Article: 3 Day Southern Welsh Adv – Part 2 Visit Chepstow and Barry Island
Part 2 Visit Chepstow and Barry Island
This is the report on day 2 of our 3 Day Welsh adventure. You can read the other parts here.
The next morning we headed to Chepstow which is a beautiful historic market town in Monmouthshire, Wales. It is located on the border to England and one can easily walk across the river Wye via the Old Wye Bridge to Gloucestershire in England. Since May the bridge is undergoing restoration works and when we visited only pedestrians can go across it.
The town is crowned by its majestic Chepstow Castle (see entry details at the end of the article). The Castle ruin originates from 1067 when William Fitzosbern began building it after the Norman Conquest.
Especially its size and the views over the area make it a must see sight. You can spend quite a while exploring it.
You can get free brochures (in English and Welsh language) at the ticket office that guide you through the Castle. They had a brochure in German language but this one cost an extra GBP 2.50. The additional fee seemed quite odd especially as it wasn’t anything special compared to the other brochure.
Overall the sights we visited in Wales don’t really seem up for providing other language brochures or audio guides. This was quite disappointing and felt somewhat arrogant in comparison with some other European countries and surely won’t help the local tourism. When asked, one of the local tourist info offices said they used to print them but now people have the internet to translate – not a great help to a casual visitor there for the day. Of course you don’t expect Swahili but a basic leaflet in French/German/Spanish/Italian/Mandarin would be appropriate.
Chepstow Castle is set on a hilltop cliff right at the river and this is where we headed to after the Castle.
You can walk along the scenic Welsh coastal path at the river. We walked until the point where the main road bridge was crossing the river. You can also see the old Severn Princess Ferry there.
It is the last one of the River Severn ferries that used to operate on the River Severn.
We don’t usually bother visiting smaller churches in Europe but our guests were curious about the local church and so we headed there next.
The priory Church of St Mary was established at the same time as the Castle in 1067. It is beautiful little church and worth seeing when you are in town.
Aside from the above, Chepstow has a small variety of shops to explore and one can walk through the historic town gate.
After the church we headed back to our car which was parked in a carpark not far from the town gate. At the car park we had another humorous moment. My father and his lady friend own a German version of a Vauxhall car (i.e. an Opel in Germany). They had never seen their car with the Vauxhall logo on and they wanted to take a photo of it.
In the carpark were several Vauxhalls parked. The funny thing was that they chose to photograph the one parked right next to us and whilst they took a while to get their camera out of their bags, the owners of the Vauxhall returned to their car just as my father’s girlfriend found her camera and started to point at their car.
The elderly Welsh couple was a little bit puzzled…especially as they were told in German that they only wanted to take a photo of the Vauxhall sign. They didn’t understand what my father’s companion said and when I realized what was happening, I quickly joined in to translate it. The Welsh remained confused and so we quickly took the photograph and they drove away. They must have been looking for the hidden camera…
As the day was soon coming to an end, we drove to Barry Island. Barry Island is a seaside resort. There is a scenic beach, a fun fair and small cafes and pubs where one can enjoy some time near the ocean.
I had been to smaller beaches in the UK before but never realized that some of the major beach resorts in the UK usually have a fun fair nearby which seems to be there long term rather than just a few weeks like I know it from Germany. We purchased an ice cream and then headed to Friars Point for sunset. It is the perfect spot to see the Whitmore Bay with Barry Island Promenade and on the other side you can look into the sun setting beneath Barry Harbor.
Note: You can purchase a print of the Barry Island Beach Promenade photo – just click on the image to get to the sales page.
Details of the visit of Chepstow Castle
Opening hours (last entry 30 min prior to closure time)
1 Mar until 31 Oct: Open daily from 9.30am until 5.00pm
1 Nov until 28/29 Feb: Mon to Sat 10.00am until 4.00pm and on Sun 11.00am until 4.00pm
Closed 24th, 25th and 26th of Dec and on 1 Jan.
Adults: GBP 6.00
Seniors, students and children under 16: GBP 4.20
Family (2adults and all children under 16): GBP 16.20
Children under 5 as well as disabled (disabled with companion) admitted receive free entry.
Website of the Cadw – government office looking after the castle