In mid-July, I plan to arrive, with car, presumably in north Wales from the Lake District. When I leave, I'll be heading, again by car, for London. i've tentatively booked a place in Llandudno for a few days at the start, but the rest of my itinerary is open and I'm looking for suggestions as to where else might serve as another good base or two. Any hints on must see/must do activities most welcome, too! Thanks
Unless you are planning on stoping off on the way don't bother driving back to London. The train is much easier and quicker. You could catch it from Llandudno Junction or drive to Chester and pick it up there. You should definitely visit Chester anyway. A very pretty Roman/Medieval town
What are you interests OP? There's plenty of beautiful scenery and castles around the south, and some nice places to pass through in mid Wales. Lovely coastal towns and villages in Pembrokeshire. Go before the schools break up around 20th July and you'll have a cove to yourself. The Gower Peninsula is fab. The Wye Valley a delight. Interesting attractions in and around Cardiff. Just let us know what floats your boat and we will deliver!
Thanks folks: First, I am driving because I am bringing my own car from where I live in Spain...will be in Ireland and the UK for 14 weeks and bouncing from one home exchange to another, often in fairly remote areas. So I'm thinking of this as my great British/Irish road trip. The 9 days in Wales is the one period where I don't have a place to stay all lined up and don't know much yet about the area...so eager to learn more about must see/must do activities and good places to base myself to do them.
As for my interests: Castles, stately homes, cathedrals and churches, gardens, points of literary or historic interest. I particularly like places that have good audio or other tours, so that I can really learn about the architecture, the way people lived or worked and the history of a place. I also really enjoy local events...fairs, concerts, etc. I've found a site (courtesy of another post here) with info about male voice choirs and located a few scheduled concerts and hope to get to at least one. I'll be in the area from July13 to July 22. All suggestions welcome!
I'd second the recommendation to visit Pembrokeshire, fantastic coast line and at St.David's the cathedral there is well worth a visit, it's wonderful. Fantastic painted roof amongst other things! You might look at St David's or perhaps somewhere like Broad Haven (or surrounding area) for accommodation.
However Pembroke is very much southern Wales and you'll be in the north at Llandudno, so unless you're prepared to rejig your plans a bit and travel south to Pembrokeshire, I'd recommend having a look at Snowdonia, fine rugged mountain scenery. You can take a train to the summit of Snowden if you're not into hiking (and whichever way you walk it's a tough slog to the summit on foot).
I also have a soft spot for Portmeirion on the coast, a miniature Italianate village dumped into North Wales. It is at worst an interesting oddity, right down to the stone boat in the harbour and for those of us, like myself who watched 'The Prisoner' as kids, it can be downright unsettling. Worth a visit either way and not a million miles from Harlech and its castle if memory serves - which it does less and less these
Hope you have a great trip!
I you get up to North Wales, I believe you would enjoy Bodnant Garden.
Great with time and a car you'll get to see some great parts of Wales. I'm not so hot on north Wales but I would recommend you give yourself about three days there and others I'm sure can give you advice. I would then spend around three days in Pembrokeshire. Go to St Davids Cathedral, visit Tenby and catch a ferry over to Caldey Island. Find a lovely beach. Check out a host of castles in the area. You could visit Dylan Thomas's boathouse at Laugharne.
I would then spend your remaining few days in or around Cardiff. Perhaps on the way stop at the National Botanical Gardens of Wales, castle carrag cennin or dinefwr castle near Carmarthen/Landeilo.
Since you have a car I might chose to stay outside of the city centre in Cardiff. You should definitely go to the Welsh folk museum at St Fagans and there is a nice B&B - The Old Post Office right opposite the entrance to the gardens. From there you can take an easy bus ride into the city centre to visit Cardiff Castle, the national museum (with some fab impressionist art) wander round the Victorian arcades and perhaps take in Cardiff Bay. Drive out to Castell Coch just to the north of the city centre. Then on your way back to London drive to Tintern Abbey and linger around the Wye Valley for as long as you like.
I'm another The Prisoner fan who really enjoyed visiting Portmeirion. It's effectively a series of follies that are substantial enough to be a resort village.
If you go to South Wales, I highly recommend Tenby. We have been to both North and South Wales and thought South Wales was more scenic.