Visit Southern Wales

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Archive for tag: Roman

Roman Remains

CaerleonJust to the north of Newport lies Caerleon, a small town with a big history.  The town was once one of the most remote outposts of the mighty Roman Empire and one of only three permanent fortresses in Britain.

The legacy of that past is clearly visible today with many relics and remains throughout the town.  The amphitheatre is the most complete  in Britain while the barracks are the only one of its kind still on view in the whole of Europe.  A short stroll through the town brings you to the Roman Baths, in their time a state of the art leisure complex with heated changing rooms, exercise rooms and an open air swimming pool.

Telling the story of the town's Roman past is the National Roman Legion Museum.  Exhibitions and artefacts show how the town and its garrison lived, fought and died. 

Visit the museum's website for more details

Historic Newport

Don't be fooled by the name.  Whilst it has plenty of modern features, NEWport has an abundance of historic attractions.

In fact, you can trace the area's history all the way back to Roman times.  Just to the north of Newport City Centre lies Caerleon.  A pretty, quiet town today, but 2000 years ago it was one of the furthest outposts of the might Roman Empire. 

And you don't have to look far to find traces of its past.  The remains of the amphitheatre, once the site of blood thirsty "entertainment" and the barracks, once home to 5000 soldiers are prominent, whilst the baths and National Roman Legion Museum are also well worth a visit.

Elsewhere, the area's history encompasses a medieval ship discovered beneath the mud of the River Usk, a 17th century mansion, once home to some rather eccentric aristocrats, and one of only eight Transporter Bridges still operating anywhere in the world.

It's not all about the history though.  The area does contemporary too.  It boasts some of the best and most luxurious hotels and resorts in the Southern Wales region. 

For instance, the Celtic Manor can be found here - you can stay in one of their five star bedrooms, enjoy a sumptuous meal in one of the restaurants, relax and unwind in the spa or enjoy a round of golf on one of their three courses - just like some of the world's best golfers did when the Ryder Cup was hosted here in 2010.

To find out more about visiting Newport, click on the link

The Romans Return

Cardiff CAstleCardiff Castles is perhaps best known as being the lavish home of the Marquess of Bute in the 19th century. However the castles history goes back much further than that.

The first signs of a fort on the site came over 2000 years ago when it was fist built as a Roman stronghold.

And now the Romans Return to celebrate the castle's link with this time.  Over 2 days from 19-20 May the castle will be the scene for vivid flashbacks to a time when the site was a Roman Fort teeming with soldiers and civilians.

This great family event will give you a chance to see and hear how the Romans invaded and conquered Cardiff in a series of dramatic military displays and drills by soldiers in full, authentic costume.

A living history encampment will demonstrate how people lived during this time.

More information is available on the Cardiff Castle website.

Caravanning, but not as you know it

Romany CaravanAfter my blog back in May about Glamping in Cwmcarn near Caerphilly, it seems that the phenomenon is starting to catch on:

We all know the scenario - caravan holiday, cramped conditions, lashing rain, howling wind and a trudge across a sodden field to get to the showers and toilets.

But now you can forget all and stay in an authentic Romany Caravan.  A traditional Vardo, the caravan used to travel the lanes of the Welsh countryside but has now found a permanent home on a sheep farm near Bridgend. 

You may still find conditions a bit cramped if you bring the entire extended family, but it is ideal for a couple looking for a romantic getaway as you snuggle in the caravan, watching the stars and listening to the sounds of the countryside.  Anyway the rest of the family can stay in the nearby self catering house or pitch a tent or two next door.

And no more trudging across soggy fields either as the caravan comes complete with a cabin housing toilet, hot water, shower and washing facilities.  There is also a terrace and barbeque area and an internet connection meaning you don't have to get away from it all if you don't want to.

Caravan holidays will never seem the same again.

If you're interested in stayining the Romany Caravan then visit their website for more details

(Thanks to Brent Davies for the image)

Spotlight on Wye Valley

Sugar Loaf MountainTo celebrate the launching of the new Visit Wye Valley website, we are taking a closer look at this picturesque corner of Wales.

The Wye Valley and Vale of Usk is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and it's not difficult to see why.  The rolling countryside is a magnet for walkers with some well known and popular trails including the Offa's Dyke Path.

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.  There are also significant Roman remains at the nearby towns of Caerwent and Caerleon, including an amphithteatre and barraks for the soldiers.

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.

This area was catapulted into the international spotlight last October when the Celtic Manor hosted Golf's Ryder Cup - one of the country's top Golf resorts.  Or if you prefer horse racing then see if you can back a winner at Chepstow Racecourse.

The area also has a reputation for excellent food.  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.  It's in the Wye Valley that you'll also find two of Wales' Michelin starred restaurants - The Walnut Tree at Abergavenny and The Crown at Whitbrook.