Neath Abbey and Gatehouse
Uncover this remarkable symbol of Welsh heritage
Your visit is the perfect opportunity to take an easy pace as you bask in the glorious scenery and explore the steep history of Neath Abbey and Gatehouse, built in 1130.
Many lay brothers and more than 50 monks called the abbey their home, which is why Neath Abbey and Gatehouse is considered one of the most important monastic remains in south-east Wales.
As you make your way around, you'll feel transported back to the time when the abbey was considered one of the wealthiest in Wales during the 13th-century.
Sir Richard de Grenville, the Norman knight who founded the abbey, also built Neath Castle and received a lordship of Neath from his brother, Robert Fitzhamon, during the takeover of Glamorgan.
What happened to Neath Abbey?
It was Sir Richard Williams who took over in 1542 and gave the site a new purpose after the abbey was dissolved.
You’ll spot the large, rectangular windows as you make your way around which was part of a reconstruction that turned some of the cloister ranges into a mansion.
The 17th century saw the former abbey being used as a casting and copper smelting workshop – the industrial debris was fully cleared from this process during the early 20th century. But even from these reconstructions, you’ll still be able to see the layout and visualise the full picture of what the abbey was like on your visit here.
Bring some tasty nibbles for a picnic
There’s no better way to finish your day uncovering this stunning historical site than by rolling out a blanket, cracking open the homemade sandwiches, and throwing a ball for the dog to get them sleepy for the car ride home.
But maybe you’d prefer to finish the day indoors? Cross the bridge at the end of Monastery Road and grab a table at The Smith’s Arms for a delicious pub lunch, just a five-minute stroll from the Abbey.
No matter how you end your visit, you’ll want to keep coming back to the abbey. It’s easy to get here too – from Cardiff, it’s less than one hour to drive and, from Swansea, you’ll arrive here in no more than 25 minutes.