Quirky, chirpy Chepstow

Kids can get a fresh-air fix walking Offa’s Dyke or picnicking at Tintern Railway Station, go underground at Clearwell Caves, or meet lemurs and zebras at the Wild Place Project. Grown-ups will love quirky, chirpy Chepstow’s avenues and alleyways, race nights and walks through the Wye Valley.

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Country kids

For a fresh-air fix, walk part of Offa’s Dyke, the trail where England meets Wales. Potter past market towns, majestic castles, country churches, canals, bridges and Iron Age hillforts. Or take your picnic down to Tintern Railway Station, a charming disused site with adventure play area where walks through the Wye Valley start.

Find out how easily creativity comes at Paint on Me Pottery Studio. Visit Caldicot Castle’s medieval towers, tranquil gardens and wooded country park. Or head to Clearwell Caves for some of Britain’s oldest underground mines in nine impressive caverns. Visit the blacksmith workshop and see how art was made with ochre.

Put the Wild Place Project on your must-visit list. Journey to Madagascar and come face to face with lemurs, see zebras roam the African grasslands, meet wolves and take part in feeding time. Meet more animals at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, including lions, tigers, bears, giraffes and elephants, then tackle the UK’s largest hedge maze.

Got a head for heights? Take it to Mojo Active High Ropes Adventure, an all-encompassing outdoors experience with a 15-stage assault course plus zorb football and archery tag. To enjoy 135 whopping interconnected trampolines, a total wipeout zone and loads of elastic antics, try AirHop Bristol.

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For the grown ups

South Wales offers a great chance to hop back through time. Begin at Tintern Abbey, one of Wales’s finest monastic ruins and its first Cistercian foundation. Move on to Chepstow Castle, whose Great Tower keep was commissioned by William the Conqueror, making it Britain’s oldest surviving post-Roman stone castle.

Chepstow means marketplace in Old English, so there’s your excuse to head down to the high street. It’s a relaxed, arty environment – think Chester or York – complete with niche shopping and handsome Georgian buildings. Intriguing stone sculptures were added in the mid-2000s.

Take a trip to Tintern to see unique shops then cross the river and walk up to Devil’s Pulpit for wonderful views of the Wye Valley. Or walk Offa’s Dyke, past market towns and Iron Age hillforts. At Dewstow Gardens and Hidden Grottoes, you’ll discover lost gardens once buried under tonnes of soil… plus excellent carrot cake in the café.

Try a night out in curious Chepstow, in quirky bars such as the Queen’s Head Micropub and the Lime Tree Café Bar. “And now, racing from Chepstow,” is something you’d hear the continuity announcer say on TV. But go for real and enjoy Caribbean nights, gin and jazz evenings, family racedays and camel derbies.

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