Neath tourist information & travel guide
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Neath tourist guide
Neath is a town in Wales that owes its history and heritage to the Romans. As a River Neath crossing place, it has always played a pivotal part in the history of this region of South Wales. Later on, St Illtyd established Llantwit, a settlement at the northern edge of the town. The church he established was enlarged during Norman times (and is still in use today) when Neath Castle was also built.
Over the centuries, Neath became a busy market town, and expanded during the 18th Century with the industrial revolution. It was quite prominent in the iron, tinplate and steel industries. Coal mining took place in the surrounding areas, as was silica. However, the town remained close to its market roots, with a fine indoor market and municipal cattle market running to this day.
The Castle Hotel in the town has a claim to fame in that Admiral Lord Nelson stayed there on his way to meet his fleet at Milford Haven and the son of the hotel landlord at the time served aboard HMS Victory in the Battle of Trafalgar. Neath is also famous (or rather infamous) throughout Wales as home to the Trade Centre Wales which has been noted as selling the "UK's worst cars", which is a rather unusual unique selling point.
Aside from the fine indoor market, there is ample shopping in the town, with a good selection of local shops, including many family-owned speciality shops, restaurants providing good locally sourced food and several traditional and very welcoming pubs.
The Cistercian Neath Abbey, one time the largest abbey in Wales is worth a visit to see the substantial ruins that still exist and which beg the question 'how did they built it without earthmovers and cranes?'. The early 18th century landscaped Gnoll Park with lovely surrounding walks is also well worth a visit.