What to do locally, including restaurants, visits, local shops and walks
Local Events/Places of Interest/Things to do
- Chepstow Castle: The first of the great castles built in Wales. Impressive clifftop location on the River Wye. Worth a visit. You get a good view of the castle from the nearby bridge over the River Wye (6 minutes drive)
- Chepstow is a medieval town, and worth wandering around.
- Tintern Abbey: Made famous by the romantic poets. Astonishingly beautiful ruin with access through CADW (the Welsh equivalent of English Heritage). (5 miles away up the Wye Valley)
- St Fagans: National Museum of Welsh Life in Cardiff. An impressive collection of relocated and immaculately rebuilt structures from Welsh History. For example, there is a 14th Century church, Welsh chapel, Victorian shop and school, cock fighting ring, and a delightful row of miners’ cottages, each one decorated as if in a different decade, that allows you t see the changes over time. A lovely afternoon out. Free Entry!! (40 mins drive, close to the M4).
- Tredegar House: Grade 1 home of the Morgan family. Beautiful 17th Century structure. (25 minutes drive, off M4). (Check, it may be closed for refurbishment).
- Caerleon: Roman Legionary Headquarters, museum, and amphitheatre. (11 miles)
- Caerwent: Once the largest town in Wales, now the barely noticeable remains of a Roman city. Worth a stop off on route to Newport or Cardiff. (3 miles, on A48)
- Heston Brake: Nearby in Portskewett, on a little hillock stands the neolithic chambered tomb of Heston Brake, one of the oldest surviving monuments in the area. It is not much to write home about, but if you are into atmosphere and want a sense of historical continuity this is as good a place to start as any. (10 minutes)
Cathedrals, Abbeys and Churches
- Bath (Bath Abbey boasts the last gasp of the Gothic with some truly spectacular fan vaulting)
Local churches worth a visit
- St Mary’s Priory Chepstow (impressive tympanum and romanesque architecture),
- St Jerome’s Llangwm Uchaf (a rare local survival of a carved rood screen. Look for the hidden green man carving).
- St Mary Radcliffe Bristol (said to be the greatest, most beautiful parish church in Britain. A matter of taste but very impressive).
- Kilpeck church (famous sheela-na-gig, extraordinary corbell carvings on the exterior of this village church make it worth the trip).
- Pennant Melangell: Hidden in a valley some way north of us is a restored shrine built to an early welsh saint (Melangell), who saved a hare from hunters by hiding it in her skirts. The prince she defied gave the land to her and the valley became a sanctuary. Today this beautiful little spot is well worth a trip on route to the north or mid wales. The local name for the hares that still play in the valley are ‘Melangells’ lambs’ (1 hour +)
- St Tewdrics Mathern: has a lot of associated history and a direct connection with Moynes Court (see Willam Ayot’s Contextual History in the white folder, when you visit the Gatehouse) (3 mins drive)
- The Wye Valley: Area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB). A fabulous drive. Steep wooded valley and gorge running for miles between Chepstow and Monmouth. You can continue up to Simmonds Yat if you want for further spectacular views. In fact, it’s a lovely river all the way up to Hay on Wye. (10 mins)
- Forest of Dean: Something of a best-kept secret. Lovely wooded areas, small villages, churches, and open spaces. Home of Free Miners, one of the birthplaces of the industrial revolution, and its own cultural eco-system. Look out for red deer, wild boar, badgers and ravens.
- Usk Valley: Another relatively unknown treasure, this time of pasture, and rolling farmland. Best seen at first from the road running between Devauden and Trellech (12 mins away), which shows a fabulous view of the Vale towards Usk and Abergavenny, with the Tolkien-esque mountains of the Brecon Beacons on the horizon. Look out for buzzards, ravens and the occasional hot air balloon, heading back to Bristol on a summer’s evening.
- The Wentwood (the Gwent-wood): This takes its name from Venta, the Roman city. A surprisingly large stretch of woodland which extends from The Forest of Dean (westwards) on the Welsh side of the Wye Valley). Look for beech woods, aforestation, hidden evidence of ancient settlements (stone circles) and a truly remarkable view from the top of Grey Hill, (park by the reservoir above Llanfair Discoed. From there it is about one mile’s walk uphill (can be tough but really worth it)).
- Brecon Beacons(AONB): One of Britain’s largest areas of wild landscape, including river valleys, mountains and hidden forests. Look out for waterfalls, soaring buzzards, and beautiful views of/from the Sugar Loaf (mountain), the Skirrid (whale-back mountain), the Blorenge (overlooking Abergavenny) and Pen-y-Fan (45 minutes drive via A48 and A449 through Abergavenny (Gateway to the Beacons)).
