Hereford Independent. Walkable. Personal
Dropped in the middle of four Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and perched on the banks of the river Wye, Hereford gives you small-city living surrounded by the kind of landscapes people go on holiday to see.
Despite easy links to Bristol and Birmingham – both about an hour away – its idyllic, off-the-track location has given it a truly independent identity.
Independent doesn’t mean small. A recent entrant for UK City of Culture, the county is home to award-winning film production companies and internationally-renowned artists like Studio Morison. The city’s about to launch £22m-worth of projects to make the city greener, fairer and more creative – from public art projects, to riverside facilities and world-class gallery space.
It also means that – as well as Nando’s and Wagamamas and a brand new Odeon – there’s a real culture of independent food + drink, and retail business located all around a fully pedestrianised city centre.
Many of our graduates stay local are leaving HCA. Its scale doesn’t just mean that its walkable, it means you can feel at home here quickly – and you can have an impact on the place you choose to live and study in.
Famous for cider apples, soft fruits, and Hereford beef, our county has always produced top quality food and drink revered by chefs across the UK and beyond. But in recent years, the indie food culture in the city centre has stepped up to match, as young foodies have returned to Hereford and set up award-winning food businesses here. And don’t miss the chance to try some of the best craft ciders in the world, made locally in Herefordshire. Plus, with Herefordshire hopyards an essential part of the UK brewing landscape, you can expect to find plenty of great local beers to enjoy too!
Sustainability is at the heart of a new vision for a county that knows how important nature is to our health and happiness. With a neon green bike-share scheme punctuating every corner, and pedal-powered recycling company run by an HCA graduate, the city’s set up to cut down car traffic. Pioneering moss-boxes improve air quality around the city while the designs for a new net zero gallery will make it among the most energy-efficient art spaces in the UK. And, despite its beef cattle fame, Hereford has an incredible range of vegan eating.
From active public groups you can join, to Green Party politicians on Herefordshire Council, the county is full of people trying to shape a better world.
Before it was trendy, Hereford was a 15-minute City with everything within a short walk. Which is great for saving on bus fares. The new student accommodation is on the edge of the city centre with two supermarkets, a GP and a KFC almost on its doorstep.
The campus is a ten-minute walk. The city centre is less than five. There are parks dotted all over and two rivers to paddle board on or paddle in. And if you want to head home for the weekend, or go catch a show in Birmingham, the railway station is right there.
CDC Student Jodie
5 Reasons you'll fall in love with Hereford
1. Relax and enjoy life
Herefordshire is a safe place, with some of the lowest crime rates in the country.
2. Probably the best burgers in the world
Beefy Boys or Rule of Tum – you decide!
3. Being part of the community
Our students are really integrated into city life with no town/gown divide.
4. Great value for money
and officially the cheapest pint in the UK.*
5. The welcoming arts scene
HCA students are actively encouraged to participate and are helping to shape exciting new cultural developments.
BA Fine Art Student Celine
Whether you’re the sporty type, or take a little persuading, you’ll find something to suit you in Hereford.
The Point4 gym and leisure club is just across the road from our College Road campus and gym bunnies can make use of the HCA discounted membership. Or for something completely different why not try bouldering, or Roller Derby with the Hereford Roller Girls. Hereford has several friendly running and cycling clubs. You can take to the water in kayaks, canoes or rafts, or take up rowing with Hereford Rowing Club. Get back to basics and go wild swimming, or head up some of the UK’s most dramatic hills with HCA’s Hiking Society.
Want some adrenaline? You can find some of the best mountain biking and rock climbing in the UK within a short drive – or check out one of the UK’s top-rated outdoor skateparks with a series of bowls and street set-ups, and a welcoming local scene.
Something more relaxing
Jump on the bus to Hay-on-Wye, the famed Town of Books, and home to the world-famous literary festival – or go discover the Sidney Nolan Trust, the former home of the iconic 21st-century artist which now houses an incredible gallery space showcasing a rotating exhibition of his work, and exhibitions from guest artists.
If you want more making in your life, check out the brilliant courses and memberships at CUP Ceramics, or go buy something someone else has made at one of the various Makers Markets. Or if you just want something to watch for a few hours, there’s the Odeon for the new stuff, the Loft Cinema for cult classics in leather seats, or the Courtyard for films, stage, or films about the stage – with a beautiful bar for the interval.
Like a lot of places, there’s a festival for almost anything. But in Herefordshire, there are actually some really good, truly independent festivals that you are going to want to check out. Here’s a few to know about.
El Dorado – started by the Cirque du Soul founders, this music festival prides itself on bringing a fully-blown immersive club night experience to a deer park in the grounds of a castle. Some of the best names in house and DnB, mixed in with old-school soul and disco legends, and incredible stage design.
Nozstock – sticking with music, this is one of the UK’s true independent festivals. Consistently picked out by the Guardian as a top UK festival, it’s more about mud and community and music and having a great time, than it is about pristine Instagram photos.
Borderlines – an incredible film festival that pops up in venues all over the county throughout February and March every year. As well as a brilliantly-curated programme, the festival features talks from film-makers and has been celebrated for ensuring an equal platform for female directors and actors.
Hereford Indie Food – a two-day city centre street food-and-music bonanza, this summer’s edition featured Everything Everything, Trevor Nelson and 2-minute portraits from our own Hannah Jones.
Hay Festival/How The Light Gets In – Hay Festival is the world famous literary and Interesting People Talking festival that brings tens of thousands of people and BBC journalists to the edge of the county every spring. How The Light Gets In is the cool, younger brother that hosts a pretty eclectic, pretty amazing musical lineup alongside standups, astrophysicists and Labour politicians in a riverside festival site at the same time.
CMYK – our personal favourite. A print and illustration festival that is now two CMYKs-old, it is a two-day event brings together some incredible speakers, workshops and sellers for a celebration of anything drawn or printed. It’s also organised by two of the incredible HCA Illustration team, Neil Hadley and Nic Stevenson with a bonus Not Your Average Christmas Fair version pencilled in for December.