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First time in Wales 4 or 5 days

Dover, New Hampshire
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First time in Wales 4 or 5 days

My wife and I are planning first trip to Wales. We will be driving from London in mid April, probably starting in Cardiff. I am interested in the cultural and historical aspects of the country. We're Americans. We prefer bed and breakfast type places. I would rather sit in a bar and talk to locals then go on a guided tour but also love exploring a 600 year old building. I do like mountains and natural scenic area as well so we maybe we should get to Snowdonia on way back to London. Should we stay in the south or try explore the central and north as well. Obviously you can only so much in a few days and maybe this will be the first of many trips to Wales.

Cardiff, United...
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1. Re: First time in Wales 4 or 5 days

To be honest, I'd stick with just South Wales in 4 days, this gives you the chance to explore Cardiff properly over a day or two, explore the natural beauty of Wales in the beaches and coastline of the south or the mountains of the Brecon Beacons and a day visiting attractions and historical sites like Big Pit mining museum.

If you want a few tips on great bars to chat with locals I can recommend a few great ones in Cardiff where the customers are friendly and chatty!

It is about a 4 hour drive up to Snowdonia if you do decide to go, so make sure you set aside plenty of travel time (8 hour round trip).

UK
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for North Wales
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2. Re: First time in Wales 4 or 5 days

I am a great fan for North Wales , but I agree with Tom.

Four days is not long enough to spend driving the length of Wales if you want to sit and chat or explore.

Choose a good spot in South Wales, base yourself there for your entire four days,

Some great scenery in South Wales, fantastic coastline.

Take day trips out and settle yourself into the pub of a night and enjoy yourself.

And do the same on your next trip when you come to North Wales.

Edited: 19 March 2014, 07:01
Manchester, United...
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3. Re: First time in Wales 4 or 5 days

Does mid-April cover the Easter period - the 18th & 21st are public holidays and schools usually have a fortnight's break around this time. If so you may find accommodation choices are booked up already.

I'll agree with others that in 4-5 days there is plenty to do in the south of Wales. As you mention old buildings St Fagans (on the edge of Cardiff) has the national collection:

http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/stfagans/

Cadw is the Welsh heritage body who look after many of the castles and other old buildings - there's an interactive map on their site so you can see what is nearby:

http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/?lang=en

The Brecon Beacons national park is in the southern half of Wales:

http://www.beacons-npa.gov.uk/

Should you have time to venture further west the Gower peninsula is an "area of outstanding natural beauty" and further still is the Pembrokeshire Coast national park - I think the latter is probably too far to fit in with your time limits though.

Cardiff, United...
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4. Re: First time in Wales 4 or 5 days

Are you living in London and do you own your own vehicle (slightly confused as your location is set as New Hampshire, but you say 'first of many trips to Wales, so maybe you have relocated to the UK?)

If you don't already own a vehicle in the UK, then there's no particularly good reason to drive from London to Cardiff. It's an easy, quick journey by train that can be done for a very reasonable price (although you should book advanced tickets asap). If you want a car to get out of Cardiff and explore the surrounds, then that can be hired in Cardiff.

Brecon Beacons are within easy driving distance for 'mountains and natural scenic area' - Snowdonia is not (neither is it by any stretch of the imagination 'on the way back to London'!)

Dover, New Hampshire
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5. Re: First time in Wales 4 or 5 days

We living in New Hampshire. We'll be staying with friends in London for a day or 2 then heading to Cardiff probably. Thanks so much for your reply. Sounds like we should just stay in the south for this trip.

Macclesfield...
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6. Re: First time in Wales 4 or 5 days

I agree with what has been said so far, because north/south travel links are poor , you are probably best to stick with South Wales, using the M4 corridor which allows you to get to somewhere like St David's in the far west in about two hours from Cardiff. In terms of where to stay in four days I would recommend:

Day 1 Cardiff - stay in the Bay for a buzz and good eating/ drinking places, but close to the city for the castle and shopping

Day 2 Swansea and Gower. Don't bother with the city centre, other than possibly to stay in the Marina or SA1 areas. Visit Mumbles, nice castle and vilage. Then drive into Gower, stopping at Oxwich, Port Eynon, Rhossili beaches. The latter has been voted the best in Europe. Too cold in April for bathing but beautiful views.

Day 3 Pembrokeshire, visit Tenby, Carew Castle, Newgale, Solva and St Davids. Plenty of accommodation in Tenby.

Day 4 drive back on the A40 through Carmarthen, Llandeilo and Brecon, great views of the Brecon Beacons and maybe call into Hay on Wye, an unusual little town of bookshops. Plenty of accommodation along the way.

From Hay you cross back into England and can eventually head back to London on the M4

england
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7. Re: First time in Wales 4 or 5 days

agree you can only do one or South or North and Cardiff is the capital city. Taking the train and hiring a car when you get to Cardiff would save you the stress of driving out of London and as you could see quite a lot in Cardiff centre, including a castle http://www.cardiffcastle.com/ , you could hire a car for the day after you get there. You may even be able to catch a rugby match if you're lucky .

The suggested itinerary is good although it's a bit of a shame to miss Tintern Abbey cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/tinternabbey/… the roman ampitheatre at Caerleon http://www.caerleon.net/intro/ and st woolos cathedral www.newport.gov.uk/_dc/index.cfm…

8. Re: First time in Wales 4 or 5 days

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