Centre of fight for democratic rights in the olden days.
Currently under major redevelopment, generally for the worst
This could equally be a 'Nightlife' or a 'Restaurant' tip. The Old Murenger House is an incredible building, but easy to miss on the edge of the city centre. A 'murenger' was a civic tax collector.The building dates from circa 1530 and the sort of thing that no longer exists in any nearby towns and cities. It is the last old timber-framed building...more
On John Frost Square you can find the Newport Museum and Art Gallery. And the Tourist Information Centre. And the town Library. The building is possibly one of the ugliest buildings I have seen and inside it feels like a 1970's hospital in places, however...The Museum is on the upper floors. It has a whole load of extremely interesting and helpful...more
Right in the centre of Newport is the modern John Frost Square. Right in the middle of John Frost Square is an enormous metal clock, in the shape of a Greek temple. A bit dull, you might think at first sight.Well... I urge you to wait till the big hand is on the 12This is what Newport likes to call "In the Nick of Time".On the hour, every hour, the...more
Newport Wetlands is a haven for all sorts of Wildlife. It is situated right next to the Severn Estuary which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The Wetlands attract Birdwatchers from around the Country. The reedbeds attract Bitterns, Bearded *** and Water Rail to name a few. The Visitor Centre here at Newport Wetlands was opened in March...more
Goldcliffe is a fabulous nature reserve situated at the Northern end of the Gwent Levels overlooking the Severn Estuary. It is an area which has great scientific importance in providing lagoons and saltmarsh habitats for a number of wading birds. The lagoons are situated just a short walk away from the road and have viewing screens and with seating...more
Undoubtedly the best attraction in the Newport area is Tredegar House. It is a large country house set in parkland just off the main A48 road en-route to Cardiff. The rich (and very strange) Morgan family lived here for 500 years until 1951.For £5.60/£4.10 admission (2007) you get a guided tour of well over 1 hour. It was probably the best tour...more
Follow the steep road next to the Westgate Hotel, up Stow Hill out of the city centre. At the top, on a large island of grass and trees is St Woolos Cathedral. I was amazed at how lovely this cathedral is. Far nicer, in my opinion, than Cardiff's cathedral at Llandaff.There has been a place of worship on this hill since the 6th century. The east...more
It is hard to avoid seeing the tall white tower which looms high over Newport. You see it from a long distance away if you arrive by train. This austere looking stone building is, in fact, Newport's Civic Centre and Law Courts, which opened in 1940. This is where Newport's Council sits.You can reach it, if you want, by following the road from...more
In the Square between High Street and Commercial Street are a collection of bronze statues dedicated to Newport's Chartist movement. Yes, around ever corner you seem to find something to remind you of the Chartists :-) Good! They were brave men!!This collection of sculpture was made in 1989, to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Newport...more
Well the good news is that the Newport's lost cross has been found again. A remarkable story. When the town was building Clarence Bridge in 1925 the top half of this medieval stone cross was found in the mud of the River Usk! If you look today at the submerged shopping trolleys and rubbish in the thick brown river mud, you will wonder at the minor...more
Hard to miss. You see it by the river as you enter Newport by train or bus. The "Steel Wave" or "Y Don Ddur" is a massive bright red 15m high sculpture by artist/architect Peter Fink.It was made in 1990 as "a tribute to the Newport steelmakers and seafarers", sponsored by 17 companies including British Steel.The artist had to collaborate with...more
Right next to the River Usk and Clarence Bridge is the remains of Newport Castle. It dates back to the 11th century. Well, that's not strictly true any more. When the railway was being developed the 11th century motte was destroyed. What is left is a small portion of the East end of the 14th century defences.On one side of the remains is busy...more
Good and clean hotel "middle of the road" for a UK hotel. It was a pleasant stay. Good access and...more
Hilton Newport is mostly known for the golfing in the area. The hotel is nice, not that genuine UK...more
Just returned form a weekend in Cardiff and Newport. This hotel offers excellent value and is much...more
After a visit to Chepstow we stopped off at the Rock And Fountain on the A48 at Penhow for something to eat but it was closed. Behind it is the Indian Cottage so we went there and we were not Disapointed.The Indian Cottage is a great restaurant that serves fantastic food in a lovely old building. It is a cross shaped building with a high roof....more
A very unusual location for a restaurant. In a working church. No, not in a separate building attached to the church, I mean in the church itself!St Paul's City Centre Church was gutted and restored around around two years ago. The restaurant opened about this time, an imaginative way to keep the church in constant use and raise some money.The...more
1612 Reviews and Opinions
Well, I won't tell you how long ago it was, but I went on several occasions to TJ's in Newport to watch new bands. And some more famous examples too. Usually wild thrash punk bands. I must have fried my brain because I can't remember any names at the moment. Apparently Kurt Cobain visited here. Ah, those were the days! TJ's is still fairly small ~...more
This is a great pub I spent alot of my uni years in. It has the greatest lager called Dpils which is very strong and makes for a fun night after a few.Its a samuel smiths pub so has a good selection of drinks. The crowd is usually young studenty but good atmosphere well worth a visit anythingmore
Great nightclub in Newport South Wales, both for clubbing and seeing bands. Popular as part of the circuit for many bands on their tours especially up and coming, pretty much everyone has played there in indie/alternative over the years. Bit of a dive as all great places should be, quite young crowd but fun. Anythingmore
Is an absolute nightmare! We seemed to be crossing bridges every two minutes, and even the locals didn't seem to have clue on the best way to get to our location. We made the mistake of popping in to town for food before making our way to the Newport County Football stadium, and ended up being about half an hour late for kick off, after countless...more
Newport (Gwent) - just off M4, couple of junctions from the 2nd Severn Crossing. There are regular train services (until about midnight) from Cardiff, and most of the London-Cardiff trains stop off at Newport. National Express coaches from London to Cardiff/Swansea also stop in Newport Bus Station.more
Honestly I only discovered Newport Indoor Market very recently, despite visitng Newport for many years!
