My experience moving to Abergavenny


For most of my life I have always lived, studied and worked in large cities. With my hometown being Brighton my university days were spent further along the coast in Southampton, and my summers were spent exploring the ever expanding wonder that is London. Cities have always held a piece of my heart, in my eyes they had everything I needed right on my doorstep. Got a midnight craving for FroYo and Chips? There was bound to be somewhere open. As the saying goes, the city never sleeps.

But alas, circumstances change and I had to move to the smallest town I had ever lived in before. After three months exploring the beautiful continent of Europe, it was time to come back to the UK and begin building up my savings again, but there was just one problem, the big cities that I had grown to love weren’t affordable places to live. It was time to devise a different plan. And that plan led me all the way north and little bit west if you want to be precise, to a small town named Abergavenny.

Abergavenny was a whole new experience for me, an incredible one at that! Although it did take a while to get used to!

Abergavenny is a small town just south of the Valleys, which means if you’re anything like myself and always have a camera in hand, or your Instagram ready to go, then you will never be at a loss for photo opportunities. The town is surrounded by a collection of picturesque mountains providing the perfect backdrop for those countryside scenic photos that we all love to admire. These mountainous backdrops and the many walking trails within them also provide the perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of a town.

Abergavenny landscape from the Sugarloaf carpark

A typical view you can expect near the town.

A major surprise for me was how being in such a small town brought all the residents closer together. There was never a day where I could walk to work or through the high street without receiving a friendly smile and a ‘hello’ from at least one individual. After a few weeks of being the new girl, you become a local face and all those faces around you become familiar to you! This is the complete reverse to cities, where no matter how long you have been there; you will likely remain anonymous among those you pass daily.

There is a much slower and relaxed pace to the town. There is no rush to get in and out of a store as soon as possible, instead the main purpose is to browse and possibly stop for a coffee (which you sit down and drink slowly) in one of the many welcoming coffee shops lining the main street. If you fancy leaving Abergavenny for a day or more, most buses arrive every 30 minutes and the same goes for the train service. This was the most difficult thing for me to get used to having been previously spoilt by trains and buses arriving every two minutes without delay, it has however been a very pleasant difference. The lack of speed means that the entire environment is more relaxed and less stressful. There is nothing worse than catching second hand stress from businessmen at 8am on the London underground!

Abergavenny is certainly a very unique and lovable town and although it is exceptionally small in my eyes, it definitely has a lot going for it. Abergavenny is home to many events year on year, which lure in tourists from all over the world from the Food Festival (which is reportedly the best in the UK), the Abergavenny Cycling Festival and the Steam Rally to name just a few. Abergavenny Market Hall also holds various markets taking place multiple times a week, every week. It is definitely something that can be enjoyed by all ages and once again brings all the residents of this town together.

Although I am a city girl by birth, this small town has definitely made an imprint on my heart. I believe everyone should experience this wonderful place at some point in their life. It’s nice to become a familiar face every once in a while.

What is your favourite thing about living in Abergavenny? Let us know in the comments below.


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  1. The annual wall2wall jazz festival is held the first weekend in September each year and is organized by The festival brings jazz from locally, the UK and around the world and is well worth a visit.

  2. Interesting, I do a lot of hiking in Wales and visited the place on many occasions. I have always wondered as an English man what it would be like to move there , I have always had a bit of the Celt in me and love the Brecon Beacons near be, but I just wonder if I am looking at things through rose tinted specs, been told not all Welsh would welcome and English man.


    • Yes a welsh speaking girlfriend told me I should not move to anywhere welsh speaking (my grandparents, all welsh, were not brought up speaking much Welsh, although hailed from Brecon and Aberystwyth) … she said welsh people want to speak welsh down the pub and I’d be a pain. I thought it was interesting as that means no-one not welsh speaking is welcome – no trades specialists, nothing, so a bit insular, although I understand, having been persecuted for years that its important to them to exert their freedom to do as they please.

    • John, like most places and peoples in the world, the Welsh people will treat you as they find you, – there is always a welcome if you are a good person!!

  3. Abergavenny is a Marches town, i.e. on the border of England and Wales. The majority here speak English, and although some do speak Welsh and many others are learning it, it is by no means the first language of the majority.

    Other than at major sporting events such as the Rugby, most people ere are as welcoming to the English as the Welsh, or Scots, Irish, Italians etc., Most of us have relatives on the other side of the border anyway, and as the Food Festival and other events show, we welcome all, with a few exceptions, such as trouble-makers. Perhaps the Roman Occupation had something to do with it, but at least here in the south of the Principality, we are pleased to meet people from all walks of life.

    That said you will find it sometimes less convenient to live here than the city. Abergavenny is after all a rural town, and buses do not run 24/7 or to all the locations you might wish to go to. There is nightlife, but again less so than in the bigger towns and cities.

    In fact all the pros and cons of city versus country life more or less apply. We are friendly here, but that doesn’t mean you can leave your car unlocked and not expect it to be stolen. So friendly, but realistic, should be your expectations when visiting or moving to Abergavenny. Hey, it must be good, there’s a song about it!

    Welcome to Abergavenny, enjoy your stay, but please put your litter in the bin, thank you!

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