Things to See and Do

Chepstow Museum

The museum is a registered charity and run entirely by volunteers.

Chepstow Museum reveals the rich and varied past of this ancient town, once an important port and market centre. The wine trade, shipbuilding and salmon fishing are among Chepstow's many industries. The Museum is just across the road from Chepstow Castle in an elegant 18th century house built by a prosperous Chepstow merchant family.

Chepstow Castle

Chepstow, on its rock above the swirling waters of the River Wye, stands guard over a strategic crossing point into Wales. Started not long after the Battle of Hastings by William Fitz-Osbern, a companion of William the Conqueror, it was a landmark in more ways than one.

Built to secure Fitz-Osbern's new territories in the Welsh borders, Chepstow was the first of Britain's stone-built strongholds. Started during the infancy of castle building, it was improved throughout the centuries right up to the Civil War and beyond. As such, it is one of the few castles in Britain which traces the evolution of medieval military architecture from start to finish.

Chepstow Bridge – Old Wye Bridge

Chepstow Bridge is the World’s largest iron arch road bridge from the first 50 years of iron and steel construction. The bridge was first opened on the 24th July 1816, and is an architectural marvel and feat of engineering that has stood the test of time. See the bridge for yourself in Chepstow and check out the fantastic views of the Lower Wye Valley

Tintern Abbey

Travellers have been flocking to this river bank in the wooded Wye Valley for hundreds of years to admire Tintern's grace and sublime beauty.

The appeal of this exceptional religious house, the best preserved medieval abbey in Wales, remains as enduring as ever. Founded for Cistercian monks in 1131 and largely rebuilt by Roger Bigod, lord of nearby Chepstow Castle, in the late 13th century, it encompasses grand design and architectural detail of great finesse.

The shell of the abbey stands open to the skies almost to its full height, an outstanding example of the elaborate decorated style of Gothic architecture. Visitors are invariably captivated by the vast windows with their delicate tracery, and the wealth of decorative detail displayed in the walls, doorways and soaring archways.

Caldicot Castle

Visit Caldicot Castle in its beautiful setting of tranquil gardens and a wooded country park. Founded by the Normans, developed in royal hands as a stronghold in the Middle Ages and restored as a Victorian family home, the castle has a romantic and colourful history.

Explore the medieval towers and take in the breath-taking views of the parklands and surrounding area from the battlements. The castle was developed as a fortress by Royal hands in the Middle Ages and restored as a Victorian family home. The River Nedern winds its way through the park, and the wildlife pond is home to a variety of wildfowl.

The Kymin - Round House

A charming 18th-century Round House and Naval Temple standing proudly atop a prominent hill, the Kymin and its nine acres of pleasure grounds overlooks Monmouth and the beautiful Wye Valley.

Once part of the enormous Monmouthshire estate of the Duke of Beaufort, the Kymin’s fortunes have fluctuated over the last two centuries. Originally a popular picnic site in the late 18th century, building on the Round House commenced in 1794.

The Kymin is also home to the unusual Naval Temple. The Kymin Club arranged for the Naval Temple to be built with moneys raised between themselves and public subscription in 1800, it celebrates some of the greatest British admirals and victories of the time.

Today the Kymin is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle and enjoy a picnic against the stunning backdrop of the Wye Valley and the Brecon Beacons.

For more information see website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-kymin

Usk Rural Life Museum

In the picturesque and historic riverside town of Usk is a museum run by dedicated volunteers.

Housed in an ancient malt barn with adjacent buildings, the Museum has 5000+ exhibits collected by local enthusiasts over the past 50 years in order to preserve the heritage of the life and work of country people in the Welsh Borders from Victorian times and onwards The museum houses a unique collection of over 5000 artefacts from the smallest hand tools and household items through to large agricultural machinery and vintage tractors.

The museum portrays rural life in Monmouthshire covering a period of approximately 100 years from 1850 – 1950. The collection is housed in a 16th century malt barn and an extensive collection of adjoining buildings.

Specialist collections include a Victorian cottage, a forge, carts, a cobbler, cheese making, WWII (including a bomb!), a stable, a hardware shop and many more.

For more information see website www.uskmuseum.org

Dewstow Gardens and Grottoes – Caldicot Monmouthshire

Imagine discovering a lost garden with tunnels and underground grottoes buried under thousands of tons of soil for over 50 years. That’s what happened at Dewstow gardens. Built around 1895 the gardens were buried just after WW2 and rediscovered in 2000.

The gardens were created around the turn of the century by James Pulham & Sons landscapers, Rock Builders and Garden Designers. The gardens had been buried around the 1940s and 50s and after excavation, although some areas were in very poor condition, other parts remained as good as the day the gardens were built. Most of the repairs have now been completed during a massive restoration operation which began in 2000.

The gardens contain many ponds and rills but interestingly a labyrinth of underground grottoes, tunnels and sunken ferneries. The rock gardens are made up of a mixture of real stone and faced stone using various types of Pulhamite.

For more information visit their website www.dewstonegardens.co.uk