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12 Days from Llandudno to Bristol Self Drive

G'day forumers. My daughter and are going to do another road trip in the UK. We would start in Llandudno and head on down to Bath. We spent some time in Wales a couple of years ago in the Aberywstyth/Cardigan Bay region. Did Devil's Bridge and surrounding areas. We will spend 3 nights in Llandudno. We would like to do the train to the summit of Snowdonia, drive Anglesy peninsula etc. I would love to check out Portmerion on our way south. From there we are open to suggestions?? We love nature, scenic drives, walks, great local food and produce. An occasional castle on the way would be nice. Small towns and villages we especially love. We will be dropping the hire car off in Bristol. We did the Cotswolds and Cornwall on our last trip. This year my husband and I did the Cotswolds, Shropshire, Llangolen (a little taste of Wales), Yorkshire Moors and Dales, Lake District and Scottish Borders.
Looking forward to your thoughts and suggestions. Thanks in advance

Posted by
18746 posts

The Museum of East Asian Art in Bath has just reopened following some work on the building. It's small but packed with beautiful objects unusually well explained. Most of the collection is not blue and white porcelain (thankfully). I know I'm in the minority here, but Bath itself makes my "meh" list from the aesthetic standpoint. Clean, prosperous, but full of dull (to me) Georgian architecture. All those stone townhouses look alike! I'll take half-timbering or multi-colored stucco any day.

Posted by
631 posts

Snowdon Mountain Railway: Definately worth putting on the list but some points to think over. Gets busy, especially weekends. If you haven't prebooked you may not get on. BUT the weather can be lousy and if you have prebooked it could be waste of money. In fact if it's too windy it won't even go to the summit. Frustrating to say the least! Views from the summit are stunning on a clear day but some days the summit is in the clouds and you'll be lucky to see the other end of the train. Nothing can be done if it's poor but good weather isn't all it seems. On a warm day in summer, even with blue skies, the humidity may build up due to dampness in the ground being released (true all over UK) so it will haze over by early afternoon and the views will suffer, the haze will clear early evening. So it make sense to get out early, and there is a cheaper fare on the first train. But in spring and autumn a nice day may start hazy and clear up late morning. Just to add annoyance, most people make a return journey and to avoid people being stranded on the mountain at the end of service they normally require you to come down on the same train you went up on giving only 30 minutes at the top - imagine that, paid the money, gone up in clouds and can see the sun breaking through but not allowed to stay!!

Anglesey is an island not a peninsular! Someone did a trip report a few weeks ago, called in at Newborough beach on a nice day, loved it so much they stayed too long - not what many would expect from North Wales. Holyhead isn't worth the drive.

Castles, Conwy (obviously). For the best photo/view of Conwy castle and town, leave Llandudno on the A546 via Deganwy, pull in at Deganwy railway station and go onto the footbridge to the other platform. technically this is pay and display parking but for a few minutes you'll be OK. Except on a nice morning you'll want to stay for more than a few minutes! On the hill behind Deganwy are the remains of Deganwy castle, most of which went into building Conwy. After visiting Conwy castle and town (home to the worst chippie I've ever used despite what "another forum" would say) there is an interesting and little known road, the Sychnant Pass which rises from a small street in Conwy. Take the main west bound Bangor Road through town, it leaves via a narrow gate in the old town wall, turn left immediately after the gate and follow that street to the end, then turn right and start climbing. Just after the summit there are views over to Angelsey. There are free parking areas either side of the summit if you wan to get out and and have a walk.

Portmeirion is easily reached from Llandudno. Use the Capel Curig-Beddgelert road for the scenery.

Posted by
239 posts

You have plenty of time. Explore the Brecon Beacons and border counties. Try Hay, Tintern and the Wye Valley, Ludlow, Abergeveny especially for good food, the small towns of Hereford--and that's all just scratching the surface.

Posted by
631 posts

Llandudno-Portmeirion via Beddgelert would take about 90 mins. Assume 3-4 hours there then head inland to Trawsfynedd on the A470. Nice views (apart from the old nuclear power station at the north end of the lake!), take the A4212 to Bala then come back down to the A470 and follow it south the small town Rhayader. With stops for views and photos this will take 3 hours and would be a useful place to stop the night.

Next morning, from the main crossroads at the centre follow the brown sign for Elan Valley. A short distance later there is a junction on the right with a sign that say Aberystwth Mountain Road, which does sound more like a challenge than directions but don't worry, it's OK at least as far as we need it. After about 4 miles you clear a summit and get a view of a lake and then down towards it, on the left is a road signposted Elan Valley take that and just follow it. It winds around a series of lakes and is almost alpine with bends, mountains and views. These lakes are actually reservoirs supplying water to Birmingham. At the final dam is a visitors centre. The road continues back to where we started, the circuit is 17 miles and with stops would take a couple of hours. You could spend more time in the valley and do some walking and have a second night in Rhayader or just continue south.

Beyond Rhayader you're off my radar but the foodie capital of Wales is Abergavenny (they claim) which would be a reasonable last night in Wales.

Posted by
742 posts

In the Sychnant Pass , there's a echo rock on the descent from the summit, we used to stop in every family trip as kids.
I like the remote area around Lyn Brianne and journey up from Tregaron.

Posted by
977 posts

As usual great information and suggestions. Thank you for taking the time

Posted by
1217 posts

The Village proper is rather small in Portmeirion. Time spent there is going to vary based on whether you do one of the included tours and how much time you spend wandering the trails through the woods. (And 'Be seeing you.')

I know that Betws-y-Coed gets complaints from some for being 'too touristy' but we found it charming and a nice central location to a number of Snowdonia area good hikes and walks, including a few pleasant river paths that were just across the football field from our hotel.

Also a second vote for Brecon Beacons- lovely hills and low mountains, waterfalls, history, and castles. We also enjoyed the National Botanical Garden of Wales.