Declared a city during the Queen's Jubilee year, 2001, Newport is Wales' third largest settlement.
Newport owed much of its prosperity to its docks at the mouth of the Usk and steel industries. However, with its decline in importance as a port, Newport has become a successful location for many high tech industries. In the past 12 years, more than £3 billion has been invested in the town, creating 10,000 new jobs and making it one of the fastest-growing towns in the UK.
Newport has many pedestrianised areas, allowing you to take advantage of the fine shopping amenities. Perhaps whilst wandering here, Newport's 'Tramp Poet', W.H Davies, coined his most famous lines; 'What is life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.' The indoor Victorian Market offers a range of goods from local produce to antiques.
John Frost Square houses the eccentric Newport Clock, named 'In the Nick of Time', and described by some as 'a cross between a cuckoo clock and an espresso machine'. The clock was built for the 1992 Garden Festival in nearby Ebbw Vale. Every hour, this bizarre metallic creation shakes, whirs and smokes to mark the time. No wonder they call it 'the only white-knuckle clock in the world'.
One of the most striking features of Newport is the extraordinary Steel Wave. Erected in 1990, Peter Fink's giant metal construction, built in recognition of Newport's debt to its steel industry, has become an integral feature of the Newport landscape.
Another Newport icon is the Transporter bridge, which dominates the skyline with its spindly girdered legs. Built in 1906 and one of only two in the UK, the bridge was intended to allow people to cross the River Usk without disturbing the shipping. The bridge's recent restoration has allowed people to sample the thrill of being hoisted high above the town and cross the river in style.
Although some of Newport's rich history has been swept away by the twentieth century, much of the town's heritage remains. Amongst these are the ruins of the riverside castle and the cathedral of St Woolos, which gained cathedral status in 1949. Three miles to the north of Newport lies Caerleon, with its extensive Roman remains. Founded as a garrison town in AD 74, it's Legionary Museum, amphitheatre and Roman bathing houses offer fascinating glimpses of life in Roman Britain.
The ornate Victorian Westgate Hotel stands as a monument to the Chartist demonstrations of 1839, with it's bullet holes testifying to those who died fighting for the right to vote.
There are ambitious plans to regenerate the town centre and riverfront, with an initiative recently launched to attract £100 million of private investment during the coming years. The Newport Centre holds world class concerts and hosts a wide range of events.
Newport also has a strong sporting community and is host to many successful teams in several sporting arenas: Newport RFC and the Newport-Gwent Dragons play their rugby in the city; Newport County FC is the largest local team and Newport Wasps are successful Speedway racers. Also, Welsh Cycling also has it's HQ at Newport's Velodrome - one of the premier cycling facilities in the UK.
The Celtic Manor Resort gives Newport one of Europe's largest complexes of championship golf courses, and will be the stage for the Ryder Cup in 2010. Famous in the music world is 'TJ's', an outwardly unremarkable rock club that has played host to many famous band's including Oasis and Nirvana. It was the heart of an explosion of rock bands in the early nineties, which caused Newport to be dubbed the 'New Seattle'. More recently, the hip-hop band Goldie Lookin' Chain have put Newport on the musical map.
Newport is also proud to offer two large theatres, The Riverfront and the Dolman Theatre. The Riverfront provides Newport with a professional theatre, music and film venue. The Dolman Theare is host to Newport's many amateur theatre societies.
Within easy reach of Newport is The Wye Valley, an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the salmon-rich Vale of Usk, the Brecon Beacons National Park and the Forest of Dean.
Acknowledgements: Hando's Gwent, Chris Barber ed. Blorenge Books Images of Newport - South Wales The Rough Guide to Wales