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Things to do in Herefordshire

Amazing, fun things to do in Herefordshire, days out in and around Herefordshire to help keep you and your whole family entertained for hours! Family days out and great places for kids to go in Herefordshire.

Wassailing in Herefordshire

Nearly 200 hardy souls turned up at Queenswood Country Park for our wassailing experience. It was a cold and dark January night with a hint of snow in the air!

Wassailing

We had been invited to the event by friends and on the day we all nearly chickened out. It was cold and dark and had been snowing earlier. But we aspire to being hardy country folk and wrapped up warm. First of all, there was hot mulled cider and a blazing fire. Because people started to gather, the drummers drummed and we huddled round the fire with our flaming torches.

The host explained that we would form a procession through the woods to the orchard and an ancient apple tree. The “Butler”, dressed in a rag cloak would lead the way, drumming all the time. We were given a heath and safety briefing which was like no other! “If you get lost, look for the light of the flames and follow the noise of the drums”.  An air of anticipation and excitement was palpable. 

Wassailing in Herefordshire - Queenswood Country Park
Wassailing in Herefordshire - Pagan Rituals

Pagan Rituals

Whilst it was the first time wassailing had been done in this particular location, it is an ancient pagan and early Christian custom. The dictionary states it means “drink plentiful amounts of alcohol and enjoy oneself with others in a noisy, lively way”. To be fair, that’s pretty much what we did! We followed the Butler through the woods and once we got to the tree we were handed pieces of toast. We had to attach our toast to the tree and chant the chorus to the Butler’s song.

“Bring us hats full, cups full, bushel bags and sacks full. And my pockets full too. Huzzah Huzzah!” I felt slightly self conscious but I soon got into the spirit of it. 

Wildlife Trust

The event had been organised by the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust and was a lot of fun. The children shook the rattles and drums they had made at the craft workshop earlier. We grown ups drank from the wassail cup. After we’d all processed around the tree at least once, we headed back to the fire and pizza van. Finally, safe in the knowledge that we’d done our bit and added something new to our memory banks!

Wassailing in Herefordshire - Wildlife Trust

18th February 2019

Posted In: Herefordshire, Things to do

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Hampton Court Castle not Palace!

Did you know there is a Hampton Court Castle as well as a Hampton Court Palace! Everyone has heard of Hampton Court Palace, but not many people know about Hampton Court Castle! Hidden in the depth of North Herefordshire is this gem of a place. It is around 100 years older than the London one. We went there recently for a great day out.

River Walk

First off, we had a coffee sitting outside the Orangery Cafe. The setting is fabulous on a sunny day and from our seats we could see cows grazing in the field just beyond the lawns in front of the Castle.

We then took a walk alongside the river Lugg. It was the best kind of walk as it was flat and along a wide mown path. The whole loop is about 6,000 steps according to the fitbit David wears, so we felt it was long enough to earn us a decent lunch!

On the way back to the Castle we stopped at the zip wire and swings hidden in the woods. The kids on the swings seemed to be having a good time, but not as much fun as the Dad enjoying the zip wire!

Hampton Court Castle not Palace!
Hampton Court Castle not Palace - Maze and Sunken Garden - great for kids

Maze and Sunken Garden - great for kids

After a delicious lunch of local cheeses and salads, we went to the sunken garden. You walk around the pool to get to the waterfall. You can walk behind the waterfall and through a secret underground tunnel to the centre of the maze! Which we did!

In the middle of the maze is a tower which we climbed. We were rewarded with a brilliant view of the gardens from the top. Gazing out over the maze we tried to work out how we would get out.

Took us a while but we found the way out in the end (ok we admit it, we had to follow someone else!).

Gardeners' Gardens

Hampton Court prides itself on its vegetable gardens, herbaceous borders and Dutch Gardens. We really enjoyed the displays of flowers in the borders. Mostly blues and whites the impact of them is stunning. We were too late for the tulips in the Dutch Garden, but the vegetables were coming up beautifully.

There is a display of sculptures dotted around too which were intriguing. The Wisteria Arch was fantastic. It probably doesn’t matter when you go, there will always be something that is at its peak.

After all that admiring, it was time for a cuppa and a slice of cake. Well it would have been rude not to! Wandering back to the Orangery Cafe we passed families picnicking on the grass and enjoying ice creams. It really was just the perfect day for it.

Hampton Court Castle not Palace - Gardeners' Gardens

We spent practically all day there, but you could easily combine a visit with a Treasure Trail. The nearest ones to Hampton Court Castle are the two in Leominster - a spy mission and a murder mystery.

24th July 2018

Posted In: Herefordshire, Things to do

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