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2 days North Wales from Bath or Cardiff by Train/bus

Bath to North Wales for 2 days – Need help with Itinerary by Train/Bus only
I am travelling to UK and want to see London surrounding areas and Wales. (Done London already)
Please suggest if I should go to North Wales via Cardiff or via Birmingham.
Possible see some castles and try the welsh highland railway – Caernarfon to Porthmadog day trip good enough?
Any suggestion on 2 days itineraries at North Wales by train or bus only? All tours I search online is too expensive like $600+. Any suggestion on where I would find cheaper local tour?
Thank you

Posted by
279 posts

Last summer my wife and I spent five night in Caernarfon, at a B&B inside the city walls. Caernarfon castle is really great. We rode the Welsh Highland Railway from Caernarfon to Porthmadog and really enjoyed it. The food and drink served on the train was pretty good. There were plenty of photo opportunities during the trip.
We drove to Wales. My wife tried to find a bus station in Caernarfon and was unsuccessful.
North Wales is quite compact. A friend drove us around for a day an we visited both Beuamaris and Snowdonia. Once you get to Wales perhaps you could hire a driver for a day.

Posted by
1838 posts

The first thing you need to do is get some idea of the UK rail network. Click this link for a map and select the one of Train Operators = the 4th one down:> http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations_destinations/maps.aspx

Look at North Wales and you will see a red line. This indicates that it is on a Virgin Trains route - which you can follow to Chester & all the way back to London (Euston). Now, look at the dark green routes running west from London (Paddington). These are run by Great Western Railway. These are the trains you would use from London to Bath or south Wales. You will also see on the map rail routes from London to Birmingham which continue west to Shrewsbury and then through to the west coast of Wales where they split. The turquoise colours are routes over which Arrive Trains Wales operate. You can purchase through tickets involving different train companies: e.g. Bath to north Wales would involve GWR & ATW with a change at Newport.

So, you could go with GWR from London (PAD) to Bath. Stay a night or two and then travel the 1 hour journey with GWR from Bath to Cardiff for say 2 or 3 nights. Direct trains (ATW) go from Cardiff to north Wales via Shrewsbury (where you could change for the line going west ) or continue via Chester to north Wales. (Chester is well worth a stopover). You could then go directly back to London but should also note that you can get trans Atlantic flights from Manchester & Birmingham airports.

To find out the train schedules/fares try www.nationalrail.co.uk
On short hops, the fares remain the same. For longer journeys, it can be cheaper to pre-book specific trains with the cheapest fares loaded about 11 weeks ahead.

2 days is not enough time for doing north Wales. You also have to factor in the time it takes to reach north Wales.
Here are 2 companies offering mini bus tours in southern Wales:> www.seewales.com, http://www.wherewhenwales.com

Also read response to this earlier post:>https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/wales/llandudno-to-dunster-in-exmoor-by-train-or-bus-possible-crazy