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Take a look at Usk

Even though Covid restrictions are limiting what we can do, Monmouthshire businesses are still offering a huge range of products and services – on the high street and online, with several providing delivery, too.

Check out these ideas in and around Usk, and, when guidance allows, why not take a trip there? (See latest Welsh Government guidance).

Calendar and cards featuring Usk

‘Magical Monmouthshire’ 2021 Calendar and ‘Usk in the Snow’ Christmas cards are now on sale from Morris’s of Usk Garden Centre, The Sessions House in Maryport street, the Greyhound Cwtch, and online. They are the latest creations by Usk resident, photographer and Monmouthshire Ambassador, Izzy Brown, who is keen to promote the beauty of the county.

Christmas trees from the Castle

Usk Castle is selling Christmas trees and homemade wreaths right up until Christmas Eve. Buy directly from the front drive of Usk Castle every day between 10am and 5pm, or have a tree delivered (up to 5 miles from Usk). The trees are grown on the family farm, without use of pesticides, and as part of the woodland ecosystem. Cut fresh to order, the trees have a minimal carbon footprint – the farm is just a mile away – and, while growing for 8-10 years, they act as carbon sinks.

The Castle itself continues to be open to Usk Castle Friends three days a week, by appointment. Membership of Usk Castle Friends, which costs £10 per person or £18 per family, is a great idea for a Christmas gift, and contributes to the conservation of Usk Castle for future generations.

Eco-friendly shopping

Usk’s newest shop, Just Weigh Usk on Bridge Street, encourages an eco-friendly, plastic-free shopping experience. Run by husband and wife team, Russell and Anna Walker, the shop sells high quality food stuffs, store cupboard items, soaps and household products. There’s also a selection of traditional sweets displayed in glass jars. All loose products are sold by weight, and customers can either bring along empty containers/jars/bottles/bags they wish to fill or buy a suitable container from the shop. Customers who are short of time will appreciate the Weigh and Collect service: you drop off your containers with your shopping list, and collect them later!

Looking good

A long established business, Perfect Image, has recently moved to a new location in Castle Parade, where there is mood lighting in every room and new, heated beauty beds. This beauty salon is well known for offering a variety of treatments for both women and men, and for stocking the Dermalogica range of skin care products. Open right up until 2pm on Christmas Eve, appointments can be booked online, and gift vouchers can be purchased via their website.

Weird and wacky

Funky Punk Collective

That’s how Caitie from The Funky Punk Collective describes the services on offer at the shop on Bridge Street. They started life as a tattoo studio but have branched out into semi-permanent makeup, microblading, massage, reflexology and other holistic services. The team behind this business are passionate about what they do, and keen to welcome new customers. Their gift vouchers are proving to be a popular Christmas gift, and can be used for any of their services.

Coffee, clothes and Christmas gifts

Number 49, situated on Bridge Street, is a highly distinctive retailer run by husband and wife Martin and Andrea, and their daughter Katie. For some, it is a much-loved coffee house with individually designed rooms in which you can enjoy breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea. For others, the attraction is the carefully selected gifts and home furnishings, and the bespoke interior design service. Another surprise it the pre-loved clothes agency which is an eclectic range of pristine pre-loved items for men, women and children – definitely worth a browse!

Number 49, Usk

For casual and special occasions

The Copper Tree Usk

For more than two decades, The Copper Tree – an independent boutique on Bridge Street – has been a go-to place for smart and occasion wear, and Mother of the Bride/Groom outfits. Their selection of jewellery, socks, scarves, luxury items and gift vouchers are perfect if you’re Christmas shopping. You’ll always receive a warm welcome in the shop but – now that their entire store is available on their website – you can browse and buy online.

Luxury Welsh giftshop

A brand new gift shop, called The Cwtch, has opened in a barn next to The Greyhound Inn at Llantrisant, just outside Usk. It’s the brainchild of the team from The Greyhound Inn, and specialises in products sourced from local suppliers and craftspeople. Expect to see everything from candles, cheeseboards, pottery and gin, to handmade decorations and Christmas trees. Open every day up until Christmas from 12 noon to 6pm, there is free parking, plenty of space to browse, and free mince pies while you are shopping.

Mini Golf

The brand new mini golf course at Llandegfedd Lake is the perfect activity for families looking to escape the house and enjoy the outdoors. This Adventure Putt experience costs just £3 for adults and £2 for children. It’s part of the recent developments at Llandegfedd Lake which have transformed the attraction. In addition to watersports, for which it has long been known, this Site of Special Scientific Interest now offers so much more. There are three miles of banks for angling, over four miles of footpaths, and acres of woodland and grasslands teeming with wildlife.

The Visitor Centre, designed by award winning architects, contains a stylish café and display area with panoramic views of the water and the Usk valley. With research showing that spending time near water has a positive impact on our wellbeing, it’s the perfect place to head to this winter.

Welsh Dragon