5 villages you should visit in the Wye Valley, England

by Jan

The Wye Valley is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which straddles the borders between England and Wales.  It is a beautiful, natural area with a rich, industrial past.  This wonderful combination of history and nature is reflected in the many pretty villages in the Wye Valley.

Everyone will have their favourite, but we’ve whittled it down to 5 villages that you should visit in the Wye Valley, England.

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Cathedral of the Forest, Newland, Wye Valley, Gloucestershire, UK

One of the prettiest villages in the Wye Valley is Newland, which sits on the edge of the Forest of Dean.  The main attraction in this serene, unspoilt village is the 800-year-old, All Saints Church.

Known today as The Cathedral of the Forest, this medieval church was built in the early 1200s long before the village existed.

Nowadays, visitors are welcome to look inside the church to see the intricate stained-glass windows, bygone effigies, and ornate tombs.  You should also take a few moments to wander round the ancient graveyard.

Newland Almshouses, Wye Valley, Gloucestershire, UK

Directly in front of the Cathedral of the Forest in Newland, you’ll discover a row of white alms houses. These charming cottages were built for the parishioners in the 17th century.

If you’re looking for somewhere to eat in Newland, head to the opposite side of the graveyard, where you’ll find The Ostrich Inn.  This traditional village pub serves real ale and homemade food.

If you are looking for walks from Newland, you could try a linear walk to Redbrook.  It’s a scenic route of about 5km, but can get muddy.

As it’s so small, there are no hotels in Newland, but there are several self-catering accommodations nearby.  Bramble Cottage, a 2-bedroom cottage with a garden, has fantastic reviews.  Click here to book.


Redbrook Penallt Viaduct, Wye Valley, Gloucestershire, UK

About 10 minutes’ drive from Newland is the historic village of Redbrook.  Redbrook sits partly in England and partly in Wales, with the River Rye running through the centre.

Redbrook’s most notable feature is it’s Grade II listed bridge, also known as the Penallt Viaduct which was last used in 1964.  Redbrook has a rich industrial heritage and the bridge is a reminder of former times when it was used for the Wye Valley railway.

Boat Inn Penallt, Wales

Cross the bridge to get beautiful views of the River Wye and to reach the lovely Boat Inn, which is on the Welsh side in Penallt.  With its waterfall and lush foliage, this traditional pub has a pretty pub garden with waterfalls running through it.

If you are looking for accommodation, the Boat Inn has a 2-bedroom apartment above the pub.

Click here to book the Boat Inn.


Ross on Wye, Wye Valley, Herefordshire, UK

One of the best places to stay in the Wye Valley, is Ross-on-Wye, as it is larger and has more places to eat.

Ross-on-Wye is actually a town, but we didn’t want to exclude it from places you should visit in the Wye Valley.  This pretty market town stands on the borders of Herefordshire on the River Wye.   From a distance you can see the iconic spire of St Mary the Virgin Church, which stands 205 feet up.

After a visit to the church, you can explore the churchyard.  This leads to Prospect Gardens, a historic park built in 1700.  From this viewpoint, you’ll get magnificent views over the Wye Valley below and as far as the Welsh mountains.

Inside St Mary the Virgin Church, Ross-on-Wye, Wye Valley, Herefordshire, UK

At the heart of Ross-on-Wye is the historic Market House.  Make time to venture upstairs, where you’ll find Made in Ross, a collective selling locally made arts and crafts.  Beyond the Market House is a mix of independent shops and antique emporiums intermingled with high street stores and charity shops.

When you need to stop for refreshments, Ross-on-Wye has a delightful coffee house and delicatessen.  Alternatively, you could make a pit stop at The Man of Ross Inn, a family run pub.

At less than 3 hours from London, Ross-on-Wye makes a perfect weekend getaway from the capital.

You’ll find a choice of accommodation in Ross-on-Wye to suit all budgets.  If you want to stay in the centre of Ross-on-Wye, try the Royal Hotel or the Kings Head.  Or you could book the beautiful Bridge House, a guest house with views over the river.

Symonds Yat

Symonds Yat is a picturesque location near Coleford in the heart of the Wye Valley in England.  There are three distinct areas, all of which are worth a visit.

Firstly, you have the two pretty hamlets Symonds Yat East and Symonds Yat West.

Saracens Inn, Symonds Yat East, Wye Valley, Gloucestershire, UK

Symonds Yat East & Symonds Yat West

On the east side of the river, Symonds Yat East offers a choice of charming restaurants and tea houses. We ate at the Saracens Inn, a traditional pub overlooking the River Wye.

