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A fascinating and mysterious place and steeped in beauty and history, there are endless things to do in the Wye Valley. Hidden within the depths of the woodlands, waiting to be explored, you'll find secret gardens, ruins and ancient towns.
The River Wye is the fifth-longest river in the UK, stretching past Rhayader, Builth Wells and the historic market town of Hay-on-Wye. The Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural beauty was first designated in 1971 and is famous for the iconic Wintour's Leap. We have been in love ever since.
We reveal the Wye Valley's most exciting features and where to stay to get the full experience of this majestic landscape.
On the bank of the River Wye, the romantic ruins of Tintern Abbey are truly breathtaking. Founded by Walter de Clare, Lord of Chepstow, in 1131, Tintern Abbey can be found adjacent to its namesake village in Monmouthshire. It was the second Cistercian foundation in Britain and the first in Wales, inhabited by the Cistercian monks. Today, it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful structures in Britain. In the spring and summer, flowers bloom and the sun peers through where the windows once stood. It's the perfect place to unwind in the grounds with a book and a picnic.
A true marvel of the Wye Valley, Dewstow Gardens were rediscovered in 2000 after being buried just after World War Two. Upon discovery, people found a lost garden with tunnels and underground grottoes. Today, the mystery of the garden is very much still a part of Dewstow. Explore a labyrinth of underground tunnels and roam through ornamental gardens. Dewtstow Gardens is one of our favourite things to do in the Wye Valley – it’s a truly beautiful place to escape and relax among natural beauty.
Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal
Spanning for 35 miles from Brecon to the Pontmoile basin, this peaceful waterway stretches through the moody, wooded Usk Valley. This hidden gem is a haven for nature-lovers, walkers and cyclists. The gentle twists and turns of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal will be sure to enchant you whether you choose to stroll alongside or hop on a boat to explore. Look out for resident buzzards, red kites, herons and darting dragonflies.
Like something out of a fairytale, the village of Symonds Yat is one of the most spectacular sights in the Wye Valley, created by a river cutting a deep gorge in the limestone, exposing dramatic cliff faces. At the nearby King Arthur's Cave, many exciting archaeological discoveries have been made, including the remains of a hyena family and Saber-toothed Tiger bones. Symonds Yat is a mysterious yet utterly enchanting feature of the Wye and is well worth a visit.
Get up close and personal with the natural beauty of the Wye Valley along the 136-mile route that follows the river from Chepstow in Monmouthshire to Plynlimon in Powys. Experience contrasting landscapes of rugged ravines and gorges to beautiful meadows and remote uplands. Choose shorter sections of the route to enjoy gentle afternoon strolls with the family or longer hikes or the more adventurous. Crisscrossing the England and Wales border and skirting past plenty of small towns and villages, there’s so much to see so be sure to add it to your list of things to do in the Wye Valley.
Wye Valley pubs
Dotted throughout the towns and villages of the Wye Valley and hidden away in the countryside, there are plenty of Wye Valley pubs, some of which are run by Wye Valley Brewery. One of our favourite pubs in an unbeatable location on the banks of the River Wye in Symonds Yat is Ye Old Ferrie Inn. With an eclectic menu blending traditional Welsh and Herefordshire ingredients with fusions from all over the world, a meal at Ye Old Ferrie Inn, affectionately nicknamed Yofi, is a once in a lifetime experience. For a hearty pub classic with a twist, try the Welsh half-pound lamb and mint burger, or the Wye Valley smoked salmon terrine.
One of the most popular things to do in the Wye Valley is to experience the Wye Valley Brewery story with a guided tour of the brewhouse. Not only will you get an insight into their special brewing process, but you will also be able to try them and buy them to take home. Wye Valley Brewery is located just over the border in the heart of beautiful Herefordshire, home to the best of British hops. Here they work hard to support local farmers, and they care deeply about the environment and local community – in fact, over 80% of their hops and raw ingredients are sourced from farms located within 10 miles!
Stay in a Wye Valley holiday cottage
Have you been inspired by these magical things to do in the Wye Valley? We’ve chosen some of our favourite Wye Valley holiday cottages close to some of these hidden gems so that you can experience the magic for yourself.
Nestled within stunning Welsh countryside, this beautiful two-bedroom cottage is perfect for romantic escapes and family holidays. Enjoy the cosy wood-burning stove and spectacular oak-beamed dining room, as well as the cottage's proximity to the village pub. Fox and Hounds Cottage is perfectly situated to enjoy both the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean.
Located just over 3 miles from Symonds Yat, Pear Tree – Goodrich is perfect for a unique getaway in the Wye Valley. The cottage offers a prime location overlooked by the atmospheric ruins of Goodrich Castle and is within walking distance of the village pub.
Rowan Cottage, Crickhowell - sleeps 2, 1 dog
Rowan Cottage could not be more perfectly situated, just moments from the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal. Offering the ultimate base for your Welsh adventure, the cottage has views over the Llangattock Hillside and dates to 1580. Immerse yourself in the comfort of Rowan Cottage's thick stone walls, exposed beams, and cosy bedroom.
Would you like to see our full collection of Wye Valley holiday cottages? Tap the button below to find somewhere simply perfect to call home for a few days.