Home to Wales' largest annual food festival and surrounded by the breathtaking mountains and hills of the Brecon Beacons, Abergavenny punches well above its weight as a market town. If you're heading to the area, here are some ideas for things to do.
Go to Abergavenny Food Festival
The two-day food festival brings together famous faces and producers from the culinary world for a foodie extravaganza. There are talks from the professionals, masterclasses, cooking demonstrations, a farmyard and much more. The Producers' Market is a hugely popular area within the festival site, housing street food, the best UK produce and plenty of cheese and wine.
A busy Festival, Wye Valley and Vale of Usk by Abergavenny Food Festival
Fill your tummy
Good food isn't reserved for the Food Festival alone! There are many restaurants, cafes and bars dotted around Abergavenny that are worth trying. Fig Tree Espresso is a cosy coffee shop with wonderful cakes and a cute garden for sunny days. For something spicier, try Gurkha Corner, a Nepalese restaurant that prides itself on its authentic dishes.
Visit Big Pit National Coal Museum
The area in and around Blaenavon is famous for its coal mining activity. Get a taster of what being a miner entailed at Big Pit, an award-winning museum that gives visitors the chance to descend into the darkness below. Real miners join small groups of visitors on a 300ft journey underground, reliving the times and tales of the men who worked along the tunnels and at the coal face. It's a truly unique experience.
Big Pit National Coal Museum in Blaenavon, South Wales Valleys by beechphotos
Browse the independent shops
If there's one thing market towns are good for, it's browsing independent shops and market stalls. Abergavenny doesn't disappoint here! There's Broadleaf Books, a second-hand book store with over 35 categories of books on sale, and Mockingbird, a gift shop full of homeware, little presents, cards and jewellery. If neither take your fancy, how about The Teddy Bear Shop? It's the oldest teddy shop in Wales.
Visit Llanthony Priory
A short drive from Abergavenny, in the Vale of Ewyas, lay the ruins of Llanthony Priory. It was built in the 13th century and has faced many attacks over the years, but its remains still stand strong as a remnant of medieval Wales. Sweeping archways, nave and lancets show off the architectural handiwork to this day.
Llanthony Priory, Black Mountains, Brecon Beacons
Explore Goytre Wharf
Make the most of the countryside with a visit to Goytre Wharf and Canal Visitor Centre. From there, you can walk, cycle, canoe or sail your way around the extensive canals, green spaces and woodlands. Parking is only £1, and there is a café on site for mid-exploration refreshments.
Stay at The Angel Hotel
If you want to add a touch of luxury to your trip, stay at the AA's Welsh Hotel of the Year 2016-17. Behind the Georgian façade are 34 plush guest rooms, a restaurant, a bar and The Wedgewood Room, where The Angel’s highly acclaimed afternoon tea is served. Its central location makes it the ideal base for exploring the area. You can even use the hotel's electric car to explore the locality!
Indulge in the arts
Put some time aside to relax at The Art Shop and Chapel. Spanning a restored chapel and townhouse from hundreds of years ago, the shop, café and art gallery is the ideal place to take an hour out. There are regular exhibitions upstairs, a garden for little ones to let off steam, classes, workshops and all manner of artists' materials and creative kits to buy.
This quaint town lies just over 10 miles south-east of Abergavenny. Gifted with beautiful views of the Usk Valley, a castle and charming shops and cafes, it's a lovely spot for an afternoon meander. The Glanusk Estate, home to Green Man music festival, is particularly picturesque, with paths that wind through green fields, trees and well-kept gardens.
Play a round of golf
With rolling hills on tap, the area surrounding Abergavenny is perfect for a round of golf. There are plenty of courses to choose from if you fancy a day visit. The Monmouthshire is an 18-hole mature parkland course set against a backdrop of Blorenge, Sugar Loaf and Skirrid. Alternatively, Wernddu has a nine-hole pitch and putt, a driving range and an 18-hole course.