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Your thoughts welcomed on Wales - 8 day self-driving tour

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Your thoughts welcomed on Wales - 8 day self-driving tour

I've spent considerable time (5 months) reviewing discussions and reviews on TA - thank you! If anyone is so inclined, I would love your opinion on our upcoming adventure. First, a bit about us...family of 4, with 2 fourteen year old daughters. Enjoy range of peaceful activities, but mostly getting a sense of the country, walks on beaches, coastal path, and enjoy finding casual restaurants and pubs to enjoy. We are renting a car from Heathrow after 2 days in London, all hotel/inn/cottage reservations have been made.

Day 1 - From London, drive to Caerphilly Castle and Castell Coch. Lunch - waterfront in Cardiff. Drive by/walk around Cardiff Castle, then off to Tenby. 2 nights in Tenby. (long day, I know!) We are pretty much skipping Cardiff as we can't do everything and we live a big city (Washington DC)

Day 2 - Day trip to Llandello, Aberglassney Gardens, Careg Cenneg Castle, and Dinefwar. (Again, not spending a lot of time here, but wanted to get a taste of the Brecon Beacons landscape.)

Day 3 - Check-out, head to St. David's peninsula - see St. Davids, Whitesands Bay, and walk portion of coast, perhaps Abereiddi Bay up to The Sloop Inn, Porthgain (for lunch). Drive to Aberystwyth - spend 2 nights.

Day 4 - Aberystwyth - Girls: Rheidol Railway and Devils Bridge, climb Consitition Hill - husband visits geneology section of Library. Dinner at Gwetsy Cmyru.

Day 5 - Check-out of Aberystwyth - drive to Harlech Castle, Lunch in Portmeiron, spend 4 nights in Betws-y-Coed in a cottage.

Day 6-8, Visit Caernarfon Castle, Criccieth Castle, Lyn Peninsula, Anglesy, Conwy and Bodnant Gardnens.

All of this tentative, weather dependent, if time permits, and kids don't throw a mutiny!

And, we want to see a Male Voice Choir - any ideas?

I also welcome any suggestions on restaurants, pubs - particularly on the coast, with great views, comfortable ambiance and rather pedestrian food options - traveling with 14 year old girls!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts! We leave on Sunday for this amazing journey.

Wales, United...
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for Bargain Travel, Cruises, Swansea, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Neath, Port Talbot
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1. Re: Your thoughts welcomed on Wales - 8 day self-driving tour

In Llandeilo I recommend the Angel for lunch. I can't say much more because you seem to have so much planned and arranged already!

Cardiff, United...
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for Cardiff
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2. Re: Your thoughts welcomed on Wales - 8 day self-driving tour

I only got as far as 'driving from London, seeing two castles and being at Cardiff Bay in time for lunch. Where in London are you leaving from and what time do you plan on leaving? My initial impression is that you aren't allowing realistic driving times and not allowing time for getting into towns/cities, parking etc.

You don't really want to 'drive by' Cardiff Castle btw. It's right in the city centre on a busy road and you won't see a lot from the car. Wouldn't recomend taking a car into the centre of Cardiff in the middle of the day (especially if you're already at the Bay. I live in Cardiff Bay and drive into the city.....never. It's busy and you'll pay again for parking, having already had to pay once at the Bay). Walk (30 mins Bay -> Castle or get the bus.

Ottawa, ON
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3. Re: Your thoughts welcomed on Wales - 8 day self-driving tour

I was just thinking, if I was forced to do your first day, how would I do it? I think I would want to be at Caerphilly Castle by opening time 09:30. Which means I would need to be on the road from Heathrow airport by 06:30. Which means I would have to be at the car rental office by 06:00. Which means I would have to leave my London accommodations by around 05:00. I don`t know what time one would have to wake up to achieve that. It`s been a while since my daughters were 14, but I suspect one of them wouldn`t even bother to go to bed.

OK, Caerphilly by 09:30 (presumably you have packed snacks for breakfast to eat in the car).

