Every September and December, Abergavenny is host to a huge Food Festival. It is one of the most renowned in the country. The main event takes place in September, and is shortly followed up by a Christmas festival in December. Its reputation is firmly cemented as one of the finest food festivals in the country.
Abergavenny itself is a very foodie town in Monmouthshire in South Wales, sat just at the very foot of the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons National Park. It is an incredibly vibrant city and retains a wealth of excellent independent shops and restaurants.
Abergavenny is pretty easy to get to – around 20 minutes drive from the M4, and around 3-4 hours drive from London if you get a good run. It really is a fantastic destination for a weekend break, and here are my top recommendations for what to see, do and where to stay and eat.
What to do
Abergavenny town centre is extremely pleasant and I’d really recommend spending a few hours exploring the independent shops. There is a very interesting castle in the city centre, and two very nice parks (which are also very good for foraging – try the Linda Vista Park), plus a vibrant central market.
To explore the area, I recommend taking a drive up to the Black Mountains, just a few miles away from the town centre where you will find some fun roads to explore, taking you up to Llantony Priory, which is a most pleasant place to stop for a picnic.
Further afield, you’ll find the Brecon Beacons National Park with plenty to see and do, including yet more castles – my favourite is Carrig Cennen – plus endless walks, museums, spectacular views and even a Welsh gold mine at Dolaucothi.
I also recommend a visit to the Penderyn Distillery, who are producers of Welsh spirits.
Where to eat
There is a wealth of excellent restaurants in and around Abergavenny. Top recommendations include the Hardwick, a very well-rated gastro pub which has won many awards for its food. The Walnut Tree has a hugely loyal following for its excellent food and is a great option for a special meal.
Abergavenny also has an excellent farmers market which is on every Thursday. There is a Facebook page with more information. The quality of the local produce is superb, and this is a great place to shop directly from small producers and try new ingredients.
Where to stay
My recommendation is the Angel Hotel in Abergavenny. It’s based in the very heart of the town centre, just a few steps away from the Castle. It’s a chic hotel with very friendly staff and manages to balance a smart and luxurious feel with a relaxed atmosphere. It is a great place to stay for a spoiling weekend, and is very conveniently located for exploring the town.
Rooms are very elegantly designed, fresh and modern, and the food is good here, too. There are other good places to stay in the town centre, but I haven’t tried them. I have also heard there are some excellent bed and Breakfasts in and around Abergavenny, too. I always consult Alastair Sawday for recommendations as I find their establishments very reliable. Best rates for Bed and Breakfast are from £95 per night.
How to get there
A car is essential for visiting Abergavenny and exploring the local area. There is some local public transport, but it is limited. Abergavenny does have a railway station and coach station in the town centre.
When I visited, I was keen to explore the local area independently, so I took my car, my Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, to allow me to get around easily and comfortably, and also in an environmentally friendly way. Here’s a video of me heading up the Sugar Loaf (which is a really fun drive) first thing on the most gorgeous morning.
If you haven’t visited Monmouthshire, I heartily recommend it for a wonderful weekend break. It is very easy to get to from the M5, Cardiff and Bristol, too. Cardiff Airport is around an hour’s drive away.
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