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The Picturesque Wye Tour

It's 250 years since William Gilpin took a boat tour down the River Wye in 1770, an event that heralded the birth of British tourism, making the Wye Tour one of the first 'package holidays'.

Gilpin was a pioneer of the ‘Picturesque’ and his ideas led to the concepts of landscape appreciation and conservation, culminating in the designation of protected landscapes – our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), including the Wye Valley AONB which was designated in 1971. Few fail to be inspired by this beautiful landscape.

The Wye Tour continues to inspire visitors today, inclding bloggers like 'Heather on her Travels'. Read her recent recap of her visit here.

Birthplace of British Tourism

In 1745 a rector from Ross-on-Wye, Dr John Egerton, was the first to build a boat to take his guests on excursions down the Wye. By the late eighteenth century there were at least eight boats operating on a commercial basis, in response to growing demand from tourists. Much of the demand was a direct result of the book, the first tour guide to be published in Britain in 1782, entitled ‘Observations on the River Wye and Several Parts of South Wales’ by William Gilpin.

If you have never navigated the Wye, you have seen nothing (William Gilpin 1782).

Today the Wye Valley is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) recognised as one of the nation’s most treasured landscapes.

It is thought that the views from Whitestone and Cleddon inspired Wordsworth to write ‘Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey’:

Five years have passed; five summers, with the length
Of five long winters and again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
With a soft inland murmur. Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
That on a wild secluded scene impress
Thoughts of more deep seclusion, and connect
The landscape with the quiet of the sky.

Rooms with a view

The Wye Valley Hotel is situated in an area of breathtaking natural beauty at Tintern in the heart of the Wye Valley. The Wye River runs through the village less than 100 yards from the hotel.

We have a selection of bedrooms in our main house and our beautiful garden rooms each offering their own style and flair. We also offer dog-friendly rooms fully equipped with everything your furry friend will need on their travels

5 star comfort. Hot tub. Sleeps 6, 4 bedrooms. Flagged floors. Woodburner. Excellent cycling, walking, fishing, riding. Rural not isolated. Close to Tintern Abbey & The Whitebrook, a Michelin Star restaurant. Pet friendly

Opposite Tintern Abbey. Sleeps 6 (3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms) w/ whirlpool bath, 37" TV, parking & garden. Wye Valley Walk on doorstep. Pets. Fully equipped kitchen with pubs nearby & farm shops & Michelin star restaurants a short drive away.

A delicious gem of a stone built 19th century cottage sleeping 3 near Usk. refurbished to a 5 star standard , very well equipped , 5ft bed and whirlpool bath, large TV and woodburner. CH and towels incl. Pet friendly

Wye Tour & Picturesque Walks

Picturesque Wye Tour Brochure

Picturesque Piercefield

Angidy Trail

Puddingstones & Pubs

Head to the Hillforts

Mills, Hills & Manors

Picturesque Wye Tour

Ross on Wye
Goodrich Castle
Yat Rock
The Kymin
Tintern Abbey
Devils Pulpit
Eagles Nest
Chepstow Castle
Chepstow Castle
Eagles Nest

Wye Tour Stops

Activities on the Wye

Art Galleries

There were two types of landscape painters in the eighteenth and nineteenth century Britain; topographical artists (photographers today) and picturesque artists who produced romantic and sublime paintings.
Welsh Dragon