An insider’s guide to Newport

Newport native Darragh Mortell's insider guide to Newport, South Wales - the history, where to eat, drink and hang out.

"Having been born and then raised from inside the city walls, I’m just about qualified to give an “insider’s guide” to the city, shouting to the world about all of Newport’s modestly priced (and sometimes free) attractions.

What comes to mind when you think of Newport? How about a university town with a multicultural vibe, steeped in history - it’s where Chartists fought for democracy - complete with artisan breweries and a rich musical heritage? 

A city definitely on the rise, Newport has all the usual suspects when it comes to eating out thanks to our sparkling leisure complex Friars Walk. Yet in the wake of big business emerging, Newport has retained its awesome independents, with more opening their doors all the time. Gems can frequently be found as you wander through the city, or just head straight to trendy Clytha Park Road for bars, restaurants and more."

Beer Me - Tiny Rebel Brewing Co

Exterior of Tiny Rebel brewery
The Tiny Rebel Brewery, Newport, South Wales by Tiny Rebel
Birthed in Newport, this bespoke brewery began with two local lads and a garage. Now an award-winning and expanding enterprise, Tiny Rebel is the youngest and only Welsh brewery to win Champion beer of Britain. 

Last summer, as part of its new £2.5m production site on the outskirts of Newport, they unveiled their newest bar. The new 30,000 sq ft facility in Rogerstone has allowed the brewer to increase its capacity to five million litres annually. That’s nearly nine million pints and a hangover for the ages.

The venue now boasts a buzzing bar and kitchen, offering Sunday lunches, beer festivals, pop-ups, and live music, as well as brewery events and tours. 

Come Munch - Meat Bar & Grill

Exterior of Meat Bar & Grill

Meat Bar & Grill, Newport, South Wales by Meat Bar & Grill
This family run bar and grill was one of the first of the new generation of restaurants to hit Newport’s Clytha Park Road. Specialising in juicy burgers paired with award-winning Tiny Rebel beer, the restaurant has perfected their dining experience. Try the Bah Humbug burger, which involves two beef patties, bacon and cheese, sandwiched between Yorkshire puddings – cue the Homer Simpson drool…

Vertigo? Pah! – Transporter Bridge

The Newport Transporter Bridge on a sunny morning.
Newport’s Transporter Bridge, South Wales by @ChrisPrytherchRoberts
How about getting a fresh perspective of the city from almost 250 feet up? Not for the faint-hearted, a climb to the top of this Edwardian monument makes for an exhilarating assent. Built in 1906, and being only one of six Transporter Bridges still in use worldwide, you can cross the River Usk and take in the spectacular views for just £1.50 of your hard-earned cash.

Come Shop - Diverse

Interior of Diverse independent record shop.

Diverse independent record store, Newport, South Wales
If you’re part of the vinyl revival or just love getting lost in the racks, make sure Diverse Music is on your itinerary. A staunchly independent record store, they leave the chart releases to one side and concentrate on indie, punk, country 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. 

Walk about – Fourteen Locks Canal Centre

Fourteen Locks Canal Centre with lots of people outside.
Fourteen Locks Canal Centre, Newport, South Wales by @Cherryzbl
Newport is picturesque too. Venture out on a glorious canal walk at Fourteen Locks and step away from city life. A spot loved by locals and little known to others, the series of locks along the Monmouthshire Canal at Rogerstone make for the perfect place to spend a Sunday afternoon, or in fact any day that suits your schedule.

There are also monthly circular walks which start in the visitor centre situated on Cwm Lane.

Culture o’r Gloch! – Le Public Space

Wall art of a red and gold padlock with 'Le Pub is for Lovers' text.
Le Public Space, Newport, South Wales by @Gooldilocks66Spirit
Arts and community hub Le Pub is well loved by locals. Its mission statement ‘to provide the people of Newport with a vibrant art space that is open to all’ permeates every event they put on. The roster embraces abstract open mic, local musicians, inventive stand up and their annual The Big Busk event, that takes you on a journey around Newport’s independent shops to showcase the talent within.

Come Visit – Tredegar House

Exterior of Tredegar House
Tredegar House, Newport, South Wales
A 17th-century country mansion at the western edge of the city, Tredegar House is the perfect place to spend the day exploring. 

Nestled amongst 90 acres of parkland, the National Trust property is steeped in history. 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 there in the 1930s. 

Coffee & Chill - Parc Pantry at Belle Vue Park 

Plate of pancakes, blueberries, strawberries and cream. Looks lush.
Parc Pantry, Belle Vue Park, Newport, South Wales by Explore with Ed
Situated next to the Royal Gwent Hospital, the Malpas-based coffee business, Parc Pantry has opened up another feasting spot inside a Victorian conservatory in the heart of the grand, meandering Belle Vue Park. The exquisite food is only matched by the tranquillity of the park itself, which is just half a mile away from the shopping district, but you would think you’ve journeyed through a wardrobe and ended up in Narnia.

Evening Dining – The Pod 

Interior of The Pod restaurant
The Pod restaurant, Newport, South Wales by @ClaireFW7_
Opened only a few weeks before Christmas 2017, The Pod is already proving popular with customers thanks to its vast cocktail menu, intimate dining experience and eclectic live music nights. With its expansive glass frontage it means that not only can you drink like a fish, but also enjoy panoramic views across the city’s waterfront.
A perfect end to the perfect day in Wales’s best kept city secret.