One of the most relaxing parts of any break is enjoying your favourite tipple in convivial surroundings and when you visit the Wye Valley in the Welsh Borders be prepared to be spoiled for choice.
The Wye Valley is renowned for offering some of the most spectacular scenery in Britain – though you may well get confused as to which country you are actually in, as the river meanders between England and Wales, often forming the border itself. A tourist hub, there are dozens of great pubs offering craft ales, ciders and even locally distilled spirits, as well as delicious food and live entertainment. In summer, there’s nothing more satisfying than spending a lazy afternoon sitting beside the river, a pint of cold cider in your hand, watching the world go by; and in winter you’ll be welcomed by mulled wine, crackling open fires and hearty cuisine. Here’s our guide to the best riverside pubs in the Wye Valley.
Possibly the most idyllic riverside pub in the Wye Valley, The Boat Inn is situated in the Monmouthshire village of Penallt, although most visitors access it via a footbridge in neighbouring Redbrook, which once carried steam trains on the Wye Valley Railway. Great for bar snacks and with a superb selections of ciders and well-kept craft ale, the Boat Inn – with its delightful wood-burner in winter and waterfall-filled beer garden in summer – is a great choice to stop for lunch while exploring the area. The car park is also located on the far side of the river, but the walk is a short and extremely beautiful one.
With its pretty ferry, gentle rapids and rather dramatic cliffs, the area surrounding The Saracens Head is a delight to explore. This centuries old riverside pub enjoys a spectacular position at the heart of the hamlet of Symonds-Yat East. Popular with walkers, cyclists, canoeists and fishermen, it offers a well composed menu and excellent real ales. Within easy reach of several nationally important historical sites, including the spectacular ruins of Goodrich Castle and the famous Symonds-Yat rock with its outstanding views and resident Peregrine Falcons, The Saracen’s Head certainly ticks all the right boxes.
Tintern is famous for its splendid ruined Abbey and The Anchor was once within the abbey grounds. With a good, seasonal menu and unbeatable views of the river and the neighbouring abbey, The Anchor is well placed for a lunch stop while enjoying a Wye Valley road trip. The building, which dates back to the 12th century, oozes character and was originally a cider mill and grain store for the monks.
Ross-on-Wye is one of the most photographed towns in the Wye Valley. With its red sandstone market place and gently sloping high street it is well worth a visit. Below the town flows the River Wye and across Wilton Bridge you’ll find The White Lion. With a beer garden extending down to the riverbank, this elegant public house is extremely popular in summer.
Situated a little above the river and separated only by a country road, The Inn on the Wye sits in the shadow of Goodrich Castle, with views to both the River Wye and the medieval Flansford Priory. Just ten minutes’ drive from the M40 motorway, this imposing pub offers a classic pub-grub menu with a few surprises. Not overly complicated, the menu caters for most tastes and also offers delicious homemade puddings.
The Cottage of Content was built in 1495 and is located in the village of Carey between Ross-on-Wye and Hereford. Close to the banks of the River Wye it offers a truly idyllic British pub experience. This little whitewashed gem has great food, excellent drinks and is the perfect place for an informal lunch or delicious dinner. There is an almost fairytale quality to this secluded little pub – full of character, it is not to be missed.