All I knew about Chepstow was that it had a racecourse and that’s it. I didn’t know it was in Wales as its name sounds English, but apparently Chepstow is the English name for the place.
We took the scenic route along the River Wye from Monmouth to Chepstow along the A466. It’s only 16 miles, though as it’s a winding road it took much longer than anticipated and not good for passengers who get travel sick. The plus points of choosing this route is that it’s pretty and you pass Tintern Abbey. Sadly we didn’t have time to stop, but it did look good.
Parking in Chepstow is straightforward as there’s a big car park behind the main shopping area which costs £1 for 2 hours.
Chepstow is quite a compact town and certainly not as busy as Monmouth, but that could be just the time of day. The architecture is rather mixed with new developments amongst the medieval and historic buildings. At the top of the hill there is the Town Gate which dates from the medieval times and in the car park you can still see the remains of the Port Wall which used to protect the town. There is also some random street art too with a surprising statue of a naked man complete with genitals.
Obviously we were here for the charity shops and they didn’t disappoint. I found the shops were particularly good for books, especially newly published ones. I picked up the Amy Poehler book “Yes Please” for a song at £1.50. I’d have bought more books if I hadn’t already purchased them at full price. I also picked up a practically new clutch bag for £2.99.
There were some good overheard conversations to be had in the charity shops and I spent far too much time eavesdropping on them. One was a lady who was discussing her career change – she’s so much happier now. The other was the concerned grandparents who were hoping their grandson will finally pass his driving test to improve his job prospects. I forget, living in a city, how important it is to drive when you live in the countryside. It’s practically a rite of passage to pass a driving test where there’s very little public transport available.
There are a few antique / vintage places in Chepstow and Neil spent almost an hour trawling through them. He did pick up a good haul of vinyl records and CDs. I know he’d happily come back here again just for these shops. As a result of this I spent quite a bit of time looking through the craft shops, exploring the tiny shopping arcades and taking photos. Damn the traffic in this town though, as it makes it hard to take photographs of buildings without a blurred car in shot.
Neil noticed the WiFi was particularly good in Chepstow too and you could get a half decent O2 signal (3G). He’s rather obsessed with these things and mobile phone coverage – it’s possible he may have a social media addiction.
Chepstow is definitely a good place to visit in South Wales; a bit quieter than Monmonth and easier to navigate without getting killed in the process. We had already eaten but there are lots of cafes and restaurants to get something nice to eat. If we are ever in the area again, we’d definitely stop off and have a wander.