Visit Symonds Yat: Places to stay, things to do

Abigail Whyte tells us about the natural wonders of Symonds Yat, an outdoor enthusiast's dream.


Why go there?


Tucked amongst lush woodland on the banks of the River Wye is Symonds Yat, a village frequented by kayakers, bird-watchers, climbers and walkers alike. The village is split in two by the river into Symonds Yat East in Gloucestershire and Symonds Yat West in Herefordshire. They are connected by two hand-pulled ferries which amble back and forth throughout the day.

Walk the trail to the top of Yat Rock which has spectacular views out towards Gloucestershire, Goodrich Castle and the nearby market town of Ross on Wye. This time of year and through to August, one can spot wild peregrine falcons which have been bred in the area since the 1950s and are currently under protection of the RSPB.

If the dare-devil in you fancies splashing about in the rapids or just some idle paddling, hire a kayak or canoe from one of activity centres dotted along the river. For those with a keener eye for dry land, hire a mountain bike and follow some of the graded trails in the Forest of Dean, only a couple of miles away. Afterwards perhaps indulge in a cream tea at the Rose Cottage Tea Garden or a hearty ale at one of the many local pubs.

Where to stay?

The Saracen’s Head is a 17th century inn which boasts a stunning location, rooms with riverside views and a seasonal menu provided by local produce. There are some fantastic choices for camping; Wye Dean Canoe and Activity Centre has a quiet site right on the banks of the Wye, and is close to the local pubs and cafes.

Where to eat?

Six miles from Symonds Yat, there are many pubs and restaurants to choose from in Ross on Wye. The very popular Hope & Anchor offers home-cooked, heart-warming meals and more of those enchanting river views.

Tell us a local secret


The name Symonds Yat is derived from a 17th century local sheriff called Robert Symonds and the regional dialect for ‘gate’ or ‘pass’.