A totally inadequate 3 hours for the two castles (including travelling between and parking) brings us to 12:30. Into Cardiff Bay by 13:30 for lunch (can`t leave it much later, most places stop serving by 14:00). On the road again by 15:00, 90 minutes to do our drive/walk by of Cardiff Castle and be on the road to Tenby; about 2 hours to Tenby should get us there around 18:30. Great, time to get cleaned up and go out for dinner.

I don`t recognize any of the places on day 2. I guess I must have missed them on my two one-week visits to the Beacons.

At this point I am still too exhausted to consider our 3rd day, can only say that I find it appalling and deeply depressing about how little time we are giving to St David`s. I`m surprised that your 5 months of research led you to the conclusion that St David`s is worth little more than a wave on the way to a beach.

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4. Re: Your thoughts welcomed on Wales - 8 day self-driving tour

Love your reply - thank you! I am only into my first sip of wine and I too am exhausted by the thought of our day 1 :) After the comments from C0rnc0b and others with opinions, we will most likely leave Cardiff for another trip. You are the 2nd who has felt very strongly about spending more time in St. David's. Alas, I think I see a theme. Thank you for your candid and poetic response!

Suffolk, United...
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for Cephalonia
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5. Re: Your thoughts welcomed on Wales - 8 day self-driving tour

Hi Heather,

Just two points to add to the above.

First I hope you are not renting a car from Green Motion Car Hire.

Second when driving in Wales plan your journey using 30mph as a norm.

Bob

Bucks, UK
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6. Re: Your thoughts welcomed on Wales - 8 day self-driving tour

First impressions are that you are doing an awful lot of back-tracking and that you'll need a Tardis or a helicopter, but since the accomodation is booked - let's work with what's there.

Day 1 - you have time for 2 of Castell Coch, Caerphilly and lunch in Cardiff Bay

Day 2 - stick to Carreg Cennen and one of Aberglasney and Dinefwr - Llandeilo is an ok place for lunch but is neither particularly big nor particulalrly interesting - all of these places are west of the Beacons so usless for seeing the Beacons themselves

Day 3 - see St.Davids, maybe a trip to Ramsay Island, maybe call in at Melin Tregwynt, then head for Aberystwyth, that's all you have time for - if you want to see a beach, call in at Newport Sands on your way North

Sorry - got to dash but - other days - attempt 2 things per day - you don't have time for more.

Chester
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7. Re: Your thoughts welcomed on Wales - 8 day self-driving tour

Hi,

from Betws for days out have a look at these.

Slate mine at Blaenau Ffestiniog, train up Snowdon, Penrhyn castle at Bangor, Beaumaris, Plas Newydd ( not far from the Menai Bridge, Tram up the Great Orme at Llandudno, trip to Llangollen and the Horse Shoe pass and stop at the café at the top and also feed the sheep with any bread or crisps you have. In Betws we always like the short walk along the river and the miners track to Swalllow Falls, you should be able to pick up a cheap leaflet for the walk.

Keith.

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8. Re: Your thoughts welcomed on Wales - 8 day self-driving tour

Good insight on the MPH. I am certainly underestimated average speed. We are renting from Avis - any concerns? And, it's an automatic thanks to TA advisors :)

Suffolk, United...
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for Cephalonia
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9. Re: Your thoughts welcomed on Wales - 8 day self-driving tour

Avis are a reputable company. However all (most?) British car hire companies are very picky with charging for scratches etc.so do a thorough check before you take the car.

UK
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for North Wales
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10. Re: Your thoughts welcomed on Wales - 8 day self-driving tour

If its an automatic it is probably going to be petrol fuelled.

But if it is a diesel powered car please be extra cautious when refuelling.

It is a very easy and common , not to say expensive , mistake to put petrol ( gas) into a diesel car .

It could cost £ thousands. One poster had to reimburse a hire company to replace lots of engine parts.

The diesel is from the black nozzle on forecourts not the green one.

Hundreds of thousands of motorists make the mistake annually .

Enjoy Wales