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5 Things To Do with the family in and around Monmouth in the sun!

In Monmouth we are blessed with a wide variety of outdoor entertainment options right on our door step. Have you noticed how busy our little towns of Monmouth and Ross on Wye get during the summer months!? This is because people come from all over the world use it as a base to explore the beautiful Wye Valley. Having lived and worked in the area for nearly 30 years with the last two being spent with a little one I want to share with you all my top 5 places to go when the sun is out!!!!

Personal Trainer Monmouth
Our little one Eli dipping his toes in the Monnow

1. My current favourite place to go with the family has to be Kerne Bridge and hang out at the Paddle Cafe. There is an amazing converted fire truck that has been converted into a Cafe serving delicious coffee, cakes and sandwiches. The truck is owned by Charlie and Boo who are super knowledgeable of the local area and are really happy to share their time and amazing happy energy with everyone. From here you can take a swim, a walk or use it as a launch point for a trip down the river on a kayak, canoe or SUP. The surroundings are amazing and food delicious. Here is a little video of our gyms summer party that was held here;

2. Second on the list has to be Skenfrith Castle. I am a big fan of history and am always impressed with how the castle is still here after all this time. There is free parking at the castle and the grounds and river bank make the perfect place for a picnic. During the summer months the river is shallow making it ideal for paddling with little ones. PS this is the River Monnow. There is food to be found nearby at the village hall or for something more substantial (or stronger!!) there is the Bell

3. Third on the list is a little known gem in the Narth. Park near the village hall and head down the valley through the woods. If your little ones are obsessed with parks as much as mine then no doubt you will need to stop at the woodland park first!!! After the compulsory park time follow the signs for the walk. There is a circular walk that brings you into a beautiful valley. This area is completely unspoilt and all you can hear is the gurgling Manor Brook and the chirping birds. There is a gravel bath suitable for prams but if you want to go off piste and get amongst it I would strongly recommend bringing a child carrier if your little one isn't super strong at walking yet. THIS PLACE IS SOOOO BEAUTIFUL. Before heading back to Monmouth, Ross on Wye or Abergavenny I would highly recommend dropping into the Pig and Apple which is just round the corner. The best way to explain the food here would be dutty (urban dictionary definition here; ) But don't worry if you don't bring a pram and have to carry your child like I did you will have earned the calories for sure!!!!

4. In fourth place we are heading up a mountain. Quite frankly how can you write about this area without mentioning a mountain. We are blessed to have the black mountains and the Brecon Beacons really close by. Our personal favourite is the Sugar Loaf. This iconic conical mountain provides good value for effort. You get to park quite far up and the walk isn't too far yet you are blessed with a panoramic view stretching from the Severn Estuary to the far reaches of the Brecon Beacons. Not very pram friendly but if your little one doesn't mind a carry then well worth a visit. You'll see wild horses, welsh mountain sheep and maybe some birds of prey rising in the thermals. Head there towards the end of summer to feast on the wimberries (these little berries taste a lot like blueberries and are great fund to try and find with your little one. WARNING don't eat fallen ones in case you confuse with sheep poo!!) After your walk a refreshment will of course be in order. We love the staff here are always fantastic with our little boy Eli and the grounds are beautiful and great fun for tearing around in (despite having climbed a mountain they will still have plenty of energy I'm sure!!) The wines are delicious and the cheeses.... OH THE CHEESES!!!!!!!

5. Last place but still a great place has to be Symonds Yat and the Wye Valley. This is the centre of it all and the main reason for tourist visitation to the area. Our gym; Primal Fitness Hub is based here so we are blessed to head off and explore the area during our time off from Personal Training. Currently our favourite thing to do is to take a walk down from the Ferry pub and head long the river bank. There are lots of opportunities for your little one to dip their toes and dig around in the mud. Its nice and shaded amongst the trees making it a nice thing to do when its really hot. On our way back we tend to stop off at the Old Court Hotel for some delicious locally sourced grub. Tori and Jono will make you feel very at home and the rest of the staff are really accommodating. They do a proper good job with the food here. My personal favourite is the Wild Boar Sausages and mash. The bar is stocked with local beverages that you must try!!! Another fun things to do is to take the ferry passenger boat across the river. This is a very unique experience as the boat has to be dragged along by hand!!! Either make the trip across for the fun of it or feature it as a circular walk down to the Biblins, over the bridge and back. ps they let bikes on the boat...

Thanks for reading this and hope you got some good inspiration from it. The weather is notoriously bad so whenever the sun is out I highly recommend making the most of it and seizing the day and going on one of these trips. All of these trips are possible before or after nap time!!!

Liam Phillips

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