Newport and the Gwent region
Newport and the Gwent region can undoubtedly boast a rich history and a plethora of gems.
Our transporter bridge is one of only six operational bridges left worldwide, we were home to one of the most important military sites in Britain under the Roman Empire and the remains of a medieval ship were found at the banks of the River Usk which flows through the heart of the city.
Surrounding us is the largest castle in Wales and the second-largest castle in the UK; a World Heritage Site which is testimony to the dynamic forces that drove the Industrial Revolution; a National Park, plus areas of outstanding natural beauty; and extensive canal network - all enhancing the visitor offer and contributing to the wellbeing of our communities.
Newport’s location at the mouth of the River Usk has attracted visitors since the first Celtic settlers 2,000 years ago. Caerleon was the chosen site for a strategic Roman legionary fortress from the latter part of the first century AD and the Normans also settled in the town and built a castle in the 12th century, the remains of which can still be seen today.
Newport expanded rapidly and changed from a small sea-port town to one of the most important places in the world for coal export and steel production during the 19th century Industrial Revolution. The town became known for its accessible modern docks, where trade flourished and further extensions added to Newport’s reputation – in 1914 Newport shipped over six million tons of coal.
Our trading with the world brought new settlers who set up home in Pillgwenlly in the shadow of our docks. New people brought diversity and we now celebrate our vibrant communities.
One of Newport’s most significant events was the Chartist Uprising of 1839. The demands made by the Chartists, later incorporated within the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, included a vote for all men over 21 years, secret ballots, wages for Members of Parliament and the abolition of the property qualifications for MPs.
Set in a beautiful 90-acre park, Tredegar House is one of the best examples of a 17th century Charles II mansion in Britain with the earliest surviving part of the building dating back to the early 1500s. Home of wealthy landowners the Morgan family, visitors can tour the impressive house and gardens and enjoy an extensive events programme.
Caerleon was the site of one of only three permanent Roman Legionary Fortresses in Britain, and many believe it to be the location of King Arthur's Camelot, the amphitheatre being thought to be the site of his Round Table. Visitors can explore the historic town, the archaeological sites, the Fortress Baths and visit the National Roman Legion Museum.
The Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal runs through the city and the Gwent region. Fourteen Locks offers an impressive sight as the flight of locks rises 160 feet in just half a mile. At the canal and heritage centre, visitors can trace the growth and decline of the canal and its role in transporting commodities such as coal, iron, limestone and bricks from the South Wales valleys to Newport docks.
The Newport Transporter Bridge, a Grade I listed structure created in 1906 that crosses the River Usk is one of only six of operational industrial wonders left in the world. The bridge has been a great attraction since it opened, when 8,000 people paid the penny toll to take the crossing. It is an important reminder of Newport’s engineering prowess and its history and sheer scale make it a real ‘must see’ for visitors to the city. An extensive restoration and improvement programme is underway including a new visitor centre.
Newport Medieval Ship was discovered in the banks of the River Usk in June 2002 during construction of the Riverfront Theatre.
The ship was excavated by a team of archaeologists and lifted from the ground timber by timber and a team of specialists are recording and conserving all 2,000 ship timbers and the artefacts discovered during the excavation.
Plans to display the ship are being developed.
Other historic attractions in Newport include Newport Castle and Newport Cathedral.
Arts and Culture
Newport Museum and Art Gallery has been collecting evidence of Newport’s history, culture and environment since 1888 and boasts impressive permanent and visiting exhibitions. It is one of the oldest such institutions in Wales.
The Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre is a multi-functional venue that seeks to bring as many people as possible into contact with the arts and creativity, whether as spectators or active participants. It does this through a programme of performances, film screenings, exhibitions, classes and workshops.
Newport also has a thriving arts and culture network including the Dolman Theatre, Tin Shed Co, Urban Circle and many more partners.
The Newport music scene has been well documented and acclaimed for cultivating bands, singers, and famous music venues.
Those associated with the city include Joe Strummer of The Clash, Feeder, The Darling Buds, as well as Skindred, and Goldie Lookin Chain.
Newport became an alternative rock hotspot in the 1990s, when it was labelled as 'the new Seattle' and credited for bands such as 60 Ft. Dolls, Dub War, Novocaine and Flyscreen.
The appetite to promote and nurture the city’s music scene is considerable.
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