Abergavenny Things to Do

  • The old house
    The old house
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  • One of the terraces
    One of the terraces
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Best Rated Things to Do in Abergavenny

  • christine.j's Profile Photo

    A wonderful example of 15th century carving

    by christine.j Written Oct 22, 2006

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    Abergavenny's large church, St. Mary's Priory Church, holds many beautiful old carvings. The most impressive is the Jesse tree from 15th century.
    Considering that many people back then couldn't read or write, these trees were supposed to illustrate the family tree of Jesus. King David's father was called Jesse and with him the family tree was started. The final part would have been Mary and Jesus.
    The base of this statue has survived through the centuries, while the tree growing out of it has been lost. The statue was carved from one single oak tree and must have been painted once. Anne showed me where a tiny fleck of red still could be seen.
    It is estimated that the complete tree would have been almost 10 meter high!!

    Take the time and look at the many details in the carving. It's an absolutely beautiful piece of art.

    Five years ago this Jesse tree was part of an exhibition in the Tate Gallery in London. It was the main exhibition item there.

    The Jesse Tree
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    St Mary's Priory Church

    by christine.j Written Oct 22, 2006

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    Apart from the Jesse tree there are more interesting things to see in the church. The church was founded in the 11th century and holds several tombs or tomb plates from important people throughout the centuries. I especially liked the carving of this lion. Throughout Europe the lion was seen as the king of the animal world, as very brave and great, and so lots of tomb plates show men standing on lions. Everybody should see that they had been even greater and braver than a lion. Some of these lions look more like sheep, but this one here in Abergavenny really is a lion.

    Another carving can be seen in the church, the last supper of Jesus. I wasn't able to find out more about it, like who did it or when, so all I can say is I think it's beautifully done.

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  • ranger49's Profile Photo

    Abergavenny Food Festival.

    by ranger49 Updated Mar 25, 2014

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    Update for 2014 Early news for this years festival.

    http://www.abergavennyfoodfestival.com/

    Every year at least 34,000 visitors flock into town for a - usually - lovely sunny weekend for the Festival that become not only an important local event but has been acclaimed as the best Food Festival in the UK.
    Abergavenny born Penelope Fillon, wife of Francois Fillon the Prime Minister of France was an early visitor accompanied by Christophe Langrée, Head Chef at Hotel Matignon, official residence of the French premier who "demonstrated the application of French culinary technique to fine Welsh produce".

    The town centre streets are closed to traffic to allow local food producers to set up their stalls. Car parking is restricted and a Park and Ride system is operated.

    Cafes and restaurants set out tables and chairs for continental style refreshments.

    The Market Hall, surrounding streets and car parks, the Parish Church Hall and Gardens, auctioneers yards, and the Castle grounds - every available space becomes a Festival site including the Borough Theatre and the town's main Hotel - The Angel.

    Well known British and international Chefs and BBC personalities come to town. Clowns and street entertainers keep children happy.

    The event of the year has been a great success since 2009..

    In the Market Hall local chefs from the many gastro-pubs, and restaurants in Abergavenny gave Free cookery demonstrations to packed audiences.
    Everywhere local producer provide samples and sell their produce in the festive air that pervades the town.

    Lobsters in Town! The Sugar Loaf from the Castle Sheep and lambs in the Market Hall Brewery Yard Watch out- lobsters about!

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    Abergavenny's Best Kept Secret(Stitchers this way)

    by ranger49 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Abergavenny Millennium Tapestry was started in 1999, the year in which the Tithe barn was bought by St Mary's Priory Church.
    It was always the intention that, when completed , the Tapestry would hang in a specially designed gallery on the upper floor of the Barn.
    For five years a group of 60 stitchers from the Abergavenny Tapestry Group met in the Lewis Chapel of the Church to stitchi. They stitched for five years throughout five cold winters. Their work attracted many visitors to the Church - who were always invited to add a few stitches.
    The canvas of the tapestry measures 24ft by 6ft dozens of different shades and thicknesses of wool were used to create the mixture of glowing colour and subtle shading. Made in panels which are now joined it was designed by Susie Martin and relates the history of Abergavenny from Norman times to the present day.
    A touch-screen video presentation will guide you through the making of the Tapestry and introduce you to some of the people who worked on it.

    Right hand panel Middle Panel Lefy hand Panel

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    Abergavenny Museum and Castle

    by ranger49 Updated Feb 18, 2010

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    The ruined remains of Abergavenny's Norman Castle, still standing in pleasant grounds, provided the site for a 19th century Hunting Lodge which in 1959 became the Abergavenny Museum.
    From its modest beginnings we have seen the Museum expand to increase the range of exhibits displayed covering a time span from pre-history to the 20th century..

