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So much to experience. What will you choose today? From adrenaline packed action to gentle crafts or time to "stand and stare" Its all here for you!
We have limited our huge list to things which are under an hour from our cottages by car and which have proved popular with guests. We can supply contact details for all the places and things we list and are happy to help you make the right choices for you ahead of your stay with us. If you would like to try something not listed do ask us. It doesnt mean its not here and we can probably find it for you ( apart from nightclubs which we know we are not very good at!)
The big stars and crew of the movie "Star Wars The Force Awakens" were in the area summer 2015 creating this outstanding movie. It was all top secret at the time though the locals were buzzing but then an official letter was published thanking everyone involved in the Forest of Dean and the secret was out ! Come and visit Puzzlewood just a few minutes from us, relive the most dramatic moments and see what you can recognise! (Its a lovely and interesting place even if you are not a movie buff!)
Dr Who Experience Cardiff. This interactive journey takes you and the Doctor on a spectacular adventure through time and space. Step through a crack in time and help the Doctor, armed with his Sonic Screwdriver to escape from his foes, fly the TARDIS and come face-to-face with some of the scariest monsters seen on screen including Daleks, Cybermen and Sontarans. Featuring exclusive filmed sequences with Matt Smith and packed with amazing special effects, this multi-sensory experience is fun for the family and fans alike. The world's most extensive collection of original Doctor Who props and artefacts includes the entire collection of Doctors’ iconic costumes from 1963 to the present day; the David Tennant TARDIS set and the Doctor's arch foes through the ages.
And thats not all. Dr Who is filmed in the area between Chepstow and Cardiff and there are numerous blog sites telling fans where filming may be at any time.Many of our gusts have watched filming and been thrilled by it. What will you spot?
The industrial heritage museums include "Big Pit" at the Blaenavon World Heritage Centre, which was a working coal mine. The guides who take you underground are almost all former miners and the tour includes a trip 300 feet (100 metres) underground. It is one of the best of attractions yet FREE as one of the National Museums of Wales. Fantastic holiday option and particularly on a wet day ( no rain underground). Has a minimum height restriction so unsuitable for very small children please check.
The Severn Bore is one of Britain's few truly spectacular natural phenomena. It is a large surge wave that can be seen in the estuary of the River Severn, where the tidal range is the 2nd highest in the world, being as much as 50 feet (approx. 15.4m).
The height of the bore is on line in advance and the expected Bores are star graded.
Rather mad people surf and kayak it and the best travel for miles!
The bore can be viewed from a number of places but the best views are from Minsterworth. A public footpath runs along the river bank. Access to this is adjacent to the Church, where there is a lectern giving information about the Bore. Please use one of the car parks and do not park along Church Lane. There is no fixed charge for parking, but a voluntary contribution is requested. A collection box is sited at the pedestrian exits. Toilets at both car parks are usually available when there are 4 star week-end Bores, but not at other times and not at the Village Hall for evening Bores.
Always take heed of warnings about any expected flooding associated with the bore and be mindful of these when planning parking.
A trip takes just over 20 minutes but most passengers get off to go to the covered picnic and play area at Foxy Hollow – or to go treasure hunting – and return by a later train. There is no charge for extra rides Children can even wave the green flag!
A place not to be missed. Ignore the weather forecasts and sat navs, get to Newent on main roads and follow the signs!
Lots of it locally! You can hire bikes or bring your own . Please see special Cycling page!
Harts Barn Cookery School offers lessons in everything from Foraging to Chocolate Making and has special sessions for children .
Wyndcliffe Sculpture Gardens has adult art based courses on sculpting, floristry and more
Make a pot or sew a frock. Taurus Crafts has a programme of pottery, sewing and patchwork courses including Childrens classes and will quote for bespoke courses for a small group too.,
please see special page about Fishing
There are a number of good vineyards in Monmouthshire but we especially suggest a tour of Tintern Parva Farm. Its family run and the friendly people who show you round are the owners and know their stuff. How much there is to see depends on the time of the year ( summer is best) but tastings are always possible and you can buy more to take home to your cottage!
Near enough next door to Parva Fam Vineyard is Kingstone brewery ( no wonder its a jolly village!) . Once again its family run and the friendly people who show you round are the owners and know their stuff. How much there is to see depends on the day so its best to ask in advance but tastings are always possible and you can buy more to take home to your cottage! The brewery also makes and sells good breads, has summer lunches, bread making classes - and sometimes has pizza takaway evenings. Yum!
