The Wye Valley and Vale of Usk is
an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and it's not difficult to see
The rolling countryside is a magnet for walkers with some
well-known and popular trails including the Offa's Dyke Path. It is
also where the Wales Coast Path begins (or
ends, depending on which way around you're going). In fact,
Offa's Dyke and the coast path join up so that you can complete a
whole circuit of Wales if you really want to!
The plenty of historic attractions too. There are castles
galore including the first one to be built at Chepstow and the last one too
at Raglan. One of the most
impressive monuments is Tintern Abbey standing
proudly on the banks of the River Wye.
Why not combine walking with history by doing the Three Castles Walk which is a
20 mile triangular walk taking in White Castle, Skenfirth Castle
and Grosmont Castle.
The area also has a reputation for excellent food. There are
plenty of top class restaurants or cosy country pubs to choose from
whilst Abergavenny's Angel Hotel is renowned for its Afternoon Teas - well worth
indulging. Don't miss the Abergavenny Food Festival each
September which is an excellent chance to see (and of course taste)
the best of the area's produce.
For more information on the area please visit the website
Standing on the banks of the River Usk, the city
of Newport and the surrounding
area is packed with things to see and do.
And now to help you find your way about, a new tourism guide has
been launched. Called Newport 360, the guide hears from local
people about what visitors can expect to find on a visit to the
city and the wider region.
Amongst the highlights you can expect to find on a visit is the
iconic Transporter Bridge. It
is one of only eight such bridges remaining in the world.
Built in 1906, the elaborate design was needed in order to allow
tall ships to pass up the river to Newport Docks. Today
visitors can cross the river on the suspended gondola or the brave
can climb the stairs and cross the high level walkway, a mere 177
feet above the ground. Enjoy the view.
From the top of the Transporter Bridge, you should be able to spot
Tredegar House on the
outskirts of the city. Standing in 90 acres of glorious
parkland, the estate was once the home of the aristocratic and
somewhat eccentric Morgan family. Visitors can explore this
National Trust property and discover how both the masters and their
servants lived and worked.
Newport's history goes back even further. All the way back
to Roman times in fact. The small town of Caerleon to the
north of the city was once the furthest outpost of the Roman Empire
and home to hundreds of soldiers. Today, visitors can explore
the remains of the legion's amphitheatre, barracks and baths whilst
the National Roman Legion Museum
tells the town's story.
Head from Roman times up to the 21st century, and 2010
in particular. The eyes of the sporting world focused
on Newport when Golf's Ryder Cup was staged at the Celtic Manor
Resort. The tournament put this world class resort firmly in
the spotlight and it now boasts 3 world class golf courses
including the famous 2010 course which saw Europe triumph in
It's not only the golf that makes a visit to the Celtic Manor
worthwhile. The resort boasts a luxurious 400 room hotel
together with fine dining restaurants and spa
There's plenty of other accommodation available in the area with
high quality accommodation available from the like of Hilton and Holiday Inn whilst for
something a little bit different you can stay in a lighthouse
overlooking the Severn Estuary.
To download your copy of the Newport 360 visitor guide, please click here
We've had Bridgend's
Feastival and the acclaimed Abergavenny Food Festival but the
foodie fiestas of Southern Wales continue this month.
First up this Saturday is the Newport Food Festival.
There'll be a great atmosphere with plenty of on-street mayhem,
demonstrations and masters classes and of course loads of stalls
rammed with the very best local food and drink.
The focus then shifts to the rural market town of Cowbridge on the weekend of the 26-27
October for their food festival.
Again, there'll be dozens of stalls selling the best food and
drink as well as chefs from top local restaurants and hotels
demonstrating their skills.
In addition local business will be getting involved. At the
town's historic Bear Hotel there'll be live entertainment in their
pop up 'Garden Village' as well as wine tasting and an intriguing
Cupcake masterclass. Visit their website for more
Back in the summer we ran a competition on the
ANWB website in the Netherlands. The prize was a three night
stay at the AngelHotel
The prize was won by Marianne Pasveer-van Bovene from
Hoenderloo. Last month she travelled to Abergavenny with her
daughter Loes and this is their account of the visit.
Sunday 5th September
After a short flight from Amsterdam we arrived at Cardiff
Airport where we transferred to the Angel Hotel in
Abergavenny. The weather was good and during the drive we
enjoyed the beautiful landscape.
After our check in we were taken to The Lodge. This
was a great surprise for us, a lovely house in front of the Castle
grounds. The house was very comfortable with two small
sitting-rooms with a fireplace on remote-control, kitchen, bathroom
and toilet and upstairs two bed-rooms. The view out of the windows
to the castle grounds was beautiful.
The weather was good and the sun was shining so we took a very
nice and interesting walk around the town of Abergavenny and took
in the views towards the Skirrid Fawr, Blorenge and Sugar Loaf
After that it was time for our diner back in the hotel. The menu
offered a great assortment of courses and we selected the local
food of black mountain smoked salmon, roast rump of Welsh lamb and
warm traditional treacle tart with clotted cream. It was really
Monday 6th September
We opened the curtains to see the sun, shining on the
castle ruins and tops of the mountains.
First we started with breakfast. The menu was enormous.
After finishing we went for a short stroll through the town.
At 10.30 am we were welcomed by Deborah Haylock, the Marketing
Manager of the Angel Hotel and Huw Davies from Southern Wales
Deborah provided us information about suggested walking routes and
places of interest in Abergavenny. We decided to visit St.
Mary's Priory Church where we spent a lot of time because the
history was very interesting.
Later in the day we headed back to the hotel for afternoon tea.
This was a special experience and we enjoyed a selection of little
sandwiches and freshly baked cakes and pastries.
We then went back to The Lodge to relax near the fireplace before
returning to the hotel for diner.
Tuesday 7th September
We woke at 8.00 am and the weather was beautiful.
After breakfast we once again met with Deborah. We said that
we would like to walk to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain so she
arranged a map for us and kindly drove us to the car park at foot
of the mountain to begin our walk.
As we walked higher the clouds drew in and it was getting colder
before we reached the summit. After looking around at the top
we went down quickly because of the cold wind. We followed a
sheep path and the sun started to shine again. We enjoyed the
beautiful view of the mountains with the cloudy sky. We
walked between very high ferns and lots of sheep.
At 7.30pm we were picked up by a taxi to take us to "The Walnut
Tree", a well known Michelin-starred restaurant. It was very cosy
and the menu was delicious.
Wednesday 8th September
At 9.30 am we checked out of the hotel and we were taken
by taxi back to the airport.
We had an excellent stay in Abergavenny and enjoyed all the things
that were arranged for us including the good care of Deborah
Haylock and the kindness of the Angel Hotel staff.
We would like to thank Southern Wales Tourism and the
Angel Hotel very much for this unforgettable stay.
Marianne Pasveer-van Bovene