Please sign in to post.

Hereford, Wye River valley and Chepstow

Planning to spend some time in this area mid May. No car, public transportation. Looking forward to walking and seeing historic sites. Do you recommend staying in Hereford or can we stay in a smaller village by using local bus service? Has anyone based out of Chepstow? I would like to see Tintern Abbey? Thanks for any advice on the area. RS does not cover it in the guidebook, but it looks lovely.

Posted by
6805 posts

We spent three nights in Tintern, but we had a rental car. One thing to take into consideration if wanting to base out of Chepstow is the horse racing schedule. A number of reviews I read said that after making lodging reservations, the reservations were canceled at the last minute because the hotel or B&B could get more money from those coming for the races. For us, that was a determining factor to stay in Tintern. Tintern Abbey is 5.4 miles from Chepstow.

Posted by
2489 posts

It is a lovely area but can be a bit difficult to get around without a car. Here is a website that is good for telling you the bus schedules:> https://bustimes.org/services/69-monmouth-tintern-chepstow-2

Tintern is relatively easy from Chepstow but to reach from Hereford would firstly need a bus to Monmouth: >
https://bustimes.org/services/36-monmouth-hereford-5

Of the two places, Hereford is the larger and has a cathedral whilst Chepstow is smaller with a castle. I suggest you go on Google Maps and have a look at these places and go to street view and have a look around. Also note the location of the railway stations and how far they are from any accommodation that you book.

If you stayed in Hereford, I suggest that you might like to take the bus to Hay - which is just over the border in Wales. After staying an hour or so, you might like to continue to Brecon - stay an hour or so and then return to Hereford. Here is the bus schedule.
Alternatively, go by train from Hereford to Abergavenny - see the town and then go by X43 bus to Brecon. This route goes through VERY attractive countryside. Then you could return to Hereford by bus via Hay. https://bustimes.org/services/x43-brecon-abergavenny-2

Going east from Hereford, Ledbury is another place that you would probably find interesting and although you could go by train, the station is a bit of a walk from the centre of Ledbury so perhaps go by bus.

I would also definitely take a day trip by train from either Chepstow or Hereford to Cardiff - which has a castle in the centre. Cardiff Bay (harbour) 1 mile south fo the centre is also worth a visit.

From Hereford, you could also go by train north to Shrewsbury and call at Ludlow on the way back.

Of the two places, I would favour Hereford over Chepstow. Google all the places mentioned.
Train schedules:> https://www.traintickets.com/?/
https://www.nationalrail.co.uk

Posted by
15 posts

Thank you very much, both of you. I appreciate the suggestions.

Posted by
27414 posts

If you're a book-lover, you might want to check out the book town of Hay-on-Wye. I don't know about public transportation, though.

Posted by
15 posts

It looks like there are regular buses around the area - thank you to those who sent me the great schedules. I am now trying to decide where to base out of since we won't have a car. I saw Tintern Abbey as a child living in England and really want to see it again. The lower Wye seems to have lots of good walking, ruins,
and churches. I was thinking about basing out of Chepstow but got the warning about horse racing possibly leading to cancelled reservations. The town of Tintern looks nice and is only 5.4 miles away so we may take the advice of the first poster and try that.

Posted by
2489 posts

The only problem with Tintern as a base without car is the infrequent bus service for getting out to other places.

If you cross the iron bridge over the river at Tintern and follow the path up through the woods on the other side of the river, you will eventually reach the Devil’s Pulpit. (So named, because the Devil would stand on it and try and persuade the monks in the Abbey to leave their holy ways and have some fun). I did this walk once and it was really hard going - you have been warned!

https://www.alltrails.com/en-gb/parks/england/herefordshire/wye-valley-area-of-outstanding-natural-beauty
https://www.visitmonmouthshire.com/inspire-me/seasons-in-monmouthshire/winter-in-monmouthshire
https://cadw.gov.wales/visit/places-to-visit/chepstow-castle
https://cadw.gov.wales/visit/places-to-visit/tintern-abbey

Posted by
2489 posts

Chepstow is rather small and I think many of the shops have closed. Just over the Severn Bridge on the edge of Bristol is a large shopping Mall where I guess most people go for major items. Cardiff would also I guess be a main destination for shopping in a city.
A Tesco supermarket is found on the other side of a main road from the old town and this is near the railway station. The main road carries quite a lot of traffic but this does not cross the 1700’s iron span bridge near the castle. The old town streets are not level as the town is on a hill. Goodness knows what it is like in the evenings.

