We first introduced a Wye Valley in 2023 as we expanded our offering of Set Tours. It proved to be a huge success, and in its first year it was our most popular set tour, and accounted for nearly 25% of all the tours we carried out in the whole year. For 2024, we have improved the tour. We have made slight changes to where we go on the tour, so that our guests can see more, and spend less time in the car. Even if the day is slighly longer, now 8 and half hours, instead of 8 hours.
During the tour your driver, who will also be your guide, for the day will take you through the picturesque Wye Valley, following the course of the River Wye. The geographical border between Wales and England. Along the way there will be many opportunities for picture taking as you wind your way along the Valley. The drive through the countryside will be punctuated with a number of stops along the way, at some of the most beautiful, awe inspiring and important places in Welsh history.
Roman remains dating back nearly 2000 years. Norman Castles that have existed for nearly a whole Millennium. Gothic Abbey. Royal Birthplaces, all surrounded in lush greenery where two King Henry’s have left their mark over the centuries.
Take a Wye Valley Tour with us, for a truly memorable day.
The tour starts at a location of your choosing in Cardiff (usually your hotel) and your driver for the day will arrive to meet you at 9:15.
You will leave Cardiff, heading east towards the border with England. The first stop of the day will be Chepstow Castle on the banks of the River Wye
Built in 1067 by the Normans, following their conquest of England, this castle is the oldest post Roman stone structure in the UK. It was built at the lowest bridging point of the River Wye to control communications between Wales and England, as they sought to expand their territory into Wales. It also served to control access to the River Wye itself. For six centuries, the castle was a seat of power for the rich and influential in the area, before being largely abandoned in the 17th Century. Later becoming the the finishing point for the original “Wye Tour“, a two day pleasure cruise along the River Wye from Ross-on-Wye to Chepstow, in the late 18th and early 19th Century.
After exploring Chepstow Castle, you will meet back up with your driver, who will take you up through the Wye Valley to Tintern Abbey. Built by Cistercian Monks in 1130, it was rebuilt during the 13th century as a masterpiece of Gothic Architecture. The Abbey was then closed in 1536 during the Reformation, in the reign of King Henry VIII. The Abbey was largely abandoned and left to ruin. Its treasures were handed over to the state, and lead from its roof was sold, whilst the rest of the Abbey was left to ruin.
The Abbey was left untouched for over 200 years, until it became an attraction on the Wye Tour, and during the 18th Century its popularity as a tourist attraction grew.
After exploring and awe inspiring Abbey, and the picturesque village of Tintern if you wish, you will be taken on a drive up through the beautiful Wye Valley, following the course of the River Wye, along the boundary of Wales and England.
The tour will go through the historic town of Monmouth. Founded by the Normans as a River Port, the town evolved into a Market Town in medieval times.
Around 1270, the Monnow Bridge was built. It is one of only two Gated Bridge ‘s in the UK. King Henry V was born in Monmouth in 1386
The tour continues through Monmouth, stopping briefly on request, and continues into the Monmouthshire countryside.
After approximately a 30-40 minutes drive along the river, through Monmouth, and the Monmouthshire Countryside, the tour arrives at Raglan Castle. The third stop of the day.
Constructed inphases across the 15th & 16th Century, the castle was built after the “heyday” of castle construction, and was built more to impress than intimidate. Lead from Tintern Abbey was used in some of the construction, following the Abbeys closure in 1536.
In 1646, Parlimentary Forces siezed the Castle after a two month siege during the English Civil War. With no need for the castle itself, orders were given to destroy the castle. It was only partially damaged, instead of being totally destroyed and was instead left to ruin. In the late 18th Century, it became part of The Wye Tour, as with Chepstow Castle and Tintern Abbey. This initiated in partial resortation by The Somerset Family who owned the castle prior to Parlimentary Forces siezing it, and had since regained ownership of it. It was handed to the Government shortly before World War 2.
