Uncover a panorama shaped by a meandering river that skirts the England / Wales border. Go to imposing ruins, examine medieval masterpieces and get open air with our favorite issues to do within the Wye Valley.
With so many fantastic issues to do within the Wye Valley, it’s unusual that it’s not as well-known as different Areas of Excellent Pure Magnificence – that particular demarcation bestowed on locations deemed to be significantly stunning, however not fairly Nationwide Park worthy.
It’s not for a scarcity of actions. With a meandering river chopping a serene contour by way of the rolling inexperienced countryside, haphazardly marking the border between England and Wales, there’s a raft of issues to do within the Wye Valley. Discovering a very beautiful part for a day canoeing is considered one of them, climbing the picturesque valley is one other.
And we’re not alone in appreciating this outstanding space. All through historical past, the kings and queens of two fiercely unbiased kingdoms have lengthy since recognised the strategic worth of the Wye Valley. The result’s an space dotted with castles and mysterious abbeys, a few of which have lengthy since surrendered to break, creating probably the most fascinating locations to go to within the UK.
So, for a group of traditionally fascinating areas, enjoyable wild swimming and buzzing market cities, learn on to find our favorite issues to do within the Wye Valley.
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IN THIS GUIDE
THINGS TO DO IN THE WYE VALLEY
1 – EXPLORE CHEPSTOW & ITS MIGHTY CASTLE
Perched excessive above the Wye River on dramatic limestone cliffs, Chepstow Fortress is the oldest surviving, post-Roman stone fortification in Britain. Noting the strategic location between England and Wales, William the Conquer had the fortress in-built 1067, the yr after the Norman invasion. Whereas its mighty gates should not unique, they’ve been dated again to 1190, making them the oldest wood doorways in Europe.
The most effective vantage level to see the fortress is from throughout the River Wye. As a tidal river, the Wye can drop by virtually 15 metres, enhancing the steep rocky ledge the fortress is constructed upon. The city can be to not be missed. The Twelfth-century Roman doorway on St Mary’s church is value a glance as is the excessive avenue with its fashionable redesign and sensible designer retailers.
Learn Subsequent — Nice walks alongside Hadrian’s Wall
2 – HIKE ALONG THE WYE VALLEY TRAIL
The Wye Valley Mountaineering Path begins at Chepstow Fortress and continues for 136 miles alongside the river and thru the encompassing hills. The path crosses ravines and gorges, meanders meadows and woodlands, and climbs to rugged and distant highlands.
A few of the most picturesque settings alongside the path are discovered within the light riverside strolls. The areas round Tintern, Symonds Yat and Hay on Wye are essentially the most enticing for a brief hike. Obtain the maps right here and sort out as a lot or as little as you fancy.
The combination of outside actions and beautiful cities make the Wye Valley a superb weekend vacation spot within the UK for unwinding in a less-visited a part of the nation.
Learn Subsequent — Mountaineering within the Malvern Hills
3 – ROAM THE RUINS OF TINTERN ABBEY
Tintern Abbey was based in 1131 by Cistercian monks who settled for a modest timber constructing. The abbey was later expanded by the wealthier and extra ostentatious Marcher monks who settled for nothing lower than one of many masterpieces of Gothic structure. Tintern Abbey stood in glory on the banks of the Wye River till it was deserted in the course of the dissolution of the monasteries.
As we speak, the abbey is without doubt one of the most engrossing ruins within the nation. Set a picturesque part of the valley, previous partitions containing majestic arches tower above the river. There are many vantage factors within the city, nonetheless, the hike as much as Satan’s Pulpit (45 minutes) is nicely well worth the effort. It’s a steep but rewarding stroll by way of a thick forest with twisted roots coated in moss and a sea of fern timber. The forest finally elements to disclose a chicken’s eye view of Tintern Abbey.
Annoyingly it’s money solely on the automotive park (£3 all day).
4 – EXPLORE THE CHURCH CONSUMED BY THE FOREST
Midway up the hill reverse Tintern Abbey, a a lot youthful – but simply as atmospheric – spiritual break sits within the superior levels of decay. The result’s a completely evocative factor to do within the Wye Valley.
St Mary’s church was erected in 1866 and after a comparatively quick life, was destroyed by a fireplace in 1977. What remained from the hearth is now a crumbling break that’s slowly being overtaken by nature. Roots push by way of the ground and branches invade the previous stone partitions. The overgrown graveyard provides an additional factor of intrigue with a number of unusual tombs dotted round.
The church is privately owned and free to enter, nonetheless, the break is taken into account unsafe and entry is at your personal danger. Even in case you don’t resolve to wander in, it’s greater than value a peek from the surface. In contrast to Tintern Abbey, there’ll be nobody there.
