In Belgium, beer may be the drink of choice, but in western England, the beloved beverage is something else – cider. At Westons Cider, in Herefordshire, you can sample the best of what the west has to offer.
When we Canadians think of cider, we think of fresh apple juice. We often heat it up and mull it with spices like cinnamon and cloves, to keep us warm on cold winter nights. It’s decidedly non-alcoholic however, unless we add a dash of rum or whiskey to the mix.
So when I found myself presented with my first bottle of English cider, I was surprised to find my apple ‘juice’ packed quite a punch. In the UK, cider is fermented and in the right hands can become something quite delicious – and potent.
Our friends at Holling Grange recommended we take a trip to visit one of their favourite cider breweries, and stay for a bite to eat and their delicious restaurant. It sounded like our kind of place.
The drive to Westons Cider through the pretty winding roads of Herefordshire, is part of the pleasure of visiting. You may even pass by one of the 250 local farms that supply Westons with their apples and pears.
“Pears?” We hear you asking. Westons also creates several varieties of pear cider, known as Perry, and it’s every bit as delicious as their apple ciders.
Visiting Westons Cider
When you arrive at the Westons Visitors’ Centre, we recommend you join a tour (at 11:00, 12:30 and 14:30 daily), as we did, and learn about the history and process of cider-making in the Herefordshire area.
On the tour you will see the distribution area as well as the cider mill and fermentation area. You can even hear the cider bubbling away in the huge vats inside the cider house. The tour ends in a small museum featuring tools used in cider-making throughout the ages.
But let’s face it, the best thing about visiting Westons Cider is tasting their products. Never fear, dear readers! We tasted everything on offer so we could report back to you.
They’ve been making cider since 1880, so they are pretty good at it, by this point and have a wide range of different beverages. There are sparkling ciders, oaked ciders, organic ciders and perrys and even ciders mixed with other ingredients. We’re big fans of the Raspberry and Ginger Twists.
You can purchase your favourites to take home with you and you’ll even receive a souvenir glass to drink them from.
Eating at Westons Scrumpy House
After all that delicious cider and perry, it’s a good idea to fill your belly before getting back on the road. Westons’ Scrumpy House is a perfect little restaurant, right on site.
Getting to Herefordshire from Belgium
We enjoy driving to Herefordshire (so we can fill our trunk with cider) via the Euro Tunnel.
You can also fly to Birmingham direct from Brussels International with flybmi or to Cardiff via Amsterdam on KLM. Rental cars are available at both airports.
You can travel on the train with Eurostar to London and from there to Hereford on First Great Western.
Much Marcle, Ledbury, County of Herefordshire
HR8 2NQ, United Kingdom
So, if you find yourself in the Herefordshire area, and we strongly recommend this area for a visit, make your way to Westons Cider and raise a glass for us! For more great restaurants around the world, check out our Restaurant Review page.
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