Itinerary: Through the Welsh Borders

Through the Welsh Borders

From the impressive scarp of the Cotswold Hills, explore the wooded hills of the Forest of Dean, the dramatic Black Mountains and the gentler hills around the Wye Valley before venturing into more remote border country, a land of ruined castles and quirky market towns, to reach the historic fortress town of Shrewsbury and fascinating Ironbridge, finishing in foodie Ludlow.

The Itinerary

Day 1

Begin your tour with a visit to the Regency spa town of Cheltenham (Pittville Pump Room; elegant Promenade (shops/cafés); or enjoy a circular walk from Winchcombe, taking in a section of the Cotswold Way, Sudeley Castle, Belas Knap burial chamber and stunning views towards the Welsh Borders. STAY – Lion Inn, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire (from £80).

Day 2

Visit Gloucester (cathedral; Robert Opie Collection; revitalised docks area); or take a scenic drive through the wooded hills of the Forest of Dean, visiting Symonds Yat for a magnificent view of the River Wye (classic walk). From quirky Monmouth, follow quieter B-road to Abergavenny (castle) and through the glorious Usk Valley to Brecon. STAY - Felin Fach Griffin, Brecon, Powys (from £145).

Day 3

Spend time in Hay-on-Wye, famous for it's book shops and annual Literary Festival, then drive through the beautiful Golden Valley (cornfields, orchards, grassy meadows, River Dore, sleepy villages), or follow narrow, winding lanes across the dramatic Black Mountains (walk up to Hay Bluff) to Llanthony Priory. STAY – Kilpeck Inn, Kilpeck, Herefordshire (from £85).

Day 4

Stroll to Norman Kilpeck Church, noted for the 70 gargoyles on an outside frieze, then visit the city of Hereford (cathedral) followed by lunch at Verzon House in Trumpet, which is owned by Chase Distillery. Spend the afternoon touring the distillery (gin & vodka) on the Chase family farm at Preston Wynne. STAY – Riverside at Aymestrey, Herefordshire (from £90).

Day 5

Circular walk from the Riverside taking in Croft Castle or visit Shobdon Church (a real surprise); then enjoy the scenic drive into Wales, taking in Presteigne (Judges Lodging), Knighton (Offa’s Dyke Heritage Centre), and sleepy Clun (castle) and quirky Bishop’s Castle (independent shops; views Castle Hotel garden). STAY - Castle Hotel, Bishops Castle, Shropshire (from £110).

Day 6

Dramatic drive over Long Mynd (stunning views) towards Church Stretton and enjoy National Trust walk through beautiful Carding Mill Valley to top of the Long Mynd. Head to Shrewsbury for some independent shopping, a riverside walk, visit Shrewsbury Abbey and Attingham Park (National Trust). STAY – Lion & Pheasant Hotel, Shrewsbury, Shropshire (from £105).

Day 7

Spend time in fascinating Ironbridge (world's first iron bridge; excellent museums, notably Blists Hill Open Air Museum); then drive through beautiful Corvedale to foodie Ludlow (independent shops; castle); visit Ludlow Farm Shop and take some local produce home. STAY - Charlton Arms, Ludlow (from £100) or the Pheasant at Neenton, Shropshire (from £90).

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