Crossing the River Severn and leaving England behind, you’ll find yourself surrounded by some of the most stunning landscapes, fascinating places and finest food and drink to be found in all of Wales. This is Monmouthshire.
Often called ‘the gateway to Wales’, Monmouthshire offers far more than simply being the first Welsh county that visitors enter when travelling along the M4 and M48 motorways.
Monmouthshire’s rolling hills and dramatic landscapes abound not only with historical and cultural treasures, but also with some of the finest food and drink Wales has to offer.
Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure, a comfortable retreat, a good meal, or you just want to get away from it all, Monmouthshire has the answer.
Explore some of UK’s most incredible landscape
Monmouthshire is home to some of the United Kingdom’s most entrancing scenery, and counts parts of both the Wye Valley Area of Natural Beauty and the Brecon Beacons National Park among its highlights.
To the north of the county lie the tranquil Black Mountains, while to the south you’ll find the beautiful lowlands of Gwent Levels, on the banks of the River Severn.
The expanse and variety in the terrain offers a fantastic opportunity for walkers and ramblers to enjoy challenging but not intimidating routes, including the iconic Sugar Loaf – one of the Black Mountain’s highest peaks and one of seven majestic mountains overlooking Abergavenny.
The vast range of landscapes – from mountains, to valleys, to lowlands and more – makes Monmouthshire an enormously tempting destination for anyone wanting to spend more time outdoors.
Getting a taste for Wales’s culinary capital
No matter where you find yourself in Monmouthshire, you won’t have to go far to find a delicious meal, or a charming spot to stop for a drink.
Monmouthshire is home to a staggering array of hand-reared, locally-produced, and award-winning cuisine, which led to it being acknowledged as the indisputable food capital of Wales.
The internationally-renowned Abergavenny Food Festival makes September an excellent time to visit the county, but no matter the time of year, delicious food and drink won’t be hard to find.
The county boasts two Michelin Star restaurants within its borders – the Walnut Tree at Llanddewi Skirrid, near Abergavenny and The Whitebrook in the Wye Valley – but many of its restaurants are renowned throughout Wales and beyond for the quality of their fare.
You may feel like you’re stumbling upon a delightful new pub in every village you visit, and regular markets can be found in Abergavenny, Caldicot, Chepstow, Monmouth, and Usk.
Beyond the restaurants and bars, you’ll also find a whole host of activities to bring you closer to the origin of the food you enjoy. Bee-keeping demonstrations, baking workshops, pick-your-own-fruit farms, tours of local vineyards, foraging trips, distilleries, breweries, and more, are just waiting to be experienced.
History and adventure await
Historical treasures abound throughout Monmouthshire, and the county offers some splendid examples of Great Britain’s storied past.
The Blaenavon World Heritage Site is home to the Blaenavon Heritage Railway, Big Pit National Coal Museum, and the Blaenavon Ironworks, in addition to the miles of beautiful walking and cycling routes alongside the enchanting Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal.
If castles are your thing, then you’ll find some incredible examples spread across Monmouthshire.
Its location on the border of the kingdoms of Wales and England made Monmouthshire a hotspot for trouble in days past – it’s no surprise, then, that nine castles can be found spread along the edges of the county.
The castles at Abergavenny, Caldicot, Chepstow, Grosmont, Monmouth, Raglan, Skenfrith, Usk and White Castle, all once defended their peoples and holdings fiercely, and they retain their sense of ferocious grandeur even hundreds of years after they were built.
Caerwent Roman Town is truly an archaeologist’s dream, providing a rare glimpse into our Roman heritage, with buildings, temples, and even fourth-century stone walls still standing!
The county offers plenty for the more modern-minded visitor too. May’s annual Devauden Music Festival showcases some of the finest artists from across Wales , while the Balter Festival brings big-name 90s stars to Chepstow Racecourse.
For a truly unforgettable show, the annual Castell Roc Music Festival offers the chance to experience a live concert at mighty Chepstow Castle, while the town’s Green Gathering presents a desirable opportunity to experience off-the-grid living at a welcoming, vibrant, and – above all – GREEN festival.
Or, for an incredible blend of independent music, art, and science, look no further than The Green Man Festival, held in nearby Powys. This annual event brings together big names from music, comedy, film, performing arts, literature, science, and more for an exhilarating week-long celebration of human talent and the sheer joy of being alive.
There’s nowhere quite like Monmouthshire
There truly is something to appeal to everyone in Monmouthshire, with more attractions, events, and celebrations springing up all the time.
Whether you’re searching for somewhere for just a great day-trip, or for a holiday destination that feels new and exciting, you’ll find plenty to delight and entertain in this jewel of the Welsh crown.
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