Nestled in an almost signature ‘S’ bend of theRiver Wye is the attractive market town of Chepstowin the Welsh county of Monmouthshire. With Gloucestershire just over theborder, Bristol a short drive away and Newport just down the road Chepstowis ideally located for exploring the southwest of England and the surroundingWelsh countryside but there are plenty of other reasons to plan a break in Chepstow.
On theRiver WyeFor a start there’s its rather delightful locationas the River Wye snakes its way to join the River Severn just a couple of milesdownstream. The western end of the Severn Bridge links the town withneighbouring Gloucestershire and makes an iconic sight as it reaches across theriver to join Wales and England.
ChepstowCastleAnd, of course, there’s that dramatic castleoverlooking the town like a domineering but protective patriarch. The magnificentNorman castle at Chepstow perches on top of alimestone cliff that hangs over the river, and guards the main river crossing.Miraculously intact this is actually one of the oldest castles in Britain,dating all the way back to the Norman Conquest, and the impressive Great Tower stillfeatures its original architecture.
ChepstowMuseumYou can learn all about the castle’s history in themuseum that is housed in the Lower Bailey and to bring your understanding of Chepstow’shistory up to date you can nip across the road from the castle into the 18thcentury town house in which a kid-friendly museum brings the town’s industrial andsocial history to life.
If its myth and legend that you are after then Chepstowcan provide you with plenty of romantic legends too. It is said that a cave inthe cliff underneath the castle is where King Arthur and his trusty knights areresting and conserving their powers until the next time that Britain needssaving from dark forces.
Chepstow ShopsThe name Chepstowderives from the old English ‘chepe stowe’ which means market place or tradingcentre. The town centre today has over 130 shops within easy walking distance andthe pedestrianised St Mary's Street contains antique shops, craft and giftshops, cafes and restaurants.
Festivalsin ChepstowMarkets and festivals still define the rhythms ofthe weeks and changing of the seasons here. The ChepstowFarmer’s market is held on the second and fourth Saturday of every month andthe Chepstow Show draws farmers from miles aroundto display their wares and compete for prizes every August. Meanwhile in Julythe Two Rivers Folk Festival offers three days of music and dance and there isthe Chepstow Festival packed with medievalre-enactments, pageantry and drama.
ChepstowRacecourseFor those partial to a flutter you are in the righttown: ChepstowRacecourse is the leading horse racing course in Wales. You will findit on the edge of the town, in the grounds of the ruined Piercefield House. Theracecourse itself was first opened in 1926, and has held the Welsh National since1949.
VisitChepstowWith its stunning but centrallocation, historical sights and contemporary shopping, hotels and restaurants,river views and racecourse excitement, Chepstowoffers an ideal place to explore Wales and Southwest England.