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214km (133 miles) NW of London; 82km (51 miles) SW of Birmingham

Situated on the Wye River, the city of Hereford is a bustling market town today, known as the center of a great cattle industry. Its white-faced Hereford breed has spread to nearly every continent.

Hereford was the birthplace of both David Garrick -- the actor, producer, and dramatist who breathed life back into London theater in the mid-18th century -- and Nell Gwynne, an actress who was the mistress of Charles II. Dating from 1080, the red sandstone Hereford Cathedral contains an eclectic mix of architectural styles ranging from Norman to Perpendicular.

Surrounded by pristine countryside, including orchards and lush pasturelands, Hereford is home to some of the finest cider around, best sampled in one of the city's traditional and atmospheric pubs.

Except for the cathedral, the town is rather drowsy. The cathedral lies on the northern bank of the Wye River, with a number of shopping streets fanning out from it. Our favorite part for walks is along the banks of the Wye on the southern fringe of Hereford, where you can see the Wye Bridge from the Middle Ages, and also the neighboring Greyfriars Bridge, dating from the 12th century. Find a spot along these riverbanks on a summer day for a picnic.