Spring stops & day trips on the Daffodil Line

Once you’ve unpacked your bags and have settled into your accommodation in Ross-on-Wye, you might be interested in exploring not only the beautiful town and its independent shops and eateries, but also the surrounding towns and villages. In the tourist office, we often get asked which places from Ross are the easiest to visit with or without a car, so we’ve compiled a list of the best day trips from Ross-on-Wye using the fantastic new Daffodil Line which connects us to all the lovely little towns in and around the area including Upton Bishop, Ledbury, Much Marcle, Newent, Gorsley and Dymock.

Tickets are very reasonably priced at £2 for a standard adult single or £6 Day Rider (£3 on Sundays) and it’s even dog friendly – it’ll cost just a pound to take your furry four legged friends with you! Check the latest timetables and ticket fares on www.daffodilline.co.uk before you travel.

1. Newent: wildlife walks, coffee and crafts

Located in Gloucestershire, the pretty market town of Newent lies around 8 miles east of Ross-on-Wye in a conservation area and is worth a visit for its history, cafés, galleries and independent shops. Leaving Ross at 10.10, 12.10 or 14.10 on the Daffodil Line, you’ll be in Newent in 25 minutes. The bus will drop you at Lake car park where you can start your day with a relaxing stroll taking in the wildlife around Newent Lake. When you’ve finished, head into town, where you’ll find the ancient Market House in the centre, a pretty black and white timbered building. Enjoy browsing the gift shops and if you fancy a stop off for coffee, cake or afternoon tea, head for The Ark Café on the High St which also has sensory room, soft play and outdoor area for kids. The Runcible Spoon Deli and Café has a wonderful menu including brunch, lunch and tea plus a fabulous cheese deli – check out their craft café sessions too.

Another must stop-off is the dog-friendly Manna House on Broad Street with gorgeous gifts, coffee, cakes, afternoon cream teas, lunchtime pizzas and art and craft courses for children and adults.

For more lovely local arts & crafts, head to The Shambles, a quirky little courtyard just off Church Street. There, you’ll find the The Secret Gallery with its downstairs gift shop, full of unique locally made gifts and artwork, a gallery and a beautiful exhibition & art space (The Upstairs Space) where you can enjoy a different exhibition every month as well as regular workshops, events and even yoga classes.

If you’re looking for some pamper time, book in with the popular Newent Hair & Beauty and enjoy a new hair colour, facial, manicure or lash treatment, whilst enjoying a delicious coffee, hot chocolate, milkshake or hot cross bun. There’s even a lovely selection of gifts on offer or you can buy gift vouchers if you want to treat someone special.

For evening dining, head to the Newent Tandoori for traditional Indian and balti dishes (open every day except for Tuesday from 5pm until late) – or for roaring log fires, real ale and pub grub, head to The King’s Arms (open daily, serving food from 12.00 to 2.30 and 17.00 to 20.30), former coaching house, The George Hotel or The Black Dog Inn, the latter both on Church Street. Also worth a mention is the wonderful Cobblers, a dog-friendly micro pub right in the heart of Newent located at 7 Church Street. Small, but perfectly formed, the Cobblers has regular music nights, great cask ales, beers, gins and wines.

As of March 2024, the last buses back to Ross from Newent on the Daffodil Line are 17.50 (Monday to Saturday) or if you fancy staying out for dinner or drinks, the last bus back on a Friday or Saturday night leaves at 21.40.

2. Much Marcle: Sunday lunch at The Scrumpy House

Every Sunday, the Daffodil Line bus route makes a special stop off at The Scrumpy House located at Westons Cider in Much Marcle – the perfect excuse to leave the car behind and enjoy a guilt-free glass of cider or two with your roast dinner. Catch the 11.30 bus from Cantilupe Road in Ross and you’ll arrive by 12.10, giving you plenty of time to enjoy a few relaxing hours of delicious food and drink or even a tour of their historic 17th century farmhouse and cider mill before heading back for the 16.46 bus from the car park. You can also jump off the bus en route at the Walwyn Arms (below) and enjoy a pre-lunch tipple followed by a 10 minute walk along the country road to the restaurant (note, the road isn’t busy but is flanked by grass verges so walking boots are recommended).

The Scrumpy House offers an à la carte menu with delicious, locally sourced dishes and the Sunday Lunch menu includes roast beef, pork or chicken which can be made gluten-free on request. There is also a selection of delicious homemade desserts if you have room, as well as their own-label ciders including Stowford Press, Old Rosie, Mortimer’s Orchard and their traditional English Vintage Cider. If it’s chilly, dine inside or as it warms up, you can sit at one of the outside tables or dining pods, perfect if you’re taking your furry friend along.

Book your table by calling 01531 660626 or email scrumpy.house@westons-cider.co.uk.

