Now,the time has come to share with you my favorite spot from our trip last weekend to South Wales: Tintern Abbey. We woke up on Sunday, had a “fill your boot” breakfast and headed out Tintern Abbey about 40 minutes away from Caerphilly (where we were staying). The weather wasn’t great with misty clouds hovering on the horizon, I wasn’t sure if an adventure at an outside location was a good idea. (Verses a warm and lovely museum…)
Then we spotted the abbey through the trees and in a moment I knew the the drive and braving typical wet UK weather, would be worth it. Tintern Abbey (in one word) is glorious. The abbey was founded in the 12th century, and was home to Cisterican monks who followed obedience, poverty, chastity, silence, prayer and work.
The abbey maintained that lifestyle until it was disestablished by King Henry VIII in 1536, as part of the Act of Supremacy. (Yes, I am checking Wikipedia and I am also a major history geek.) History geekiness aside, Tintern Abbey was incredible. The stone work, the scale, the feat of engineering… I was amazed.
These arches are easily two stories (if not more) higher, and I marveled at how they were built.
This image is great, becuase in the lower left hand corner you can see another visitor of Tintern. Puts the building into magnificent scale, don’t you think?
Tintern Abbey lacks a roof, making it only natural to constantly gaze to the sky.
I spotted this old tree through the stone archway, and I immediately began thinking of the countless monks who studied, prayed or simply spent time near that tree.
An exterior image of Tintern Abbey. Look at the scale, look at the construction. Dying!
All in all, Tintern Abbey was inspiring and humbling. It is by far my favorite spot we have visited in the UK, and I think it will be tough to beat. After Tintern Abbey, we headed up the road (10 minute drive) to Chepstow Castle. Photos and review to come!
* If you are looking to explore Wales, look at purchasing a CADW explorer pass. 3-Day pass for two adults is £20.30 while a 7-day pass is £31.60. This allows for unlimited access to all CADW sites and well worth the money. For more information, visit CADW’s site here. (Yes, this is another CADW site…Neal and I are getting the most of our membership.)
* Parking at Tintern Abbey is £3 for all day parking. There isn’t any free parking in town, so bring change to pay. But, the £3 can be credited in the Tintern Abbey shop or at a local coffee shop.
* There are daily guide tours, check the CADW website for times. If not doing a tour, plan on spending about 1 hour at the Tintern Abbey, you won’t regret it.