Learn Subsequent — A weekend in Hay-on-Wye
5 – ENJOY A DRINK WITH A VIEW OVERLOOKING THE RIVER
With such an attractive setting, the Wye Valley affords quite a few enviable areas alongside the river to get pleasure from a scenic pint or a leisurely lunch. Discovering a superbly set pub is considered one of our favorite issues to do within the Wye Valley. Listed here are among the outcomes of our analysis.
SARACEN’S HEAD, SYMONDS YAT
Nestled beneath Symonds Rock on the banks of the river, The Saracen’s Head is a well-liked spot to cease for a drink. And it’s straightforward to see why. Taking over a spectacular place reverse a steep wooded gorge, and with a big deck to take full benefit of the view, it’s probably the most picture-perfect spots on the river.
THE BOAT INN, PENALT
With a beautiful terraced backyard main as much as a waterfall cascading down an imposing rockface, The Boat Inn is presumably essentially the most idyllic riverside pub within the Wye Valley. Technically within the village of Penalt, it’s far more enjoyable to entry it through the footbridge from Redbrook.
THE RIVER INN CAFÉ, GLASBURY
In a relaxed casual setting with a big deck overlooking the river, The River Inn Café is a superb spot to get pleasure from lunch after an extended day rowing on the river. Additionally they have a really cool bunkhouse for teams of 14 or much less if you wish to hit the river early.
THE ANCHOR INN, TINTERN
The tables within the beer backyard at The Anchor Inn are simply far sufficient away from the river you can’t really see it. Nevermind, the actual attraction right here is the abbey which stands imperiously over the pub, wanting down disparagingly on irreverent drinkers.
6 – TAKE TO THE RIVER WITH A PADDLE
The Wye River cuts a course by way of the valley, dissecting inexperienced fertile landscapes because it straddles the border between Wales and England. It’s the heartbeat of the valley and seeing it from a kayak is without doubt one of the greatest issues to do within the Wye Valley.
The most effective part for canoeing or kayaking within the higher Wye is the tranquil paddle between Glasbury and Hay on Wye. Within the decrease Wye, Ross on Wye to Symonds Yat is essentially the most picturesque. There’s nothing too difficult apart from some small rapids that may ship the faintest contact of adrenaline, in any other case you’re in for a really leisurely time out.
Downstream of Symonds Yat it will get slightly trickier with some sooner rapids as you head in direction of Chepstow. This part is greatest for folks with a little bit of expertise beneath their oars. All the knowledge is in our kayaking on the River Wye article.
7 – SOAK UP THE VIEWS FROM SYMONDS YAT ROCK
At a decent bend within the River Wye, Symonds Yat Rock overlooks top-of-the-line views within the Wye Valley. Excessive above the valley ground, the river bends by way of the encompassing countryside with unbelievable views far off into the gap. From the perspective, there are a number of marked walks across the headland and all the way down to the riverfront. In case you take the trail all the way down to the river, preserve a watch out for the home featured within the Netflix hit Intercourse Schooling.
The Saracen’s Head, straight beneath Symonds Yat Rock, has top-of-the-line areas on the river to cease for a drink. Pull up a desk and chill out in the great thing about the Wye Valley. There’s a hand ferry which lets you cross to Symonds Yat East on the opposite facet of the river, nonetheless, it’s typically closed.
Symonds Yat Rock is a extremely popular spot, that’s all very organised and structured. So, it could actually get completely rammed, particularly in summer season. The tight one-way street as much as the rock can grow to be a irritating bottleneck, so try to go to off-peak.
Learn Subsequent — The most effective hikes within the Cotswolds
8 – WALK THROUGH HISTORY AT GOODRICH CASTLE
Goodrich Fortress was established shortly after the Norman invasion of England. It’s halcyon interval, nonetheless, got here within the 13th century when it was expanded into an expensive residence for royalty. After falling within the late 17th century, the fortress has withered right into a picturesque break ever since, nestled into a large curve of the River Wye.
There’s sufficient of the fortress left to offer a great impression of what it should have regarded like on the peak of its energy, however with sufficient ruined decay to present it a mysterious atmospheric really feel. The wonderful audio information takes you room by room to clarify the fortress in an informative and entertaining method. The tour finishes on the prime with wonderful views over what would have as soon as been its proud dominion.
After hours, the gates stay open for foot visitors so, whilst you can’t enter the fortress, you’ll be able to stroll round it with out anybody else round.
Learn Subsequent — Hidden gems in Cornwall
9 – WILD SWIM & PICNIC BY THE BANKS OF THE WYE
Having fun with the river on a wild swimming tour is without doubt one of the greatest issues to do within the Wye Valley. With such a picturesque river and a few wonderful gravel seashores, there are many spots to benefit from the nice open air.
A few of the greatest spots embrace the realm under the Iron Bridge at Redbrook; the canoe slip in Kerne Bridge; downstream of the suspension bridge at Sellack; beneath the bridge at Brewardine; and at The Warren in Hay on Wye.
