Tintern is a village we have driven through several times on our way down to Chepstow. Each time, we’ve been wowed by the absolutely jaw-dropping view of Tintern Abbey as we’ve passed through. Much like Goodrich Castle, it’s a local landmark we kept meaning to visit but somehow never did. A few weeks ago, during the hot weather, we decided to actually stop and stay awhile. Tintern is of course best known for the amazing Tintern Abbey, once home to Cistercian monks and now a tourist attraction in the beautiful Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Tintern sits alongside the River Wye in Monmouthshire, Wales, very close to the border with England. It’s only a few miles from Chepstow (also a lovely place to visit) and a great spot for a day or a half day stopover if travelling north to south or vice versa.
A Brief History Of The Abbey
Tintern Abbey was founded in 1131, and began its journey to ruin in 1536 when Henry VIII began the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Having been home to a thriving body of Cistercian monks for centuries, the abbey became unloved and unappreciated for several decades. Its ivy-clad walls eventually became the romantic focus of poets (Wordsworth being the most notable) and visitors started to increase to take in the atmosphere and the views. Its archaeological and historical significance was eventually realised in the early 20th century. The Abbey is now owned by Cadw, is Grade I listed, and attracts coach-loads of visitors every day.
It’s not as large as Fountains Abbey near Ripon, but certainly has a setting to rival its beauty. Personally I love the Wye Valley and the River Wye itself. I’m always happy spending time alongside the river. The scenery is absolutely stunning and some of the most beautiful in Britain. Tintern Abbey really adds to the magic of this particular part of the valley. The weight of history, time and tradition hangs heavily in the air.
Other Things To See And Do
As well as the Abbey and the beauty of the area, there are other reasons to stop off in Tintern. Abbey Mill is on the site of the original mill that served the Abbey. Its restaurant is cosy and warm, and has a very unusual menu including Welsh classics.
The restaurant serves the most enormous cakes and desserts we’ve ever had. They’re big enough to share, but I would never recommend sharing dessert.
Abbey Mill also has arts and crafts, gift shops, and an art gallery.
There’s also a working water wheel from the 1870s.
There are lots of B&Bs and lovely hotels in Tintern itself, and nearby. Walkers will be spoilt for choice with plenty of routes nearby within easy access.
Tintern’s well worth a drive through if travelling nearby. I recommend stopping off for lunch and a stroll amongst the ruins too. It’s such a beautiful spot and a highly recommended attraction if you love natural beauty and history combined.
Have you been to Tintern?