Art and Gardens – Abergavenney and South Wales

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This time a week in South Wales, where neither of us have really visited before.

The reason for the visit was the opening of an exhibition of my friend Philippa Robbin’s work at the Art Shop in Abergavenny.  Having decided to go, we built a week’s trip around it, with a couple of treats thrown it.

Art Shop exhibition window
Art Shop exhibition window

We arrived on Thursday, staying at the King’s Arms – a charming, old fashioned inn, within walking distance of everything in Abergavenny. – and took a stroll abound the town, had a lovely meal and plenty of wine, before hunkereing down in our room to sleep through the open mike night in the pub below.

After a huge breakfast the next morning, we headed off to find an attraction to look at – and ended up at Tretower Castle, just as it was opening:

Tretower castle
Tretower Castle – the castle
Tretower Castle
Tretower Castle – the house



Glorious peaceful stroll round in the sun, with nobody else there.

Back for a sandwich in Abergavenny, then to town gardens, and being marched around the town outskirts



After changing back at our room, we met up with some more friends and sauntered off to the main event, a stunning exhibition, which was full of happy, friendly people, and a purchase was made:

nesting dolls
Russian Dolls Red by Philippa Robbins

I luurve them



A meal and drinking with friends to the early hours completed a fabulous day.



longtown castle
Longtown Castle

On Saturday, we had another enormous breakfast, then packed our bags and loaded car, and went for a random drive. Following some brown signs led us to Longtown Castle (a ruin), then drove up a track/road to the top of a ridge, with a splendid view looking back across England.

After a last lunch with friends (and the lovely artist) in Abergavenny, we tootled off to our new digs at The Walnut Tree, about 10 minutes away, and settled into a nice little cottage with a glass of the welcoming bottle of wine, then headed off for the evening meal that was the whole reason for the stay. I had globe artichoke, mushrooms, quail’s eggs in hollandaise to start (scrumptious, particularly the mushrooms) then partridge with chestnut and apple stuffing, and jabron potatoes (delicious, especially the stuffing and the potatoes), then finished with fig and lemon tart with honey ice cream (delightful). Accompanied by a glass of white as an aperitif, then a bottle of white with the starters/main meal for me, while P had a half bottle of red with his main course (can’t remember what any of these were, as P chose). The atmosphere was friendly and comfortable, the service solicitous (if a mite slow), and all in all it was an excellent thing all round. P similarly enjoyed his meal (sewin, roast grouse, sherry trifle). Teetered back to our cottage, crashed out. Perfect evening.

A leisurely start to Sunday, with breakfast, papers, packed and left cottage at lunchtime. Drove west, stopping in the Brecon Beacons national park centre to look at (more) views, and have coffee and a cream scone. Arrived at next hotel – The Corran – late afternoon, unpacked, gawped at huuuge TV, dressed and out for dinner in hotel restaurant (above average, but slooow).


Massive breakfast (again) on Monday morning, then morning trip to Tenby, where we wandered along the beach from one end to the other, then sauntered through the town.

St Davids
St David’s

Decided against lunch and drove off to St Davids for more walking round and up and down. Stopped at cathedral café for coffee and cake.

Back via Pendine sands (more coffee) and a short wander round Laugharne, before evening fish and chips in the local chippy/café.
worm's head
Worm’s Head
On Tuesday we headed off to the Gower to take a look. Drove all the way down, then had an hour or so walking to Worm’s Head, although the weather started to change a bit, but still some nice views.
Back to hotel, then out for dinner in local pub – took us right back to the 70s, both in food and décor.


Wednesday: out to Aberglasney Gardens, which are fabulous – possibly the best gardens I’ve ever visited (and I’ve visited a few). I loved it, and nearly filled camera (despite the weather being dull). Eventually I was dragged away and we and headed north to nearly Aberystwyth, then back down the coast road, stopping at Aberaeron for a wander and supplies (pop, crisps and sweets).

Aberglasney glorious flowers
Aberglasney’s glorious flowers
Aberglasney Gardens
Indoor garden
Formal garden
Cloister garden
Woodland bench

















Back through rain to hotel, P nipped out for pizzas, which we had in the room, and then we both conked out.Finally headed home on Thursday after a last big breakfast. It was raining, but we still decided to take the scenic route –   the A roads up through the middle of wales, arriving back at teatime.

What a wonderful week!