Due to the cost of living crisis, I get quite a lot of requests for free days out and attractions. I have therefore put together a series of lists of things to do for free in the local area. Many of the free things to do in Herefordshire are historical attractions such as museums and old buildings. However, if you are visiting with children, there are options for them too. Scooter and skateboard fans will love the Herefordshire skate park, which is free for everyone and has dedicated times for younger visitors. You can also check out cost-free items in neighbouring counties in the following free activities guides:
Free things to do in Herefordshire: Hereford
Hereford Museum and Art Gallery (Hereford)
It is often difficult to find free indoor attractions, but Hereford Museum and Art Gallery is just that. The building itself is a Victorian Gothic structure. Inside, there are various exhibitions from fine art to photography. These are always changing, so do check their website to see what’s there as well as opening dates and times.
Hereford Cathedral (Hereford)
As well as being a beautiful building, Hereford Cathedral is of great historical significance. If you are looking for free things to do in Herefordshire, it is well worth calling in. There is thought to have been a place of worship on the site since AD696 and architecture from its rebuild in 1107-1148 can still be seen today. It is free to visit the cathedral during permitted opening hours. They do charge visitors to see the Mappa Mundi and the chained library.
Hereford’s skatepark is a charity skatepark run by volunteers. It is one of the best free things to do in Herefordshire for children and keen skaters come from far afield to use it. A skateboard shop and coached sessions are on hand for those who need them. They can also lend you equipment including a skateboard, helmet and padding. Profits from the shop go towards the upkeep of the skate park. There are no toilets on the site but there are some in B&Q and the leisure centre which are both nearby. The skatepark has designated times for particular age groups including Sunday mornings for under 10s on scooters. Check the skatepark website for more information.
Longtown Castle (Hereford)
The English Heritage managed site of Longtown Castle is an impressive ruin that is free to visit. There are no facilities there and limited off-road parking is available near the entrance to the castle. It is a great place for a picnic with a view across the Black Mountains and there’s plenty of space for children to run around. You can find more information about visiting the castle on the Longtown Castle English Heritage website and also read about its history.
Free things to do in Herefordshire: Ledbury
16th Century Painted Room (Ledbury)
At the bottom of Church Lane, builders restoring one of Ledbury’s oldest timber framed buildings made a discovery. Under layers of paint and wallpaper was an extensive painting that had been painted straight onto the plaster. Restoration work revealed that it was one of the best examples of Elizabethan Wall Paintings ever discovered. Visitors will be taken on a tour to learn about the floral designs based on Elizabethan Knot Gardens. Check the Ledbury Town Council website for opening dates and times, booking is essential.
Butcher Row House Museum (Ledbury)
Many items of local historical interest are displayed in Butcher Row House museum in Ledbury. Artefacts include armour worn during the battle of Ledbury in 1645 and ancient musical instruments. The house itself would once have been located on the High Street, but it was moved to Church Lane for preservation. The museum is open from April to October and entry is free. Check opening dates and times on their website.
Ledbury Old Grammar School Heritage Centre and Art Gallery (Ledbury)
Ledbury is a beautifully historic town with its black and white buildings and its market house. The Old Grammar School is a Grade II listed 16th century building. It is black and white with such low doors that you have to duck to get in. Downstairs, the Heritage Centre tells Ledbury’s history through its trades and buildings. Quizzes are available for different age groups which are an entertaining way to learn about Ledbury’s history. There is also an art gallery upstairs. The building is run by volunteers and opens daily from Easter to October. Do check they are open before travelling. More information is available on the Ledbury Places website.
The Master’s House (Ledbury)
The Master’s House in Ledbury is part of the St Katherine’s Hospital complex. Between 2011 and 2015, restoration was carried out to transform it into a community library, archive and community hub. If you are interested in the history of the building, you can visit for free. Volunteers give regular tours to tell people about the building’s history. It will be necessary to book. Head to the Master’s House website to read more about its history and book a visit.
Free things to do in Herefordshire: Around the county
Arthur’s Stone (Dorstone)
Located about a mile walk from Dorstone village, Arthur’s Stone is an English Heritage managed site that is free to visit. Its huge stone slabs mark a neolithic burial chamber. Legend has it that King Arthur killed a giant there. It is free to visit anytime and directions and more information about the place are on the Arthur’s Stone English Heritage website.
Bodenham Lakes (Bodenham)
Herefordshire Wildlife Trust manage Bodenham Lakes as a wildlife refuge. Not all of the nature reserve is accessible but the parts that are allow access for walking trails through orchards and meadows on the riverside and lakeside. It’s a great place to explore and spend a day with a picnic. Parking and entry are both free and visiting is encouraged from dusk to dawn any day.
Bromyard Local and Family History Centre (Bromyard)
This quirky museum is run entirely by volunteers. In their exhibition room, the display changes annually. There is always a display of photographs and other items from their archives and a volunteer will show visitors around and answer enquiries. The also have a research room for conducting historical research with the help of their material. It is free to visit the centre and some small charges apply for use of research room facilities. As a voluntary organisation, they do rely on donations. This is not open every day, so do check the Bromyard Local and Family History Centre website for opening days and times.
Canwood Art Gallery and Sculpture Park (Checkley)
Canwood Art Gallery and the huge outdoor sculpture park host works by numerous artists, many of which are for sale. It is free to visit and look around at the art and sculptures. The building itself is interesting, generating its own energy with solar panels and heating using a ground source heat pump. It only opens at certain times of the year so do check the Canwood Gallery website to see whether it is open.
Dore Abbey (Abbey Dore)
Dore Abbey near Hay-on-Wye used to be the site of a large Cistercian monastery. It fell into disrepair during the dissolution of monasteries in 1537. The church was rescued in the 1630s and used as a parish church. These days it is free to visit the ruins of the abbey and the church, although they do suggest a £3 donation. It is located in a peaceful setting beside the River Dore so it is a nice area to walk in as well as visiting the abbey itself. More information is available on the Dore Abbey website.
Kington Museum (Kington)
The Kington Museum is located in the stable block of what was the King’s Head Inn. Its four rooms portray the history of Kington and surrounding areas from prehistoric times. Its exhibits change frequently to cover different eras and include a model of Kington Railway Station with working model trains. The museum is a charitable trust so admission is free but they do rely on donations to operate. It is not open every day so do check the Kington Museum website for opening dates and times before visiting.
Weobley Trail (Weobley)
Weobley in Herefordshire is full of fascinating black and white buildings. In Medieval times, it was a market town and its nail, glove and ale making were worthy of note. Its lack of rail and canal connections meant that it fell into poverty during the industrial revolution. These days though, it is a beautiful and fascinating place to visit. Anyone with an interest in its history can check out a self-guided heritage trail with map from here.
Wigmore Castle (Leominster)
Wigmore Castle near Leominster is a ruin that was dismantled to prevent its use during the civil war. It is buried up to the first floor in most places, but a lot of its fortifications remain at full height, including the keep. The castle is a 15 minute walk from the nearest parking area. There are lots of steep slopes and steps and the site can get muddy in wet weather. Full details on the castle and how to get there are on the English Heritage Wigmore Castle website. You can also read about its history.