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13 BEST Things To Do in Newport, Wales

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To some, Newport (both a city and county) is considered a gateway to South Wales. And if you’re wondering how best to spend your time in this part of the country, then read on to discover 13 of the best things to do in Newport, Wales.

When travelling to Wales via the M4, Newport is one of the first regions you’ll come across.

Before the mighty Brecon Beacons cast your footsteps into shadow. Or before you stumble across the wild moors and coastal walks of the Gower Peninsula. And before you find your way to the scenic coves and stunning beaches of the Pembrokeshire Coast.

Instead, during a trip to Newport, you’ll discover ancient Roman ruins and historic landmarks alongside beautiful walks in nature. Intrigued? Read on to find out what we enjoyed doing the most when we visited Newport in Wales.

13 Best Things To Do in Newport, Wales

1. See Newport’s Castle

Newport Castle was built in the 1300s, and while it’s mostly been swallowed up by modern-day Newport, it’s still an imposing feature within the city.

The castle is best viewed from the eastern side of the River Usk where you can better appreciate its riverside fortress structure.

For health and safety reasons, Newport Castle remains closed to the public for the foreseeable future.

But it’s still a marvel to see the juxtaposition of this 14th-century motte and bailey castle (from the outside) against the backdrop of a modern Welsh city.

2. Visit Tredegar House

Tredegar House in Newport, Wales

Dating back to the late 1600s, Tredegar House is an imposing red-brick mansion, which sits within a 90-acre estate on the southwestern edge of Newport.

For over 500 years, this estate was home to the Morgan family, and later, the Lords Tredegar. Charles I remains one of the house’s most notable visitors throughout the years.

Today, the house, gardens and surrounding parkland are owned by the National Trust

The parkland at Tredegar House in Newport, Wales

The parkland is open year-round to the public for free, while the house and gardens are ticketed. You can visit all areas for free as a National Trust member – and even park for free as well.

When we visited, the house and gardens were sadly closed for winter, but we still enjoyed a pleasant stroll around the parkland, which features an ornamental lake and towering pine trees.

We look forward to visiting again to see inside the house as we hear it’s rather grand and opulent inside.

3. Wander around the beautiful Belle Vue Park

The Victorian bandstand in Belle Vue Park in Newport, Wales

Even though Belle Vue Park is about 3 miles away from Tredegar House, the land that the park sits on once used to be part of the Tredegar Estate. 

In 1891, Lord Tredegar gifted the land to the town so that a public park could be built. The original park opened in 1894 and was later expanded in 1924.

Today, Belle Vue Park resembles a typical Victorian park complete with a pavilion, conservatories, bandstand, rockeries and ornamental bridges within 26 beautiful acres.

4. Have breakfast or lunch in the historic Belle Vue Tea Rooms

While you’re wandering around Belle Vue Park, why not enjoy a spot of breakfast or lunch at the historic Belle Vue Tea Rooms?

The cafe is housed within the Victorian pavilion building and adjoining conservatories, while the menu features delicious offerings from artisanal bakeries and other local suppliers from the area.

You can even get married here! 

5. Watch the wildlife at the Newport Wetlands Nature Reserve

British Wetlands

If you’d like to escape into nature during your trip to Newport, then we can think of nowhere better than the Newport Wetlands Nature Reserve – especially if you can time your visit for a sunny day.

Among the reedbeds, salt marsh and natural lagoons, you might see local birds such as bearded tits, white herons and dunlin waders to name just a few.

At the wetlands in Newport, there are guided walks to follow and a cafe, so you could make a full morning or afternoon of it if you wish.

6. Wonder about the unusual Phyllis Maud Performance Space

The Phyllis Maud Performance Space in Newport, Wales

Wander past the Phyllis Maud Performance Space on Alexandra Road in Newport and you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a gentleman’s toilet. Wait, what? 

Yep, you read that correctly.

Scott and I love finding hidden gems and secrets on our day trips and travels – and Newport was no different.

Up until 2006, this building was a public toilet, but it was later sold at auction with the idea that it would be turned into a cafe. 

While this particular sale fell through, someone else bought the building, and in 2018, they converted it into an unusual 25-seat theatre space.

You can only see inside the building whilst performances are running, but it’s still interesting to see from the outside if you like weird and quirky places as much as we do.

7. People and boat watch at Fourteen Locks Canal

Located along the northwestern edge of Newport, the Fourteen Locks Canal makes for an interesting walk.

Much like other flights of locks around the UK (such as the more famous Caen Hill Locks in Wiltshire), the Fourteen Locks Canal in Wales is considered an engineering wonder of the Industrial Revolution.

Caen Hill Locks in Wiltshire

With the help of the 14 locks that give this landmark its name, canal boats can venture “uphill” for 160 feet in just half a mile. 

While this is a pretty place for a walk, it’s always interesting to see how the canal boat owners and drivers navigate this part of their journey. 

8. Hike the Usk Valley route or follow the Usk Riverfront Walkway

If you enjoy hiking, then you might enjoy following some (or all) of the Usk Valley Walk route

Follow it for its entirety from Caerleon to Brecon and you’ll enjoy a 48-mile hike following the River Usk. As such, it’s a relatively flat hike all things considered.

