Hay-on-Wye (twinned with Timbuktu)
Avid readers and book enthusiasts will be in heaven on a visit to nearby Hay-on-Wye. famous for being the ‘town of books’, most of the shops are book specialists although there are good antique shops, clothes shops and restaurants as well. The Hay Literary Festival in May/June has become legendary but it is also famous for its breathtaking scenery. The dramatic panoramic beauty of Hay Bluff is a ten minute drive from the centre and hay is about a 40 minute drive from the bell.

Click here for more information

We are very lucky to have two cutting edge garden schools close to the bell and within easy reach of the m4 and m5

Llanover garden school
Just over twenty minutes away, near Abergavenny, is Elizabeth Murray’s wonderful Llanover Garden School. Elizabeth is incredibly knowledgeable and gifted in all things horticultural and possibly has one of the most beautiful gardens in Wales. She organises a series of talks, demonstrations and workshops during the year, mostly in the coach house at Llanover and up close in the garden and arboretum.

Each day kicks off at 10.00am with coffee or tea before the 10.30 start, a sit-down lunch in Llanover house and the day ends with afternoon tea with delicious homemade cakes and another opportunity to talk and walk around the astonishingly beautiful Llanover gardens. There are courses for children over 11 at a reduced rate.

Click here to visit the Llanover garden and school for details. We recommend early booking as classes do get sold out very quickly.

Tel 07753 423635

Arne Maynard Garden Lectures
Arne Maynard’s beautiful garden in Lincolnshire was described by the designer Tricia Guild as among “the best domestic gardens created in the last 50 years” and that “Arne Maynard is one of the most talented garden designers working in Britain today.”

Praise indeed but arne has been designing gardens for clients as well as for himself for more than twenty years. During this time he has learned how to create gardens with a true sense of place and atmosphere and how to be sensitive to site and inspiration. Arne has recently put together a collection of courses in which he hopes to share his passion and experience in garden design. He sees them as inspirational days when he passes on his in-depth knowledge of how to create a successful garden of your own.

Courses are held at Arne’s new Monmouthshire home, ‘Allt-y-Bela’, near Usk, where he is in the process of creating a garden. Most courses are run by him except some workshops are given by people he admires. There are also practical days organised by his head gardener Chris Pike, who will show how to make the best of your vegetable and fruit gardens. Groups are small and a home cooked local produce lunch is provided along with tea, coffee and cake.

For more details tel 020 7689 8100 020 7689 8100 or visit www.arne-maynard.com

Llanthony Riding and Trekking
Right in the middle of the beautiful Brecon beacons national park next to Llanthony Priory in Wales, this company offers a choice of riding experiences from simple trekking for novices, to hacking for the confident rider. Whatever the standard – even if someone has never been on a horse before – they can get you started. Horses and ponies are rounded up each day and brought in specially to ride and are ready-saddled and tacked on arrival. Don’t worry if you haven’t brought a hat; within reason, everything can be provided.

Ring Cordelia Passmore on 01873 890359 01873 890359 www.llanthony.co.uk

Monnow Events
Monnow Events is in Monmouthshire, close to the Bell, and specialises in a number of outdoor activities including clay pigeon shooting, paint balling parties, quad bikes etc. It caters for groups both large and small.

Call Pam on 01981 580206 01981 580206 for further information. www.monnowevents.co.uk

There are a few companies that rent out canoes/kayaks on the River Wye. It is always a good idea to book in advance.

Contact: Monmouth Canoe Hire
01600 713461/716083

Herefordshire & Borders Canoes & Kayaks
01981 580555 01981 580555 www.hbcanoekayak.co.uk

West Symonds Yat Canoe Hire
01600-891069 01600-891069 / 07860-848136 07860-848136 www.canoehire.com

Wyedene (Symonds Yat East)
01600-890129 01600-890129 www.hay-on-wye.co.uk

Para Gliding, Power Motoring at the Welsh Hang Gliding Centre Abergavenny
01873 854090 01873 854090 www.welshairsports.com

Dewstow Gardens and Grottoes
01291 430444 01291 430444 www.dewstow.co.uk

Go Ape in the Forest of Dean (ideal for children)
Visit http://goape.co.uk/days-out/forest-of-dean

Tourist Offices
Monmouth 01600-713899 01600-713899 www.monmouth.org.uk
Ross-on-Wye 01989 562768 01989 562768 www.visitherefordshire.co.uk
Hay-on-Wye 01497-820144 01497-820144 www.hay-on-wye.co.uk
Visit Wales 02920 499909 02920 499909 www.visitwales.com