    Don't miss Basil Jones Shop - I remember shopping in it when it was still in business in the High Street.
    After the death of the owner the interior and all its contents, were moved lock, stock and barrel to the Museum. Most of the contents were even then long past their sell by date.
    For older people it is fun to see familiar products of a bygone age, for children a lesson in how things were.
    Likewise the Welsh Kitchen reconstruction shows the kind of home a relatively well off family might have lived in - very comfortable then, but not now - by modern day standards!

    Admissiom is free - open all year, closes for lunch 1 - 2pm.
    For some special events in the Museum and Castle grounds there may be a charge.

    Parking in the Castle grounds is also free to Visitors.

    A winter walk to the castle Museum and Tower from Castle Meadows in summer Information displayin the grounds The Ruins Information

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    A 13th century Tithe Barn Revived.

    by ranger49 Written Feb 16, 2010

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    The tithe barn of St. Mary's Priory Church passed into private ownership many years ago.. It recent decades it stood alongside the church becoming more and more neglected.
    It was with vision and a brave act of faith that the church bought back the derelict building on 1999.
    Behind the reopening, in October 2008 by HRH Prince Charles, are eight centuries of turbulence, progress, change and decay, and finally renewal.

    In the 40+ years that I have known the building it has been - among other short lived enterprises - a disco, an antiques and auction house, and a carpet salesroom.
    The 32 page booklet on sale at the visior centre in the entrance hall gives you an awful lot of clearly written history and is well worth buying for £2.50 .

    Funding for the restoration was obtained from sources including the Heritage Lottery Fund for Wales; the Welsh European Funding Office and the Tourism arm of the Welsh Assembly Government and local fundraising. The aim of restoration was simple " To make St. Mary's Tithe Barn a remarkable place to learn about local history including the history of St.Mary's Priory."
    The beautifully restored Barn provides a community facility offering education and learning for school groups and other visitors.
    And a peaceful venue in the ground floor Food Hall for excellent, modestly priced refreshments .
    There is a lift for disabled visitors to access the upper floor.

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    See the Millenium Tapestry in the Tithe Barn

    by uglyscot Written Dec 6, 2011

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    The Tithe Barn was started in 13th century, extended and enlarged in 14th and 17th centuries respectively. It was refurbished in 21st. Entry is free.
    Downstairs is a food court where lunches are served. The Upper floor houses the Millenium Tapestry, and has a small museum and an Interpretation Centre where visitors can hear tales of Abergavenny in various periods.

    The Millenium Tapestry took about 5 years to make. Fifty or more stitchers took part. The tapestry depicts the landscape, important places and the statue of Jesse. Also incorporated are crests and coats of arms.

    tapestry tapestry the tithe barn tithe barn picture composed of crushed eggshells
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    Visit the castle museum

    by uglyscot Written Dec 6, 2011

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    Entry is free. It is in the grounds of the ruined castle. It is housed in a former hunting lodge. There are displays of various aspects of Abergavenny lifr from a shop, a Victorian kitchen, and a WWII air rain shelter. Permanent displays follow history from neolithic times.

    There is an exhibition about the new [Nov 2011] film Resistance, based on a book by a local writer about a secret group of resistance fighters should Hitler have invaded England.

    Parking is available. The museum is open:
    March- October Mon-Sat 11am-1pm and 2pm-5pm; Sunday 2pm-5pm
    November - February Mon-Sat 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm

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  • barryg23's Profile Photo

    Climbing Sugar Loaf Mountain

    by barryg23 Updated Jan 10, 2007

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    The Sugar Loaf is the highest of the three Black Mountains surrounding Abergavenny. It's a fairly easy ascent to the summit though a wet and windy New Year's Eve was perhaps not the ideal time for the climb. These Black mountains are in the eastern edge of the Brecon Beacons and are much less visited than the more popular mountains, such as Corn Du and Pen y Fan, to the west. After a lovely full-English breakfast at out hotel we set off for the Sugar Loaf. The climb begins at Mynydd Llanwenarth, which can be very tricky to find even with a map.

    To get there head west out of Abergavenny on the A40, and about half a mile out of town turn off to the right on to Pentre Road (If you get to Pyscodlyn Camping and Caravan site you've gone about a mile too far on the A40). This narrow road leads up to a vineyard which is where you next turn off. The narrow road climbs from the vineyard to Mynndd Llanwenarth and there are fantastic views along of Abergavenny, Blorenge and the surrounding country side along the way. Mynndd Llanwenarth is at the highest point in the road and there is a car-park and a sign indicating the stop.