Not up to a walk this long? Never fear! 

Why not wander along the Usk Riverfront Walkway found close to Newport’s city centre and simply enjoy a riverside stroll for as little or as long as you like.

Discover even more walks in Newport >>

9. Learn about the ancient Romans in Caerleon

Ancient Roman mosaic in Newport, Wales

If you enjoy history (especially that of the ancient Romans), then no visit to Newport would be complete without seeing the ancient Roman town of Caerleon (known as Isca during the Roman era).

Once upon an ancient Roman day, Caerleon served as the headquarters for the Second Augustan Legion, which was an important part of the Roman Imperial Army from around 75 to 300 AD.

Today, you can visit the Caerleon Roman Fortress and Baths to see the original baths used by the legion’s soldiers and their families and to learn more about their leisure activities and bathing habits.

Caerleon Roman Fortress & Baths in Newport, Wales

If you’re an English Heritage member, then you can enjoy free or discounted entry to the baths (depending on how long you’ve been an EH member). This is because the English Heritage has a partnership with Cadw, which looks after many historic sites in Wales.

You can also visit the National Roman Legion Museum where you can learn more about the Roman army and discover original artefacts excavated within Caerleon. This museum is free to visit for all.

Ancient Roman artefact in Newport, Wales
Ancient Roman coins in Newport, Wales

While you’re in Caerleon, you can also visit the ancient ruins of the soldier’s barracks and amphitheatre where the soldiers and citizens of Isca would watch gladiator fights and the like.

Note that these ruins are sometimes closed due to severe weather conditions such as flooding. We happened to visit Caerleon after they had torrential rain in the morning, so we were sadly unable to visit these sites at the time. 

10. Spot the difference at Newport Cathedral

While we know that every British city has a cathedral of some sort, not all of them are alike.

You might be akin to seeing grand, imposing cathedrals with tall spires that tower over the city and that can be seen for miles around, for instance.

But Newport’s cathedral (officially dubbed Newport Cathedral of St Woolos, King and Confessor) looks very different from that image you might have in your head right now.

Originally dating back to the late fifth century, Newport Cathedral doesn’t feature any towering spires. 

Instead, it features a “tower”, which was later added in the 1400s. As such, the cathedral has more of a castle or fortress look about it than a cathedral. 

You could say this makes Newport Cathedral far more interesting to visit today – and we would certainly agree with you.

11. See the historic Newport Transporter Bridge

Newport Transporter Bridge in autumn
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Newport Transporter Bridge is another of Newport’s most famous landmarks.

While the bridge isn’t exactly picturesque or ornate, it makes up for that with its Grade I-listed status and uniqueness.

The bridge opened in 1906 as a means of allowing ferries and other large ships to pass underneath it. 

There are fewer than ten transporter bridges that are still in use around the world, while there are only two operational transporter bridges in Britain; the other is the Tees Transporter Bridge in Middlesborough, Yorkshire.

For a small fee, you’re allowed to climb the bridge’s towers and walk across the upper deck. 

At the time, Scott and I joked that they probably also offer bungee jumping adventures from up here. Hmm, it looks like you can bungee jump from the bridge in Middlesborough; just not from the one in Newport.

12. Follow Newport’s Coastal Path for a blustery walk and sea views

East Usk Lighthouse in Newport, Wales

Newport’s Coastal Path forms part of the Wales Coast Path, which stretches for over 870 miles from Chepstow to the River Dee near Cheshire. 

Newport’s section of the coastal path is approximately 23 miles long and takes you past medieval villages, churches and buildings, sprawling meadows, the East Usk Lighthouse and the Wetlands Nature Reserve mentioned earlier. 

Even if you follow just a small part of Newport’s coastal path (we’d recommend the Goldcliff viewpoint and Seawall section), you’ll experience beautiful views and an enjoyable walk beside the Bristol Channel.

13. Stop to take a closer look at Newport’s City Centre

If you find yourself wandering along Newport’s High Street and main shopping district, then you likely won’t think much about it. 

You’ll probably see the chain stores that adorn practically every British High Street, as well as the usual banks, coffee shops and fast food establishments.

But we urge you to take a moment and stop and take a closer look. Look above the shop signs and you’ll notice the buildings and architecture are rather exquisite – not to mention historic.

This article from Wales Online will show you some fantastic examples of which buildings you should look out for on your next visit to Newport.

Discover More Things To See & Do in South Wales

If you’re looking for even more things to see and do in South Wales, then you might like to read some of our other Wales travel blogs:


And there you have it – 13 of the best things to do in Newport, Wales. Which places are you most excited to see first? And have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below…

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13 BEST Things To Do in Newport, Wales
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Justine Jenkins

Justine is one half of the married couple behind the Wanderers of the World travel blog. She lives in Bristol, UK and has travelled extensively within Europe and beyond since 2013. After her trips, she shares detailed travel itineraries, helpful travel guides and inspiring blog posts about the places she's been to. When she's not travelling overseas, you'll find her joining her husband, Scott on various day trips, weekend getaways and walks within the UK, which she also writes about on Wanderers of the World. Aside from travelling and writing, she also loves reading, crafting and learning about nature.

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