Hereford is an historic cathedral city with a fascinating past and a busy present. Its origins lie in the 7th century and its strategic site on the Wye, in the much disputed borderland between England and Wales, made it as important to the Saxons as to the Normans and their successors.
The City needed strong defences; a powerful castle (long since demolished) and sturdy walls, sections of which may still be seen. The Cathedral, the shrine of two saints, is rich in architecture from the Norman period to the present, and next to it there is a national award-winning new building housing the ancient Mappa Mundi and the famous chained library.
The City played a leading part in the events before and after the Norman Conquest, through the turbulent Middle Ages and during the Civil War. It developed as a quiet market town and Cathedral City. Today it is vigorous and thriving, a home for 60,000 people and a focal point of a rich farming area.
Hereford combines the charm of the past with facilities of the present and its pedestrianised centre makes shopping and sightseeing a pleasure. The tourist, even when armed with map and guidebook, can easily miss much of the charm and magic. The Guild of Guides aims to remedy this. Whether you come as individuals or as a group, you will get the best out of your visit if you use our services and start with one of our daily walks or with a booked walk specially arranged for your party.
While you are in Hereford there are several places you can visit on your own. The Visit Herefordshire Centre can give you leaflets with opening times and charges for most of them. The Cathedral is usually open, although services may restrict access, and there are daily guided tours. The Chained Library, containing rare books and the Mappa Mundi and associated exhibition are in the new building attached to the Cathedral. The City Museum and Art Gallery is opposite the Cathedral. Here you can see current exhibitions and displays of local artifacts and crafts. Entry is free as is entry to the Old House Museum in High Town. At the far end of Widemarsh Street is Coningsby Hospital which was built on the site of the Knights of St. John hospital in the 17th century and housed veterans. Next to it are the ruins of the Blackfriars monastery and preaching cross to which there is public access. The Cider Museum is near Bulmer’s Cider factory in Pomona Place. It is open daily and has a good exhibition of everything connected with apples and cider which are so much part of rural Herefordshire.