Great British boltholes: A review of Ivy Cottage, run by Abergavenny’s Michelin-starred Walnut Tree

Great British boltholes: A stay at the self-catering cottages run by Abergavenny’s Michelin-starred restaurant means glorious food and views to die for

  • Ivy Cottage is a short drive from friendly, foodie Abergavenny
  • It’s close to magnificent castles and the Brecon Beacons’ hiking trails
  • It has a spacious kitchen-diner with large conservatory and snug 

In a landscape of myths, mountains and castles, the historic Monmouthshire market town of Abergavenny is a delight, with its jumbled high street of pastel-painted buildings, and tiny lanes full of coffee shops and cafes.

The area’s award-winning Black Mountain lamb, pork, cheese and cider are all for sale in the town’s grand market hall. So no wonder there’s a thriving foodie scene, including Abergavenny’s prestigious Food Festival and chef Shaun Hill’s Michelin-starred The Walnut Tree restaurant. The Walnut Tree also has two self-catering cottages, one of which was our base for the weekend.

A ten-minute drive from the centre of Abergavenny, pretty Ivy Cottage sits behind a thicket of hazel and laurel. Inside, the small snug with huge Welsh slate hearth opens on to a gorgeous farmhouse kitchen-diner – think exposed brickwork with massive oak table.

The acclaimed Walnut Tree restaurant, which has a Michelin star

The well-stocked kitchen includes cheese, smoked salmon, eggs and fresh juice for an indulgent breakfast, along with bread from the town’s Angel Bakery. But it’s the view from the kitchen window that we’re drawn to – the dramatic Skirrid Fawr Mountain. 

We also admire the mountain on the short walk through the garden to The Walnut Tree. Like the cottage, the restaurant is an old stone building with slate floors and cosy smugglers’ den vibe. Dinner is relaxed and features modern British dishes – superb halibut with turnip and Cornish crab; fillet of beef with braised ox cheek and parsley root. And we fall in love with the fig tart for pudding.

Ivy Cottage has two elegant double bedrooms, both with dazzling en suites featuring freestanding baths.

An en suite bathroom at stylish and relaxing Ivy Cottage

An en suite bathroom at stylish and relaxing Ivy Cottage

The next morning we brush our teeth in front of the bathroom window, watching farm dogs busily rounding up sheep in the top paddock. It’s like waking up in an episode of Countryfile!

Over the next couple of days, we puff six miles round Skirrid Fawr, emerging from leafy woodland on to bare mountain. We also explore the dramatic ruins of 11th Century White Castle, Grosmont and Skenfrith. There’s another fantastic dinner at the Angel Hotel, sister property of The Walnut Tree. But I also made time to soak in Ivy Cottage’s freestanding bath. Looking out at the lumbering cattle and imposing mountain beyond, I could have stayed until the cows came home (and did).

The USP: Stylish yet rural relaxation. A short drive from friendly, foodie Abergavenny, and close to magnificent castles and the Brecon Beacons’ hiking trails.

The rooms: Spacious kitchen-diner with large conservatory and snug. Upstairs are two generous double bedrooms – each has a huge en suite featuring a shower and freestanding bath.

The food: There’s a generous selection for breakfast, including ham, berries and home-made granola. And don’t miss dining at The Walnut Tree and Angel Hotel. 

Rates range from £158 to £375 a night for up to four guests (