Nestling on a hillside amongst apple and perry pear orchards, Westons Cider, with its 400 year old farmhouse is a unique day out .Join a tour around the cider mill and hear how cider is produced, from the planting of the orchards to the moment it is poured into a glass. Sample their ciders and perries in the shop (adults only).
near Huntley Glos. Hand made cheesemaking can be seen Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Home cured bacon and hand made sausages including gluten free also available.
Fancy dainty china, scones, scrummy cakes and a forgotten diet? Put on your afternoon dress and try the Angel Hotel in Abergavenny. Winner of the Tea Council's prestigious awards they can even add a glass of Champagne.So popular you really need to book.
Something slightly less glam but no less delicious? Home made cakes at the White Monk Cafe Tintern Abbey ( all year) and Carriages at Tintern Old Station ( summer only) are constant winners with our guests!
The Wye Valley Butterfly Zoo at Symonds Yat is indoors, it’s tropical and it’s teeming with exotic butterflies. They fly around as you discover their fascinating lives in close-up: Egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and some of the world’s most beautiful butterflies.
The species we breed in our zoo have fascinating survival strategies, and there’s loads to learn. Bring a camera for superb wildlife photography, open whatever the weather!
The Savoy in Monmouth (15 minutes from Foxes Reach or Tintern Abbey Cottage ) is a truly old fashioned cinema ( and now also back to being a live Theatre attracting really great speakers and shows.) which is being renovated and operated by a group of real enthusiasts. Has a bar and you can actually take your wine or cup of tea in to the show with you. Local free parking in the evening. Ticket prices are old fashioned too - but films are new.
Abergavenny has charming little Baker Street cinema - smart and showing the latest releases in a lovely renovated building. 10 minutes from Vanilla!
How spoiled are you for choices here. Our live theatres include
In addition to the above there are one off concerts as various venues. check out Whats on at Chepstow Racecourse and Caldicot and Chepstow Castles this year! Whenever you come there will be a show somewhere local , from pantomime to Grand Opera, from touring rep to a book reading. Not to mention the bands that Rock whole Castles! Fab nights out and masses to choose from !
If the BBC National Orchestra of Wales or the National Opera of Wales are performing dont miss them. They are truly world class.
Want to meet a sheep or a cow ? Admire a sheepdog at work? Sit on a tractor? Watch show jumping? Cuddle a foxhound?
Buy local foods?
Whether you know a lot about Country Life or are just learning the agricultural shows make a really wonderful day out.
The Royal Welsh is special as a four day show.As well as its principal function of showcasing the cream of Welsh livestock and the high quality food and drink produced in Wales, it encompasses the wider spectrum of farming and rural life and successfully bridges the gap between town and country. It provides something to interest everyone through its kaleidoscopic range of activities including forestry, horticulture, crafts, countryside sports, Sports Village and a 12 hour programme of exciting entertainment that continues throughout each of the four days of the event.. Note no dogs at the Show except competitors to their rings and asistance dogs.
At the other shows dogs are welcome on leads. Bring your wellies and come ready to learn and enjoy genuine country life.You will find us helping in the Horse rings at some of them. Say hello.!
Cardiff’s state-of-the-art Principality ( formerly called Millennium ) Stadium with its fully retractable roof is the home of Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and the Wales national football team. Described by the WRU as “the most magnificent rugby venue in the world”, it can be visited on hour-long behind-the-scenes tours that leave you with a keen sense of the huge scale and national standing of this most impressive site.
Tours explore all levels of the stadium, There are plenty of great photo opportunities along the way, such as standing by your favourite team member’s shirt or raising a trophy in a victorious pose. For many, the highlight is visiting the atmospheric “Dragon’s Lair” home-side changing rooms. The tour guides are knowledgeable and entertaining, and even those visitors not passionate about sport will be caught up in the spirit of Welsh patriotism that the stadium evokes.
Our qualified beautician will come to your cottage by apointment to treat you to a whole range of pampering experiences. Manicure, facial,sports massage? whats it to be?
If you would prefer to go to a salon or would like a day out at a spa with a pool ask us. There are several to suit different tastes and pockets.
at the National Diving Centre near Chepstow you can learn to dive. They have all the kit and preperly qualified instruction.Needs to be booked in advance
Download the star charts for this month or better still visit them while you are with us! We are blessed with dark skies so you can enjoy the unrivalled beauty of the heavens.
Monmouthshire Cottages has again won the top accolade of Best Self Catering in Wales
Snow blanketed the Wye Valley in early March 2018
Monmouthshire Cottages has won the Self catering category for South east Wales at the National Tourism Awards!