South and Mid Wales
Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, is a vibrant and bustling modern city that deserves at least a day of your holiday!
Visit Cardiff Bay – Europe’s biggest waterfront development and home to the National Assembly for Wales, The Wales Millennium Centre, and the Norwegian Church. A 30-minute stroll (or a short bus or taxi ride) and the Principality Stadium, the home of Welsh rugby, looms over the river Taff. From here you are seconds from Cardiff Castle, Cardiff Museum, and the bustling Victorian shopping arcades.
Heading west past towns made famous by coal and steel, we reach Swansea and the Gower peninsula. Britain’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty feels a million miles from the bustling centre of Cardiff. Broad sandy beaches, pounding surf and lofty clifftop walks are the order of the day on ‘The Gower’
A visit to the busy seaside town of Tenby is also a must. The light and colours have attracted artists and tourists for centuries. Tenby is known for its 13th-century town walls, sandy beaches, and its delightful little harbour.
The next stop is the ancient county of Pembrokeshire. Don’t miss Pembroke Castle, the birthplace of Henry VII or St Davids, the smallest city in Britain. Its magnificent cathedral was founded in the 6th century by St David, the Patron saint of Wales. A RIB ride around Ramsey Island to see seals, sea birds and ‘The Bitches’ tidal race (and dolphins if you are lucky!) shouldn’t be missed.
Now turn north past pretty coastal villages like Fishguard, Cardigan and Aberaeron. Stop off at the mysterious 5000-year-old burial chambers at Pentre Ifan then take a ride on the Cwm Rheidol heritage steam railway. Whilst here, keep your eyes peeled, you may spot the national bird of Wales, the Red Kite, soaring majestically alongside you. The next stop is the busy university town of Aberystwyth and onwards the gateway to Snowdonia and North Wales.
For an alternative route, from Cardiff or Swansea, head north to the Brecon Beacons, the highest mountains south of Snowdonia. The ‘Beacons’ form the northern end of the great coal-mining valleys of the industrial revolution. Industry in these valleys in the 19th century helped make Wales one of the first industrial super nations. Whilst here visit ‘Waterfall Country’ and the whisky distillery at Penderyn for a ‘wee dram’ of Wales’ finest spirit.
Now turn north through the sparsely populated heartlands of mid-Wales. Visit Builth Wells, home of the annual Royal Welsh agricultural show. A narrow mountain road through the wild Cambrian Mountains takes you past the great reservoirs of Mid Wales. Built to provide water for the industrial cities of the English midlands this landscape almost has a Scandinavian feel to it. Our last stop before we head north to the busy university town of Aberystwyth is the beacon of tranquillity and reverence that is the former Cistercian abbey of Strata Florida.