Don't worry, I'm not stalking you, it's just that v.few others seem to reply to your posts!
You can get from London to Conwy by train in 3 hours, but if you wanted to tour elsewhere in Wales then a car is advisable (which I'm sure you can hire in Conwy). Getting from North to South in Wales is not easy because of topography, and that applies to trains even more than cars (because of gradients and grip of smooth railway wheels on rails as opposed to tyres on tarmac).
You may find this website helpful
and if you wanted to visit other places from Conwy you may want to look at this site
I don't think you are stalking me. (lol) I appreciate you replying to my questions. You seem to be familiar with so much in Wales. So here is my latest, what do you think. we are actually leaving from Heathrow as we head toward Tenby, Wales, go through Cheptspo, Cardiff, ( not big on spending much time in Cardiff, rather see a smaller town) Swansea, and then ending in Tenby. Next day after touring around Tenby and area going through go to Pembroke and maybe ending in St. David or back to Carmarthen. Maybe we should stay there both Friday and Saturday nights cause heading to Tenby on Friday might be too much? We could always travel out of Carmarthen Saturday and then take our time heading back toward London/Heathrow area on Sunday. Do you think we are travelling too far in one day on Friday, Heathrow to Tenby? I want so much to see North Wales, but not this time. we have decided to drive. Thanks!!!
I don't think you will be having much time to do anything other than look out of the car window!
Cardiff, although large is an interesting and lovely city. Swansea is large but on the whole unless you are a Dylan Thomas fan I would probably avoid. I happen to like Swansea but if you're on a swift trip I think you should skip it.
I think Heathrow to Tenby is a long enough journey in it's own right. It's about two hours to the Severn Bridge from Tenby if there are no hold ups on the road. Pembrokeshire is only a small county but the roads are not straight, for example Tenby to St Davids is an hour's drive.
If you only have three days why not stay nearer Cardiff there are plenty of places in that area which can give you a flavour of Wales. Gower penisular, Brecon Beacons, St Fagan's museum etc
And yes, Wales is fine by train as long as you travel along the North Wales coast, the south Wales coast or the Heart of Wales line which goes from the south coast to the north east.
Are you talking 3 full days in Wales, not including transit time to get there form London?
You could spend a whole day in Cardiff. Pembroke would be another whole day trip form there.
If you were desperate to do North Wales, day 3 would be a journey up the A470 to Llandudno area. You'd get a flavour of Wales but wouldn't do justice to Mid Wales or Snowdonia and you'd probably miss out the North Wales castles and west/north-west coast.
Choose north or south and drive so you don't waste time waiting for trains
Thanks again for all of your replies. We will stick with South Wales. we would like to be more in the country, so to speak, visiting small towns and of course castles. Maybe bypass Swansea and end up in Carmarthen.? In reading it seems like we would prefer to spend more time around the Pembroke to St. David's areas, I guess it is called Carmarthenshire? Tenby does sound like a great little spot. So maybe we get over to that peninsula and travel around from there. What is Llanelli like? A fun small town to see? Maybe make it as far as Swansea Firday night? Then around Tenby, Pembroke and back to Carmarthen for Sat. night and skip St. David's? So much to see in so little time. Gotta get back to London cause my husband has a meeting. :(
Right, let's add some realistic timings to this.
London Heathrow to Chepstow is about 2 and a quarter hours in a car, assuming you travel at the speed limit, there are no hold-ups etc. If you leave Heathrow much before 8:30am you will encounter commuter traffic which can be heavy on a weekday, so, lets assume you leave Heathrow at 9am to avoid sitting in a jam.
You will arrive at Chepstow and have parked by about 11:30. Let's say you take 1.5 hours to tour the castle and town (it's a small town), that takes you to 1pm, by which time you will want lunch. So, let's assume you leave Chepstow at 2pm. I can't remember what time of year you said you would be doing this trip but if in December or January it will be getting dark by about 4 - 4:30pm and most outdoor sites such as castles shut either at between 5-6pm or when it gets dark; most museums shut between 5pm and 6pm; so, you really have time to see one more thing/area on Friday, before you find your hotel for the night.
