A stones throw from Tintern in Wales is the picturesque Whitestone Walk, which offers not only 2 good walking routes with stunning views, but also a pretty picnic area, with barbecue facilities, and a fun play area. Unfortunately the public toliets are no longer in operation, but there are plenty of trees to hide behind if desperate, or public toilets in Tintern a short drive away.
Whitestone is set in the Wye Valley. The shorter walking route of about 3/4 mile offers 3 view point opportunities, each with a bench unscripted with quotes from William Woodsworth's poem 'Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey'. The shorter walk is of an easy level, suitable in terrain and length to take children. It has a slight incline past the view points, then is down hill on the other side, mostly flat with a few bumpy bits at the end of the walk.
I had a lovely picnic with my sister and a friend, bringing our picnic box of treats. We also played in the play park, despite being not its target audience.
It is a lovely picnic area and suitable for the whole family.
Adult - £6.50 (*free if member)
Back in Tintern the main attraction is the ruined Tintern Abbey. Sadly on this occasion we were unable to find parking so did not visit it, but we have been before.
Tintern Abbey was a Cistercian Abbey founded in 1131. It is considered the best-preserved medieval abbey in Wales. During the 13th century much of the abbey was rebuilt including the church which is the main focus of the ruins today. In the 1500s however as with other monasteries the Abbey was abandoned. King Henry VIII brought in the Dissolution of the Monasteries policy to take control over the church. In 1536 the remaining monks and servants surrendered Tintern Abbey to the King, and the abbey, now stripped of its roof and with smashed windows, was left to decay.
The shell of the abbey is set in a beautiful location. Now owned by CADW, the abbey has been preserved from further decay. It is a beautiful place to visit and accessible to the whole family. Apart from the shop, the site is open to the elements so do remember an umbrella or coat if the weather is to turn.
3. Raglan Castle
Adult - £6.50
Adult - £6.50
As Tintern Abbey was to busy we decided to venture further into Wales and visit Raglan Castle. Built in the 1430s, 150ish years later than most Castles. It was a large modern castle for its time surrounded by gardens, orchards and a moot. It was home to the Earl of Worcester until 1647 when the castle was stripped of its valuables and deliberately demolished by the Roundhead army, and left abandoned until the 19th Century.
The Castle is impressive with large windows, a five storey tower, ruined library, and arched bridge. There are lots to explore from basements to heights. The castle is owned by CADW and is suitable for the whole family. Whilst we were visiting there was a Scot event. Around the castle are activities aim at Children such as a musical instrument, chest, and cart. The site has a shop and toilets, and amble parking. It was also a film location for some of the BBC series Merlin. There is much to see, do and learn. Fun for all the family. Just keep an eye on any children as the moot does still have water.
N.B CADW memberships - Adult £44.00 (cheaper on renewal - second year free access to Historic Scotland and English Heritage, free access to Manx from year 1)