Wondering what to do in Ledbury on your next visit? Superb food and drink, independent shops and centuries of colourful history are what make our beautiful town one of the must visit places in Herefordshire. But if you only had a brief time to take in the best sights and attractions, where should you start? Here is our locals’ guide to where to go and what to see in Ledbury.
1. Take a stroll on Church Street
If you only had an hour or two to visit Ledbury, Church Street is its heartbeat and epitomises the charm of the town. It is cute, cobbled and despite its small size, packed with history and curiosities. Look out for the many pretty, timber-framed Tudor buildings and pretty church spire. For a taste of England past, it is hard to beat and unsurprisingly much loved by photographers. Many of the properties can also be explored, as we are about to find out…
2. Ledbury Painted Room
Talking of Church Street, there are so many listed buildings, it can be easy to walk right past some of the most interesting of these. One you simply must visit is the 16th Century Painted Room. The very definition of a hidden gem, the unassuming front of this Tudor house conceals one of Ledbury’s greatest heritage treasures. Eerily beautiful and revealing, you can feast your eyes on artworks and medieval words of wisdom that predate the English Civil War here.
3. Independent Shopping
Don’t look too hard for the usual chain store suspects in the town, because in many cases they are not here. In fact, many guests come to Ledbury as an antidote to the generic shopping experience that has numbed so many of England's once original market towns. Our store owners are independent, passionate and friendly, and the town is a fantastic place to shop for crafts, homewares and handmade gifts in particular. Too many nice things and top boutique stores to mention here, but our shopping blog has various highlights and further ideas.
4. Butcher Row House and Folk Museum
Just around the corner on Church Lane, this visitor attraction is both free and fascinating, with lots of artefacts and exhibits to tell the story of Ledbury. Local favourites include a mobile “Boot Bath”, period dress and musical instruments. You might describe this as its “new” location, however, as the building itself was once taken apart piece by piece and moved several yards to the current site. Not big (taller visitors might need to duck!) but lovely for a browse. Do leave a donation.
5. Ledbury Heritage Centre
Another of the town’s splendid historic buildings, this free attraction is another must visit site in Church Lane. Wonderful photography archives and local art are among the things on show, while you can find out more about the town through the eras and its famous characters such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
6. The Master’s House
Now serving as the town’s library, you can still picture this amazing building in its original guise, as the home of a wealthy Tudor family. With 500 years on the clock, it is a superb feat of restoration. In fact, the closer you look, the more the uncanny sense you get of its past. There are local art exhibitions upstairs to enjoy too, while entry is free.
7. Visit one of Britain's Oldest Markets
To really shop like a local and taste the best of regional food and drink, a trip to market is a must! With origins that go back many centuries, the town’s markets must be among the oldest in the UK. The Ledbury Charter Market spans back to a decree by Queen Elizabeth herself in 1584, while earlier markets stretch back to the 12th Century (if you’re curious the official Ledbury Town Council Website has further details). These days, Tuesday and Saturday are the town’s weekly market days, with a variety of food, crafts and other items on sale.
8. Glazy Days
We’ve already mentioned the brilliant arts and crafts scene in Ledbury. However, you needn’t just view, browse and buy here; indeed, how about making your own work of art to take away? Glazy Days offer great little workshops and hands-on sessions for the visitor to paint their own ceramic masterpiece. Ideal for ages and abilities, with easy parking and a café, you only have to glance at their outstanding Trip Advisor reviews to see that this is among the very best Ledbury activities! For session details, opening times and more, see www.glazydayz.co.uk
9. The Market Theatre
For a mixture of film screenings, live drama and performing arts, this place is another great little find for the visitor. You’ll find both local and touring productions, live music gigs and a healthy mixture of box office and independent cinema on show. The Apollo this isn’t, but it has a beautifully friendly, intimate feel that offers the avid theatre, film or music fan a fantastic viewing experience. For current listings, opening times and ticket prices see http://themarkettheatre.com
10. Enjoy fantastic local food and drink in a classic 16th Century Inn
Should all that exploring make you hungry, what could be better than refreshments in a truly classic Ledbury Inn? Our historic premises are ideal to take a breather and enjoy delicious local produce, whether it’s a cracking afternoon tea, evening dining or a lunch with a perfect pint of real ale (take a look at our sample menus for a flavour of what to expect). A warm welcome and excellent locally-sourced menus are guaranteed, while we also offer great Ledbury accommodation in a wonderfully historic property.
Further places to visit and days out near Ledbury, Herefordshire
Besides our top ten for Ledbury town itself, the wider area has a great deal to offer. From the splendour of Eastnor Castle, to superb food and drink experiences and excellent walks in the Malvern Hills, there is a great deal to explore in Herefordshire. Don’t forget to keep an eye on this blog and our Facebook page for further ideas and inspiration, along with the latest events and hotel offers.