England’s King Richard I once declared Hereford a Welsh settlement due to its proximity to the border, but after changing hands and allegiances many times, finally, it was declared English on the 16 September 1645. With such a cultural heritage alongside its historical listings, several famous actors have Hereford as their birthplace, including Nell Gwynne, actress and mistress of Charles II of England in 1650. Gwynn Street is named after the renowned beauty.
The current Hereford Cathedral was constructed during the same period as the first bridge over the Wye - both in the 12th-century. Visited by tourists from around the world, the greatest treasure housed in the Cathedral is the Mappa Mundi. Created by Richard of Holdingham in the 1300s, and now listed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, this medieval relic depicts the world as it was known then. With illustrations of sea monsters and fire breathing dragons, scholars and religious men thought the earth inhabited by such demons, and it gives a fascinating glimpse of a time ruled by Heaven and Hell, God and Satan.
Another place to visit is the iconic Old House. Now known as the Black and White House Museum, this impressively preserved timber Jacobean building dates from the 1620s and is now home to numerous displays from the period. Focusing on the lives of Hereford’s inhabitants, the collections include baby walkers, furniture and some gorgeous textiles. Perfect for learning whilst having fun, the museum includes hands-on activities for children with puzzles and period dressing up.
Hereford offers some great opportunities for retail therapy, with a wide range of high street names, and designer labels. For seekers of the more unusual gifts and treasures, look for the independent boutique stores scattered throughout the city. These quaint and quirky stores showcase local artists, and have windows full of cosy luxury knitwear, homemade soaps, and artisan silver jewellery. Treat yourself to home made delicacies which are perfect for munching on the journey home - a bag of clotted cream fudge or pastries warm from the oven.
Catch the train back to Merthyr Tydfil and relax in comfort. Download our app and keep up-to-date on our money saving special offers, including group discounts and Off-peak tickets, and start planning your return visit to this beautiful English city.