1. Get up high
Float over the castles, gaze at the rolling fields and marvel at the beautiful Brecon Beacons in the distance, with Bailey Balloons’ hot air balloon flights. Lift off at Raglan and you’ll immediately marvel at the town’s majestic castle, before enjoying spectacular panoramic views of the county below.
2. Get on your bike
For another energetic method to explore Monmouthshire, why not try two wheels? If you are feeling brave then why not try and tackle The Tumble? The 6km route rises at a 10 per cent incline and is a must-do for any keen cyclist’s bucket list.
3. Walk in the footsteps of soldiers
The Agincourt Wales Trail takes in eight places linked to the famous 1415 Battle of Agincourt. It is believed 500 Welsh archers and 23 men-at-arms, some from Monmouthshire, travelled to France to fight. The trail tells their story and the story of the places involved. It begins in Trecastle and concludes in Caldicot.
4. Pet an alpaca
Amazing Alpacas, in Earlswood, specialises in breeding the South American animals. The farm offers alpaca encounters: visitors can visit, in a group of up to five, for around 90 minutes, meet the herd and have a chance to hand feed.
5. Snap at Tintern Abbey
The county is very photogenic, but, perhaps, one site stands out more than others. Tintern Abbey is a global star, the glassless windows frame the sky and the landscapes beyond. Perfect for any shutterbug.
6. Get the beers in
A microbrewery with tours, tasting sessions and wood-fired pizzas thrown in: what’s not to love about Kingstone Brewery in Tintern? Make a weekend of it. They have accommodation on site, too: choose from a bell tent, shepherd’s hut or cabin.
7. Wind down
With four vineyards in the county, taking a wine tour is a must. Ancre Hill offers tours with wine and cheese tasting. At Sugar Loaf Vineyard you can enjoy a free tour, with wine tasting starting at just £3. White Castle’s cellar door is open Friday, Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays between 10am and 5pm for wine tasting, wine purchases and gifts. Meanwhile, Parva’s visitors are free to drop in to enjoy a tour and taste.
8. Take to the water
Rent a canoe or kayak and get out on the River Wye. There are plenty of options for families or those going solo. The experienced can head off alone, while those newer, or less confident, can join an excursion to explore the county’s unique waterways.
9. A sweet walk
The National Trust has a four-mile, moderate hiking circuit that focuses on Sugarloaf Mountain. It estimates the walk will take between three-and-a-half hours to five hours, depending on pace and fitness. Walkers will love the unrivalled views en route, which include the Severn Estuary and the Brecon Beacons.
10. Sport of kings
Chepstow Racecourse hosts meets throughout the year, so whatever time of year you are in the area you should be able to catch some of the action. In the winter, the course hosts jump events, such as the Welsh Grand National and New Year Race Day, while during the summer there are a number of flat racing meets. And even there is no racing on, there is sure to be some kind of event taking place.
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