Must-Visit Attractions in Newport, Wales

Newport is a vibrant Welsh city bursting with things to see and do
Newport is a vibrant Welsh city bursting with things to see and do | © Stephen Davies / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Hannah Freeman
24 August 2020

Once the largest coal-exporting port in Wales, Newport is now a vibrant city with a fascinating history. Famous for its docks, the Roman remains in nearby Caerleon and its association with the 19th-century Chartist movement, Newport is full of cultural surprises and is certainly a Welsh city on the rise. Here are the top attractions to visit the next time you’re in this South Wales destination.

Newport Castle

Building, Ruins
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Newport Castle viewed from the bridge
© Innovation Works UK Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
South Wales is absolutely packed with castles, many of which were used to secure the Normans’ position in the borderlands after the invasion. Newport Castle is one of the later ones and overlooks the river Usk. Built in the 14th century, it was sacked only a century later in Owain Glyndwr’s failed rebellion.

The Wave

Art Gallery, Building, Theater
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The Newport wave, Newport City in Wales, United Kingdom.
© Mr Standfast / Alamy Stock Photo
Unveiled in 199o, sculptor Peter Fink’s enormous steel wave, on the banks of the River Usk, was commissioned to commemorate the city’s role in the steel industry. Very much of its time, the Wave has become a symbol of Newport and is well known throughout the area.

Chartist Graves

Building, Cathedral
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In November 1839, thousands of Welsh miners and ironworkers marched on the city’s Westgate Hotel to support the Chartist political movement, which demanded rights to vote for all men and more equality in government. Unfortunately, soldiers were waiting for them, and at least 22 men were killed. Ten of them were hurriedly buried in the St Woolos churchyard, and a plaque commemorates their martyrdom.

Newport Museum and Art Gallery, Newport

Art Gallery, Building, Museum
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The history of Newport is surprisingly fascinating. Its story is told within this most unassuming building. As well as being a museum, it is also an art gallery housing an extensive collection of classical and contemporary art, including the works of several extremely well-known Welsh painters.

Caerleon Roman Fortress and Baths, Newport

Museum
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Grass covered remains of the ancient Roman amphitheatre at Caerleon Roman Fortress, Isca, near Newport, Gwent, south Wales
© Graham Prentice / Alamy Stock Photo
A short drive outside the city is the Roman city of Caerleon, or Isca Siluram, which translates as “Fortress of the Legion”. It was home to the Second Legion Augusta, and today it is a beautiful village packed with Roman remains. Don’t miss the legion’s bathhouse, the museum or the amphitheatre – all of which are within walking distance of the village centre.

Westgate Hotel, Newport

Hotel
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Once in disuse, the historic Westgate Hotel has been brought back to life as a temporary arts space in the city. Once a former nightclub, the hotel played an important part in the city’s history, as it was host to one of the biggest political rebellions in the last 200 years, with authentic bullet holes still lining the walls. Recent exhibitions have been organised by the regeneration group, Newport Rising, and have showcased some of the area’s rich history.

Fourteen Locks Canal

Building
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This fascinating piece of the Monmouthshire Canal is located in Rogerstone, a short drive from the city centre. It is a flight of 14 locks to allow narrowboats to descend the hillside. Crucial to the coal industry, this pretty canal carried the precious cargo down to Newport and to the docks for export. A great place for a leisurely walk, Fourteen Locks was originally built in 1799.

The Riverfront, Newport

Art Gallery, Building, Theater
Map View
Situated on the banks of the River Usk, close to the city centre, the Riverfront Arts Centre opened in 2004 with a concert featuring Welsh singing sensation Katherine Jenkins. This aesthetically unusual building (once voted Wales’ second-ugliest building) now hosts many concerts, dance classes and art exhibitions.

West Usk Lighthouse, Newport

Building
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West Usk Lighthouse, Gwent Levels, Newport, Gwent, South Wales, United Kingdom.
© graham bell / Alamy Stock Photo
Built in 1821 and used until 1922, this pretty white building with its fiercely bright light helped sailors avoid the rocks of the Severn Estuary. Now located within a wetlands reserve – perfect for bird watching – it was originally on an island. The farmland surrounding it was reclaimed in 1856.

