Monmouth is located in the county of Monmouthshire in South East Wales. It sits at the confluence of the Rivers Wye, Monnow, and Trothy. Monmouth is renowned for its medieval 13th-century bridge over the Monnow, and as the birthplace of Henry V.
There can be no dispute about Monmouth's most famous attraction. Monnow Bridge is the only remaining medieval fortified River Bridge in Britain where the gate tower stands actually on the bridge. The stone bridge was built in the 13th century and stands guarding the entrance to this disputed border town to this day.
Once having crossed the river however visitors will be glad to know that Monmouth town centre has many well known high street names, such as W H Smith and Boots, as well as small, independent shops selling everything from clothes, art and crafts and garden supplies. There is a mixture of everything here in Monmouth! Visit the Nelson Garden, a small enclosed garden naturally named after Lord Nelson, who was entertained here in 1802 along with Sir William and Lady Hamilton. During the 19th century a pavilion was added to the garden.
Monmouth Golf Club: The Golf Club was founded in 1896. It is an 18-hole golf course set amongst the rural Welsh countryside, along with pub and bar facilities inside the clubhouse.
There are an abundance of outdoor sports in the vicinity including rock climbing, caving, biking, 4x4 driving, paragliding and canoeing. There are several horse riding stables which offer pony trekking and horse trails.
Monmouth Leisure Centre: The Leisure Centre has a 25m swimming pool with various swimming sessions and activities taking place all day, every day. There are squash courts, five a side football, badminton, volleyball and short tennis, and cafeteria.
Nelson Museum and the Usk Rural Life Museum: There are two fine museums in Monmouth, the Nelson Museum, and the Usk Rural Life Museum. The former depicts the life of the Admiral Lord Nelson (who fought and won the battle of Trafalgar in 1805) retelling his life, loves and death. There are fascinating displays of weapons, letters and fine ceramics, as well as models that help bring the whole story to life.
The latter, the Usk Rural Life Museum, portrays the life of the Welsh people from the 1850s up until the Second World War, with many incredible displays of equipment and machinery from the era having been collected by local enthusiasts.
Walks, Cycle Trails and Other Activities
Monmouth is a popular town with walkers, being a meeting of the tracks for both the Offa's Dyke Walk and the Wye Valley Walk. There are several local walks including the Historic Monmouth Walk (a tour of historical landmarks in Monmouth town), and a peaceful Circular Walk through woods and farmland in the surrounding area.
Monmouth began as an organised settlement during the time when the Romans occupied Britain and had conquered Wales. It was known to the Romans as Blestium, and was part of a network of Roman forts covering the region. Monmouth has also marked its place in history as being the birthplace of Henry V, as he was born in the Queens Chamber of the town's castle in September 1386.
Church of St Thomas' the Martyr: The church of St Thomas' the Martyr serves the Overmonnow parish in the southern end of the historic town of Monmouth. The Dedication is to Thomas a Beckett, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was murdered in 1170. The present church, or part of it, is known to have been in use in 1186 when it was mentioned in the Bull of Pope Urban III. Some fifty years after being built, in 1233, the church was damaged by fire (as was Monnow Bridge) in the course of the Battle of Monmouth. There have been several restorations to the church over the centuries and today its most noteworthy feature is the Norman chancel arch. There is a Norman piscina in the South Wall, and the two doorways in the North face have been described as original work. In general, the nineteenth century restoration work was carried out with a good deal of sympathy and regard for the character of the church.
Castles and Forts
Monmouth Castle: The Norman William Fitz Osbern, Earl of Hereford, built the 11th century castle in 1067, a year after the Battle of Hastings. The castle changed hands several times until in 1267 it was granted, along with the Three Castles of White, Grosmont, and Skenfrith, to Henry III's son Edward Crouchback. The castle is renowned as the birthplace of Henry V, who reigned as king of England from 1413 until his death in 1422. The end finally came for the castle in the Civil War, when it changed hands three times until finally it was slighted by the Parliamentarians.
Little remains of the castle today but its ruins can still be visited. The gatehouse, curtain wall, and round keep have all disappeared, but the Great Tower and Hall remain. To the east side the Norman-style round windows and the flat pilaster buttress are still to be seen.
Accommodation and Services
Monmouth has several hotels located within its town centre, all offering a comfortable night's stay to their guests. If you prefer something a little more independent, there are a number of self-catering cottages in the surrounding countryside.