Tintern Abbey is only just across the Bristol Channel from us and oh my goodness it's amazing!
The current buildings (or ruins) on site were started during the 1100s and were inhabited by Cistercian monks and lay brothers until that vandal Henry VIII in the 1500s came along and ripped out the lead from the roofing to start the decay of the buildings.
I do have quite a grudge against Henry VII for the dissolution of the monasteries as I visit these beautiful places and compare them to places like Tewkesbury Abbey which was saved by the local people purchasing it from the Crown. Tewkesbury is still in use as a place of worship, whereas Tintern is a tourist attraction. Anyway, enough ranting about ancient history...
We were lucky to have glorious sunshine (pretty rare for Wales, I have to say!).
National Trust in England has most of its properties closed 'till March (and they're expensive to visit). English Heritage is a bit better as staying open and also has more free and cheap places to visit.
Cadw is the historic environmental division of the Welsh government and they run places like Tintern Abbey. I've got a lot of time for them - lovely staff, lovely stuff in their little shops, amazing castles and ruins and they don't take three months off! Anyway, I'm ranting again...
As well as the great big church there were rooms for various purposes: dormitories, dining rooms, a kitchen and infirmary as well as an excellent drainage system (still working) and gardens. One thing that tickled my fancy was these book cupboards. Books would have been very rare and expensive so needed to be kept safe and dry.
The Anchor Inn near the Abbey looked like it had a delicious dinner menu but I wolfed down some lovely carrot cake and a warming glass of mulled wine after our walk up the hill.
The sun is just hitting the tops of the hills. So purty! I can see why this area has inspired artists for centuries.
So basically, if you haven't been to Tintern Abbey and you can make it - go! Especially go on a fine day in winter as it wasn't at all crowded. And plan for a meal at the Anchor Inn to complete a lovely day out.