Afterwards we set out on a walk to discover the natural landmarks, King Arthur’s Cave and Seven Sisters’ Rocks.  Not only a popular venue for hikers, Symonds Yat is a great place for canoeing on the River Wye.

If you want to get across to Symonds Yat West, you’ll need to use the hand pull ferries.  The boats link to a cable and have been transporting people across the River Wye for centuries.

Alternatively, you can do a circular walk via Biblin’s rope bridge.

Biblins rope Bridge, Symonds Yat, Wye Valley, Gloucestershire, UK

Symonds Yat Rock

Secondly, overlooking the gorge and River Wye, is the famous viewpoint, Symonds Yat Rock.  The Forestry Commission manages this scenic beauty spot, which offers a choice of woodland walks and bike rides.

Symonds Yat Rock has a famous viewpoint, which looks over the horseshoe bend in the River Wye. It is also the perfect spot for seeing Peregrine Falcons and other birds of prey.

Symonds Yat Rock View, Wye Valley, Gloucestershire, UK

Accommodation in Symonds Yat

With its central location, Symonds Yat is an ideal place for accommodation in the Wye Valley.  You can actually stay at the Saracens Head Inn and Ye Old Ferrie Inn, both of which are on the banks of the River Wye.  If you prefer self-catering accommodation, you could book The Paddocks Cottages.


Our final choice of villages in the Wye Valley is Lydbrook.  Lydbrook is a long, narrow village in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, which runs down the deep valley from Upper to Lower Lydbrook.

To be truthful, we have a bias towards this one, as it’s where we stayed on our recent visit.  Lydbrook is in a great central location.  What’s more, it makes a great base to discover the many things to do in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley.  From Lydbrook, it is an easy drive to Goodrich Castle, Symonds Yat, and the Forest of Dean.

Holy Jesus Church, Lydbrook, Wye Valley, Gloucestershire, UK

Upper Lydbrook

Dominating Upper Lydbrook from the top is the pretty, Holy Jesus Church, which overlooks a playing field and the hillside forest. We took a walk from here down to the River Wye at the other end.

The village still has plenty of evidence of Lydbrook’s industrial past.  Historically, Lydbrook was home to a tinplate works and later a cable works factory.  There was even a huge viaduct, which crossed the valley.

Today, there are still many interesting historic buildings on the main street, including Lydbrook Baptist Church, the Old Methodist Chapel, and many charming cottages.  Lydbrook also has a lot of houses dotted about the hillside on either side of the valley.

However, most notable is the Old House, which is a gorgeous 3-storey building with timber beams.  Previously, this grade II listed property, was the home of Sarah Siddon, a famous English actress of the 18th Century.

Lower Lydbrook

Wye Valley Alpaca Farm, Lydbrook, Wye Valley, Gloucestershire, UK

Whilst you are walking down to Lower Lydbrook keep your eyes peeled for the Wye Valley Alpaca Farm.  Located aside a public footpath, the farm is home to some gorgeous alpacas and their piggy friends.

At the foot of the valley, in Lower Lydbrook, is a meadow overlooking the River Wye.  From here you can walk along the river, launch a canoe, or just sit and watch the world go by.

If you’re looking for food in Lydbrook, the Fish and Chip shop in Upper Lydbrook, serves very generous, tasty portions.  There’s several places you can stay in Lydbrook.  I love the look of Halt Lodge, a Scandanavian house in Upper Lydbrook.  Unfortunately, it is for adults only.

Accommodation in the Wye Valley

You’ll find a huge range of self-catering accommodation in the Wye Valley, including cottages, lodges, and apartments.  Or, you’ll find plenty of guest houses and B&Bs to choose from.  Another option is camping or glamping.

If you prefer to stay in a hotel, the Wye Valley also has a good choice of character and luxury hotels.

As it’s quite compact, most towns provide a good base for getting out and about in the Wye Valley.  However, if you want more bars and restaurants on your doorstep, you might want to choose Ross-on-Wye.


A map of the 5 villages you should visit in the Wye Valley

Below is a map of the 5 villages you should visit in the Wye Valley.

Save the map to use when you are there by clicking on the star to the right of the title.

You can later find the map by going to your Google Maps app and selecting the saved icon.

Which are your favourite villages in the Wye Valley?  Please feel free to comment below.

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