An insider

An insider's guide to Abergavenny

Julie Smith 24 May 2021

Nestled in the Brecon Beacons against a backdrop of Sugar Loaf and the Skirrid, Abergavenny makes a perfect base for exploring some spectacular Welsh countryside. You can spend time together in the great outdoors and uncover the rich history of this Monmouthshire town with a visit to Abergavenny Castle and enjoy a wide variety of scenic walks in the beautiful Black Mountains

Abergavenny guide

There are plenty of food and drink options in Abergavenny too, with an annual food festival, monthly farmers' market and lots of pubs, cafes, and restaurants to call in at for refreshments. If you are thinking of visiting this Brecon Beacons market town, our insider’s guide to Abergavenny has lots of inspiration on what to do during your short break or holiday.

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๐Ÿ‘‰ Things to do

๐Ÿ‘‰ Shopping

๐Ÿ‘‰ Food and drinks

๐Ÿ‘‰ Walks

๐Ÿ‘‰ Where to stay

Things to do in Abergavenny

Things to do - Abergavenny Museum

From historic castles to fascinating museums or glorious golf courses to gorgeous gardens, here are some of the best things to see and do in Abergavenny:

Abergavenny Castle

The history of Abergavenny Castle dates back to 1087, although the building was destroyed and rebuilt several times over the next few centuries. You can still explore the ruined remains of the castle, which include a gatehouse, a couple of towers, a curtain wall and the original circular motte which is the oldest part of Abergavenny Castle. As you wander around the impressive grounds you'll pass numerous information boards and various areas where you can stop for a scenic picnic.

Abergavenny Museum

Also set within the grounds of the castle is Abergavenny Museum, which tells the story of the town through a number of interesting artefacts and exhibits. The museum is housed in a hunting lodge built by the Marquess of Abergavenny and features a Victorian farmhouse kitchen and a traditional saddler’s workshop. Special explorer backpacks are also available from the museum to help little ones learn more about the history of the castle.

Linda Vista Gardens

Things to do Abergavenny - Linda Vista gardens

Originally planted as the private gardens of the 19th century Linda Vista Villa, this dazzling parkland is located next to 20 acres of wildlife-rich meadows and is now a free-to-access public space that’s available to everyone. You can follow a network of pathways around the colourful plants at Linda Vista Gardens and spend time in the tranquil rose garden. There are also open spaces that are ideal for picnics and a play area for children.  

The Tithe Barn at St Mary’s Priory

The Tithe Barn was originally built in the 12th century to store taxes paid to the priory’s monks by the people of Abergavenny. Today, this wonderful old building hosts a number of free-to-access exhibitions and is home to the 24-foot Abergavenny Tapestry. The tapestry was worked on by 60 local volunteers and took four years to complete, and it includes a variety of scenes from 1000 years of Abergavenny history.  

Golf in Abergavenny

There are a couple of golf clubs to choose from if you fancy teeing off during your Abergavenny getaway. 

Wernddu Golf Course is located around a mile outside of Abergavenny and has a wonderfully scenic spot with magical views of the surrounding Black Mountains. The gently rolling fairways are easy to walk on but buggy hire is also available if you fancy taking it easy around the scenic 18 holes.

Monmouthshire Golf Club is the oldest 18-hole course in the county, with a mature parkland setting that has a backdrop of Skirrid, Blorenge and the Sugar Loaf. A wide variety of refreshments are available at the on-site clubhouse, and day visitors are welcome to tee off for a round of golf.   

Shopping in Abergavenny

Abergavenny market hall

There is a range of lovely independent shops to browse during a visit to Abergavenny, and the Victorian Market Hall in the town hosts various craft and antique fairs throughout the year, with flea markets and specialist food events. 

Abergavenny Market

Abergavenny’s main market takes place on Tuesdays and people flock from far and wide to browse hundreds of stalls both within the market hall and dotted around the surrounding streets. There’s a huge range of items available to buy at the market, including fresh fruit and veg, locally-produced food, collectibles and hand-made crafts. Smaller markets also take place on Fridays and Saturdays, and a farmers' market takes place on the fourth Thursday of every month. 

Other shops in Abergavenny:

Shopping in Abergavenny

  • Cuddle & Cwtch - a family-run baby and children’s clothing boutique.
  • Mockingbird - a gift shop selling a range of jewellery and homewares from local artisan producers.
  • The Wool Croft - a specialist Welsh wool shop where you can also pick up fabrics, patterns and other craft materials.
  • Ruby Redz - a ladies’ fashion boutique that sells clothing collections from a range of smaller brands.
  • Nicholls - a family-owned department store selling clothing, jewellery and homeware from brands like Barbour, Joules and Thomas Sabo.

Abergavenny Food and Drink

Abergavenny Food Festival

There are lots of places in Abergavenny where you can sit down to some tasty home-cooked food or enjoy a glass or two of your favourite tipple; The Marches Delicatessen is a great pick for artisan Welsh cheeses, Chester’s Wine Merchants sells over 300 different bottles of wine, and you can get freshly baked bread and cakes to take home to your holiday cottage from Emmeline’s Tearoom, The Angel Bakery and The Flour Girls.

Abergavenny Food Festival

The Abergavenny Food Festival takes place around the town’s market hall each September. Here you can sample a range of local food and drink, discover new artisan producers and learn from the experts in a series of useful masterclasses and chef demonstrations. The packed three-day schedule also features foraging trips in the Brecon Beacons countryside, a drinks theatre with cocktail making and wine tasting sessions, and live music to enjoy.  

