It is east of Hereford, and west of the Malvern Hills. Ledbury is an ancient borough, dating back to the Domesday Book, where it was recorded as Liedeberge, and returned members to Parliament in the reign of Edward I. Ledbury probably takes its name from the River Leadon, on which it stands. The Old English berg (hill) has been added to the river name.
Ledbury was once home to the poetess Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who spent her childhood days at Hope End. It is also the birthplace of poet laureate John Masefield, after whom the local secondary school is now named - John Masefield High School (JMHS).
Today, Ledbury is a thriving market town in rural England. It has a main-line rail connection to London. The town has a large number of timber framed buildings, in particular along Church Lane. Notable buildings in the area include the parish church, the Painted Room (containing sixteenth century frescoes), and Eastnor Castle.
The Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal, which was opened from Gloucester as far as Ledbury in 1798, passed through the lower part of the town with wharves at Bye Street and at what is now the Ross Road near the Full Pitcher public house. After closing in 1885, the canal route was used by the Great Western Railway for the Ledbury to Gloucester branch line. When that closed, as a result of the Beeching cuts, it became disused until it was converted to a nature trail.
One of Ledbury's most outstanding buildings is the Market House, located in central town. The town is also host to the base of former Formula 1 team Minardi.
Ledbury is a venue for numerous annual festivals (particularly the Ledbury Poetry Festival) and The Big Chill music event at Eastnor Castle, which brings thousands of young people to the town each year.
The Ledbury hunts (Ledbury, which dates from 1846, and North Ledbury, established in 1905) are well-supported. Ledbury is also home to the Silurian Border Morris men. There are a number of singing groups in the town, including Ledbury Choral Society and Ledbury Community Choir, the latter with over 60 singers.