Things to do in Presteigne
Voted by the telegraph as one of Britain’s top 10 small towns, Presteigne is quite a gem. So if you decide to stay in the cottage or shepherd’s hut, here are a few things to do in Presteigne, right on the doorstep...
Located on the edge of town is the Workhouse Gallery. Packed with stunning carpets, ethical goods and host to an ever changing range of exhibitions, this place is a treasure trove. It also has a family friendly spacious cafe serving mouth watering lunches and scrumptious cake. It is very popular with guests (and myself!)
This stunning building contains the judge’s elegant apartments, gas lit servants quarters, cells for the local felons and a court to hold the trials. Once referred to as the ‘most elegant apartments for a judge in all England and Wales’ – the Judges Lodgings is a museum with a difference. The decor is original along with the furniture which was found discarded in the attic. Its ‘hands on policy’ is a breath of fresh air and if you love learning about the upstairs downstairs Victorian life then this is the place for you.
Right by the Workhouse Gallery is the Retreat, a centre for massage and holistic beauty therapies. It is also the home of Silvan Skincare, an award winning natural skincare product range hand blended here in Presteigne. Perfect if you fancy a little indulgence.
Bryan’s Ground is a romantic garden, dating from 1912 that has been considerably developed and extended since 1993 to create a place of atmosphere and beauty. The three acre garden is furnished with follies and fragrant flowers, towers and topiary, pools and a potager. It has an orchard, fully restored Edwardian green house, formal herb harden and arboretum. And yes, if you are wondering, homemade teas are available!
The High Street
Presteigne high street is full independent shops with quality produce. The Salty Dog stocks fruit, veg and fish. Deli Tinto has an eclectic mix of continental and Welsh foods and the Rowan Tree is full of gifts with a focus on fair trade. If you have a weakness for original Welsh blankets then head to Carpets and Curtains – a much more interesting shop than its name suggests!
Mid Border Arts (MBA)
If you enjoy cultural activities pop along to the Assembly Rooms in Presteigne to see what’s on. They have an exciting programme of events running throughout the year including performances by many well known, international artists and musicians as well as local professionals.
The programme covers classical, folk and world music, theatre and puppet shows, lectures and literary talks, art exhibitions and films.
This trail will give you some background to the town’s turbulent history and architectural splendor. One part of Presteigne is in Wales and the other half in England so you can imagine the shenanigans that used to go on! In the summer a favourite place is down by the allotments next to the river which has a picnic bench and rope swing over a little pool. Otters have been seen along this stretch and if you walk a minute or two you will come to the peaceful Withybeds nature reserve.
Sydney Nolan Trust
The Trust was created by Sir Sydney Nolan as a place for creative exploration. It is based at The Rodd - an organic 250 acre farm. There are many exhibitions and events throughout the year and they have just created a fabulous walk for visitors to explore the organic farmland and ancient woodland.