One of the first stone castles ever constructed in Britain, building started in 1068, just two years after the invasion of England by William the Conqueror. Chepstow was of great strategic importance and William entrusted one of his best generals, William FitzOsbern, to build the castle and control the Marches. The site is naturally protected on one side by cliffs plummeting into the Wye, and on the other by a valley. The very first building was a simple, two-storeyed rectangular keep. In the 12th century its defences were improved and the castle extended. Although Chepstow was never besieged in medieval times, it played an important role in the Civil War, coming under siege twice while it was being held for King Charles I. After this, its importance declined and it fell into the romantic ruin it is today.
Facilities – at a glance
- Parking onsite
- Fully accessible
- Facilities: Induction loop
- Accessible toilets
- Open all year
- Opening Times: Open all year, daily Mar-Jun & Sep-Oct, 9.30-5; Jul-Aug, 9.30-6; Nov-Feb, Mon-Sat 10-4, Sun 11-4 (last admission 30mins before close). Closed 24-26 Dec & 1 Jan
Also in the Area
About The area
In their bid to control the borderlands of Monmouthshire – also known as the Marches – the Normans built a triangle of castles: Grosmont, Skenfrith and White. At first, they were simple wooden structures strengthened by earthworks, but when the lively Welsh refused to stop attacking them, it was decided more permanent fortresses were needed. All three are worth a visit and the views from the battlements at White Castle over the surrounding countryside to the Black Mountains are stunning, as is all the scenery in this area – consisting of a patchwork of low hills, hidden valleys, fields criss-crossed with hedgerows and small belts of woodland.
Monmouth itself makes a great base to explore the beautiful Wye Valley, as well as being known as the home of Rockfield Studios, where Queen recorded Bohemian Rhapsody in 1975. The largest town in the county, Abergavenny is creating a name for itself as the foodie capital of the Usk Valley, and has held a weekly cattle market on the same site since 1863. Its location just six miles from the English border means it’s often described as the ‘gateway to Wales’.
Places to Stay
Restaurants and Pubs
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