FIVE MILES south west of Chepstow is the pleasant country town of Caldicot, mentioned in the Doomsday Book in the 11th century. It sits on the coastal plain of the River Severn at the centre of an area rich in Roman history.

Medieval banquets at Caldicot Castle, built in stages during the 12th and 14th centuries and restored in the 19th, enjoy an international reputation. Guests join the Baron and Baroness in the romantic, candlelit splendour of the Great Hall. They are attended by the Ladies of the Court in their colourful medieval gowns, served with a four-course banquet and mead, and enjoy traditional Welsh entertainment by accomplished performers.

Banquets are staged at the castle throughout the year, and in addition to bookings for larger parties there are often tables available for smaller groups.

Displays of the history of the castle and a collection of items from The Foudroyant, one of Nelson's flagships are contained within the restored castle towers. Lawns and gardens within the walls are an attractive feature of this picturesque castle, which has provided the backdrop for several films.

The Tower Gallery is used for regular exhibitions, including work by local artists and craftsmen.

Caldicot Castle is the focal point of a country park developed in co-operation with the Countryside Commission, offering walks, picnic sites, an adventure play area, barbecue and a caravan rally site.

Events ranging from the annual May Day Spectacular and Austin Seven Car Rallies to battle scenes from the Civil War, re-enacted by popular history societies, are held at the castle and country park.

Caldicot has a fine modern shopping centre and a well equipped leisure centre, complete with heated indoor swimming pool, sports hall, squash courts, sauna and solarium, bar and community suite with catering facilities.