I know you have dismissed Cardiff but Cardiff Castle is excellent and unique, and the St.Fagans Museum of Welsh Life just to the west of Cardiff is also well worth a visit. They are a possibility but you may prefer to push on west (if your driver is happy to keep going).
I would skip Swansea, it is an industrial town which took a battering in the war, and whilst the bay is lovely, the City itself is not a tourist draw.
You could visit some of the places mentioned in my previous posts (Carreg Cennen, the Brecon Beacons etc), or visit the Gower and Rhossili (weather permitting) or push on westwards to Tenby and look around there before nightfall (it will take you 2 hours to drive from Chepstow to Tenby so bear that in mind for the amount of daylight remaining).
As an alternative to staying in Carmarthen, Llandeilo is a pretty market town with a number of hotels and b&bs, is a little further east than Carmarthen (although there's not much in it)and is near to Carreg cennen and the botanic gardens at Llanarthne.
On saturday, I would favour St.davids over Pembroke. Pembroke's only attraction is the castle, whereas St.Davids has the cathedral, the bishops palace, some lovely shops and restaurants, some great boat trips to Ramsey island (weather permitting) to see the seals, dolphins, razorbills etc and is a v.pretty little town indeed. Also nearby is the woollen mill at Melin Tregwynt, which makes some fabulous stuff
St.davids to London Heathrow is about a 4.5 hour drive (assuming you stop once for 30 minutes) so I would spend saturday night a little to the east to reduce your journey time on Sunday; maybe you could vary your route back so that you stay the night somewhere like Crickhowell, or Monmouth or Usk.
You need to start using this website
to work out journey times and maps, since your itineraries are still somewhat over-optimistic.
P.S. Llanelli is a not really a tourist destination -it's a former steel and tinplate town which saw hard times in the 1970s and 1980s, has had a lot of urban generation money poured into it, but is not somewhere you'd visit if your interest is cute towns, historic buildings and countryside.
P.P.S - you've been given a million suggestions already - so stop looking for new places on the map! ;-)
And another thing ;-)
i think you will need to have a wet weather itinerary in reserve, so although your preference is for small towns, ruined castles and the great outdoors, these are the sorts of places you won't want to be so much if the rain is pelting down.
In those circumstances somewhere you can spend a good part of your time indoors will be key, so Cardiff with its excellent castle, museum and arcades would be good, as would St.fagans museum (it's mostly outdoors but is a collection of historic buildings (chapels, tanneries, miners' cottages, a miners' hall, a cockpit etc) which have been dismantled and re-located in the park, so you can hop from one to the other avoiding most of the rain. Big Pit would also be good in those conditions, and the glasshouses at Llanarthne. I would still visit St.Davids in those conditions, as it is compact and there is enough to visit which is indoors (including Melin Tregwynt) but I would skip the boat trip unless I had really good waterproofs.
Have a look a the Cadw website for other historic attractions that would keep you indoors
In other words, what you really need to plan now is where you are staying, and the rest you can keep flexible according to how the weather turns out.
I also throw my weight in behind spending some time in Cardiff - it is not at all like your typical city: it's centre is very compact, largely pedestrianised, and with its many winding covered Victorian arcades, has a very small town feel. Behind the castle is 400 acres of parkland which are very peaceful for wandering, and from which you can see and access the castle, the river, and the Civic Buildings.
In terms of a town further west, Tenby is fun not least because of its beaches and Georgian terraces, but another favourite of mine is Llandeilo - worth spending some time wandering through its many lanes, and it is a short walk to Newton House (NT) and Dinefwr Castle.
in addition to all the advice above I'd also suggest taking a look at this website http://www.castlewales.com/ to get an idea of the castles and religious sites that you could add into your tour (lots of photos to whet your appetite and some historical background). We do have a number of beautifully situated ruined abbeys (those monks knew how to choose a location for their buildings!) that you might be interested in visiting.
Particular favourites of mine are Llanthony Priory (not too far from Abergavenny), Talley Abbey (north of Llandeilo) and Strata Florida (probably a bit out of the way for your proposed route as it's up near Aberystwyth).