19 Jun A Newport State of Mind
Clockwise: Friar’s Walk Shopping Centre, Newport Wetlands, University campus at Caerleon, Newport city centre, Celtic Manor resort, kayaking in the grounds of Tredegar House, the lighthouse at Usk, The Pavilion at Bellevue Park.
21:32 has two offices. One is in Los Angeles – probably one of the most famous cities in the world – and one in Newport, which is, well, not one of the most famous cities in the world. In fact, every time we write it, we need to clarify which Newport we mean. “No, not Newport Beach; not Newport, Rhode Island; not Newport on the Isle of Wight” etc. Newport, Wales.
Here’s the top 5 reasons we love our HQ hometown, and we think you will too….
1. The Location
As a city, Newport is perfectly positioned. It’s 12 miles from Cardiff, the capital city of Wales. Under two hours to London by train. A 40-minute drive across the (now free to use) Severn bridge into England to Newport’s spiritual big brother, Bristol. Newport itself is a gateway to the rest of the UK.
If cities aren’t your thing, the beautiful Welsh countryside is a hop, skip and jump away. From the Wetlands wildlife reserve where Newport meets the sea to the rolling hills of the Brecon Beacons and the award-winning sandy beaches of the Gower, an escape to the country is little as bus ride away. You can see why local boy W.H. Davies wrote, ‘What is this life if, full of care/We have no time to stand and stare.’
It’s little wonder that Newport and its surrounding areas are fast becoming one of the most popular areas for location scouts in the entertainment industry. Most recently, Netflix has transformed the disused University campus at Caerleon into Moordale High for their smash hit series Sex Education, and parts of Captain America were filmed in Caerwent.
2. The History
Newport is perhaps most famously the site of the Roman settlement of Isca, now known as Caerleon, meaning ‘fortress of the Legion.’ One of the most important Roman cities in the United Kingdom, it is possible to visit what’s still left of the Amphitheatre, baths and barracks, which were originally built around 80AD. There’s also a great museum for those wishing to delve deeper into Newport’s long history.
Another notable point in Newport’s past was that of the Chartist Uprising in 1839, where almost 10,000 local working class men stormed the city centre’s Westgate Hotel to liberate fellow political campaigners in pursuit of votes for every man. The results were not unlike something you might see in Game of Thrones!
Even right up to recent times, Newport continues to contribute to historic events: legend has it that Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain proposed to Courtney Love at the city’s iconic rock club TJs, which leads us nicely to…
3. The Culture
As a shipping port, Newport has been a cosmopolitan melting pot of people from all over the world for centuries. Such diversity brings with it a wonderful mix of arts, music, food and culture. From the traditional Welsh folk dancing competitions at Tredegar House to tasting the world class craft ale at Rogerstone-based brewery Tiny Rebel, Newport has plenty to offer for all interests.
Whether you fancy a takeaway curry fit for the stars, a leisurely jaunt around the Riverside Art Centre, rummaging through vinyl at an independent store or a round of golf at one of the premier courses in the UK (with a course built specifically for the 2010 Ryder Cup) we’ve got it all.
4. The People
Perhaps we’re biased, but we think you’ll be hard pushed to find friendlier people than those in Newport. Warm and welcoming and always making time to talk to each other – it’s no wonder so many businesses have set up home here, us included! Many locals work in governmental roles for the Passport Office, at the Prison Service Support Centre, Office for National Statistics or United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office, all of which are based in the area.
Of course, we think the very best people work at 21:32! Some of us are born and bred Newportonians, others have chosen to stay after graduating from one of the local universities and some of us commute into Newport each day. There’s never a dull moment at our office and each day is full of laughter – what more could you ask for?
Of a weekend, you might find some of us shopping at Friars Walk, following the town’s beloved Newport County football club, catching up over coffee at Parc Pantry or Rogue Fox, attending a local place of worship, playing in Bellevue Park with the kids or even running the Newport Half Marathon to raise funds for St David’s Hospice. Despite being made a city in 2002, Newport retains its ‘town’ feel. With Cardiff so close by, Newport is a city that can afford to take life at a less hectic pace and provides all the benefits of living in a city at a much lower cost than its neighbour.
5. The Opportunities
Speaking of which, Newport is a great place to get on the property ladder. With more new builds than anywhere else in Wales, plus a plethora of affordable period properties, now is the time to buy! A 2-bed apartment in the city centre could cost you as little as £130,000, compared to Cardiff’s £200,000 and Bristol’s £260,000*. There’s a good choice of schools for those with families, including the privately run Rougemont School in Malpas. Demand for Newport properties is increasing and with prices just starting to rise, if you move quickly, 2019 could be your opportunity to capitalize on the burgeoning market and live a very comfortable lifestyle here in South East Wales.
With the development of the International Conference Centre (ICC) at the Celtic Manor almost complete, and the Welsh Government investing heavily in the Newport tourism market, our city is clearly the up and coming star of the South Wales region, shedding its image of being neglected, and reimaging itself to thrive once more as it did during the Industrial Revolution.
And of course, it’s home to the greatest opportunity of all: you can work for us 😊
*Prices correct June 2019