Attractions local to Aqueduct Cottage
Attractions around Goytre Wharf
If you have a few hours on a sunny afternoon, it is definitely worth visiting Abergavenny Museum and Castle. Both are free entry and are just over a 10 minute drive from Goytre Wharf. The views afforded by the motte and bailey castle’s hilltop location are spectacular and the grounds themselves are stunning. Helpful information boards all placed around the grounds to tell you the history of each area of the castle. In the museum, there are both permanent displays about aspects of life in Wales and temporary exhibits which are regularly updated. During the school holidays activities are provided for families, mainly the Family Backpacks which are provided at the museum desk in exchange for a deposited item (car keys/mobile phone) containing replica artefacts, dress up items and information to make your visit even more enjoyable. Workshops and events are held regularly throughout the year (details available on the web site).
Another historical attraction which is well worth a visit for anyone in the area and is free to visit is the Baenavon Ironworks. Less than 20 minutes’ drive away, it is an interesting old site with a couple of rows of workers cottages furnished as they would have been in the 1930 to 1970s. (You can combine it with a visit to The Big Pit if you have a full day of sightseeing in Blaenafon available). The tour is provided via screens and visual animation which helps you to get a sense of the place as it would have been in its prime. Stop at the cine which provides a commentary of the workings of the foundry with lights and graphics which did give you a feel of the working life (commentary provided in dual language). The quaint little cottages are open and well worth stepping inside to appreciate the lifestyle of the workers. The ground isn’t ideal for pushchairs and wheelchairs as it is large stones underfoot, but is good for all weather conditions and pets on leads are welcome.
Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway
Just over a quarter of an hour away you can find the Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway. For a reasonable standard charge of £18.00 per family of five, you can travel between Blaenafon and Whistle Halt on a steam train for as long as you like. Free parking is provided at Furnace Sidings Station. There is a pub at the Whistle Halt which opens on Sundays, Bank Holiday Mondays, evenings and during special events on the railway (details of which are provided on the web site) and a play park complete with a dragon slide. A walk up to the top of the hill is recommended on a clear day just for the view alone. One carriage has a wider opening door with a ramp for wheelchair access although they do advise that facilities at some of their stations for those with wheelchairs are currently limited. The railway line also has a stop at the Big Pit which is great if you wanted to combine the two. Finally if the weather permits and you fancied a stroll or a picnic then there are the Garn Lakes by the Furnace Sidings.
The Big Pit National Coal Museum
Driving directly from Goytre Wharf, a 20 minute journey will take you to the Big Pit in Blaenafon. Yet another attraction that is free to enter with a nominal £3.00 charge for parking. The pit provides an interesting, educational and exciting day out, learning all about the famous historical industry of the Welsh Valleys and the dangers faced by the workers some as young as 5 or 6 years old manning the mine doors 300 feet underground often in complete darkness. Equipment is supplied for the safety of the visitors, (helmet, cap lamp, belt etc) and then you begin by sitting in the miners Waiting Room before being collected to embark on your visit provided by a tour guide all of whom are very knowledgeable. You must be fairly mobile and due to the nature of the mine some areas have restricted headroom and a lot of bending is required. Back at the surface, the Pithead Baths exhibition is also worth a visit, learning about how mining has shaped the local community and the industry transformed from the mid nineteenth century to the year 2000.
Other attractions include:
Abergavenny Museum - http://www.abergavennymuseum.co.uk
Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway - http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/blaenavonironworks/?lang=en
Blaenavon Ironworks - http://www.pontypool-and-blaenavon.co.uk/
Big Pit National Coal Museum - http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/bigpit
Pontypool Park - http://www.torfaen.gov.uk/en/LeisureCulture/ParksandOpenSpaces
Manic Ceramics - http://www.manic-ceramics.com/
Llama Trekking at Old King Street Farm - http://www.oldkingstreetfarm.co.uk
Raglan Castle - http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/raglancastle/?lang=en
Tintern Abbe - http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/tinternabbey/?lang=en
Wyndcliffe Court Gardens - http://www.wyndcliffecourt.co.uk/