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Southern Wales driving itinerary - April 2011

Valletta, Malta
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Southern Wales driving itinerary - April 2011

Hi guys,

My family and I will be visiting South Wales at the beginning of April 2011 by car and I came up with the following itinerary. What do you think?

Day 1 : Bristol City Centre

Severn Bridge

Chepstow Castle

Tintern Abbey

Monmouth

Raglan Castle

Abergavenny

Big Pit Coal

Brecon (Overnight)

Day 2: Brecon

Llandovery

Carmarthen

Pentre Ifan (Nevern)

Fishguard

St. David's

Haverfordwest (Overnight)

Day 3: Haverfordwest

Pembroke Castle

Bosherton Lily Ponds

Stackpole Quay / Barafundle Cliffs

Manorbier Castle

Tenby

Saundersfoot

Haverfordwest (Overnight)

Day 4: Haverfordwest

Laugharne

Rhossili Bay / Worms Head

Reynoldston (Arthur's Stone)

Swansea

Caerphilly Castle

Castell Coch (Tongwynlais)

Cardiff (Overnight)

Day 5: Full day in Cardiff

With regards to the castles mentioned, which ones do you think are worth a visit? that is, going inside the castle...

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Nevern
Nevern
Pembrokeshire, UK
Haverfordwest
Haverfordwest
Pembrokeshire, UK
Tenby
Tenby
Pembrokeshire, UK
Saundersfoot
Saundersfoot
Pembrokeshire, UK
Cardiff
Cardiff
Southern Wales, UK
Herefordshire
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1. Re: Southern Wales driving itinerary - April 2011

I think you may be trying to do too much ... particularly on day 1 ! You will not have time to visit all the places listed and get to the Big Pit before it closes for the night. Forget Chepstow Castle (not that it isn't nice, just not as good as Raglan in my opinion), and you can have a quick look at Tintern Abbey without spending too much time there - concentrate on Raglan and the Big Pit. Day 2 / 3 are probably OK if you get a reasonably early start (Pembroke Castle is better than Manorbier if you can't fit both in). Day 4 will also be quite a busy day, but Caerphilly Castle is a must (I don't know Castell Coch). Are you planning to visit the towns mentioned, or are they just route markers ?

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Manorbier
Manorbier
Pembrokeshire, UK
Valletta, Malta
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2. Re: Southern Wales driving itinerary - April 2011

hehe thought so ;) we're not planning on visiting all the places mentioned. So would you suggested visiting just Raglan, Pembroke and Caerphilly castles? I dont want it to be too crammed.. :S

THanks a lot for your help!

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Pembroke
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Carmarthen, United...
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3. Re: Southern Wales driving itinerary - April 2011

Very ambitious, all right if you just want to drive from A-B. Brecon to Fishguard is too far. Is there a reason why you want to go to Pentre Ifan and Fishguard? If not leave them out. You might arrive too late to visit St Davids Cathedral. As you are visiting Pembroke castle forget Manorbier. I would stay St Clears/ Whitland / Laugharne area after Saundersfoot instead of doubling back to Haverfordwest, You will be closer to Laugharne.

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Pembroke
Pembroke
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Manorbier
Manorbier
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4. Re: Southern Wales driving itinerary - April 2011

You are setting yourself an ambitious itinerary.

Day 1

Make a very early start and aim to be at Chepstow for a quick scamper round the castle at 9.30 when it opens. It is worth having a quick look at as it is an amazing site above the town and river.

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

Look at Tintern Abbey quickly from the outside and then head for Raglan. Aim to be here no later than mid day.

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

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

Then head for the Big Pit if possible aiming to be there no later than 3pm.

Day 2

Why Fisguard? I'd be inclined to follow Gorllewin's advice and miss this out and also Nevern and head straight to St Davids for the cathedral and remains of the Bishop's Palace.

www.stdavidscathedral.org.uk/index.php?id=760

sacred-destinations.com/wales/st-davids-bish…

Rather than stop at Haverfordwest have you thought about heading for Pembroke for the next two nights? It will cut down on driving for Day 3.