3. Dymock – pub, poets and daffodils!

Fancy a relaxing day out taking in hoards of daffodils this spring? Head to the Daffodil Way in Dymock – the original home of the Dymock Poets – on the Gloucestershire and Herefordshire borders, renowned for its wild daffodils that can be seen each year around the end of March. This is undeniably one of the prettiest locations to see swathes of golden blooms and the area has become known as ‘The Golden Triangle‘ which extends across Dymock, Kempley and Oxenhall. Every year, the three villages organise a festival, including guided walks and afternoon teas in the village halls. Join the Friend of Dymock Poets on Saturday 23 March 2024 for their annual celebration of spring with walks, talks, lunch and tea – tickets are £15 (or £5 online) – view programme here.

Also, if you’re planning your day trip to Dymock, don’t forget to wander around the village too, taking in the lovely old brick buildings such as the White House and Old Rectory (below) near the impressive Norman church at the heart of the village. Once you’ve finished exploring the village and daffodils, why not head to the village pub for a well earned bite or pint? The Beachamp Arms is a thriving venue with plenty going on including pop up street food nights, live music, quiz nights and special celebration menus (eg Valentine’s or Mother’s Day).

Daffodil Line buses leave Ross at 10.10, 12.10 and 14.10 and the bus journey takes around 30 minutes. Return buses leave Dymock in the afternoon between Monday and Saturday at 13.30, 14.57, 15.47 and 17.43 (with later buses leaving at 19.30 and 21.30 on Fridays and Saturdays). Always check the latest timetable at www.daffodilline.co.uk.

4. Upton Bishop – Moody Cow, crafts and cake

A few miles outside of Ross-on-Wye, you’ll find the lovely little village of Upton Bishop with the popular pub, The Moody Cow, right at its heart. Not far away is the wonderful Wobage Craft Centre, open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and just a 15 minute walk along the country lanes from the pub. For peace, reflection and mindfulness, visit the lovely St John the Baptist Church for their Evensong every Tuesday at 5.30pm or join in with Penny Jolly’s weekly yoga sessions at the village hall every Wednesday afternoon at 1pm.

Why not make a day of it and jump on the Daffodil Line for a relaxing day out? It’s just a 10 minute journey and you can leave Ross on the 12.10 bus and arrive in time for lunch. Enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal before heading off for the afternoon to browse the arts, crafts and gallery at Wobage (below). On Saturday 16 March there will be a special Leap Year Sale of seconds and previous work from 10am until 5pm, including jewellery, earthenware and porcelain which you can enjoy over a hot drink and homemade cake.

Return buses leave Upton Bishop for Ross at 16.06 and 18.01 (19.51 and 21.51 on Fridays and Saturdays).

5. Ledbury – shopping, poetry and dining out

A 25 minute car drive north east of Ross-on-Wye will get you to the beautiful market town of Ledbury with its historic streets, independent shops, cafés, bars and galleries. The Daffodil Line bus will take a leisurely hour and you get to enjoy a scenic route through Upton Bishop, Gorsely, Newent, Dymock and Much Marcle en route.

Jump on the 10.10 bus to give you plenty of time to explore as there’s so much on offer.

Famous for its annual Ledbury Poetry Festival in July, the town is surrounded by woods, orchards and hills, with footpaths winding up to the Malvern Hills, so pack your walking boots if your prefer outdoor pursuits over retail therapy.

If you’re a lover of homewares and interiors, you won’t be disappointed as there are scores of beautiful independent retailers on the High Street including Tinsmiths, Hus & Hem the TUSK Collection and Wyebridge Interiors. Browse arts and crafts in the Take 4 Gallery, which showcases the work of just four locally and nationally renowned contemporary artists at any one time.

Heading down the High Street, passing the ancient Almshouses dating back to 1822, you’ll find yourself on Homend, a wide road packed with a huge range of independent retailers and cafés. If you need a light refreshment or lunch, head to The Malthouse Café & Gallery on Church Lane, a hidden gem, with its cobbled courtyard and amazing range of home baked cakes. The Feathers Hotel, with its iconic black and white timbered façade and pretty hanging baskets, sits in the middle of the High Street and is also a popular choice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Ask for the table 18 (their most requested) if you fancy cosying up on a table for two next to an open log fire. For authentic Italian food, The Olive Tree, set in a beautiful 16th century building, is also a very popular choice as is The Ledberry, a stylish mid-terraced Georgian building, with gift shop and intimate rooms for small parties as well as a pretty secret walled courtyard garden.

Return buses on the Daffodil Line leave from the Market House, Monday to Saturday, at 15.10, 15.20 and 17.20 – or if you’re dining out on Friday or Saturday evening, you can jump on the last one back at 21.10.

Don’t forget to check the latest timetables on www.daffodilline.co.uk before you travel.