Market Towns of Wales

A 3-Day tour along the England / Wales border.

Many of Wales’ most charming market towns and villages follow the border as it snakes its way up from the southern Wye Valley to the North Wales coastline.

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Day 1

Start your tour in Chepstow – a fine market town as famous for horseracing as it is for its glorious Norman castle perched high above the banks of the river Wye. Next, make your way up the scenic A486 to the county town of Monmouth - taking time out, perhaps, to enjoy the majestic ruins of Tintern Abbey en route. Monmouth has retained many of its fine old Georgian buildings, but its striking trademark is the 13th century stone-gated bridge which straddles the River Monnow - an ideal spot to get the camera out! Enjoy lunch surrounded by wonderful river scenery before continuing to the medieval market town of Hay-on-Wye - a world centre for antiquarian books and host to an annual festival in May/June which has placed the town well and truly on the world literary map.

Approx. distance: 63 miles/100 km
Approx. driving time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Overnight suggestion: Hay-on-Wye 

Day 2

Today begins with a scenic drive following the A481 / A44 / B4357 to Presteigne on the Herefordshire border - a town with a large number of fine, half-timbered buildings and especially good pubs. A self-guided audio tour of the splendid accommodation at the Judge’s Lodging also includes the cells and former law courts and offers a flavour for life in the 1870s. Returning inland on the A488, continue northwards on the A483 to the pretty town of Montgomery to explore its remarkably unchanged Georgian main square. Do make the trip up to the castle’s ruins to appreciate some breathtaking views. After a relaxing break for lunch, why not spend the rest of the day in and around Welshpool, a gateway for travellers entering and leaving Wales for countless centuries. This active, bustling town is at its best on Mondays, when a market is held as it has been since 1263. Explore its many well-preserved old buildings, take a trip on the narrow gauge.

Welshpool and Llanfair Railway Tel. +44 (0)1938 810441 or take a relaxing boat trip on the Montgomery Canal. Tel. +44 (0)1938 5527043

Approx. distance: 48 miles/77 km
Approx. driving time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Overnight suggestion: Montgomery / Welshpool 

Day 3

The final day of your tour brings you north via the A483 and A5 to Llangollen, beautifully surrounded by mountains and forests. Even if you’re not lucky enough to be here for the International Musical Eisteddfod held each July, there’s plenty to explore in its narrow streets and along the famous Llangollen canal – probably the best way to do this is by taking an excursion on the horse-drawn narrow-boat

For a different experience try the motorized boat along the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct – a spectacular piece of engineering completed in the 19th century to carry the canal over the river Dee. Gardens lovers will really enjoy a visit to the Chirk Castle which is located on the outskirts of Llangollen.  Try and plan your visit to coincide with market day; the general market is held on Mondays with the Farmers Market being held every third Friday of the month. Why not round off your day with a drive up the A452 to the scenic Horseshoe Pass (1367ft/417m) which offers unsurpassed views in all directions.