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Wales driving tour recommendations

Kingsport, Tennessee
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Wales driving tour recommendations

My husband and I are going to Wales for the first time this May. We have never been there before so we are looking for some recommendations on a route or sites to take in while we are there. Any input is appreciated. Thanks!

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: Wales driving tour recommendations

We might need a few pointers....Any particular things you want to see? How long do you have? How much driving do you like doing on a daily basis? Are you interested in castles? the coast? mountains? or something else?

Kingsport, Tennessee
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15 posts
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2. Re: Wales driving tour recommendations

We've got about 2 days and are looking for a scenic driving tour (mountains, lakes, oceans, you name it). My husband is particularly interested in castles - the older ones with the turrets and moats, but there are so many in Wales that I don't know how to prioritize them (can't see everything in 2 days).

We are use to driving tours and can drive from early morning to sunset without too much fatigue. Recommendations on places to stay and good restaurants and pubs can also be part of the itinerary.

We will be coming from Bath and can stay in a different place each night or in the same place for 2 nights.

I know we won't be able to see everything we would like to so looking for your suggestions on those things that I shouldn't miss. Thanks for the help!

Scunthorpe, United...
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3. Re: Wales driving tour recommendations

From Bath you are probably thinking South rather than North Wales.

From Bath take A46 to M4 and M48 over Severn Bridge (not M4). First stop Is Chepstow for its ruined castle

www.cadw.wales.gov.uk/default.asp…

http://www.castlewales.com/chepstow.html

from Chepstow take A48 to Caerwent for Roman remains

http://www.caerleon.net/caerwent/

Take A449 to Raglan for ruined castle

www.cadw.wales.gov.uk/default.asp…

http://www.castlewales.com/raglan.html

Take A40 to Abergaveny then A465 (Head of Valleys Road) to pick up A469 down Rhymney Valley to Caerphilly and its ruined castle.

www.cadw.wales.gov.uk/default.asp…

http://www.castlewales.com/caerphil.html

Take B4609, A468, A470 to Castell Coch

www.cadw.wales.gov.uk/default.asp…

http://www.castellcoch.info/

Finally head for Cardiff and its Castle

http://www.cardiffcastle.com/stle

http://www.castlewales.com/cardiff.html

This would be a nice itinerary filling 2 days. There are plenty of castles to keep your husband happy and they are all very different. There is a good mix of scenery too. You would need to have an overnight somewhere in the middle - possibly Abergaveny or Caerphilly. Second night would be Cardiff and then back to where ever you need to be.

Sorry can't give advice on accommodation, food or pubs. Hopefully someone else can.

Eleanor

Kingsport, Tennessee
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4. Re: Wales driving tour recommendations

Thank you Eleanor.

We are not limited to just South Wales. We will be traveling on to the Lakes District afterwards, so any part of Wales can work into the itinerary as we need to be heading north anyway. Should have mentioned that in my last post!

Scunthorpe, United...
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5. Re: Wales driving tour recommendations

Ok, North Wales then ...

I'm ignoring the fast route along the M5 and M6.

Start as for the previous post and head for Chepstow and Abergavenny. You now need to drive up through the centre of Wales through some superb scenery. I would suggest A40 and A479 to Builth Wells then A483 through Llandindrod Wells to Newtown to pick up A470 to Dolggellau and A487 to Porthmadoc. This is a probably your overnight spot or else Criccieth, a delightful old fashioned holiday resort, a few minutes drive further on along the A497 with it's ruined Castle.

www.cadw.wales.gov.uk/default.asp…

www.cadw.wales.gov.uk/default.asp…

If you like trains think about a trip on the

Ffestiniog Railway which runs from Porthmadoc to Blaenau Ffestiniog. It is narrow gauge and if you are lucky you may be pulled by one of the unique double Fairlie engines. This is a fantastic experience - the sheer POWER of the loco working up the steep gradients with 12 coaches. . . .

http://www.ffestiniograilway.co.uk/index.asp

It is a superb ride through excellent scenery. It may be worth splashing out and asking for a seat in the Observation car. If you have time break journey at Tan y Bwlch and follow the nature trail through the trees down to the lake. There is a very good cafe on the station.

