Category Archives: Wales

Three Reasons to Visit Newport in South Wales

Quite a while ago I won a £100 voucher to spend at The Co-operative Travel, so we decided to go for a family weekend away. We wanted to go to a hotel that wasn’t too far, with a  swimming pool, and some interesting things to do nearby. The Co-operative Travel only deals with a limited number of hotels so we looked on the website and we chose the Hilton Hotel in Newport because it ticked all the boxes and kids go free. My voucher almost paid for 2 nights bed & breakfast; we just had to top it up with a few pounds of our own money. Here is what we did (as well as a lot of swimming and sitting in the Jacuzzi.)

  1. National Trust Tredegar House.

I’m always keen to make the most of our National Trust membership so we took a trip to Tredegar House. Unfortunately the house itself is not open in winter but we had a walk around the extensive parklands. You can find out more about Tredegar House here.

2. Caerleon

Caerleon is a Roman village very close to Newport. There are lots of places of historical interest such as the Roman museum which is free to enter (hooray for the Welsh government!) and has lots of things to see and do. The kids can try on replica helmets and clothes. There’s also an amphitheatre which was built around AD90.

The museum garden


The Roman Amphitheatre

3. Big Pit

Big Pit is not to be missed. It’s an old coal mine which has been turned into a museum. You have to put on a helmet (so you don’t bump your head) with a torch on it (so you can see where you’re going) and you are taken down into the mine by an ex miner. Our guide was called Gavin and he was a mine of information. (See what I did there?) I’m not usually one for guided tours but his commentary was so fascinating that I was enthralled for the fifty minutes of our tour. he told us of the times when seven-year-old children used to sit in the mines for ten hours at a time in complete darkness to open and close the doors for the miners. Times when miners weren’t paid in money but in tokens which they could only spend in the shop belonging to the pit owner, who could then raise his prices as much as he wanted because the miners had no choice but to shop there. Big Pit is also free to get in. (Hooray for the Welsh government again!)

It made me stop and think how lucky we are to live in a time when we are protected by EU employment laws, and fearful of what might happen should the British public choose to leave the protection of these laws. I’m pretty sure the current government would be only too happy to go back to a time when it was possible to exploit workers in ways that seem unthinkable to my generation.

Big Pit

And here’s a picture that my son took of the hotel lobby.