- The Gwent Levels:
- Wassail and Marie Llywd Chepstow www.thewidders.co.uk/wassail-and-mari-lwyd/ and chepstowwassailmari.co.uk/about/ January 17th 2018
- Chepstow Annual Walking Festival
- The Winter’s End Progressive Rock Festival April 4-7 2019
- Wye Valley River Festival 5-20 May 2018
- Balter Festival Chepstow Racecourse June 8-11 2018
- Green Gathering Festival Chepstow Racecourse August 2-6 2018
- Green Man Festival: Brecon Beacons http://www.greenman.net/
- Welsh Perry and Cider Festival Caldicot Castle 25-28 May 2018
- Monmouthshire Food Festival 2 -3 June 2018
- VW Vehicle Show at Caldicot Castle 20-22 July 2018
- Chepstow Castle: Events through the summer
- Castell Roc: The friendly music festival within Chepstow Castle (Organised by CADW)
- Abergavenny Food Festival
- Raglan Music Festival, Raglan
- Two Rivers Folk Festival Chepstow
- Devauden Music Festival
- Chepstow (Local Arts) Festival
- Fear-Fest Halloween Festival
- Monmouth Women’s Festival
- Hay Festival (books and literature) June
- Cheltenham Festival
- Welsh Grand National
- Really good restaurants to be found. There has been a Michelin starred revolution in local cuisine. Gwent and Forest suppliers are now firmly established as providing some of the best food in the UK (such as poultry from Madgett’s Farm, and smoked fish from the Severn and Wye Smokery).
- The Walnut Tree (Llanddewi Skirrid 45 mins) Michelin Star
- The Whitebrook (Whitebrook 30 mins) Michelin Star
- Restaurant James Sommerin, (Penarth 45 mins) Michelin Star
- The Hardwick (Abergavenny, 45 mins)
- The Bear (Crickhowell 50 mins)
- The Felin Fach Griffin (Brecon 45 mins)
- Junction 28 (Newport 35 mins)
- Morgan’s Restaurant St Pierre Marriott Hotel (Chepstow 5 mins)
- Epicure, Celtic Manor Resort (Newport 20 mins)
Other local restaurants and foodie options
- The Woodland Tavern (Llanfair Discoed)Pane e Vino (Italian) Chepstow
- The Foresters (on A48 towards Newport 10 mins drive)
- Groes Wen (Continental Cuisine) A48 8 minutes drive
Mint and Mustard: (Indian) If you like Indian there are two restaurants locally. Mint and Mustard (Chepstow) serves delicious Kerala cuisine. Light and unusual – an Indian equivalent of Mediterranean cookery.
- Our next door neighbour, St Pierre (a Marriot Hotel), has two dining rooms, formal and informal (bistro).
- The Indian Empire: (On the Park Wall roundabout on the A48, 5 mins drive)
- The Boat: European
- The Jade Garden: Chinese
- The Linden Tree: pub/wine bar with tapas food. Cosy feel. Good for an afternoon sit while visiting Chepstow.
- Mama Mia (Italian) Chepstow (5 mins drive)
Millers Arms: a friendly pub that serves good wholesome meals. Developing a reputation for its welcome and good value so best to book (Mathern, within walking distance (8-10 mins walk)
Tea and Coffee
- Coffee shops in Chepstow (Beaufort Square/St Mary’s Street)
- The Old Railway Station at Tintern offers afternoon tea and snacks in a rural setting.
Local Famers’ Markets are small, but good
- Usk Farmers Market is our favourite (opposite the prison, once a fortnight on a Saturday morning). Look out for the family that makes Single and Double Gloucester cheese, brilliant apple juice (a local speciality), smoked meats, and an indian family who create remarkable home-cooked ‘ready meals.’
- Chepstow Famers Market has a farmers market every fortnight on a Saturday morning
- Tesco (Chepstow)
- Marks and Spencers Food Hall (Chepstow or Monmouth)
- Lidl (Bulwark)
- Waitrose (Caldicot, or Monmouth)
- Asda (Caldicot)
Souvenirs to be found in
- St Mary’s Street Chepstow
- The shop at Tintern Abbey
- St Fagans: The Museum for Welsh Life
- Taurus Crafts A selection of craft shops and a cafe
- A wander with a bit of shopping can be had in Monmouth, Salt and Pepper cookshop (also serve tea and lunch), clothing, furnishing and retail outlets.