If you click this link and put Chepstow into the location box, you will be able to see the trains that call at the station and where they go. (Sunday has fewer services). Only those in heavy type stop.

If you want a bigger place that is also within reach of Chepstow (by direct train) for visiting Tintern, consider Cardiff. That would allow you to visit the Museum of Welsh Life at Sr.Fagans Castle (Cardiff Bus 32) as well as the large medieval fortress at Caerphilly - which is a short local train ride north of the city. Bath is also about an hour by direct train from Cardiff.
Castell Coch is on the northern edge of the city (at Tongwynlais).
https://www.cardiffcastle.com

You could also consider staying in Bath and taking the train to Severn Tunnel Junction and then another train to Chepstow.

Posted by
15 posts

Thank you, James. I have read about the Museum of Welsh life. To be honest, I am pursuing this area as an alternative to the Cotswolds. We stayed in Stow last fall, traveled by bus, and loved it. But it's nice to see other places and the British posters on here continuously admonish US visitors that there are other country places equally as beautiful and charming. I subscribe to "The Telegraph" and Herefordshire was one of the alternatives recommended in an article a few months ago about what a Disneyland the Cotswolds have become.

Posted by
2489 posts

It sounds like you are looking for country districts that don’t have too many tourists. Herefordshire is a lovely county and has many quiet villages but the problem you have a getting about without a car in the less populated areas. The traffic in Hereford can be bad as the city has no by-pass and 5 main roads converge on the place. That said, the streets in the middle are relatively traffic free but the rail station is about a 15 to 20 minute walk from the heart of the city.

You may like to consider staying in Ludlow or maybe Shrewsbury - both of which are on the railway. Shrewsbury has the advantage of a direct line going to the west coast of Wales so a day trip to Barmouth with perhaps a call at Aberdovey would be possible. The historic city of Chester can also be easily reached by train from Shrewsbury.

Also consider Porthmadog in Wales which 2 steam railways taking people into scenic areas:>https://www.festrail.co.uk/
Porthmadog is on the Cambrian Coast Railway - the line that goes west from Shrewsbury - so you could combine different areas. The Premier Inn at Porthmadog is right by the narrow gauge steam railway station. Note though that this area of NW Wales is very popular with tourists due to the scenery. https://portmeirion.wales is about 3 miles S of Porthmadog.

https://www.traveline.info is a very good website for finding buses but not so good at trains.
Map of the rail system.

Posted by
1194 posts

Hello from Wisconsin,
I didn't see anyone talk up St. Briavel's. Lovely castle, usually open as it was a Youth Hostel. If you can get inside, there is a mammoth fireplace with a medieval spit that would be turned by a small dog. And near by if you can find it is Offa's Dyke. King Offa of so many centuries ago had this ditch dug to show where his property ended. Famous for historians.

Chepstow has another pretty great castle. It was occupied (owned) by the Greatest Knight- William Marshal. There is a fairly new book out about him. He served four kings and had dealings with a fifth. He rose from a nobody to become 'the greatest knight'.

Hereford Cathedral has a handful of really nice things to see. An old map of the world, a copy of an early Magna Carta, and a chained library. Plus they serve a nice a coffee/scone in the cafe.

If I recall Tintern has two pub'restaurants.

wayne iNWI

Posted by
4065 posts

Hereford gave its name to a mighty strain of cattle. The Hereford breed is a richly red-brown colour with a white face, and raised internationally as beef.
Farmers also grow hops. Steak and beer -- sounds like my kind of place.

I have not been there (yet) but found this website which could be of help:
https://booksandbao.com/visit-hereford-sights-history-hotels/

Incidentally, the Hereford Arms in London is a welcoming pub in South Kensington, near the Gloucester Road Tube station. It serves a huge Sunday roast meal.