Tintern (Welsh: Tyndyrn) is situated just inside South Wales in the beautiful Wye Valley, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), six miles north of Chepstow on the A466 road to Monmouth. Its main tourist attraction is the ruined 12th-century Cistercian abbey. Two long-distance paths can be accessed from Tintern: Offa's Dyke Path, on the east bank of the Wye, and the Wye Valley Walk, on the west bank.
Tintern is along the A466, which runs up the valley between Chepstow and Monmouth.
Chepstow is served by the M48 motorway, from Cardiff, Bristol and London, and the A48 from Gloucester.
Monmouth is on the A40, which runs from West Wales, through the Brecon Beacons, and connects with the M50 for the Midlands and North of England.
By public transport
The 69 bus runs through Tintern every hour (M-Sa) between Chepstow (15 min) and Monmouth (30 min), and calling at other villages in the valley. There's no Sunday service, but the taxi fare with Abbey Taxis ☏ +44 1291 625 847 is about £15 from Chepstow. (Mar 2022)
Trains from Cheltenham, Gloucester, Newport and Cardiff stop at Chepstow.
Tintern is on the southernmost stretch of the Wye Valley Walk long-distance footpath, 6 mi (9.7 km) from Chepstow and 10 mi (16 km) from Monmouth. The path is scenic and undulating. If you prefer a flatter route, take the Wye Valley Greenway on the east bank of the river and cross the pedestrian bridge near the abbey.
There are several bus stops along the A466 as it passes through Tintern (which is built along the road). If you bring a car, Tintern Abbey has a large pay and display car park. The village is small enough for all exploration to be done on foot - indeed, this is preferable, as most of the side roads are very narrow and the A466 is unsuited to roadside parking.
- 1 Tintern Abbey, NP16 6SE, ☏ +44 3000 252239. This 12th century Cistercian abbey has been in ruins since King Henry VIII (the one with all the wives) dissolved the monasteries but it is still impressive after nearly 500 years. A poem by the same name was written by the English romantic poet, William Wordsworth. Adult £6.60, child/student/forces/veteran £4.60, senior £6.10, disabled and helper free.
- 2 The Old Station. A former station on the Wye Valley Railway from Monmouth to Chepstow, now a countryside visitor site. The station itself aptly demonstrates one reason why the railway closed by being one mile away from the centre of Tintern. The railway to the south of Tintern can be followed by crossing the river near the Abbey and following a wide and generally level (although muddy) path along the side of the hill for a few miles.
- 3 The Wireworks Branch (Tintern Wireworks Bridge). Built to carry an industrial railway into Tintern to serve a small wireworks. The railway closed in 1935 and was dismantled in 1941. The bridge remains intact as a footpath and it is the only bridge across the Wye at Tintern. The wireworks themselves closed long before 1935 and little evidence remains. Local legend has it that Tintern wire helped make the first transatlantic telegraph cable.
- 4 Brockweir. Cross over the old railway bridge from Wales into England and walk to the old port of Brockweir. Cross over the bridge at Brockweir back to the west bank of the Wye and then follow the river bank back to Tintern. A pleasant hour-long ramble. Stop at the Old Railway Station picnic site for refreshment.
- Wye Valley Greenway follows an old railway trackbed for five miles from Chepstow. It's on the east bank of the Wye and passes through Tidenham Tunnel, 1188 yards long - this is a bat-roost so it's only open in daylight hours April-Oct. The long-distance footpath continues north from Tintern for 10 miles to Monmouth.
- 1 365 Steps and the Eagle's Nest. Accessible from a car park on the road between Tintern and Chepstow, but also accessible from the Wye Valley Walk, are the 365 Steps for climbing up through Wyndcliffe Woods to the Eagle's Nest viewpoint, which gives a magnificent view of a bend in the River Wye and distant views of Chepstow and beyond to the Severn Estuary and Cotswolds.
- 2 The Devil's Pulpit. A two-hour climb gets you to this outcrop of limestone rock on the east bank of the Wye with magnificent views over Tintern and the abbey. In legend, the Devil called down to the monks and preached to them in vain trying to tempt them to desert their order.