- Chepstow Bookshop (runner up Independent Bookshop of the Year Award). Very helpful and can source books within 24 hours.
- Second hand bookshops at Tintern: always worth a browse.
- Cribbs Causeway (Bristol),
- Spytty Retail Park (Newport) – this has a Matalan Outlet store.
Shopping and Culture Days out:
- Bristol: Arnolfini Gallery, Waterfront, and Bristol Old Vic etc (30 minutes)
- Bath – A world heritage site with some of the most beautiful Georgian Architecture in the UK, Bath Spa, the Pump Room, Pulteney Bridge, Roman Museum and American Museum (45 minutes),
- Cardiff (45 minutes),
- Cheltenham (50 minutes),
- Gloucester (60 minutes),
- Hereford (60 minutes)
And if all else fails a walk around Mathern village shows interesting vernacular architecture,ancient holy well, (go out of the drive and turn right), and 2,000 years of history. a medieval mill
National Diving School: (10 minutes away off the A48)
Severnvale Equestrian Centre (12 minutes on A48)
Fishing on the Wye and the Usk
Canoeing from Monmouth (30 minutes drive) and Hay on Wye (1 hour)
Chepstow Racecourse (10 minutes drive)
- Celtic Manor (previously hosted Ryder Cup 15 minutes drive),
- St Pierre (2 courses, 4 minutes drive),
- Rolls of Monmouth (45 mins drive).
- Local leisure centre in Chepstow (decent, clean with the usual facilities, including sauna, pool and classes)
- Bulwark has a new gym
- Curves (gym for women only) in Chepstow
Walks: This is a great area for walking. You can consult the guide books in the Gatehouse, but here are a few favourites of ours.
- The Wye Valley: Delightful wooded walks through Piercefield Park (7 minutes drive) to the Gorge on the Wye. Level walks along the River Wye at Brockwier (20 minutes drive) and Redbrook (30 minutes drive) (park by football ground, costs £1, walk over railway bridge past the pub The Bridge (which does good lunches), and follow the old rail track downriver.
- The Gwent Levels: If you want an open level walk, with a huge open vista, you could do a lot worse than drive down to Seawall on the Severn Estuary and walk along the seawall above the mudflats at Goldcliff. There is a tea shop by the seawall when you get back to the car. (25 mins drive)
Walking from the Gatehouse, without getting in the car
Walks directly from the GH
Rural walks straight from the door, across the fields, then either on to the next door golf course (St Pierre, where you can stop for lunch), or down to the Bristol Channel/Severn Estuary (though you do have to go through a field with electrical pylons in), or round the back of Mathern Palace and The Church of St Tewdric. Alternatively, down the drive, and turn left under the motorway and then turn left up the little lane to the local fishponds with huge fields to walk around. Or go through Mathern Village, cross over at Pwllmeyric, and take a 4 hour walk through Mounton and up to the Wye Valley. You can walk (on local roads) to Chepstow Castle.
We are next to a golf course (St Pierre) that you can walk across, fields that you can walk across, and you can walk down to the Bristol Channel/Severn Estuary too, directly from us (though that walk does go underneath some electricity pylons!). There are walks uphill to the Wye valley, (a lovely circular walk that took 4 hours through Mounton). Then there are the fish ponds in the village…..
Walks in Chepstow (and click on Local Walks to find more). Walks in the Chepstow Town Centre. Within 5 miles there is Offa’s Dyke Path, the Wentwood which is the largest ancient woodland in Wales, the Wye Valleyand The Forest Of Dean 12 easy walks in the area in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valleycan be found here.
To read and download information on local walks
Things to do locally in Wild Wales
Every January (see their website for date
Chepstow Racecourse Market
Open every Sunday 9 – 3pm, free parking.
Newhall Farm Shop
at Chepstow Garden Centre brings together local, national, and international foods of the highest quality.
Check website for racing calendar
Chepstow Racecourse hosts a mixture of 29 Jump and Flat race meetings. The variety of weekend, evening, Bank Holiday and midweek meetings mean that you can enjoy exciting racing action at a time that best suits you and with our popular themed meetings, there really is something for everyone.
