Just 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
Don't be fooled by the name. Whilst it has plenty
of modern features, NEWport has an abundance of
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
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
To find out more about visiting Newport, click on
Cardiff 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
A living history encampment will demonstrate how people lived
during this time.
More information is available on the Cardiff Castle
After my blog back in May about Glamping in Cwmcarn near
Caerphilly, it seems that the phenomenon is starting to catch
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)
To 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
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
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.