EVENTS are set to be held celebrating the ancient tradition of wassailing in Herefordshire in January.

Eat Sleep Live Herefordshire has created a list of family-friendly wassailing events taking place across Herefordshire in January 2023 for visitors and locals to enjoy.

Wassailing is the ancient tradition of blessing trees in the hope of promoting a good harvest for the next cider and perry season and warding off bad spirits from the orchard.

This Anglo-Saxon custom is said to date back many centuries and is still a lively and treasured tradition across cider and perry-making counties today.



Wassailing in Herefordshire - Leominster

Wassailing in Herefordshire - Leominster


Celebrations vary, but typically involve a lively, torch-lit procession to the orchard where revellers gather round the biggest tree to sing and create lots of noise to ward off bad spirits.

Often a wassail bowl, filled with warm spiced cider, perry or ale, is shared among the procession and a toast is made by the wassail queen as a gift to the biggest tree. It is not unusual for the evening to end with a visit to a local pub to warm up.

Herefordshire proudly produces more than half of the UK's 700 million litres of cider each year, so where better to experience the jolly, ancient tradition of wassailing.

Westons Cider Wassail

Westons, one of Herefordshire's biggest names in cider, will be holding its annual Wassail at Westons Cider Mill.

The Silurian Morris will be co-hosting the event on Saturday, January 7, with all proceeds going to St Michaels Hospice.


It will run from 6pm for 7pm, with torches lit at 7.30pm.

The Silurians will introduce you to some of the elements unique to wassailing such as the Burning of the Bush and the Herefordshire Apostle fires.

The evening begins with dancing outside the cider mill before the torchlit procession leads the way down the lane to the orchard where the Apostle Fires have been prepared.

Once everyone has arrived at the central apple tree, wassail songs are sung, the fires are lit, the offering made to the tree followed by more singing and dancing.

This year, for the first time, the Westons Wassail is ticketed, which can be bought here.

"Share in a ceremony bursting with fire, poetry, weird gifts, ancient songs and lots of laughs," said wassail butler Ian Craigan.

Leominster Wassail

The Leominster Wassail, which will be in the daytime this year, is organised by the Friends of Grange Court Gardens, with Grange Court cafe open for lunch and refreshments afterwards.

The festivities will start at 11am on Saturday, January 14, in Leominster's Corn Square.

The Jenny Pipes Morris, a women's Morris side in Herefordshire, will host the event.

Its procession will march down to the Community Orchard below the Priory Church and playground, be part of the wassail ceremony to ensure a fruitful harvest for the orchard's apple trees when autumn comes around.

Everyone is welcome, including musicians and singers.

Newton Court Cider

This year, Newton Court Cider welcomes Blackthorn, Herefordshire's innovative ritualistic folk group.

The members of Blackthorn come mostly from the county, including the folklorist, Ella Mary Leather, and the ley line investigator, Alfred Watkins.

Blackthorn will be wassailing in the orchard and performing songs, dances merriment on the dark evening of Saturday, January 21.

This is a ticketed event and all tickets have sold out.

Monkland Wassail and Ceilidh

In Monkland there'll be singing, dancing and a short walk to the orchard for a traditional wassail with Foxwhelp Morris.

This will be followed by a ceilidh with Join the Dots ceilidh band in the village hall on Saturday, January 7.

Tickets are £6 from The Monkland Arms.

The Crown Inn, Woolhope

Wassailers will be gathering at The Crown Inn for the Woolhope Wassail at 5pm on Saturday, January 21, ready for the torchlit walk to the orchard at 6pm.

Everyone is invited to join in the fun as the apple trees are blessed and the spirits invoked.

Great food is expected, a great atmosphere and a great night for all the family, said a spokesperson from Eat Sleep Live Herefordshire.