Day 3

Pembroke Castle is worth doing.

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

I've not been to Manorbier so can't pass a comment on this although looking at pictures I think JC290660 is right to suggest Pembroke is better use of time and to kip this one.

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

I've also not done the Bosherton Lily Ponds although pictures of them look good. If it is a nice day it is probably worth spending time here and at Stackpole Quay.

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

Depending on time you may have to miss out Tenby and Saundersfoot before heading back to Pembroke or Haverfordwest..

ALTERNATIVELY plan to spend the night at Saundersfoot or St Clears/Whitland/Laugherne as suggested. This would give you a bit of a head start on day 4 which is a hefty one.

Day 4 is the real killer as it stands.

Castell Coch and Cardiff Castle are both well worth visiting as they are completely different to the ruined castles you have seen already. Castell Coch is a fantasy medieval castle - real Sleeping Beauty stuff. You HAVE to go inside to appreciate it as views from the outside aren't good as there are so many trees around.

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

http://www.wales360.co.uk/castell_coch/

Cardiff Castle is similar but on a much grander scale. Again this has to be visited to appreciate its grandeur.

http://www.cardiffcastle.com/

Miss out Swansea. If there is time plan on doing Castell Coch on the afternoon of Day 4. Failing that you will need to do it on Day 5.

Day 5 you have allocated a full day for Cardiff. How keen are you to hit the city? Are you prepared to allocate the day to castles? Do Cardiff Castle in the morning and then head for Caerphilly in the afternoon. If you are making a special trip to Caerphilly it seems sensible to go inside the castle rather than just look at the outside.

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

Edited: 03 December 2010, 20:04
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Nevern
Nevern
Pembrokeshire, UK
Haverfordwest
Haverfordwest
Pembrokeshire, UK
Pembroke
Pembroke
Pembrokeshire, UK
Manorbier
Manorbier
Pembrokeshire, UK
Tenby
Tenby
Pembrokeshire, UK
Saundersfoot
Saundersfoot
Pembrokeshire, UK
Cardiff
Cardiff
Southern Wales, UK
Milford, New Jersey
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5. Re: Southern Wales driving itinerary - April 2011

Last year we spent a considerable amount of time exploring most of what you plan on seeing and I have to agree with all of the practical advice you have already been given. In particular, it is very much to cram in to 5 days. I also tend to do a lot of driving in Wales, but this would be too extreme even for me. However, each person is their own best judge as to their touring style.

Some additional thoughts: On day 2, as you transition from Brecon to the SouthWest you will be passing very near one of the most scenically imposing (in my opinion) castle ruins in all of Wales - Carreg Cennen. Very near Llandeilo on the A40. Well worth a visit and I think you will have the time.

Llandovery and Carmarthen are pleasant enough market towns, but have no strong reasons to stop and explore. And while we really enjoyed seeing Pentre Ifan on a previous trip, that region of the Northern Pembrokeshire and Southern Ceredigion coasts requires a longer stay and is out of your way. Pushing straight through to St. David's peninsula for the afternoon is your best choice to see the Cathedral, Bishop's Palace remains and surrounding coast.

I also agree with Eleanor's suggestion of trying to stay near Pembroke on Night 2. Puts you in a much better position to start the day at the castle (well worth a visit) and then to push east. Stackpole Quay/Barafundle is a great stop, but be advised that it will take a bit of time, as you need to walk a half mile or so from the carpark. As Gorllewin has mentioned, don't double back to H'west - Tenby towards St Clear's is a much better choice.

Day 4 will be the tough one. Laugharne - Gower - Caerphilly. The Gower is not a place you will make any time. Rhosili is very picturesque, but Arthur's Stone is not the most imposing Neolithic monument in Wales. Don't get me wrong, we thoroughly enjoyed exploring the peninsula, but this isn't an area you can easily take in on on "the way" to somewhere else. Within this timeframe, give Swansea a miss as well. Arriving at Caerphilly in the late afternoon won't do it justice.

