try making a yuletide wreath or a mistletoe kissing ball with the Great British Florist. Go yummy festive bun making with Martha of The Better Bun Company or grasp the art of gorgeous gift wrapping at Hereford’s Castle House’s many winter workshop days that include an elegant lunch.
If you’ll have a houseful during the holidays, you might need some extra crockery and cutlery, and to stock up on your cook and bakeware – head to Phillip Morris in Hereford, the City’s only independent department store. They also have great gift ideas for outdoor lovers in their country clothing department.
Well all this tinsel talk has made us here at team ESL hanker after a drop of mulled wine…or even cider. Fortunately the great thing about Herefordshire is that the festivities continue right through to twelfth night when the Wassailing begins. This annual tradition of the blessing of the apple orchards and warding off of evil spirits for a bountiful harvest to come, could be what makes the county such a great cider producer. Join in these raucous events in January including venues at Westons Cider, The Crown Inn Woolhope, in and around Leominster and at Lower House Farm in Tupsley Hereford.
Find out about all the mentioned markets, events and festive fun on our What’s On pages