Ancient Monmouth is a traditional county town, with good shops, restaurants and cafes, and some elegant Georgian buildings, notably the beautifully restored Shire Hall.
The town has existed since Roman times, gaining importance in the medieval period when it gained its 12th century castle, the birthplace of King Henry V in 1387. Now ruined, the 17th century Great Castle House largely covers the castle site, and the site hosts a museum dedicated to the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers regiment and local history.
Monmouth Museum tells the story of the town, and also has a fantastic collection dedicated to the life of Admiral Nelson.
Apart from the castle, Monmouth's most historic feature is the wonderful fortified 13th century bridge over the rushing River Monnow. It is now pedestrianised, allowing visitors to better appreciate the splendid stone gatehouse.
Nearby is the Kymin, a wooded hill with wonderful views over the Welsh countryside. On the hilltop is the Georgian Naval Temple, commemorating the victories of the British Navy, and the castle folly of the Roundhouse - used in the 18th century as a private dining club.
The surrounding countryside of the Wye Valley is also rich in history. To the West are the stunning remains of magnificent Raglan Castle, while to the north is the even older ruin of Skenfrith castle. Going south will take you to the splendid medieval Tintern Abbey, a highlight of any trip to Wales.
If you have had your fill of the town, south to Chepstow along the A466.
Parva Farm Vineyard Award winning Welsh wines.
Raglan Castle Huge and magnificent ruined castle.
Skenfrith Castle Picturesque 13th century ruin.
Grosmont Castle Wonderful ruined fortress on the Welsh-English Border
Monmouth Castle 12th century remains of the birthplace of Henry V.
Tintern Abbey Stunning 13th century abbey that inspired Wordsworth.
Monmouth Castle and Regimental Museum History of Monmouth Castle and the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers.
Monmouth Museum Local history and the Nelson Collection.