Wales

Monmouth, Wales

With origins dating back to the Roman times, Monmouth has been a living, breathing populace for thousands of years. Community, trade and politics have been constant subtexts for this market town, now a thriving hub for tourism.

If you plan to spend some time in Monmouth for a few hours or a few days, the first place you have to visit is Monnow Bridge. Located at the far end of Monmouth’s high street, the fantastic Monnow Bridge immediately pulls you back through the ages. Britain’s only remaining medieval fortified river bridge where the gate house can be found actually on the bridge itself, it is truly a sight to behold. Built in 1270, the bridge has been pedestrianised since 2004 and is a lovely spot to soak in the history, relax by the river for a while and take a few snaps.

Wending you way back up the high street, you will pass lots of shops and cafes. Spend some time browsing the shelves and make sure you branch off onto the smaller side streets too. With bunting-lined walkways shouldered either side by quirky boutiques as well as familiar brands, you can treat yourself to a tasty pick-me-up or a souvenir from the town.

Heading in the opposite direction to Monnow Bridge, you will walk towards the town’s Shire Hall located in Agincourt Square. Built in 1724, the hall was the site of the famous Chartist trial in 1840 and certainly guards a few secrets within its walls. Each week a market is held outside the hall, where you can pick up local produce and bits and bobs. Head there on a Saturday to peruse stalls and meet local traders, continuing an age-old tradition within the town.

Only 400 yards from Shire Hall, Monmouth’s castle and military museum are a reminder of the region’s historical significance. A Grade I listed building, the remains of the castle and the museum offer visitors a wealth of fascinating information, photography and artefacts. Open all year, the castle has free admission and is definitely worth a trip if you like learning about local history.

Something a little different and a real treat for the grown-ups of the group (as long asyou’re not the designated driver!) is a trip to Ancre Hill Vineyard. Located on the outskirts of the town, you can opt for a guided tour of the vineyard, enjoying the sunshine on the south-facing slopes, and later head inside to sample the wines for yourself. With a selection of Welsh cheese to cleanse your palate, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon.

To get stuck into the beautiful scenery, you can rent canoes from Monmouth for trips along the River Wye. Enjoy the gorgeous Wye Valley from a different perspective and escape the bustle of town for a while.

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