There's a small village shop for basic food and drink essentials in Llandogo, 3½ mi (5.6 km) north on the A466. As of March 2022, this has been closed for three months but is expected to open under new ownership. Chepstow and Monmouth both have a range of shops and supermarkets, and a weekly market apiece.
Tintern Abbey gift shop sells books, cuddly toys and medieval-style tat.
- 1 Abbey Mill. W-F 10:30AM-4:30PM, Sa Su 10:30AM-5PM. Tintern's tourist trap, based around an historic mill, with five shops and a café/restaurant. There are waterwheel and craft demos. The place to purchase local produce, woollens and art. Also stocks gas bottles.
Eat and drink
- 1 The Old Station, NP16 7NX (off the A466 north of the village. Pay and display parking), ☏ +44 1291 689566. Apr-Oct 10AM-4PM. Cafe for home-baked cakes (including gluten-free and vegan), basic sandwiches and cream teas in the former station waiting room or outside. Afterwards, you can see the old signal box and vintage train carriages, and learn about six sculpted figures from local history and mythology. On-site children's playground and occasional miniature railway rides.
- 2 The Filling Station, NP16 6SF, ☏ +44 7770 544592, email@example.com. F 10AM-4PM, Sa Su 9AM-4:30PM. Tiny stone cottage with indoor and some outdoor seating serving sandwiches, cakes, and very good coffee. The ice cream shop across the road is also theirs.
- 3 The Anchor Inn, Chapel Hill, NP16 6TE (opposite Tintern Abbey car park), ☏ +44 1291 689582, firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 11AM-10PM, kitchen noon-4PM / 6-8:30PM. Cosy free house serving local ales and a good range of wines. Traditional pub grub, meat-free and Sunday roast menus loaded with Wye Valley produce. Booking recommended on weekends. Mains around £13, Sunday lunch one course £11, two courses £17, three courses £23.
- 4 Parva Farmhouse, Monmouth Road, NP16 6SQ, ☏ +44 1291 689411, email@example.com. Kitchen open Tu-Sa 7-8:30PM. Small-menu modern British cuisine, presented in a rustic setting. Booking is essential. Also has rooms. Mains £16-£29.
- 5 The Wild Hare, NP16 6SF (almost opposite the Abbey Mill), ☏ +44 1291 689205, firstname.lastname@example.org. Pub daily 11AM-11PM; kitchen open M-Sa noon-3PM / 6-9PM, Su noon-7PM. Classic British country cooking, with quite extensive vegetarian and vegan options (split between the main menu and a separate vegan menu). Also has rooms. Mains £16-£23.
- 1 The Old Station Campsite, The Old Station, Tintern (off the A466 north of the village), ☏ +44 1291 689566. Set in a secluded meadow the other side of a hedge from the A466. There are no showers but there is access to toilets and fresh water. Booking is essential. Camper vans and caravans are not permitted.
- 2 The Wild Hare, NP16 6SF (almost opposite the Abbey Mill), ☏ +44 1291 689205, email@example.com. 17th-century stone building with some more modern outbuildings. Country-chic ensuite rooms for 2-3 people, with on-site pub/restaurant and pleasant gardens. Dogs welcome. B&B rooms from £105, suites £225.
- 3 Wye Valley Hotel, ☏ +44 1291 689441.
- 4 Lion Inn, Trellech, ☏ +44 1600 860322.
The A466 offers easy egress to Chepstow and Monmouth. Alternatively you can depart from the village along one of the local public footpaths.
To the North of Tintern, and on the other bank of the river, is the attractive little village of Brockweir, which has riding stables and a Moravian Church. The bridge over the river, which opened in 1906 and replaced a ferry (which promptly went bankrupt owing to an inevitable loss of custom), is particularly fine. It was built by the Wye Valley Railway, who also built the Wireworks bridge across the Wye in Tintern (although that is 30 years older); consequently they are both built in the same style.