The Market is just off the High Street, between Market Street and Griffin Street. From the outside it looks like a drab stone building. But inside it opens out dramatically, with two levels and an impressive, vaulted cast-iron roof. To the north end is a massive modern multi-coloured galss window.
On floor one you have a mixture of colourful shops and stalls, selling everything you could want - fruit, veg, meat, carpets, pet food etc.
Above the shopping floor is a mezzanine level, which is used as a big open space for music, jazz bands, tables and chairs. Around the edge are craft shops and a large cafe.
Great place to visit if it is raining (which is often in Wales).
You will soon realise how important the Chartist movement is to Newport's history and identity. I mean to say, there are murals, sculptures and references to them all over the city. John Frost Square, Newport's main plaza, is named after a leading Chartist.
Chartism is a political movement which developed rapidly in Britain in the 1830's. They were unhappy that 'democratic' reforms were benefitting the super rich gentry at the expense of the workers and middle-classes.
In 1838 The Peoples' Charter was written, demanding democratic reforms, particularly the vote for all men over 21 years old (yeah, the idea of women voting was too advanced for most). Within a year The Charter was signed by more than 1 million people, not a mean feat before the age of mass communications!
Chartist demonstrations and uprisings took place across England and Wales. In November 1839 three marches were planned to converge on Newport. They were demanding better, safer working conditions for the iron- and coal-workers of Southeast Wales.
However, the plans went a bit pear-shaped. Not all the demonstrators reached Newport at the agreed time. On Monday 4th November, those who did were fired on by soldiers from the Westgate Hotel. 20 were killed.
John Frost had led the march from Blackwood. He was a draper in Newport and had also been Mayor of Newport in 1836. He was transported to Tasmania for 17 years.
Zephaniah Williams was an innkeeper who led the march from the top of the Valleys. He was shipped off to Tasmania too and died there in old age.
I guess we have to be grateful to the men who died for the democratic reforms we now all enjoy in the modern world. Fair pay, free trade unions, safe working conditions, the Vote ~ they didn't come cheap!
The Westgate Hotel was the site of the famous 1839 battle, between Chartist demonstrators and soldiers. I have read in many books and internet sites that "you can still see the bullet holes in the doorway of the Westgate Hotel". So I thought aha, great photo opportunity.
However, the lady at the Tourist Information Centre knew nothing about them. In her view, they did not exist and she was sure the door had been replaced.
Well, I found the main door to the Westgate Hotel. The bottom part is definitely modern. The old, stone top part was sooo worn with age that there was no way of telling whether the holes and bumps were caused in battle, or by bullets.
So don't expect Newport to look like downtown Sarajevo. You have to be a forensic archaologist to spot a bullet hole, if they exist.
Unique Suggestions: Opposite the Westgate Hotel are a collection of statues commemorating the Chartist rebellion.
Well, actually around every corner there is something commemorating the Chartist Rebellion. You will begin to spot a theme :-)
Fun Alternatives: (a) go to the Museum in John Frost Square and read the story.
(b) bring a semi-automatic machine gun with you and create your own holes as required.
I was glad to finally locate the bus to Caerleon, where the teaching campus is located. The people in Caerleon were a much nicer breed: they actually smiled and were helpful. This was a pleasant surprise, as in most of my trips across the border I have always sensed the kind of suspicion you get in old movies where strangers turn up in remote public houses to be met with complete silence. That was north Wales, though. My friend's parents bought a hotel in the valleys of north Wales, and their welcoming present from the locals was a dead cat hanging from the front door. They would only speak to them once the name on the door was changed from his fathers name, a Yorkshireman, to his wife's Welsh maiden name of Jones.
The most bizarre thing about Caerleon was the number of children. When I left the town the place flooded with so many school children that didn't seem feasible for such a small population. There were literally thousands of school children on every street corner, in every shop and filling up the bus as I returned to Newport; this is about the same as the actual reported population of Caerleon. It was almost as if the desperate population of the city were sending their children away from the hideousness that is Newport out into the wilds of the surrounding villages and vales. This idea was supported by the huge traffic jam created by the early afternoon workers returning from their jobs in the city to the pleasantness of rural Caerleon.
Despite only recently becoming a city, Newport has a 900 year history. Unfortunately for Newport it has always been second best to Cardiff, 12 miles down the road!
If you arrive in Newport by train or car from England you will see the Castle, sandwiched between the railway bridge, road bridge and dual-carraigeway to the Bus Station. Built between 1093 and the mid 1400's it is now completely ruined.
The famous Welsh leader, Owain Glyndwr attacked and burnt Newport to the ground in 1402!!
Not until the Industrial Revolution of the early 19th century did Newport become anything significant. It developed into a busy port, with a canal bringing goods all the way from Brecon.
More will be said about the famous failed Chartist Unprising of 1839 in my other tips...
Today the city centre has one or two pleasant main streets which wind along their old routes. I quite like Newport's main shopping route - Commercial Street. But large dual carriageways and road systems have destroyed some of the city's character. Maybe one day things will change!
Check the localhistories.org pages on Newport for a more comprehensive history: