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Wales and England

My wife and would like to visit both North and South Wales plus Bath and the Cotswolds. We have 2-3 weeks. Is there a circular route that makes sense or should the North and South be done separately? We will be flying into Heathrow in late August/early September.

Posted by
389 posts

A circular route is perfectly feasible over that period of time. What are your interests and we can recommend some stopping points?

Posted by
4009 posts

Assuming you’ll have a rental car, leave London and head to the Cotswolds, if you plan on seeing them first. Then down to Bath. From there head west towards Cardiff, then continue west to St. Davids. Then head north to Caernarfon and Conwy. Then head back east into England. Of course, you could go to Bath, then Cotswolds, over to Conwy, south to St. Davids, then east to Cardiff. Adjust the route depending on when you want to visit Cotswolds (beginning or end), and where you want to stop. Overall, Wales isn’t all that large. London (LHR) to Bath, or the Cotswolds is less than a 2.5 hours drive.

Posted by
389 posts

Bath and Cotswolds don't have to be done together especially if you are doing a loop, for instance head up to Oxford and enter Cotswolds that way, exit around Gloucester, do Bath on you way back after leaving South Wales via the M4 motorway or vice versa

Posted by
7 posts

We have previously spent time in Bath and the Cotswolds but wish to revisit. We have also been to Tintern Abbey and the Cheapstow Castle, otherwise all suggestions are welcome. Can we go directly to North Wales from the Cotswolds or is a stop recommended? Then south toward Cardiff, then to Bath?

Posted by
389 posts

It's certainly manageable to go direct from the Cotswolds to North Wales, but I'd recommend taking a more scenic route up the A49 with perhaps an overnight stay in Ludlow. If you like Cathedrals then Gloucester is worth a stop, and if you do take this route Stokesay Castle just to the north of Ludlow is a great Manor House come Castle to visit.

Posted by
4009 posts

I’m headed to Wales in May and these are some places on my list, excluding those you mentioned.
Raglan, White, Caerphilly, and Coch castles, Monmouth Monnow bridge and gate, Neath Abbey, drive the area by Swansea and Tenby, St. Davids, Pentre Iran burial chamber, Dyfi furnace, Pont Minllyn mill and bridge, Menai bridge, Swallow falls, standing stones and burial chambers on Anglesey, Pontcysylite aqueduct, Ludlow castle. For just walking around, Aberearon, Llandudno, Dendigh. We’ve already been to Cardiff, Caernarfon, Harlech, and Conwy castles, otherwise they’d be on the list. In England we’ll stop in Kidderminster and Stourport-on-Severn before stopping in Stratford-upon-Avon. The last item on my list is the Imperial War Museum at Duxford. Hope this gives you some ideas.

Posted by
7 posts

We want to thank everyone for jumping in. Your suggestions are most helpful and reassuring.

Posted by
3193 posts

Be sure to go to St. Fagan's near Cardiff.

Posted by
1890 posts

Of the places just mentioned, White Castle is very difficult to find - but find it I did and was about the only person present. Not sure if it worth going to this out of the way place but the nearby village of Skenfrith was quite nice. Neath Abbey is not worth a visit. Swansea is also not worth a visit but the Gower peninsula to the west has wonderful beaches & cliffs. If going to Pembrokeshire, you may wish to skip the Gower due to the hassle of getting through Swansea. As cala says above - be sure to go to St. Fagans Castle & Museum - which is just to the west of Cardiff - M4 junction 33 > A4232 going south for 1 mile then into slip road for HARD LEFT turn or you can drive out from Cardiff through suburbs.

You will find much more information about Wales if you read through postings in the Wales forum.

Posted by
594 posts

Some years ago, we had a day out and went to White Castle, Grosmont and Skenfrith. They are all three in an interesting area of border country, but would not be on my list of favourites, and there is not actually much left to see. If you are going to Chepstow and Raglan, then I would add Goodrich Castle to the list. It is on the English side of the border, but is in an impressive location overlooking the River Wye, and has had a long history including the English Civil War. It is also near Symonds Yat, which is also worth a visit.

Posted by
5495 posts

We did North Wales from Liverpool in 2013 and then in October 2017 we did 28 days in South Wales and England, including the Cotswolds.

Lots of castles in Wales. Cardiff Castle is great, recommend staying in Cardiff, also taking in the Museum of Welsh Life.
Tenby, Wales is a great place to stay, don't miss St. Davids.

We did three nights in Bath and 6 in Chipping Campden, using the Volunteer Inn as a base to visit Oxford, Blenheim Palace and Stratford Upon Avon, as well as the Cotswolds.

Here is my detailed story of our trip. 28 days in Britain and Celebrity Eclipse home

https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=599139

Posted by
7 posts

If we choose to drive along the coast from St. David’s to Conwy can we do it in one day or should we stop along the way for a night?

Posted by
34 posts

If you go to Cardiff, an interesting tour a little way north is the Royal Mint in Llantrissant. You can go on line and book the tour before you go. You can even strike your own 1 pound coin!

Posted by
1890 posts

It depends what you mean by coast. If you just take the most direct roads from St. David’s to Conwy (Conway) - yes it can be done in about 4 hours. If really hugging the coast and going around the Lleyn peninsula - the bit sticking out into the Irish Sea - then no. Look at this map:>https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.7399217,-4.1577706,10.6z/data=!5m1!1e1

You can see ‘short cuts’ up through Corris to Dolgellau and then the A470 going straight north via Blaenau Ffestiniog to Bettws-Y-Coed and on to Conwy. However, although these routes are scenic, you would be missing out on the very scenic drive along the north side of the Mawddach estuary to Barmouth and then on up the coast to see Harlech Castle.http://harlech.com
Not that far away is Portmeirion - which really deserves half a day.https://www.barmouth-wales.co.uk
https://portmeirion.wales
https://www.cardigan-bay.com/aberaeron-cardigan-bay.php