Looking for things to do in Abergavenny? The thriving market town in Monmouthshire (which in July 2016 hosted the National Eisteddfod) is the gateway to Wales and less than 45 minutes away by rail or road from Newport and Cardiff. Here’s a list of five places to explore on a day trip here from my own experience…
Perhaps the most popular and well known attraction in Abergavenny is the market hall. On Tuesday’s some two hundred stalls line up both inside and outside the building selling a huge mix of crafts and locally produced food including; jewellery, paintings, wood carvings and clothing. Be sure to check the market is open before you visit, it’s well worth the trip alone!
Between the 17th and 18th September the Abergavenny Food Festival will also take place around here, a hugely successful event in the town’s calendar.
Above: Fizzyville Eclectic Interiors
There’s plenty of places in Abergavenny for some tea and cake, such as locally recommended Cwtch café and For The Love of Cake. In the end I decided to try another suggestion on the edge of the town centre, The Victorian Tea Rooms.
The patterned wallpaper, china pots and elaborate lamp shades all set the theme perfectly. The cream tea is also very reasonably priced at £4.95 as I had three cups worth of fragrant Trumpers tea (sourced locally in Hereford) to go with my warm cherry scone and welsh cake.
Afternoon Tea at The Angel Hotel is also popular for visitors, it’s impressively stylish and opulent – ideal for special occasions.
Monmouthshire’s history is staggering, and Abergavenny’s Norman castle and museum sheds some light on the many years of royalty, religion, war and industrial development. The museum has an air raid shelter and traditional Welsh kitchen to explore, and if the weather is good the surrounding fields are perfect for picnics.
There’s also The Tithe Barn in the town centre that has a wonderful tapestry portraying 1,000 years of Abergavenny’s history, alongside some informative exhibits.
The shops along High Street and Cross Street are abundant with independent retailers like Mockingbird and Cuddle & Cwtch.
I was particularly impressed by Alison Tod Couture Miliner, a smart hat shop for both men and women. The very welcoming owner gave me lots of insight to the products and her collaboration with Alexander McQueen, as well as having to close off the shop recently for a famous actress!
Whatever town or city I’m exploring, I like to see inside the church or cathedral to appreciate the peaceful, holy atmosphere and extraordinary architecture. Abergavenny’s is rather impressive inside with royal blue details, beautiful stained glass windows and the ‘Jesse‘, an amazing oak carving of King David’s father from the 15th century. Prince Charles also recently visited St. Mary’s Priory, another highlight for the churches history which extends all the way back to 1087!
One thing I noticed about my recent visit was how friendly and engaging the locals are. I struck up plenty of conversation with business owners who showed great passion for their craft and curiosity into the world of blogging.
If you have a free afternoon or a Tuesday to spare (for the market), there’s plenty of culture (and cake) to sink your teeth into in Abergavenny.
View my travel in Wales page for more days out inspiration by clicking here.