Leaving Raglan Castle, the tour will pass through the village of Usk, winner of “Wales in Bloom” in 2023, and for 35 consecutive years from the mid 1980’s. Heading into Gwent the tour arrives at the fourth and final stop of the day. Caerleon
Archealogical evidence suggests the town was founded in the 5th Century BC, and was inhabited until the Roman’s occupied the town around 75AD. It became the headquaters of Legio II Augusta until the 4th Century, and was likely the largest Roman Fortress in Wales. Today it is home to some of the best preserved Roman Remains in the World, including an Ampitheatre, Baths and Barracks
After Caerleon, your driver will then return you to your hotel, or any location in Cardiff of your choosing, arriving back there at approximately 5:45pm – 6:00pm
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Timings & Numbers
The Wye Valley Tour is for up to 6 people, and lasts approximately 8 1/2 hours. Their will be up to 50 minutes driving time (depending on traffic) between some stops, where as others may be as little as 10 minutes apart.
This tour starts at a location of your choosing, but must start and finish in Cardiff. At our descretion, we may be willing to start and / or finish the tour in Newport. In these situations, the driver will leave Cardiff at around 9:15am, and the meeting time will be adjusted accordingly. We will then need to finish the tour, and return you to your hotel at such a time that would allow the driver to return to Cardiff by approximately 5:45pm
Tour Start Time: Monday to Saturday at 9:15am
Planned Finish Time: 5:45pm
Additional important information
We are unable to accommodate any luggage on this tour. If you are likely to have luggage with you, please contact us in advance.
Whilst this tour is available for up to 6 people, we will need to know how many people will be going on the tour, as the vehicle used may be dependant on the number of people on the tour.
Our guides are not historical experts. Your guide will have at least a basic knowledge of the locations they will take you, and Welsh HIstory and Culture in general. They will also be happy to answer any questions you may have to the best of their ability, but there may be some gaps in their knowledge and may not be able to answer all questions fully.
The tour starts at 9:15am from your hotel, and your driver will return you to your hotel at the end of the tour around 5:45pm.
Your driver guide for the day will not accompany you into the various locations and attractions we stop at. You will be free to independently explore them as you wish.
Chepstow Castle, Tintern Abby, Raglan Castle & Caerleon Roman Baths all have entrance fee’s which are not included in the tour. fee, and would be payable on the day. All four site are operated and ran by CADW and a 3 day CADW pass can be purchased at Chepstow Castle which will give you entry to all four sites, and all CADW sites for three days at no additional cost. The pass can also be purchased online on the CADW Website
If you do not wish to pay for entry to Chepstow Castle, Tintern Abbey or Caerleon Roman Baths, you can spend the time exporing the town of Chepstow, the village of Tintern and Caerleon respectively. In Caerleon the Ampitheatre & Barracks are both open air and there is no entry. The Caerleon Roman Museum is also free entry
Lunch is not included in the tour, and neither do we make arrangements to stop at any particular place for lunch. However we have planned for a lunch break of up to an hour during the day. This can be taken where you wish, and there are options for lunch in Chepstow, Tintern, Monmouth, Usk & Caerleon.
You are free to spend as little or as much time as you wish at any of the locations we stop at, and your driver will be happy to stop anywhere else during the day, so long as it is safe and legal to do so. The only time we will insist is kept to is the departure time from Caerleon. We will need to be leaving Caerleon around 5:15pm and no later than 5:30pm.
If during the tour, your guide feels that time spent at other locations means it is likely there will be insufficent time to see everything at Caerleon, they will advise you accordingly. The decision on how much time to spend at the remaining locations will still be entirely up to you. At your guides discretion they may be willing to extend the day to allow for extra time. This would be at their discretion although they may request additional payment on the day, which would be payable directly to them.
The weather in Wales can be unpredictable and changeable. Most of the stops on the Tour are outdoors, and / or with minimal cover. We therefore recommend you bring rain jackets or umbrellas on the tour. Even if it is sunny at the start of the tour, the weather may change during the day. These items can be left in the car at the various stops if not needed.
The tour is available Monday to Saturday all year round. Although between April & October is the best time to go on this tour, when the weather is usually slightly better, and the days are slightly longer.
Between November & Mid February it may be dark before leaving the final stop of Caerleon (around 5:15pm). During December & January, it may start getting dark before the tour has arrived at Caerleon. This could affect ability to see all of the remains fully, should you wish to go on this tour between November & February, you may wish to consider reducing the amout of time spent at other locations to allow time to see Caerleon in Daylight. Your driver on the day will be happy to advise you on this