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Favourite place when you have time off?

The hills around Abergavenny. Walk up the Blorenge, on to the Hill's Tram Road, along to Punchbowl Pond and back down to Llanellen for fantastic views.

When's a good time to come?

There are lots of little farms around Abergavenny and a fine old market hall (01873 735 811, www.abergavenny Tuesday is a good day to visit.

Every September, there is a huge food festival (www.abergavennyfoodfestival. com, September 15-16). There are events in the Borough Theatre, wine-tasting, cheese Y-Fenni is made locally and seafood. TV chef Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall comes and you can rub shoulders with other famous cooks.

Don't miss

Stand outside the pretty little castle museum to get a wonderful view of the Usk valley. St Mary's church has the most fantastic tombs. Make sure you see its 15th-century carved Jesse Tree.

Abergavenny has a lovely shopping centre with original shops for gifts.

Daytime treats?

The Angel Hotel, a former coaching inn, serves lunch in the livery yard. The Trading Post coffee shop and restaurant is good for a snack.

Evening delights?

Once a month I sample a different restaurant with schoolfriends we've been doing that for 25 years. The best recently was the Thai restaurant Boonta Too, owned by an ex-lorry driver and his wife. It's take your own wine, which I love.

Remember to buy

Take a tour of the Sugarloaf Vineyards (01873 853066, www.sugarloafvineyards, then buy some of their wine.

Where to stay

The Angel Hotel in Abergavenny (01873 857 121, www.angelhotelabergavenny .com), BB doubles from pound;85 a night; the five-star Crown at Whitebrook (01600 860 254,, BB doubles from pound;110 a night, was the only restaurant in Wales to be awarded a new Michelin star for 2007

Benita Kelly was talking to Renata Rubnikowicz

Find out more

From the Welsh Tourist Board ( or the local information centre (01873 853 254,

See also, which has information on and links to all the attractions mentioned. There's a carnival in town on July 14, the Shire Horse Show on July 28 and the Caerleon Arts Festival (, about 20 minutes' drive from Abergavenny, continues until July 15.

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