Looking for restaurants, hotels or places to stay in Abergavenny, Wales? Want to know where to eat in the Abergavenny? Read our expert hotel review of The Angel Hotel in Abergavenny for afternoon tea and more…
What is The Angel Hotel’s USP?
This former coaching inn, now a characterful hotel, stands proudly in the historic Monmouthshire market town of Abergavenny, on the edge of the Brecon Beacons. Its 34 bedrooms, four of which are in separate cottages, are contemporary in design but complement the hotel’s main 18th century architecture. Settle in for a stay and you can drink in a choice of two bars, eat in a modern, seasonal restaurant or head to the dining room for afternoon tea (discover our best afternoon teas across the UK here). Fans of fine dining can also book a table at Michelin-starred sister restaurant, the Walnut Tree, five minutes’ drive away.
And the general vibe?
Whether you’re staying as a guest or just visiting for dinner and drinks, staff are attentive and the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed; walls are hung with art by local artists and soft lighting encourages a laid-back mood. Cosy up on a leather Chesterfield sofa by the open fire in the main (Foxhunter) bar for drinks and more casual food or head to the Oak Room restaurant for more formal dining (you will be serenaded by a pianist on Friday and Saturday nights).
Which room should I book at The Angel Hotel?
This is a hotel with its own, slightly offbeat, style and all the bedrooms have their own distinct feel – choices range from superior, deluxe and super deluxe rooms to the lodge (a Victorian house) and four contemporary cottages adjacent to the hotel – but try and book the mews (a former stables), set just off from the hotel for ultimate quiet and comfort in a simplistic modern styled room. Personal touches are everywhere, from the hotel’s own ground coffee produced by Round Hill Roastery in Bath provided with in-room tea trays to relaxing classical music played through vintage-style radios to the large walk-in showers and his ‘n’ her bath robes.
What’s good to drink?
Classic cocktails include an Angel Amaretto sour with lemon juice, gomme syrup and orange while house cocktails include the likes of a Foxhunter fizz, made with Chase elderflower liqueur and prosecco. There’s also an extensive wine and champagne list, or choose from local beers and ciders. Don’t miss the Wye Valley Brewery Ale, brewed in Hereford and Apple County Cider Co. brewed just 15 miles away. Look out, too, for local Ancre Hill Vineyard wines.
And to eat?
Have a drink in the hotel’s glamorous cocktail bar (the gin list is particularly impressive – try an Elegant 48 gin and tonic with Chase gin while you wait to be seated at The Oak Room). Choose from a varied and seasonal menu; locally sourced dry-aged Welsh beef ribeye with creamy béarnaise sauce, a crunchy winter salad with chicory, walnuts and creamy blue cheese dressing or freshly hand-picked Cornish crab. Alternatively if you’d rather eat in a more casual environment, there’s a bar menu full of simple, comforting options like fish and chips, locally caught Llanarth pheasant or a Foxhunter cheese board, with The Angel malted milk ice cream to finish.
What’s the breakfast like?
Breakfast is served in the main dining room – choose from local sausages, thick-cut bacon and creamy scrambled eggs or, for something lighter, homemade granola with yogurt, fruit and a moreish berry compote. The main event here, however, is the baked goods. The hotel also runs an artisan bakery, just across the lane, and this supplies them with delicious pastries and breads (including buttery pain au chocolates, stolen mince pies, freshly baked candied grapefruit brioche, gooey Valrhona chocolate and hazelnut brownies and freshly baked potato bread).
It’s also well worth stopping in at the The Angel Bakery before you leave to stock up on fresh sourdough and pastries. In the summer it sells a range of homemade, soft-serve ice creams too.
What other food experiences are there?
Afternoon tea is another must-eat at the Angel Hotel. It’s served in the Wedgewood Room, a smart, contemporary, low-lit dining room brightened by tall green plants, large mirrors, big windows and parquet flooring and tea, on floral bone china, is laid out on starched white tablecloths. Kick off with a glass of Bollinger before indulging in warm savoury pastries (crisp sausage rolls, flaky duck-filled filo), homemade sandwiches (thick-cut ham and mustard, sweet coronation chicken) and moreish sweet treats (raspberry meringues, soft coffee profiteroles, mini lemon and poppy seed fairy cakes).
The hotel also runs a series of interesting foodie weekends; keep an eye on the website for current breaks but recent events have included Foraging Fun weekends led by local expert Adele Nozedar.
What else is there to do in the local area?
The Kitchen At The Chapel, also in Abergavenny, is well worth seeking out for brunch or lunch. Set in a 19th-century chapel, tucked behind the town’s market, there’s an imaginatively curated gift shop (check out the beautiful ceramics and other carefully crafted kitchenware and cookbooks) on site but it’s the café that draws the crowds for its no-fuss, locally sourced food (try the Westcome cheddar, potato and pickled onion toastie or the roast parsnip, grilled chicory and Westcombe ricotta salad).
Also in town is the Marches deli for charcuterie from Trealy Farm, award winning ‘Mouldy Mabel’ blue cheese produced in nearby Carmarthenshire and aromatic honey from Coedcanlas on the Pembrokeshire coast. The Hardwick restaurant with rooms is less than 10 minutes’ drive away, too.
If you can, time your visit to tie in with Abergavenny Food Festival, which has been going for over 20 years and takes place in September (some years there’s a Christmas Food Festival too). Expect chefs from across the UK plus local farmers, chefs and producers, and activities for the whole family; recent festivals have included Cabrito founder, James Whetlor, cooking goat meat over fire, Zoe Adjonyoh showing the crowds how to make simple vegan dishes, Nargisse Benkabbou rustling up a Moroccan supper and and Skye Mcalpine showing how to make the perfect pasta dough.
Words by Amanda James
Images by Amanda James and The Angel Inn