HEREFORDSHIRE is well-known for being a pretty landlocked county, with the nearest beaches more than an hour’s drive away.
But if you want to take advantage of this weekend’s sunny weather, with temperatures in Hereford set to hit 27C, here are some of the best beaches within a two-hour drive of the city centre.
Last month was a miserable one with constant rain and heavy showers, so it’s about time that we deserve to bask in some sunshine.
And this means taking a trip down to the coast to breathe in that sea air and feel the sand in between your toes.
Brean in Somerset is one of the highest-rated beaches in the county on Tripadvisor.
The discover Brean website says it’s the “perfect setting” for a trip to the seaside.
With miles of sandy beach stretching as far as the eye can see, there’s plenty of space to enjoy.
“In the summer, the beach is a sunbathing hotspot,” it says.
“There’s nothing better than a gentle stroll along the beach with an ice cream, feeling the sand between your toes.
“The beach is dog-friendly all year round, making it an ideal walk for you and your pets.”
Famous for being the main location of the BBC sitcom Gavin and Stacey, this South Wales destination is a popular one with visitors from Hereford.
In the Vale of Glamorgan, near to the Welsh capital Cardiff, there’s plenty to keep the family busy after the drive, which takes just over 90 minutes.
A pleasure park, colourful beach huts and nearby country parks means there is a variety of things to get up to, as well as spending time on the golden sands.
The Visit The Vale website says: “Barry is a vibrant coastal town with a bustling high street, gorgeous parks and the Goodsheds and Innovation Quarter, featuring award-winning restaurant Hangfire – a shopping, eating and relaxing destination featuring independent businesses in an industrial heritage setting.
“Nearby is Porthkerry Country Park, a haven for wildlife with a café and digital augmented reality trail.
“Barry Island is famous for its golden beaches, family amusements, colourful beach huts and, of course, Gavin and Stacey.”
Smack bang in the middle of the rugged Ceredigion coastline, this Mid Wales town is another popular daytrip with people from Herefordshire.
The town, which has university, arts centre and a variety of shops, also has a pier.
The mile-long Victorian promenade passes Aberystwyth North Beach, one of the more popular ones with visitors.
The Visit Wales website says: “Close to the town, the clean, dark sand and shingle beach is accompanied by traditional seaside treats such donkey rides, bandstand entertainment and a bouncy castle and the town’s Victorian pier.
“Built in 1864, Aberystwyth’s pier was once some 242 metres in length but time and marine storms have seen it reduced to today’s 90 metres.”
Yet another Welsh offering is Caswell Bay, near Swansea.
This beach is around two hours away from Hereford, but is described by the Visit Swansea website as a “sought-after spot with surfers and families alike”.
“The bay has fantastic views and accessible amenities,” it says.
“Caswell Bay holds both a Blue Flag and Seaside award and is accessible by wheelchair.
“Two floating beach wheelchairs are available for hire free of charge from Swansea Council, but prior booking is essential.
“The car park is approximately 100m from the beach and there are toilets, external showers and refreshments nearby.
Like many beaches, there is a seasonal dog ban – but often there are alternatives nearby.
Our fifth and final suggestion is just over two hours away, but we think it’s worth the drive.
Cefn Sidan, west of Swansea near Llanelli, was the first beach in Wales to achieve the coveted blue flag award and boasts more than eight miles of sandy beach, often compared to Californian Beaches such as the golden coast.
Part of Pembrey Country Park, which boasts a ski slope, toboggan run, cycle hire, playgrounds, horse riding, a miniature railway and laser tag to name but a few, it used to be an ordnance factory during the world wars.
With the part dotted by tunnels left over from its days making munitions, the beach also has visible shipwrecks.
There are also dog friendly areas of the beach, perfect if you want to take your pet with you.