Caerphilly, of course, is a "must" (another of my top castles). Cardiff Castle is also highly recommended - and both require wandering around inside. Get to Caerphilly by mid afternoon on Day 4 and Leave Day 5 for the Capital. There is more than enough to enjoy there, including the Cathay's Park and Mermaid Quay neighborhoods, - and you won't be breathing so hard from running around! If for some strange reason, you find yourselves with nothing left to do - there's always St. Fagan's just to the west.

Enjoy

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Wales
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Pembroke
Pembroke
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Tenby
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6. Re: Southern Wales driving itinerary - April 2011

Hi NJNX,

Good to hear from you again and that you are still enjoying Wales and getting well of the usual tourist beat. I fully endorse our comments about Carreg Cennan. Daughter aged about 8 at the time (and more years ago than she likes to remember) loved the passageway cut into the cliff-face. Not only does the castle looks superb from a distance and is just as good inside.

Eleanor

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Wales
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Pembroke, United...
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7. Re: Southern Wales driving itinerary - April 2011

hi pupina,

wow , what an itinery you have come up with,you have covered a lot of ground.or will be..!!

the following are my suggestions, only because of your time limited visit,

the old severn bridge - a piece of history in itself.

your first castle - chepstow

then big pit..

probably good idea to stay the night in brecon as you will see the brecon beacons then the black mountains as you head west to carmarthenshire,llandovery

great for a kwik coffee and a look around.

i would head straight to st davids.

on the way to pembroke park,in the car park at the end of the cleddau bridge.take a view on milford haven .a large natural harbour - one could say the same of valletta.pembroke dock,a royal dock yard.flying boats used to fly out of the haven in w.w.2.

i would stay in the pembroke area for the night..

pembroke castle...highly recomended ( but then i am biased)...

bosherston lily pond and broad haven beach - the beach is adjacent.

good pub and cafe in the bosherston village

if you wish to make a small detour - head to freshwater west beach, passing castlemartin tank range.you can call in at the green bridge of wales.at the beach, which you get a great view of when you drop down to it..

as seen on 2 films out this year - harry potter= shell cottage and the new robin hood= the battle scene.but i deviate..!!!

stackpole quay - goos cafe again - and a good walk over the cliffs to barafundle beach.

on the way to tenby, call in at the bishops palace in lamphey.

laugharne

head for swansea for the night.

rhosilli bay/worms head,

caerphilly castle

castell cock - built by the bute`s

cardiff castle - also the bute`s had a large hand in this castle

cardiff bay.

hope this will be of some help.just a few suggestions,

what ever you do, enjoy yourself in wales - and pembrokeshire.

dave

Franschhoek, South...
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8. Re: Southern Wales driving itinerary - April 2011

I we have booked to go to Wales in middle May next year...looking at your itinerary....all very foreign right now. - names and places....am wanting to do alot as well and see all I can...touristy places and non touristy.....but giggling to myself, with all my motivation to do all just reading it I already feel tired.....but great advice and am trying to get my week sorted for next year as well.....How much is car hire and which is the cheapest place...coming from SA our rand does not go very far...ha ha..will have to prob take soup packets to make to eat..

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Wales
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Valletta, Malta
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9. Re: Southern Wales driving itinerary - April 2011

yes, it all seemed so foreign at the beginning but once you get to know the places its really fun :) we booked our car through Nova car hire...it gives you a lot of different quotes and it actually works out cheaper than hiring directly with the rental company itself.

Bath UK
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10. Re: Southern Wales driving itinerary - April 2011

How old are the "family"? And there is a lot to cram in here, but the weather might prompt you to miss a few of these places.

Chepstow, Raglan, Manorbier are ruined castles (but if you have young children/pre-teens who fancy running around pretending to be knights then that might be just what you would be looking for!). These are the sort of places where you can just drive past in the rain.

I am a big fan of Castell Coch (look at their website) because it is a great place for visitors with only about an hour to spare! I'm not sure that I would do this AND Cardiff Castle (unless you were particularly interested in that style of interior design).

I really like the Big Pit, but will be waiting until my daughter is about 8+ before revisiting.

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Manorbier
Manorbier
Pembrokeshire, UK