This lively market town at the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park is famous for its annual food festival, but there’s plenty of things to see and do all year round. Here are just a few of them.
Grab a bite to eat
For two days every September, the Abergavenny Food Festival transforms the town’s streets into an enormous buffet of food stalls, chef demonstrations and entertainment. It’s the biggest event on the UK foodie calendar. And you’ll never struggle to find great places to eat for the other 363 days of the year either...
The town centre is packed with coffee shops and restaurants. For a quick bite, try the Fig Tree Espresso, which serves up tempting hand-made cakes in a pretty little courtyard. Or head to The Art Shop and Chapel for delicious dishes made from locally sourced and foraged ingredients. If you want to push the boat out, make the short trip out of town to The Hardwick or The Walnut Tree for some seriously fine dining.
Heading south from Abergavenny, the recently opened Baffle Culture cafe and shop has been attracting motorcyclists from all over as a friendly pit stop for great coffee and local Welsh food. Check out the Welsh pork Dragon sausage in a Nos Da Bakery challah bun, or the vegan Shroom and spinach brioch bun. You can pre-order online and pick up when you get there.
And something to drink
Sample a bit of real local flavour at Sugar Loaf Vineyard, set on the lower slopes of the Sugar Loaf mountain overlooking the town. Drop in for a tasting of some award-winning Welsh wines, take a tour of the vineyards and enjoy the views over the Usk Valley. There’s also an onsite café and shop.
If there's one thing market towns are good for, it's browsing independent shops and market stalls. There are a number of weekly markets in the Victorian Market Hall, selling everything from locally produced food and drink to antiques and bric-a-brac. You’ll also find a great selection of independent shops like Broadleaf Books, a second-hand book store packed with fascinating volumes, Mockingbird, full of one-of-a-kind gifts, cards and jewellery and Cuddle and Cwtch, selling stylish clothing for kids and babies.
Head to the Wharf
Make the most of the countryside with a visit to Goytre Wharf and Canal Visitor Centre. It’s a great starting point for walks and bike rides along the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal and through the fields and woodlands that surround it. Or you can hire a canoe or canal boat to travel on the water. There’s also a cosy café for post exploration refreshments.
Explore ancient history
A short drive from Abergavenny lay the atmospheric ruins of Llanthony Priory. Built in the 13th century on the site of an older church, what remains today bears the scars of centuries of conflict and political upheaval, from Owain Glyndwr’s 15th-century Welsh rebellion to Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries. Despite all the drama, Llanthony Priory’s surviving windows and sweeping archways are still a powerful reminder of medieval Wales.
A short trip from Abergavenny takes you to the town of Blaenavon. Once a busy landscape of mines and foundries producing huge amounts of steel and coal, it’s now a living reminder of Wales’ industrial heritage. For an immersive exploration of life as a coal miner, head to Big Pit National Coal Museum, our award-winning national coal museum. Take the 300ft journey down into the mine in the company of former miners to hear tales of those who once worked in these dark tunnels beneath the earth. Museum experiences don’t get much deeper.
Play a round of golf
Don’t forget to bring your clubs. The lush countryside around Abergavenny is home to a number of great golf courses. The Monmouthshire Golf Club is an 18-hole mature parkland course set against a backdrop of Blorenge, Sugar Loaf and Skirrid while, Wernddu has a nine-hole pitch and putt, a driving range and an 18-hole course. There’s also the classy Rolls of Monmouth, nestled in valleys not far from town.
Just a few miles down the road is the pretty village of Crickhowell. Winner of the Great British High Street Award 2018, its bustling main street is packed with independent shops and boutiques. It’s also a walker’s mecca, hosting a popular walking festival every March. Head to the Glanusk Estate (venue for the annual Green Man music festival) for a stroll along paths that wind through the Estate’s green fields, trees and well-kept gardens.