Why the Wye Valley & Vale of Usk
If you want to catch up on a dose of Welsh heritage then you won’t be disappointed when visiting the Wye Valley and Vale of Usk. The region is itself an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is steeped in history.
Highlights include Chepstow Castle, Tintern Abbey, The Kymin and Shire Hall. Sitting above the River Wye, Chepstow is one of the only castles in the whole of Britain that showcases the evolution of medieval military architecture from start to finish.
The remains of Tintern Abbey, a Cistern Abbey, are a must visit too. Tintern is the best preserved medieval abbey in Wales and the 400-year-old remains to showcase one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Britain.
The Kymin is another fascinating piece of history set in the magnificent setting of The Wye Valley and Vale of Usk. This 18th Century Round House and Naval Temple have incredible views, and the Naval Temple celebrates Britain’s greatest admirals and naval victories.
Other heritage sites in the Wye Valley and Vale of Usk include Shire Hall, Goodrich Castle, Wilton Castle, and Langston Court.
The Wye Valley and Vale of Usk offer visitors a wealth of outdoor activities from walking to canoeing. If you want to explore the area by foot, the region has several long distance walks including The Wye Valley Walk, Offa’s Dyke National Path and the start of the Wales Coast Path.
For those who fancy a bit more of a thrill and want to experience the views higher up then there are plenty of climbing opportunities such as the Wye Gorge, Symonds Yat, and Wintour's Leap. Make sure you are fully prepared when climbing and have the proper equipment. If you aren’t experienced then speak to one of the local climbing groups.
Of course, no trip to the Wye Valley and Vale of Usk would be complete without visiting the River Wye. The river offers the chance for all the family to get out onto the water with a range of gentler areas to canoe or kayak. If you’re an experienced canoeist then head to the rapids. Please remember to take care out on the water and be aware of the tides.
If the water’s not your element then how about heading underground and exploring some of the mighty caves the Wye Valley and Vale of Usk have to offer? There are plenty of clubs and firms offering tours of the fascinating caves on offer.
Or if you’d prefer to be on the ground then head out on two wheels and discover the Wye Valley by bike. There are plenty of cycle paths and routes going through the area including Sustrans and Pedal Bike Away.
Arts & Culture
The Wye Valley and Vale of Usk is a region rich in culture and for the past 250 years has been celebrated in literature and art. There are a number of art galleries, museums and visitor centers showcasing the region in all its magnificent glory: The Dennis Yapp Contemporary Art Gallery exhibits the work of leading British contemporary artists and sculpture; Monnow Valley Arts Centre promotes sculpture, painting and carved letting through workshops, lectures, and exhibitions; Gallery 54 situated in Ross-on-Wye showcases abstract art.
(Photo: ©VisitBritain / Adrian Houston)