Tredegar House, Duffryn

Building
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One of the National Trust flagship houses, this majestic mansion dates to the mid-17th century. Home to the Morgan family, it has been described as one of the outstanding houses of the Restoration period in the whole of Britain, and it is a real beauty. Enjoy a traditional cream tea in the converted stables and discover all the eccentricities of a most interesting family.

Belle Vue Park, Waterloo Road

Park
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Perched on a hill behind elegant walls and fine ironwork gates, with splendid views over the estuary, is Belle Vue Park. A classic Victorian park, it stands on land donated by Lord Tredegar. Filled with exotic perennials and specimen trees, the park has a fabulous little café at its centre – perfect for a coffee break.

Rodney Parade, Newport

Stadium
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Dragons and the Saints take the field for the European Challenge Cup match at Rodney Parade, Newport.
© PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Home to the renowned rugby team the Newport Gwent Dragons, and to the football team the Newport County AFC, Rodney Parade is certainly worth a visit in the city. Catch one of the season’s rugby games and experience some of the authentic passion Newport has for the sport.

Newport Medieval Ship, Newport

Museum
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The discovery of the Newport Medieval Ship, a 15th-century trading vessel, made national news in 2002. Preserved in the mud of the River Usk, the ship is currently in underwater storage until its future can be decided. During the summer, the ship is on display to the public, thanks to the Friends of Newport Ship, so if you’re lucky, you may just catch it.

Friars Walk

Shopping Mall
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Newport’s most recent addition, Friars Walk opened in 2015 and sits across the road from the Riverfront. Full of shops, bars and some of the better restaurant chains, Friars Walk replaced the older concrete-jungle city centre, which had fallen into disrepair. With a bowling venue and a multi-screen cinema complex, it’s a great place to entertain the family; parking is really easy too.

The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport

Resort, Hotel
Newport, Wales, UK, June 22, 2018: The Celtic Manor Golf and Hotel Resort Complex near Newport in Wales UK
© Stephen Davies / Alamy Stock Photo
This luxury hotel and golf club located a few minutes’ drive from the city centre was home to the 2010 Ryder cup and 2014 NATO summit. With spa facilities and golf courses with amazing views across Monmouthshire and Newport, it is the perfect place for a luxury break or afternoon tea.
More info

Le Pub

Pub, Beer
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A Newport institution, Le Pub is one of the best hangouts in the city. Featuring some excellent beer, not only is Le Pub a great watering hole, but it also hosts a number of locally sourced exhibitions and serves as a gallery space for local artists. Featuring everything from spoken word to local photography and art exhibitions, this place is sure to have something that will catch your eye.

Tiny Rebel Brewery and Bar

Brewery
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A true homegrown talent, the Tiny Rebel Brewing Company has gone from strength to strength since being founded in 2012. Now after a £2.5 million investment, they’ve opened up their huge brewery and bar in Rogerstone, just outside the city centre. If you’re heading over there, make sure you check out Cwtch, their award-winning red ale brewed right there in the city.

The Geraint Thomas National Velodrome

Sports Center
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Formerly known as the Wales National Velodrome, this sports facility is the perfect outing for those wanting to raise their heart rate. Named after the Welsh Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas, the velodrome additionally boasts a dance studio, multipurpose event space and gym. The track has also hosted the UK Olympic cycling team for their pre-game training for the last three Olympics.

Newport Wetlands

Natural Feature
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Swan at the Newport Wetlands in South Wales. Image shot 2005. Exact date unknown.
© Peter Ekin-Wood / Alamy Stock Photo
Covering a whopping 1080 acres (437ha), the Newport Wetlands are one of many national nature reserves in Wales. With a number of habitats housed in the reserve, it’s no wonder that hundreds of species make it their home. A great visit for any bird watchers or animal enthusiasts, the space has some excellent trails for taking in the sights. A visitor centre houses more information and a great spot to grab a cup of tea.

Additional reporting by Nicholas Grantham

These recommendations were updated on August 24, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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