From Porthmadoc, head to Caernarvon along the A487. This is a walled town (can't walk on the walls) and has a magnificent Castle where Prince Charles was invested as Prince Of Wales.

www.cadw.wales.gov.uk/default.asp…

http://www.castlewales.com/caernarf.html

If you didn't go on the Ffestiniog Railway you might be interested in the Welsh Highland Railway which has its terminus in Caernarvon just below the castle.

http://www.welshhighlandrailway.net/index.asp

You may not of heard about this but it is a completely new railway which has been rebuilt over the last 10 years along a line that closed 70 years ago, by the Ffestiniog Railway company. It runs from Caernarvon through some incredible scenery through Rhyd Ddu (on the slopes of Snowdon) to Beddgelert. (Later on this year the final link to Porthmadoc will be opened). I've not been on this railway but daughter says the scenery is even better than on the Ffestiniog - and that is high praise from her. As a student she spent all her summer holidays volunteering as a fireman on the steam locos on the Ffestiniog.

From Caernarvon, pick up the coast road A487 to A55 and head for Conwy.

Just beyond Bangor is Penryn Castle - a splendid Victorian mock castle

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-penrhyncastle

Conwy is another walled town and you can walk round part of the walls. There is another splendid ruined castle and also the restored medieval town house, Plas Mawr (buy joint ticket with the castle)

http://www.cadw.wales.gov.uk/

http://www.castlewales.com/conwy.html

www.cadw.wales.gov.uk/default.asp…

http://www.conwy.com/plasmawr.html

Just across the river is the Victorian seaside resort of Llandudno and a trip on the Great Orme Tramway

http://www.greatormetramway.co.uk/

By now you are probably wanting to head towards the Lake District along the A55 to Chester. If time allows do a quick detour to Rhuddlan Castle (about 2-3 miles north St Asaph on A525)

www.cadw.wales.gov.uk/default.asp…

http://www.castlewales.com/rhudln.html

St Asaph has the smallest Cathedral in Britain

http://www.st-asaph.com/

I have discounted Beaumaris Castle on Anglesey because I don't think you will have time to include this. (If you do, cross Menai Bridge and pick up A545).

www.cadw.wales.gov.uk/default.asp…

http://www.castlewales.com/beaumar.html

Even so this itinerary is going to be tight and you may have to cut out some of the suggestions.

It's difficult to advise which to do - both would be good.

Hope this helps.

Eleanor

Kingsport, Tennessee
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6. Re: Wales driving tour recommendations

Thank you Eleanor - you have been SO HELPFUL - I really appreciate it.

Teri

Scunthorpe, United...
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7. Re: Wales driving tour recommendations

My pleasure. We have had many holidays in Wales over the years and I had a lot of fun reliving some of them when thinking about itinerary suggestions.

Come back if you have any more questions and I'll be interested to know what you finally decide to do.

Eleanor

Kingsport, Tennessee
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8. Re: Wales driving tour recommendations

I will let you know when we have it all mapped out. I am really excited to go and wish we had more time to spend there. I am researching B&Bs now - there are a lot of nice ones to choose from.

Kingsport, Tennessee
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9. Re: Wales driving tour recommendations

This is what I am thinking of doing for the two days in Wales.

On the first day, starting from Bath

- Take A46 to M4 to M48 over Severn Bridge. First stop is Chepstow Castle.

- From Chepstow take B4293 and Chepstow Rd to Raglan Castle.

- Take A40 to Abergaveny then A479 through Brecon Beacons National Park to A470 to A496 to Harlech.

This is 175mi and about 4 ½ hours of driving, which may work if we leave Bath very early in the morning.

Staying in a Harlech B&B for 2 nights (http://www.maelgwynharlech.co.uk/).

On second day, do a circle route as follows:

- Visit Harlech Castle

- Take A487 to Caernarvon Castle

- Take the coast road A487 and cross Menai Bridge and pick up A545 to Beaumaris Castle.

- Backtrack to A55 to Conwy Castle

- Take A470 back to Harlech

This is about 100 mi and 3 hours of driving.

What do you think? Does this sound too ambitious? My husband and I can typically go 8 hours in a car - the limitation for us is daylight and being able to see the scenery. I also like the idea of staying in the same place to 2 nights, but can change this if it will make for a smoother trip.

Thanks for your input.

Scunthorpe, United...
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10. Re: Wales driving tour recommendations

Wow that is quite a journey.

Daylight won't be a problem.

Opening times for the castles are 9-5pm.

Driving on Welsh roads can be slow so you may need to factor in a bit longer for the journeys.

I must admit I did reel a bit over what you are trying to achieve. I know I would find it a too ambitious but that is only a personal opinion. It is do-able but is a tough schedule and you will be tired at the end of it. You may also find you become a bit punch drunk and all the different castles begin to merge into each other.

Knowing you are heading onto the Lakes, it might make sense to have the last night stop in either Conwy or Llandudno (just across the river.) This would cut driving on the last night and give a more manageablr day.

Eleanor