For a soothing dip with a great spot for a picnic head to Sellack. From the village, it’s a 10-minute stroll previous a church and over farmland to a beautiful spot with an excellent pebble seaside. For a float downstream begin at Kerne Bridge and put in just a few strokes as the present carries you to Decrease Lydbrook, then hike again (3.5 kilometres).
There will be numerous canoes on the river, so ideally swim earlier than 9:30 or after 5:30 pm when most have gone.
Wild Swimming — River Thames // Lake District // Cornwall
10 – INSPECT MEDIEVAL TREASURES IN HEREFORD
The Mappa Mundi, housed within the Hereford Cathedral, is without doubt one of the world’s most essential medieval treasures. Constructed on a single sheet of calfskin, the map was made across the yr 1300 and shows the world because it was identified on the time. With Jerusalem within the centre, the map is a Christian-focused illustration of historical past, geography and human future. It’s fascinating to see the actual factor, however the reproduction translated into English helps talk the understanding of the world held within the 14th century.
Whereas within the Hereford Cathedral, poke your head within the chained library – the biggest surviving of its form on the earth. Books have been chained to the cabinets with shackles simply lengthy sufficient to permit the books to be learn, however not stolen.
After visiting the Mappa Mundi and offering you haven’t stolen any books, seize a top-quality espresso at King Road Kitchen and a takeaway lunch in case you’re picnicking on the river.
11 – PERUSE THE BOOKSHOPS OF HAY ON WYE
Free from the restraints of Seventeenth-century chains, the bookstores in Hay on Wye are made to be savoured and loved, significantly in the course of the Hay Competition on the finish of Could, when worldwide authors descend in town. Hay is an excellent place to hang around for a few days and a cerebral factor to do within the Wye Valley.
For extra particulars take a look at our article on find out how to spend a weekend in Hay on Wye together with our favorite indoor and out of doors actions on this book-loving gem.
12 – DRIVE UP GOSPEL PASS TO THE BLACK MOUNTAINS
Strictly talking, Gospel Go isn’t within the Wye Valley however, being a mere border technicality, and a spectacular location, we felt it will be irresponsible to exclude it from our record of issues to do within the Wye Valley.
The street to Gospel Go follows the lengthy, slender, steep-sided Ewyas Valley with views over the rolling nation on one facet and the Black Mountains on the opposite. The only-track street is the best in Wales and reaches its zenith on the Hay Go automotive park. From right here you’ll be able to take the steep hike as much as Hay Bluff, the best level within the space.
Proceed additional alongside Gospel Go and also you arrive on the fantastically atmospheric Llanthony Priory the place the crumbling ruins are set in opposition to the rugged Black Mountains. It’s a completely scenic spot to cease for a pint even when it’s not fairly within the Wye Valley.
Learn Subsequent — The most effective walks within the Lake District
WHERE TO STAY IN THE WYE VALLEY
With so many issues to do within the Wye Valley, staying as centrally as doable is essential. However with such an attractive stretch of river, it’s no shock that most of the greatest lodging locations within the Wye Valley reap the benefits of this scenic location.
There’s additionally loads of distinctive lodging choices, like this treehouse hideaway as an example. Alternatively, take a look at CozyCozy who present resorts, vacation rental and quirky stays in fashionable locations.
Listed here are some extra solutions from us for nice locations to remain within the Wye Valley.
THE WILD HARE
Get pleasure from elegant areas and chill out within the tranquil nation backyard of this lately refurbished property. The meals is domestically sourced, and their hearty breakfast is a good way to kick off a full day of actions on this wonderful location.
HAY ON WYE
THE SWAN AT HAY
Absorb the glamour of this Georgian constructing with elegant individually designed rooms, a great deal of type and a prime location close to the centre of city. There’s two bars to select from and the relaxed bistro overlooks the stunning backyard and patio
ROSS ON WYE
THE BRIDGE HOUSE
Luxurious lodging in Ross on Wye on a working farm with direct entry to a beautiful woodland part of the river. The breakfast is a winner and the service from the host makes this an ideal location for a weekend getaway.
MAP / THINGS TO DO IN THE WYE VALLEY
For all of the Wye Valley points of interest talked about on this article, obtain our map so you could have them able to go whenever you’re out exploring.
HOW TO GET AROUND THE WYE VALLEY
There are common prepare providers to Hereford from Birmingham, Manchester and London. Nonetheless, the Wye Valley is a big space with restricted public transport choices.
From Cardiff you’ll be able to take excursions into the Wye Valley and Brecon Beacons, however to see all of the locations to go to within the Wye Valley listed above, a automotive is required. Each parking and driving are usually straightforward on this a part of the nation. We advocate rentalcars.com if you’re searching for a rent automotive within the space. Click on on the under hyperlink to test costs based mostly on your property location.
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As London based mostly journey bloggers, we’re typically exploring unique locations removed from house, however there’s a wealth of nice experiences available throughout the UK. Listed here are a few of our favorite guides to our house nation. For extra see our Britain web page.
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Our information to visiting Snowdonia Nationwide Park
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