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5 days in Northern or Southern Wales?

I pretty much have my trip together, just need to decide where to go in Wales. I only have 5 fulls days in Wales, and am prety sure I have to stick to either the North or South. I will be coming from Bristol so the South sounds easier, but I also heard the North is more scenic. I love: moutnains, lakes, waterfalls, rolling green hills, castles, gardens and so forth. Which would be better to see? Can I do both? Thanks!!

Posted by
1834 posts

Are you driving a car or using public transport and where will you be going after Wales?

Posted by
515 posts

I will have a car and then be heading into the Lakes District. Sorry, I should have specified that!

Posted by
515 posts

I will have a car and then be heading into the Lakes District. Sorry, I should have specified that!

Posted by
515 posts

I will have a car and then be heading into the Lakes District. Sorry, I should have specified that!

Posted by
1834 posts

Being as you are coming in from the Bristol area and going out northward - to the Lake District, it makes sense to see both the south & the north. I would probably skip south west Wales - which has beautiful coastal scenery. You may like to follow route below:>

Day 1 = head for Cardiff & check in to accommodation when convenient. (Note that downtown hotels will have limited/expensive parking. Consider somewhere on the edge of the city with free parking). Go to M4 Junction 33 & take A4232 - after just over 1 mile - look out for brown signs and turn Left (a very hard turn from slip road) to visit Museum of Welsh Life at St.Fagans Castle. (The place is undergoing an upgrade but is still well worth the visit. I suggest you walk through grounds to the Castle & exit into village (you pass through gate for free) - turn left & find the 'Plymouth Arms' - enter round back & have lunch before returning to Castle.

When done with St.Fagans, return to A4232 expressway* - turn left & follow to Cardiff Bay = harbour area (no beach). When you cross a bridge over the river - leave expressway & take second right towards St.David's Hotel to find parking. Walk around harbour to Norwegian Church. (Plenty of restaurants). * If you have spare time, you may wish to visit Dyffryn Gardens. (Leave A4232 at first junction & follow A48 towards Cowbridge. At St.Nicholas, turn left and drive 1 mile to Dyffryn Gardens. Driving time from St.Fagans to Dyffryn is about 13 minutes.

Day 2 = visit Cardiff city centre & Castle & maybe Museum. In the afternoon, drive to the northern edge of Cardiff (near M4 J32 ) to visit Castell Coch. On leaving Castell Coch, you may wish to visit Caerphilly Castle. This can be done by turning hard left on leaving the drive at Castell Coch and following minor (narrow and bendy) roads over Caerphilly Mountain. (The route by main roads is longer).

Day 3 = the journey north. Take A470 N from Cardiff. After about 1 hour, you will have crossed the Brecon Beacons & pass into the hamlet of Libanus. Turn left & follow signs to Mountain Centre - which offers nice views of the BB. When done, return to A470 - take Brecon by-pass & head for Builth Wells. (Beware of sharp left turn about 6 miles E of Brecon). (The Little Chef is a good place to stop for a coffee in Builth Wells - it is just over the river bridge). Proceed up A470 through lovely scenery to Rhayader & then Llanidloes. If you are confident with driving on the left - & with hilly roads - take B4518 towards Staylittle and then Llanbrynmair. If less confident - stay on A470 & go via Caersws. Next follow signs for A470 - Dolgellau. From Dolgellau - take A496 to Barmouth (worth a stop) & then proceed to Harlech to see the Castle. Try & find accommodation in the Harlech to Porthmadog area.

Day 4 = Visit Portmeirion - an Italian style village between Harlech & Porthmadog. http://www.portmeirion-village.com/visit/day-guests/ Then drive to Caernarvon to see the Castle. (The A487 is faster & less scenic than the A4085 - you might use both in different directions).

Day 5 = Leave accommodation in Porthmadog/Harlech area and drive through Aberglaslyn Pass to Beddgelert - then A498 towards Capel Curig. If you wish to go up Snowdon - take left turn onto A4086 & head for Llanberis = the starting point of the mountain railway. Anyway, mountain railway or not - go through Capel Curig & along A5 to Betws-Y-Coed & then A470 going north. Near Tal-Y-Cafn, look out for signs for Bodnant Gardens- which are well worth a visit - especially in May. Conway (Conwy) Castle and Llandudno are well worth a visit in this area so try and find accommodation here. (Parking would be a problem for hotels in Llandudno).

Day 6 = head for Lake District via A55 towards England. Chester - just over the border is well worth a visit before heading north.

Hope this helps. Google the places for more info. Here is one to get you going:>
http://www.snowdonrailway.co.uk
www.visitwales.co.uk