GUIDE TO SOUTH WALES

With the cities of Cardiff and Swansea, beautiful beaches of the Gower and wonderful attractions, you’re in for a treat in South Wales!

A 7 day itinerary for South Wales

From exploring mystical castles to days spent on the beach, seven days in South Wales is sure to be action-packed!

Castles in Cardiff

Head for Wales’ capital where you can pick up a spot of breakfast before a visit to Cardiff Castle to learn about its 2,000 year history. There’s plenty to see here, from the Norman Keep to Lord Bute’s opulent mansion, dripping with extravagant decorative touches and artwork. Rest your feet over lunch in one of Cardiff’s many cafés and restaurants, and recharge your batteries for an afternoon of shopping! The city offers a whole range of shops and St David’s shopping centre is perfect for a spot of retail therapy. If shopping isn’t high on your list of priorities, a trip to the National Museum Cardiff, Techniquest, the Doctor Who Experience or landmarks such as the Wales Millennium Centre or Millennium Stadium are sure to keep you occupied all afternoon. Round off the day with dinner at The Potted Pig, one of the city’s highest rated restaurants.

Waterfalls and rivers

The Vale of Neath is a beautiful place to explore, so make the most of a fine day by packing up a picnic and heading out early to the Brecon Beacons. Start your day at the Waterfalls Centre in Pontneddfechan where you’ll learn about the falls of the Fforest Fawr Geopark. From here you can take your pick of waterfall walks, but one certainly not to miss is the beautiful Sgwd yr Eira where you can go behind the cascade and admire it from a different perspective! If you still have enough energy, you can continue your tour to your next stop, Sgwd Gwladys (or Lady Falls). Here a ten metre cascade pours into a deep pool where you can swim if the weather is warm. If you still have time left over, hop in the car and make your last stop Aberdulais Falls, home of the UK’s largest electricity-generating water wheel.

Top 5 gardens

A tale of two cities

Both Swansea and Cardiff have a plethora of attractions and diversions for all tastes. In Cardiff spend a couple of hours perusing the interesting exhibits of the National Museum, learning about the local history in The Cardiff Story and exploring the opulent rooms of Cardiff Castle. In the afternoon, head to Cardiff Bay for a visit to Techniquest, The Doctor Who Experience or a boat trip around the bay. End your day with a meal at the trendy Mermaid Quay. If Swansea is your city of choice head there early to fit in all of the fantastic free attractions which include Swansea Market, the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea Museum and The Mission Gallery, not to mention the fantastic shops and shopping centres. I highly recommend that you stop for lunch at the Snow Lodge in Castle Square – delicious freshly prepared sandwiches, baguettes and smoothies await!

Top 5 restaurants

  • Nant Restaurant, Heol y Coleg, Parc Nantgarw, Cardiff, CF15 7QX
  • The Whitebrook, Whitebrook, The Wye Valley, Monmouthshire, NP25 4TX
  • Pant-Y-Gwydr, Oxford Street, Swansea, SA1 3JA
  • Sosban, North Dock, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire SA15 2LF
  • Coast, Coppet Hall Beach, Saundersfoot, SA69 9AJ

Close to the border

Abergavenny is a market town with a rich history and heritage, so fill your morning with a visit to Abergavenny Museum and Raglan Castle before settling down for lunch. Abergavenny is famous for its food festival in September, but if you’re not lucky enough to be around then, you’ll still find plenty of superb cafés to choose from. Make your way out of Abergavenny after lunch to the walled town of Chepstow where you can take in its impressive castle and pay a visit to Wyndcliffe Court Gardens to admire the beautiful features including topiary, sculptures, walled gardens, fountains and a summer house. You’ll find a whole host of pubs and restaurants in and around Chepstow for your evening meal.

Nature at its best

Right on the border with England lies the Wye Valley, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with so much to offer that one day is unlikely to be enough. There are many ways to experience the Wye Valley, one of which is to take to the water in a canoe! There are several companies to hire from, some providing guided trips to help you make the most of your time here. You could stop for a pub lunch or munch on a picnic outdoors at lunchtime. In the afternoon, Tintern Abbey is a good place to end your day, where you can make the most of the tranquility of these romantic ruins. After an active day, why not head back to your holiday accommodation for a spot of rest and relaxation.

Top 5 heritage attractions

Country park and making money

If you’re looking for a day out where you’ll find nature, walks, family activities and history all in one place, look no further than Margam Country Park. Complete with a train, castle, orangery, gardens, woodland walks, play area and children’s Fairytale village, there are many hours of fun to be had! Take a picnic along and make a day out of it – there are walks suitable for pushchairs and an all-terrain electric buggy available for visitors with mobility challenges. You can also discover filming locations from Doctor Who and other popular series. In the afternoon, head over to Llantrisant 40 minutes away to see where money is made at the Royal Mint (visitor centre opens May 2015). Why not pop into Swansea in the evening for a meal, or treat yourself to a show at the Swansea Grand Theatre which has a fantastic programme of performances.

Top 5 for families

A day at the seaside

A trip to South Wales would not be complete without a day on the coast. In the winter, the Pembrokeshire Coast path offers bracing walks with incredible views out to sea, while the summer sunshine brings the opportunity to enjoy a bucket and spade day on one of the many beaches. Pack yourself a picnic and head off to the Gower peninsula for some of the best beaches in the country. The wide expanse of Rhossili is among the most popular for families, water sports and dogs. Neighbouring Llangennith is one of the top spots for surfing, while coves which require a short walk such as Three Cliffs Bay, Pobbles Bay and Pwll Du are a little more secluded. For a true family seaside experience, head for The Mumbles where you’ll find quaint cottages, cosy pubs, welcoming cafés, colourful beach huts and beautiful beaches!

Famous filming locations in South Wales

Find out where you can follow in the footsteps of your favourite film stars in South Wales!

South Wales holidays

Feeling inspired? We have a wide range of cottages in South Wales, find your perfect escape here.

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