A Visitor’s Guidebook to Ledbury…
Bustling and vibrant, Ledbury is a market town with a unique feel. Its little alleyways off the High Street are crammed full of enticing and distinctive boutiques, independent shops, restaurants and cafes, and antique and art galleries. The town is renowned for its cobbled streets and timber-framed buildings, most notably the Grade 1-Listed Market Hall at the centre of the town. Reportedly designed by King James I’s carpenter, John Abel, building work on Market Hall started in 1617 and took around 50 years to complete. It is one of the finest examples in England of a timber-framed building and still hosts markets on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Ledbury is ideally situated to explore some of the UK’s most stunning natural areas, including the Cotswolds, the Wye Valley and Symonds Yat, the Malvern Hills, the Forest of Dean and the Black Mountains. All these areas provide the perfect opportunity to get outside and walk, run, cycle, kayak, fish, play golf or go climbing.
For culture vultures there’s plenty to choose from too, with a wealth of National Trust properties and historic buildings nearby, such as Hellens Manor and Eastnor Castle.
And if that isn’t enough to whet your appetite, Ledbury is host to several festivals, including the Chilli Festival and the world-renowned Ledbury Poetry Festival. The latter was developed from the town’s close links with famous poets, including Victorian poet Elizabeth Barratt-Browning (who was from Hope End on the outskirts of Ledbury), John Masefield Poet Laureate – 1930 to 1967- (who was born in the town in 1878); and William Wordsworth whose 1835 sonnet St. Catherine of Ledbury, concerns a local noblewoman called Catherine and begins, “When … Ledbury bells broke forth in concert”.