Abergavenny has to be one of my favourite places to visit… EVER!
For a start it’s really central, just an hour from me in Swansea, but it also has good connections from anywhere in the South West or even North Wales.
Despite being relatively easy to get to, when you arrive it feels tranquil and quaint. This is because it is on the edge of the Brecon Beacons, and is overlooked by some of the most beautiful Welsh landscapes such as Sugarloaf and Pen Y Fan.
So, location and scenery are just right, but to add to that, you also have a whole host of things to do while you’re there too. From quaint independent shops, and high street shops side by side, to some of the best places to eat and stay in Wales (such as the Hardwick or my personal favourite The Walnut Tree). Not to mention, also hosting one of the best food festivals in the UK too! The Abergavenny Food Festival.
This is why I absolutely love it, it’s easy to get to, surrounded by beautiful scenery and we’re spoiled for choice for hotels and restaurants. It’s no surprise we usually stay once a year in Abergavenny.
I was super keen to stay at The Angel Hotel when I heard there was going to be a press trip. We were invited to stay in the luxurious hotel, named the best hotel in Wales for 2016/17 by the AA.
It certainly lives up to it’s expectations, and looking at the fact it is 3 star, I would say it easily surpassed that. As we visited in November, we were to be treated to a festive afternoon tea, followed by a night in their Alpine Apres-ski lodge, with fondue and cold meats. The next day we would be greeted with their wonderful breakfast, before heading off for some mulled wine on Sugarloaf, and then finally heading back for lunch at their sister cafe, and art shop called The Chapel.
The afternoon tea was the main thing I was looking forward to. I love afternoon tea. My sister and I love nothing more than chatting over tea and cake, and I had heard that The Angel offers the best afternoon tea in Wales so I could not wait!!
It was just as good as I had hoped, if not better. Afternoon teas can easily fall flat is there isn’t sufficient food! That certainly wasn’t the case in The Angel. Freshly made patisseries, cakes, sandwiches and canapes overflowed from the cake stands. Add to that, fresh scones with clotted cream and jam, AND a festive trifle and we were thoroughly spoiled. There was also an excellent vegetarian version too, which my sister would be thrilled about.
I would definitely agree this is the best afternoon tea I have ever had. It is very good value for money, and what makes it even more special is the effort they put into it, depending on the season. From festive afternoon teas, to Alice in Wonderland themes you will always be in for a fresh surprise.
Who doesn’t love fondue?! I have never met someone who doesn’t like it! So I was thrilled to find out we would be having fondue in the evening at their Apres-ski bar. The Alpine apres-ski lodge was a permanent feature for them this year over the Winter months, following on from a very successful previous year.
Fondue and cold meats were also just what I needed after eating so much at the afternoon tea. Although rich, you were able to nibble at it and take your time.
The fondue, again, was the best I’ve had. Perfectly hot and melty, with a subtle creamy cheese flavour that wasn’t overpowering. To dip we had fresh crusty bread, and hot new potatoes. We also had some cold meats, served with cornichons and pickled onions.
The atmosphere was lovely. Although we were a group of people who had never met, it felt perfectly relaxed, and more importantly FUN! This could have been due to the fact we were thrown into the aprs-ski spirit by the staffs authentic costumes, or the attempt at our first ever mannequin challenge. But in all honesty it was really down to the fabulous staff. They were welcoming and professional and made you feel right at home. I could have sat up drinking with them until the early hours, it was genuinely really good fun.
With the main activities of that day done, I had time to explore the hotel. It is luxurious but understated. Not so opulent you feel out of place, but classy enough for you to feel pampered and relaxed. You are spoiled for choice with regards to function rooms. They have lots, and I didn’t get to see them all! They have a restaurant, a casual and stylish ‘Foxhunter bar’ as well as a beautifully light and airy breakfast room, with additional function rooms upstairs. I had visited The Angel briefly the year before on a press trip to the food festival. Their function rooms upstairs are also light, airy with beautifully tall ceilings and classy original features.
We actually won an extra nights stay there as part of the press-trip. So my husband and I stayed over New Year. In the morning we realised there had been a wedding the day before and all the guests were in the breakfast hall talking about their experience. Everyone had had a wonderful time, a wonderful stay and naturally the newlyweds were beaming, but they also seemed thrilled about the venue too. Some guests had travelled quite a way to be there, but as it is so easy to get to, it actually makes a lot of sense to go there if you have family spread out over the North and South.
The next day was started with a lovely breakfast. They have a very good choice from continental to porridge, full cooked breakfast and even breakfast smoothies.
With a good breakfast in my belly, I was ready to attempt a walk up Sugarloaf. What was even better is that the very lovely Jo had also brought warm mince pies and mulled wine to enjoy at the top!
As we were on a tight schedule and were leisurely walking up Sugarloaf (although I was still very out of breath! a harsh reminder I needed to get back into exercise) we didn’t make it up to the top. But the scenery and experience itself was lovely. And I couldn’t believe how close it all was to The Angel Hotel. We were guided by the very lovely people at Drovers Holidays, who offer guided walks and even cycle tours around Wales.
Back in Abergavenny we then headed to The Chapel for lunch. This was an absolute treat and I will be sure to go back next time I’m up for the day. Full of fresh, wholesome ingredients, delicious cakes and gorgeous art work and supplies you could easily spend hours there.
I hope this post has helped you share my love for Abergavenny! I can not wait to go back again, no doubt it will be soon!
Read the reviews of the people I stayed with too!
I was invited as a guest to stay at The Angel, and as such all activities, and meals were complimentary. However all views are my own and I was under no obligation to write a positive review. (I genuinely love Abergavenny) 🙂 .
I'm Lisa and this is the Lovely Appetite blog. I’m always experimenting with recipes, hunting through cookbooks for inspiration or trying out new places to eat. Please browse the site and enjoy reading about my findings.