Unique Accommodation: Classy and affordable hostel in South Wales
When accommodation owners and managers really care about their buildings and they run their businesses with passion, it shines through in the quality and details of the place.
I could feel right away that the Greenman Backpackers in the Welsh town of Chepstow is one of those places. Fuelled by pure passion. A luxury hostel (and B&B) in the heart of town, housed in a historic and nicely kept building that overlooks the town’s main square. Far from the stereotypical bunkbed-dormed accommodation you might have in mind, when the word hostel is brought up. No, this place is different.
In fact, it features several castle-worthy elements, but still in a welcoming and down-to-earth kind of atmosphere, that makes you feel at home. I sure did when my partner and I spent a night there last year, as we set our sight on the nearby ruins of Tintern Abbey – a major Welsh tourist attraction that shouldn’t be missed, just a short busride away from the station in Chepstow.
Other than that, Chepstow itself is known for being a connection point between popular walking routes – the most famous ones being Offa’s Dyke Path, leading to North Wales via an inland route, and the Wales Coast Path following the entire length of the country’s spectacular coastline. Therefore the Greenman Backpackers is an obvious starting point, or an attractive finishing point, depending on which way you walk.
Chepstow’s own attractions include the “border bridge” known as Old Wye Bridge, that connects Wales with England on the other side of the wide River Wye. This beautiful cast iron bridge was opened in 1816, and from here you will have a magnificent view of the nearby Chepstow Castle, which can be explored behind its thick walls.
But Greenman Backpackers is also an attraction in itself, with its large and classy lounge, adorned by Chesterfield couches, dark wooden floors and a chandelier – as well as its own pub-style bar that hosts small concerts and local events. The place is fittingly packed with references to the icon of the “Greenman” and inspiring art on the walls. The masterpiece is found downstairs, and is a precious cidermaking machine, created by the owner himself.
The passionated owners Mick and Ness are heavily involved with local events and annual traditions, such as the historic Chepstow Wassail and Mari Lwyd, that includes cider making, a dressed up horse skull, “Morris Dancing” and meeting with the English neighbours on the middle of the Chepstow Bridge. An event that takes place each year in January.
Downstairs at the Greenman Backpackers, the kitchen is unusually well-equipped for a hostel/backpacker type of accommodation, and when the season permits it, they fire up the outdoor pizza oven at the large patio.
This place offers a good mix of dorms, family rooms and ensuite rooms, and is therefore a great choice for both individual travellers, families or larger groups travelling together. All the facilities are very clean, spacious and comfortable, making it fit for stays longer than just a couple of days – especially with the Welsh capital Cardiff being within easy reach by car or bus.
I really enjoyed my short stay and wouldn’t hesitate to go back – maybe to take on one of the tempting hiking adventures, or to attend a local festival.
MORE INFO HERE: www.greenmanbackers.co.uk