Well, obviously. Serious golfers will limber up on the Roman Road and Montgomerie championship courses before having a crack at the fabulous Twenty Ten course, built specially for the 2010 Ryder Cup. For spectators, the Wales Open, held in September, is a key fixture in the European Tour, while the annual Celebrity Cup in July is a joyous lark, as actors, entertainers and sports stars battle it out for charity. Some of them are actually quite good: the actor Dougray Scott shot a hole-in-one in 2014. It was in the practice session, but still. Respect.
Take the kids
We’ve done family breaks at Celtic Manor, and judging by the kids’ reaction ('Dad, can we please stay here forever?’) they rather enjoyed it. There’s simply so much to do, all of it high quality, and the staff are lovely. And when you’ve had enough of them, or they of you, there are hot-and-cold running nannies from the resident Day Nursery, who will magically appear and take the kids off for a spot of face painting or adventure golf, while you have special mummy-and-daddy time in the spa or restaurants.
Eat for Wales
There are five eateries on the resort, ranging from casual dining in the clubhouses, to relaxed al fresco family meals in the Olive Tree, to full-blown fine dining at the flagship restaurant, Terry M. For a complete change of mood and scenery, head a few miles upstream to the resort’s very own country pub, the Newbridge on Usk, a proper old rural inn which serves country fare and cream teas.
Go for a walk (or roll)
There are miles of waymarked woodland trails around the resort, if you want to commune peacefully with nature, using the traditional method of walking around on your legs. But wait! There’s also a fleet of Segways, if you’d prefer to skitter around on these amazing all-terrain, self-balancing, two-wheeled electric oddities.
Play crazy golf
It’s called ‘Adventure Golf’ here, as befits the sheer scale of this miniature golf challenge, which will amuse players of all ages. There are two nine-hole courses, Celtic Challenge and the frankly bonkers Kingdom of Legends, which replicates famous real holes from Ryder Cup courses around the world, complete with water hazards, bridges and even rafts.
Swing through the trees
Forest Jump is a terrific outdoor activity for adventurers of all ages from six years upwards. Set in woodland adjoining the main hotel, there are two courses of ropes slung among the trees, featuring bridges, walkways, dozens of fiendish obstacles, plus a freefall Power Fan jump. The high ropes course is great for the older and bolder participants, but we like the way that young children (and scaredy cats) have their own low ropes course, which never rises more than a couple of metres above ground.
The Usk is one of the loveliest rivers in Wales, and the Newbridge on Usk inn has its own private beat on a section of it, where you can fish for salmon, trout and sewin (sea trout), with tips from the resident ghillie. During the ‘catch and keep’ season (June to September) you can take your fish back to the pub where the chef will prepare and cook it for your lunch or dinner.
Shoot an arrow
When Henry V won the Battle of Agincourt, it was thanks to the Men of Gwent, the most famous archers of the day. They were trained from boyhood to draw 2m-long bows, with enormous force, and deadly accuracy. (Interesting diversion: the French archers kept their left hand still, and drew back the bowstring with their right; Welsh archers kept their right hand still, and leant their whole body weight into the bow.) Anyhoo! You can still try firing arrows, from longbow or crossbow, under the supervision of modern Men (and women) of Gwent at Celtic Manor. There’s a more modern form of warfare indoors, at the resort’s own Laser Combat zone.
You could do your entire wedding without leaving the Celtic Manor. They do hen and stag packages, pre-wedding pampering and hairdressing, there’s eight different locations in which to hold the ceremony, five places to hold a reception, and hundreds of food and drink options. Then you can spend your honeymoon in the Presidential Suite, nip down to the Royal Gwent maternity unit to have children, then enrol them in the hotel’s Evergreen Day Nursery. Sorted.
Visit the spa
We love the pool at the spa at the Celtic Manor, a dreamy Romanesque oasis of plunge pools and cascades, from which the spa treatment rooms radiate. It’s got the full range of luxurious treatments, for every conceivable mood (and bit of your body), together with sumptuous health, fitness and physio facilities. We also like the way that children aren’t excluded: there are generous family swim times in the main spa pool and at the separate Dylans Health & Fitness Club, and also special pampering for teens.