Canoeing on the Wye, biking the cider circuits and browsing the bookshops of Hay-on-Wye might spring to mind when you think of Herefordshire. Sounds great to us, but if you want your wild weekend to include a few less obvious activities, try some of the fun and unusual things we’ve found to do in this hidden gem of a region. We’re talking llamas, paragliding, mediaeval maps and lashings of gin. What’s not to love? After a memorable day of new experiences, head back to one of our suitably unique glamping places for a cool drink, a BBQ on the deck and a comfy bed.
Distil your own personal bottle of gin with carefully chosen ingredients at award-winning Black Mountain Botanicals. It tastes better when you've made it yourself, particularly when a master distiller has given you all the training you need during a fun-packed afternoon that also includes a tour of the coffee roastery.
Special creations deserve to be sipped in stylish surroundings, and the deck at Pumla yurt is the perfect spot. It has panoramic views across the valley and beyond with an outdoor tub designed for epic night time stargazing. With huge picture windows that stretch the entire front of the space, the yurt feels light and airy inside with everything you need from a king size bed and wood burner to an ensuite bathroom and modern kitchen.
The llamas set the pace at Golden Valley in the foothills of the Herefordshire Black Mountains. They like to be groomed before setting off (don't we all) then it's time to take them for a gentle three-mile trek, with plenty of stops to admire the spectacular valley views and take a few comedy selfies. All photos without a llama's head will feel deeply disappointing from now on.
Stay nearby at The Meadow, an achingly chic cabin overlooking the mountains that comfortably sleeps six. If you're bringing the kids, they'll love the big hot tub, wooden games and outdoor beanbags as much as they love the llamas. You'll love the epic views and gorgeous meadow walks on the doorstep.
Take to the skies to appreciate the beauty of Herefordshire countryside, and beyond. As your expert pilot soars you along hill ridges above the rolling fields, you'll get incredible views of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Crickhowell Paragliding offers tandem flights from Hay Bluff with fully BHPA licensed and insured instructors.
Stay at The Nook cabin, perched on the edge of a dark sky reserve and you can enjoy those cinematic vistas by night too with some epic stargazing. From the cabin, it's a 20-minute walk up the hill to Cat's Back ridge which marks the entry point to the national park. As you set out on beautiful hikes, you might spot fellow gliders tracing the same swooping routes through the thermals.
Turn off the sat nav, it's time to go old-school. Positively medieval in fact, as Mappa Mundi is the largest medieval map of the world in existence. It just so happens to be found in the beautiful Hereford cathedral which is also home to the world's largest 'chained library'. A simple solution to overdue charges perhaps? After your culture fix, make sure you've got time to explore Hereford, it's a hotspot for gourmet dining and quirky independent shops.
A little further along the Wye, Rowan Cabin at Cynefin Retreats offers luxury accommodation in a cocoon-like curving pod. You're spoilt for indulgent extras with underfloor heating, a rainfall shower, sound system and hot tub on the deck. There's a farm shop and café nearby and the restaurants, bookshops and castle at famous Hay-on-Wye are a short drive away.
Go for a hack on the borders with Bryngwyn Riding Centre and explore some of the best riding country in Wales. They can tailor the trek to suit your group so if you've brought young kids you can book half-an-hour on quiet ponies, or if you're competent riders, why not head out for a full day in the hills and take in views of Hay Bluff, Pen-y-fan and the Begwyns.
Stay nearby at pretty Pax cabin, perched among replanted orchards and restored hedgerows with great wildlife to spot -- including Dracula, the resident cat, who doesn't quite live up to his fearsome name. The Hereford Way and Offra's Dyke path are close by, as are local pubs, The Rhydespence Inn and the Boat Inn at Whitney -- perfect for a pint and a hearty feed after all that horsing around.
Perched on a seven-acre organic hillside, Moors Meadow Gardens and Nursery is a wonderland for the green fingered, with gorgeous views over the Kyre Valley. Winding paths lead you through herbaceous borders, a rhododendron glade, a fernery, herb garden and bountiful kitchen garden. If you're harbouring ambitions to design an Insta-worthy garden, you'll find serious inspiration here.
The design theme continues at The Rook's Nook, a woodland treehouse with a unique part-Scandi, part-casbah vibe. Spend lazy afternoons watching movies at the outdoor cinema from the hot tub or dream up fresh garden ideas as you stroll around the tranquil forest site. For a special meal out, the amazing Green Cow Kitchen serves mouthwatering seasonal bounty from the Wimbourne Estate and organic home farm.