The Sugar Loaf Vineyards

Abergavenny vineyard

Based on the side of the Sugar Loaf Mountain, this small Welsh vineyard produces its own range of red, white, and rose wines, with special tasting sessions available. An on-site cafe and tasting room makes the most of stunning views over Monmouthshire and the Black Mountains and you can enjoy a local cheese platter washed down with your choice of wine. 

Abergavenny pubs, cafes and restaurants

Here is just a small selection of the places you can call in for refreshments during your short break or holiday to Abergavenny:

  • The Greyhound Vaults - a handsome dog-friendly inn with an excellent and very well-priced food menu, located close to the town’s market.
  • The Grofield Inn - a CAMRA real ale pub located right in the heart of Abergavenny with a beautiful beer garden that’s perfect if you fancy some alfresco summer food and drinks.
  • Hen and Chickens - this quirky Abergavenny pub is full of characterful features with original chequerboard floor tiles and a cosy snug area. It’s also very dog-friendly and has a special menu for children.
  • Lamb and Flag - this traditional stone coaching inn has a wonderful location at the foot of the Sugar Loaf Mountain, with spectacular views and its own playground for children to enjoy.
  • Casa Bianca - tuck into home-cooked Italian classics at this family-run Abergavenny restaurant. Alongside the typical pizza, pasta and risotto there is a range of hearty fish and meat dishes inspired by southern Italian cuisine.   
  • Tapas Twist - enjoy small plates of Mediterranean food to share with friends and family at this casual rustic restaurant on Abergavenny’s popular Frogmore Street.
  • Portico Lounge - located in a bright yellow building with flamboyant interiors to match, it’s hard to miss this dog-friendly eatery. It’s the perfect space to relax with friends and you can wash down your food with a freshly made cocktail. 
  • The Little Treat Coffee Shop - sit down to a cup of Welsh roasted coffee and a freshly-baked cake or savoury pastry at this gorgeous cafe, then browse the in-store deli for some tasty treats to take home with you. 
  • Kitchen at the Chapel - tuck into locally sourced, seasonal food at this elegant bistro located in a converted 19th-century chapel. Many ingredients are foraged from the chapel’s kitchen garden, with food expertly prepared by top-notch chefs.

Abergavenny walks

Abergavenny walks - The Sugar Loaf

Abergavenny is located at the edge of the Black Mountains in the Brecon Beacons National Park, so there are plenty of walking routes to try. Here are some of our favourites:

The Sugar Loaf

Enjoy the view from the top of the Sugar Loaf on a 7-mile circular walk from Abergavenny that follows peaceful country lanes and includes a climb to the summit of this distinctive mountain. If you prefer a quicker route to the top, there’s a small National Trust car park at the foot of the Sugar Loaf. It’s also worth exploring the beautiful woodland of St Mary’s Vale which lies at the bottom of the mountain. 

The Skirrid

The Skirrid, also known as the holy mountain, is another peak in the Black Mountain range near Abergavenny that’s well worth climbing. A 4-mile route from the National Trust car park will take you through woodland, past the remains of the chapel of St Michael’s, and up grassed pathways to the trig point at the summit. 

Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal

Abergavenny walks - Monmouthshire canal

Head to the pretty village of Llanfoist on the edge of Abergavenny to start this family-friendly 1.5-mile circular route which follows the pathway of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal. It’s a peaceful waterside walk where you can watch the canal boats go by and then call in at the nearby country pub, The Bridge Inn, for refreshments.  

Usk Valley 

Tackle part of the long-distance Usk Valley walking route by following the path of the river for 8 miles from Abergavenny to Crickhowell. You’ll pass through one of the prettiest parts of the Brecon Beacons National Park, and after exploring Crickhowell you can catch a regular bus back to Abergavenny.  

Keeper’s Pond to Blorenge

This challenging 7-mile route will take you up the Black Mountain peak of Blorenge, which lies at the south-westerly side of Abergavenny. Starting the walk at Keeper’s Pond, you’ll make your way across heather-clad moorland which is a haven for local wildlife including red grouse and merlin. Once you’ve reached the summit, the descent down the other side will take you to a lake and woodland known as The Punchbowl. 

Where to stay in Abergavenny

If you have been inspired to visit Abergavenny, there is a range of holiday homes where you can rest your head after exploring the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Clare's Cottage - Abergavenny | Sleeps: 2 guests

Abergavenny holiday cottage

This charming, 100-year-old cottage is tucked away on the edge of Abergavenny at the foot of Skirrid in the Black Mountains.

The Old Mission Hall | Sleeps: 4 guests plus 2 dogs

Abergavenny holiday cottage

A quirky former Sunday School hall that's nestled between Skirrid and the Sugar Loaf in the Monmouthshire countryside near Abergavenny.

Sugar Loaf Farmhouse | Sleeps: 6 guests plus 2 dogs 

Abergavenny holiday cottage

This characterful, 15th-century farmhouse is a great choice for families. It’s dog-friendly so four-legged friends can come on holiday with you, and it has a large, enclosed garden.  

Whether you are planning a romantic getaway or a fun-filled family holiday, browse our full range of Abergavenny holiday cottages to find your perfect base.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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