ONE of the world’s greatest minds enjoyed the champagne lifestyle and a visit to the cathedral during a visit to Hereford.

Stephen Hawking, author of A Brief History of Time, was in Hereford as one of a party of eminent physicists visiting the city’s cathedral, where they saw the famous Mappa Mundi.

Canon Chris Pullin, who led the group around the Mappa Mundi exhibition, said: "We were delighted to welcome them to the exhibition. Having recently been to NASA in Houston, Texas, it was fascinating to be able to talk to these eminent scientists about the relationship between the understanding of the world in the early 14th century, when the map was created, and that glorious view we now have of the world from space."

And following the cathedral visit, Professor Hawking and his colleagues visited Saxty's bar for a champagne tatinmg event.

Owner Edward Symonds said: "We had a phone call saying that Stephen and his people were going to come in last Friday because he wanted to take them out for the evening. We couldn’t believe it at first, but we were told that he was staying locally and that he wanted to attend.

“He asked for a Bloody Mary and had a couple of glasses of champagne. He took part in what was going on and stayed for about two-and-a-half hours.

“Everyone who was there couldn’t believe that one of the greatest living scientists was in the building – to be in his presence was just unbelievable,” said Mr Symonds. “We had a couple of photos with him and he was happy for us to tell people that he was there.

“We have had a lot of different people come there over the years, but Stephen is in a different league.”