A relative of mine boldly went this week where no one has gone before it seems, but proved it could be done: starting from Cardiff she did a round trip by train through the heart of Wales and got back to Cardiff in time for tea and, what is more, she said the day was easy, relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable.
The Heart of Wales line is a well-known scenic train route from Swansea to Shrewsbury cutting through, as the name suggests, the heart of Wales, and taking you through rolling hills and valleys, past castles, under hills and over viaducts.
However, I didn’t realise that, in the morning at least, the train actually sets off from Cardiff at 8.09. You then have a five hour journey which takes you, via Swansea, up through mid Wales before you arrive at Shrewsbury. My relative and her friends arrived at Shrewsbury a little after 1pm. The train had a trolley service with hot and cold drinks, snacks and alcohol, however they chose to have lunch when they got to Shrewsbury and then had a few hours to explore. They then got a mainline Shrewsbury-Cardiff service back (which runs along the Wales-England border, also very scenic) which took a little over 2 hours, arriving back at Cardiff just before 6pm.
They thoroughly enjoyed the scenery and enjoyed their time in Shrewsbury too. Above all, she stressed how easy the whole day was.
I thought I would post this because many people ask about seeing the Welsh countryside when they visit Cardiff, but have their options restricted by the amount of time they have available for their visit, their budget, and the lack of private transport for getting into the heart of the countryside. This journey cost her £28 (although I must admit I am not sure how much the price may vary according to when you book).
If you try and search out the route online, the websites I have found default to the shorter Cardiff-Shrewsbury route along the Welsh borders, and I have not been able to find a way of demonstrating Cardiff-Shrewsbury via the Heart of Wales line. However, if you enquire direct to Arriva Trains Wales they can advise on how to book this particular circuit.
Next thing I have to do is try it out myself!