Usk Travel Guide

  • Usk
    by Myfanwe
  • Usk
    by Myfanwe
  • Usk
    by Myfanwe

Usk Things to Do

  • Balam's Profile Photo

    by Balam Updated Mar 21, 2011

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    Usk Castle stands on a hill overlooking the town and was first mentioned in 1138, it's Gate house built in the 12th c probably by the De Clare family and the Castle was later strengthened By Williams Marshall of Chepstow with the Garrison Tower more than likely being his work. The Castle was strengthened and altered by succeeding generations until it was abandoned during the 15th c.
    The Castle is now privately owned and is a fantastic looking magical Castle with walls covered by Ivy and creepers, Topiary tree and oddities dotted around the grounds give an Alice in Wonderland feel as do the Hens, Cockerel and the Geese which roam free in the castles inner bailey.
    The Castle has an entrance fee of £2 per person which is put into an honesty box situated on the kiosk just inside the gate where you can find information as well as a tour sheet for the castle.

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  • Myfanwe's Profile Photo

    by Myfanwe Updated Mar 17, 2011

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    Usk Castle is a fantastic hidden gem of a place. It actually stands in the grounds of the Humphreys' house but they are more than happy for visitors to wander around at your leisure. A path off the main street opposite the Fire Station will take you up to the Castle gates where you will find a little information kiosk. Each visitor is asked to take a pebble from a container and place it into a pot to the side of it so the owners can keep track of visitor numbers. A donation of £2.00 per person is requested to maintain the upkeep of this great place. As you go up the slope towards the Castle you can tell straight away that this is no ordinary Welsh Castle, the remains are ivy-clad and weathered but on the other hand the grounds are wonderfully manicured with topiary and beautiful shubs and flowers. As you walk inside the main gates be sure to shut them behind you as there are Geese guarding the inner ward and some lovely looking Chickens pecking away merrily on the grass.

    The castle was first mentioned in 1138, and the Norman gatehouse was probably built in the 12th Century by the de Clare family. Giraldus visited Usk in 1188 to recruit support for the second crusade, and by offering to pardon those in prison if they joined, met with some success. The castle was strengthened by William Marshall, who had proved himself in tournaments sufficiently to marry Isabella, a de Clare heiress. He is famous for his skill in castle building – Pembroke, Chepstow to name just a few, so the design for the Garrison Tower at Usk, where the wall-walk passes the tower to give it greater protection, was likely to be his work. Usk castle was further strengthened by succeeding generations, the outer wall and gatehouse built and a new gate to the Inner Ward replacing the original Keep gateway.

    The Welsh rebellion of 1400, led by Owain Glyndwr, resulted in an edict from Henry lV to strengthen and supply castles in south Wales against the rebels. The castle was besieged in 1405 as the English forces sheltered within after fleeing from Grosmont castle. Surprised by the determination of the English soldiers, led by Lord Grey of Codnor, Glyndwr’s men were routed and fled to the marshy ground by the river, and many were taken prisoner., 300 men were massacred below the Castle walls.

    William ap Thomas held Usk after 1431, a supporter of the Yorkist cause. Both he and his son, William Herbert, are recorded as ruthless and highly unpopular. Herbert was created 18th Earl of Pembroke in 1468, and carried out improvements to make the castle more comfortable – the large windows and fireplaces in the Keep date from this time. William Herbert was killed at the Battle of Edgecote in 1469, and Usk Castle seems to have declined from then on, superseded by the large new castle at Raglan which had been built for the new weapons of warfare, cannons. By 1564 Roger Williams was accused of taking stone from the castle with which to build his new house, Ty Mawr, in Old Market Street.

    By the time John Humphreys came to live in the gatehouse in 1908, the castle had the appearance of a farmyard overgrown with ivy and large trees, although the gatehouse had become a ‘gentrified’ town house. With the purchase of the castle in 1933 for £525, which included one donkey and one flag, the castle began to come back to life, as Rudge Humphreys spent the 1930’s excavating parts of it and planting the bulbs and shrubs which today visitors appreciate as creating a place of beauty and tranquillity.

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  • Usk Hotels

    6 Hotels in Usk

Usk Hotels

See all 6 Hotels in Usk
  • Glen-yr-Afon House Hotel

    Pontypool Road, Usk, NP15 1SY, United Kingdom

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Couples

  • Three Salmons Hotel

    Bridge Street, Usk, Monmouthshire, NP15 1RY, United Kingdom

    Satisfaction: Very Good

    Good for: Families

  • Cwrt Bleddyn Hotel

    Cwrt Bleddyn, Llangybi, Newport, Southern Wales, NP5 1PG, United Kingdom

    Satisfaction: Average

    Good for: Business

  • The Rat Trap Restaurant & Hotel

    Old Chepstow Road, Llangeview, NP15 1EY , United Kingdom

    Satisfaction: Average

    Good for: Business

  • The Olway Inn and Hotel

    Chepstow Road, Usk, NP15 1EN, United Kingdom

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

  • Holiday Inn Woking

    Victoria Way, Usk, GU21 8EW, United Kingdom

Usk Restaurants

  • Balam's Profile Photo

    by Balam Updated Mar 21, 2011

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    The Castle Innl is in Usk's town square, we called in for a drink after walking around the Castle, It has a comfortable bar with a seperate restaurant area. Although we did not eat here at this time (I would certainly like to try the food on my next visit) it was a nice place to have a drink.

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    • Beer Tasting

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  • Myfanwe's Profile Photo

    by Myfanwe Updated Mar 17, 2011

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    We called in here for a drink after exploring the delights of Usk Castle. It's a cosy little place with a bar, lounge and separate eating area.

    The food looked reasonably priced, I may sample some of the menu on my next visit - I'll be able to finish off my tip then!!

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    • Beer Tasting
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  • Don't Forget Insurance

    If your current health insurance doesn't cover you while your abroad, you should consider getting international travel insurance just in case something should go wrong.

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