Welcome to Newport
What comes to mind when you think of Newport? How about a buzzing university city with a multicultural vibe and steeped in history? It’s where Chartists fought and died for democracy. Then there's the remarkably rare transporter bridge that literally swings you across the river (though it's currently closed for restoration). Or perhaps you think of Newport's artisan breweries and rich musical heritage – I’m talking about Goldie Lookin’ Chain of course!
A city definitely on the rise, Newport has all the usual suspects when it comes to shopping and eating out thanks to our pristine retail and leisure complex Friars Walk. Yet amid the big high street names, Newport has retained some awesome independents and more are opening their doors all the time. Let’s have a little look behind some of those doors!
Beer me - Tiny Rebel Brewing Co
Birthed in Newport, this bespoke brewery began with two local lads and a garage. Now an award-winning and expanding enterprise known for funky packaging and ‘just wait ‘til you taste it’ flavours, Tiny Rebel is the youngest and only Welsh brewery to win Champion Beer of Britain! The main production site resides in Rogerstone on the outskirts of Newport. Boasting beer festivals, a buzzing bar and kitchen, brewery tours and live music. They may have ‘tiny’ in their name, but these rebels are looming large in the beverage industry.
Come shop - Diverse Vinyl
If like me you’re part of the vinyl revival or just love getting lost in the racks, make sure Diverse Vinyl is on your itinerary. A staunchly independent record store with friendly staff on hand to give their encyclopaedic music recommendations, Diverse leaves the chart releases to one side to concentrate on indie, punk, old school hip-hop and audiophile LPs, as well as entry level hi-fi equipment.
Diverse also sells CDs and tickets to local gigs, so you can join the city’s scene that inspired everyone from Joe Strummer and The Stone Roses to Kurt and Courtney.
A buzzing university city with a multicultural vibe, steeped in history."
Have a wander – Fourteen Locks
Newport is picturesque too. Venture out on a glorious canal walk at Fourteen Locks and step away from city life. A spot loved by us locals and little known to others, the series of locks along the Monmouthshire Canal at Rogerstone makes for the perfect place to spend a Sunday afternoon - or in fact any day that suits your schedule.
Drop into the friendly visitor centre and café situated on Cwm Lane for ideas for walks and things to do. One word, BLISS!
A view for coffee - The Café at Ridgeway
Having gone through a Disney Princess-like transformation from public toilet to comfy coffee hang out, The Café at Ridgeway has established itself as an al fresco favourite across the generations. Sitting atop one of the highest points in Newport, The Café grew in popularity during the pandemic due to its creative adaptation of semi-outdoor dining. It became a bit of a lockdown legend.
A further clue to the exceptional ambiance comes from Ridgeway’s local nickname ‘Little Switzerland’ - based on its alpine-like views across the Western Valley, toward the mountain top Iron-Age fort at Twmbarlwm. The jaw-dropping vista makes it a magnet for dog walkers and sunset strollers alike.
Back to the future - Newport Market
Established in 1854, the grand Victorian structure of Newport Market once served as a central point for a bustling community of farmers, butchers and regular townsfolk. Fast forward nearly 170 years and the newly regenerated Grade-II listed building is poised to be that focal point once again. Boasting a mouth-watering food court selection, you’ll feel spoilt for choice. And with a wealth of independent stalls, lifestyle units and spaces to do business, Europe's biggest indoor market regeneration is already living up to its investment. Or maybe you’re looking for a heathier food option for your pet at Pure Pets? From a vintage model train store to a tropical plant shop, the new and improved market caters to everyone’s needs.
Culture o’r gloch! – Le Public Space
Arts and community hub Le Pub is well loved by locals. Its mission statement ‘to provide local vibrant inclusive art space ’ permeates every event they host. The roster embraces abstract open mic, local musicians, performances from the fantastic theatre makers Dirty Protest and an annual Big Busk event, that journeys around Newport’s independent shops to showcase the talent within. Without doubt, it’s one of my favourite spots in Newport to grab a pint, a game of pool and check out whatever they have going on - because trust me, they always have something going on.
Come visit – Tredegar House
A 17th-century country mansion at the western edge of the city, Tredegar House is the perfect place to spend the day exploring some of Newport’s richest history - literally. Nestled amongst 90 acres of parkland, the National Trust property was built by the powerful Morgan family, local landowners and later Lords of Tredegar. Their most famous son was Sir Henry Morgan (1635-1688), the original pirate of the Caribbean, after whom Captain Morgan Rum is named.
The house has many more tales to tell from its decadent 17th century origins, through to the scandalous parties thrown here in the 1930s. Just ask one of the volunteers, they’re always willing to share their knowledge. There’s also a beautiful lake nearby that is perfectly set up for jogs around its perimeter; a great practice spot for Newport’s annual marathon.
Riverside Dining – The Pod
Ever since its grand opening in Christmas 2017, The Pod is regularly filled with happy punters thanks to its vast cocktail menu, intimate dining experience and eclectic live music nights.
Perched by the banks of the River Usk, this classy venue boasts an expansive glass frontage, meaning that not only can you drink your fill, but also soak up the panoramic views across the city’s waterfront.
And if you’re ever stuck for NYE plans, this place will provide you front row seats to its own and the best fireworks display in town.
So, what did you think of Newport? You what, you still haven’t been!? Well, what are you waiting for?