Mathern Mill Fishery
MATHERN MILL FISHERY is within a few hundred yards: open every day 8am – dusk
Costs: Adults £7: Under 16’s £4 : OAP’s £5
Guests have to bring their own equipment ie rods etc. Contact: 07801 513943, Permit: From Fishery
Great Barnets Wood, Mounton, Shirenewton
A lovely walk – bluebells there sometime between Late april to mid May.http://www.walkingworld.com/results/walksummary.asp?method=thirdpartyid&wlkno=2952
Details of all local walkshttp://www.walkingworld.com/counties/Monmouthshire.asp
Caerleon was the site of one of Britain’s three permanent Roman Legionary Fortresses and many believe it to be the location of King Arthur’s Camelot. In 830 AD Nennius listed Cair Lion as one of Britain’s 33 cities. Nowadays it’s a thriving town where past and present combine to delight both visitors and residents.
A curious phenomenon associated with the lower reaches of the Severn is the tidal phenomenon known as the Severn Bore . The river’s estuary , part of the Bristol Channel , has the second largest tidal range in the world which is approximately 15 metres , exceeded only (couple of feet) by the Bay of Fundy in Canada – and at certain combinations of the tides, the rising water is funneled up the estuary into a wave that travels rapidly upstream against the river current.
The bore travels a distance of approximately 25 miles between Awre and Gloucester. Severn Bore enthusiasts even attempt to surf along on the bore wave, which can be 2 m high. Being the onset of the flood tide it is accompanied by a rapid rise in water level which continues for about one and a half hours after the Severn Bore has passed.
U tube video of the Severn Borehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtUmLLlm7S0
What’s on in Monmouthshire
Information about special events in Monmouthshire
What’s on in Bristol
Information about special events in Bristol
What’s on in Newport
Information about special events in Newport
What’s on in Cardiff
Information about special events in Cardiff
Chepstow Riverside Walk
A walk around Chepstow town and riverbank
Chepstow Town Website
Information about Chepstow
Mathern Village Website
Information about Mathern
Wye Valley & Forest of Dean Website
Information on things to do
Chepstow Race Course: 5 minutes drive away. Situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the picturesque Wye Valley provides a breathtaking backdrop to the impressive racing calendar at Chepstow Racecourse. Click here for more information
Food Shopping:There is a Tesco 10 minutes away in Chepstow (drive on A48 towards Chepstow and you’ll see tesco on the right hand side) Click here for Tesco Store Locator
Food Farm Shop At Chepstow Garden Centre you will find NewHall Farm Shop and butcher. It is about a 5 minute drive, and they do very good ‘ready meals’ there as well as fresh bread (cooked on site), milk eggs fruit veg chocolates, etc. Go out of our drive turning left at the T junction, then at the next t junction turn right onto A 48, and it is on the right hand side just a few yards up. They also have a cafe there which does breakfasts, lunch and teas. Click here for info
Beaches in Wales (nearest beaches are Clevedon in England which is 27 miles or Penarth, Cardiff in Wales which is 35 miles). click here for info
Good Local Restaurants: one of our favourites is the Woodland Tavern http://www.thewoodlandstavern.co.uk/
Pub within walking distance: Serves food on some nights. click here for more info
Alternatively there is Italian, Greek, Chinese and Indian in Chepstow, as well as pub grub.
Archaeologist defies sceptics in pursuit of lost city of Trellech – Article in The Guardian
Chepstow Castle and other castles in Wales are here Colins Wales Tourism Guide. Please see their website for admission charges and opening times. It is approximately a 12 minute drive form the Welsh Gatehouse.
Caldicot Castle and Country Park – Caldicot Castle and country park was founded by the Normans. Admission is free, except on event days when charges apply. It is Approximately a 13 minute drive from the Welsh gatehouse. Castle entry is closed in winter, but the wooded country park is open all year around.
Raglan Castle – Raglan Castle dates from the 1430s, it was built for show rather than with battle in mind, enough remains to still impress. Please see their website for admission charges and opening times. It is approximately a 30 minute drive from the Welsh Gatehouse.
Caerphilly Castle – The fortress is spread over a huge area making it the largest castle in Wales. Please see their website for admission charges and opening times. It is approximately a 45 minute drive from the Welsh Gatehouse.
St Fagans is one of Europe’s leading open–air museums and Wales’s most popular heritage attraction. It takes you on a walk around Wales from Celtic times to the present day. Admission is free. It is about 45 mins drive, and a fantastic open air museum.
Wales Millenium Centre – national home for the performing arts in Cardiff Bay. The centre stages musicals, opera, ballet, circus and contemporary dance alongside a large programme of free performances.
Visit the Vale – Vale of Glamorgan Council, Events and Activities
Info about Chepstow Town here – Chepstow Town Crier
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Therapy and counselling
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Link to Host Unusual click here