During the Picturesque movement it became fashionable to build summerhouses at sites with spectacular viewpoints. With one of the best views around, the small two-storey circular Georgian banqueting house that stands on top of The Kymin, was built in 1794 by the Monmouth Picnic Club.
Guests who came here received instructions on how to observe the views in the correct Picturesque manner. A Naval Temple was built in 1801 and when Nelson visited Monmouth the following year, long four-pounder guns boomed out from the Temple to greet him as his tour boat from Ross came into view on the river below at Hadnock Reach. Nelson enjoyed a ‘handsome’ breakfast in ‘The Round House’ as it is known locally.
Today the site is owned by The National Trust and it is the view, extending over much of rural Monmouthshire, which continues to be the biggest attraction. The grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk. The Round House is open from the end of March until end of October on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.
Access: Take the A4136 from Monmouth towards Coleford and the Forest of Dean. After nearly one mile turn sharp right signposted for The Kymin. Follow this road, which is narrow, windy and steep in places, to the
top of the hill and the car park. (Note car park closing times – it may be locked early autumn/winter afternoons.) From the car park walk up to the Round House and viewpoint, past the Naval Temple