Wales Suggestions?

Planning to be in Wales for three days in April, and looking to hear what are people's must see sights. We will have a car, love to be active, pack a lot into each day, and have chances to understand the culture and not just visit "tourist" spots. Also looking for hotel suggestions in Cardiff-- seems tough to find a good place, and RS doesn't suggest anything in his book. Thanks!
Erin

Posted by Darren
Galt, Calif., UK
136 posts

Caerphilly Castle is pretty cool to visit and that is all I have seen on the south side, I have preferred the North side with Conwy and Carnaerfon Castle....the drive time is just under 4 hours or so from south to north and a little quicker if you drive fast lol, Its all motorway.

Posted by Erin
San Francisco, CA
176 posts

Thanks! We were thinking perhaps something like Day 1- Conway, Day 2- Snowdonia, Day 3- Cardiff/Tintern Abbey Just didn't want to make a final decision until I'd heard if there were not to be missed sights elsewhere :) Best,
Erin

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1562 posts

We have not used it for Wales but for Uk,Scotland, website called Smoothhound.com. Very easy to use and we were successful and pleased with places in Bath, Wells, Edinburgh. Worth a try. We did enjoy Tinturn abbey as day trip from Bath. Good luck.

Posted by Sharon
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
892 posts

We stayed at the Town House B&B in Cardiff and really liked it.

Posted by marylinne
cincinnati, OH, United States
4 posts

We spent 10 days in Wales Sept 2011. We found people to be very friendly and helpful. In Cardiff, we stayed at the centrally located Marriott (reasonably priced) which is downtown about 1 block from the train station, so an easy walk if you arrive by train from London or points east. Tons of restaurants and shopping around. We did not have a car while in Cardiff and took public transportation everywhere. Day 1-I would recommend Caerphilly Castle (by bus)-it is beautiful. The rest of the day we explored Cardiff on foot-there is enough in Cardiff alone to fill 3 days. We spent another day at the Welsh National History Museum in St Fagans-it is close and another short bus trip. It is an open air museum-a village of buildings moved there from all over Wales on the property of a large manor house/castle that you can also tour. Day 3- We took the train to Newport and then a short bus trip to Caerleon, which also is very close. There are roman ruins/baths- again very interesting and it is a lovely town. Had a wonderful meal at The Priory in "downtown" Caerleon. We also spent some time just exploring Newport. Another place to see close to Cardiff, but you need a car-is to drive north to Brecon-a nice town and "gateway" to the Brecon Beacons. On the way, you could stop at Pendryn which is the only distillery in Wales. They make very good Welsh whiskey and their gin is amazing. We bought several bottles to bring home with us. It is a little out of the way, but an interesting side trip and nice drive through very pretty hills full of grazing sheep.
North Wales is beautiful with all the castles and Mt. Snowdon, but I think requires much more than 3 days.

Posted by Darren
Galt, Calif., UK
136 posts

We also attended a Medieval dinner at Ruthin Castle, don't know if it still occurs. We also stayed a fantastic B&B just outside of Ruthin that was a converted railway station. Fantastic place with fantastic views, I will try and remember the name.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7978 posts

'not just visit "tourist" spots' 'Day 1- Conway, Day 2- Snowdonia, Day 3- Cardiff/Tintern Abbey' Since the two statements are so contradictory, you might want to give us a couple more clues. I think the Ruthin Hotel (most of the castle was torn during the civil war) is going into receivership or restructuring or something. There's not a lot to see at Tintern, it's one more ruined abbey. Except for the Wye, of course. Don't blow off Caerphilly, it's one of the good ones. Enroute from Cardiff to Tintern, you pass right by Chepstow, another good one. On the Snowdonia to Cardiff run, Harlech, one of the great ones, is ten minutes out of the way. I'd be curious to know why Cardiff is on the list at all.

Posted by Erin
San Francisco, CA
176 posts

THank you for all of your suggestions. I should have mentioned that after Wales we are spending two nights in Bath, thus the thought that we'd start in the North and head to the South (en route to Bath). In terms of Cardiff, we thought that being the capital it would make it worth a quick stop on our way to Bath, but would love the suggestions of this group if you think there is something else that would be more worth the time. I appreciate everyone's thoughtful suggestions. Erin

Posted by Thomas
Hermosa Beach, CA, USA
74 posts

This August, we stayed in Bath, then drove up the Wye Valley on the way to the Cotswolds. We managed to see Chepstow Castle which dated back to William I, Tintern Abbey with its gorgeous ruins, and Goodrich Castle which was having a "Medieval Tournament" the day we were there. Tintern was fabulous, Chepstow and Goodrich were interesting and worth the time. The Wye Valley was beautiful just to drive through. Have fun.

Posted by Sharon
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
892 posts

One other comment about Cardiff - if you like museums, they have a fantastic history and art museum there. Many impressionists. When we were there, there was an Indian festival going on at the waterfront - took a water taxi to it. I'm lead to believe they have events on the waterfront frequently. Very beautiful.