    From the car-park you can follow the path up to the mountain. It takes about 40 minutes to reach the summit and the scenery along the way is fantastic. The summit is fairly long (about 20-25 metres long) so there are nice views in all directions. Be careful on the descent, especially in winter as the path can get quite dangerous. I slipped three times on the way down but luckily we had passed all the rocks by then

    On the summit Start of the hike Sugar Loaf Mountain Abergavenny in the distance Ruth at the summit

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    Abergavenny Castle

    by Balam Written Feb 23, 2010

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    Abergavenny Castle is a good example of a motte and bailey castle with a quite new Keep (Now the Museum) set on top of the man made mound. it has been described as having only scraps of the Castle left but i was suprised to fing that there are quite a lot of the Castle left, certainly enough to show that this must have been a very impressive castle in its time. It was sadly mostly demolished to it's present state during the Civil war and after for general 'recycling'
    Abergavenny Castle is mostly famous as being the scene of two particularly treacherous incidents. In 1175 William de Braose murdered Seisyllt ap Dyfnwal, lord of Castell Arnallt, a Welsh stronghold a few miles to the south-east, here on Christmas Day when he invited Him and his Knights to a feast at the castle they were then taken by surprise while eating and all were killed, at the same time de Braose's retainers ravaged Seisyll's lands, killing his son Cadwaladr and capturing his wife. In retaliation for this the Welsh lord of Caerleon, Hywel ap Iorwerth attacked and burnt the castle in 1182 going on to destroy Dingestow Castle. William Camden, In the 16th-century the antiquary William Camden said that Abergavenny Castle "has been oftner stain'd with the infamy of treachery, than any other castle in Wales."

    Entrance to the Castle and grounds is Free as is entrance to the museum

    Abergavenny Castle Abergavenny Castle Abergavenny Castle Abergavenny Castle Abergavenny Castle
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    Abergavenny Castle

    by barryg23 Written Jan 10, 2007

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    The medieval castle is the most prominent site in Abergavenny. It's located close to the centre of town on Castle street, just west of the main street. There are fantastic views of Blorenge, one of the Black Mountains, to the west. The castle grounds are free to visit though the town museum, in a building at the far end of the grounds, has an entrance fee. Most of the castle is in ruins though there are useful information plaques explaining the history of the castle and what each section of the ruins was originally used for.

    Abergavenny Castle Blorenge Mountain (I think this is the name) Castle Entrance

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    St Mary's Priory

    by uglyscot Written Dec 6, 2011

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    The Norman church has a double facade .It was founded in 1087 with a prior and 12 monks.With the dissolution of the monasteries, it continued as the parish church.
    Some ugly gargoyles can be seen under the roof.
    Inside has been restored. The floor has numerous flat memorial slabs dating to 18th century.
    In one area are marble or stone effigies . They include some of the Herbert family dated to 14th century. There is a knight, a married couple. a prince and bishop, and other single personages. A wooden effigy of Sir John de Hastings who rebuilt the church in the 14th century is in the north transept.
    The large piece of oak carved into the figure of Jesse, father of King David, once was part of a much larger one showing the genealogy of Jesus. It dates to the 15th century.

    Near the entrance is a stone pre-Norman font. It was found buried in the churchyard.

    Outside is the Abbot's garden, and nearby a Tithe Barn that has been restored and is now a cafe and museum, containing the new Millenium Tapestry.

    Priory door one of the gargoyles an effigy Jesse another effigy
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    Abergavenny Museum

    by Balam Updated Feb 23, 2010

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    The town museum is situated in and at the side the 'Castle Keep' which is a reconstructed Keep that was built as a Hunting Lodge in the 19th centuary on the ancient motte.
    Entrance is free and it houses a nice collection of localy found artifacts from the stone age up to modern day. there is a great exhibition in the attatched cottage showing a traditional kitchen, a mock up of a old shop and a air raid shelter. it is certainly worth a visit

    Free Entrance

    Abergavenny Museum Abergavenny Museum Abergavenny Museum Abergavenny Museum Abergavenny Museum
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    Fire Mark

    by Balam Written Feb 23, 2010

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    About 3m above the ground on a shop on the high street there is a fire mark, It is a copy of one that would have been put on to a previous building in the early 19th century by The Birmingham Fire Insurance Company, It showed which properties were insured and it also indicated which fire brigade was primarily responsible for fighting the fire.

    Fire Mark
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    Town Hall and Markets

    by Balam Written Feb 23, 2010

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    The market moved here from it's medieval site in Nevill Street in the 17th Centuary with the original market hall almost blocking the street. It was replaced by John Nash's Market Hall and then by the present building in 1870. the building also contains a theatre and the Council offices.
    it is busiest on Tuesdays with the Cattle Market (On the site of an old cricket pitch) with additional open air stalls behind the market hall. Animals used to be sold in various side streets before 1863.

    Town Hall and Markets Town Hall and Markets Town Hall and Markets
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