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best route to travel from chipping camden to area near Pwllheli on Ilyn peninsula

hi we be traveling the first week in june from Chipping Camden to our lodging which is 12 miles from Pwllheli. this will be the first time driving in Great Britain. it will be the 5th day so hopefully no jet lag. what are reccomendations for the best way to approach this. We dont mind scenic as long as we can find our way and get there before it is dark, i understand the service is very sketchy for tv and wifi and probably for navigation tools? from this base we will be travelling to LLandudno and Conwy. Also where would you suggest hiking to see views similar to the cornwall coastline if there are any similar? Thanks Susan

Posted by
23256 posts

That's at least 4 hours of driving if the driving gods are on your side and you don't slow down for anything.

First time driving in England and Wales, first time driving on our side of the road and at least 40 roundabouts - several multi-lane - and you'd probably double that time, especially if you want lunch.

I can't tell you the best route, certainly not after you arrive in the land of dragons and love-spoons, but I can tell you which way you won't want to go.

By the way, where is the car coming from? No major car-hire companies in or around Chipping Campden as far as I know, unless they have just snuck one in.

You might be tempted to go Stratford-upon-Avon, to the M40 to M42 around Solihull, past Birmingham Airport to the M6 through Birmingham, then off at the M54 towards Shrewsbury. Don't do that. Driving through Stratford is complicated, lots of not used to the UK drivers sometimes driving unpredictably, the bottleneck getting over the river and the likelihood of taking the wrong road out of Stratford, or the wrong lane so you wind up going around the one-way scheme again, and the difficult roundabout onto the A46 and the difficulty of Junction 15, and then the very heavy and difficult and micro-managed variable speed limits and the "Smart" motorway on the M42 and M6, and the M6 is elevated for many miles - no, don't pick that route.

You might be tempted to drive towards Worcester and then get on the M5 towards Spaghetti Junction (look it up in Google) and then M6, M54. Don't do that. The M5/M6 junction is undergoing major rebuilding all the way from below Junction 1 and is no fun, then see above.

So if you don't go one of those, what would you pick? There are several choices. Entirely up to you, but if I were driving and the prospect of 40 plus roundabouts hadn't put me off, I'd go via Weston-sub-Edge and Bretforton (home of the Fleece pub), picking up the A44 around Evesham (if you haven't had your fill of the most delicious asparagus by then, you will want to pick some up or eat it in and around Evesham and Pershore - Evesham Vale (not a brand, a valley) asparagus is probably the very best in the world), passing Wyre Piddle then A422 into Worcester - a beautiful place itself, with a fabulous cathedral and walk along the River Severn, beautiful in early June - or bypass Worcester picking up the A449 as you cross the M5 up to Kidderminster - the home of the best preserved railway in the UK, the Severn Valley Railway - but unless you want a ride behind a steam engine you should stay on the ring road; pick up the A442 which follows the route of, but not normally in sight of, the Severn Valley Railway, and take that as far as Bridgnorth (note the missing "e"). If you stop there, Bridgnorth has the SVR northern terminus, locomotive works, a slighted castle at a jaunty angle and a funicular. At Bridgnorth pick up the A458 towards Shrewsbury, passing Much Wenlock, a beautiful town. At Shrewsbury, another fabulous town almost encircled by the River Severn, loop around through the never ending roundabouts on the A5 ring road, and head into Wales, probably by the B4396, but there be dragons and somebody familar with the Principality will need to guide you further.

Sounds complicated but I propose that route as the most direct, least traffic, most beautiful route. You have to get to Shrewsbury anyway most likely before you can start to speak Welsh, and that route is as good as any other.

Posted by
1832 posts

You can try and follow the route I give you by using the following map and zooming down to some of the more complicated junctions. I would also suggest you look at streetview of some of the junctions/roads so that you know what to expect - should you decide to follow my suggested route. You will see Chipping Campden towards the SE and Pwllheli towards the NW:>
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.4608351,-3.1029197,135016m/data=!3m1!1e3!5m1!1e1

Leave CC on B4081 going SE until you reach A44 - where your turn R. Now follow A44 all the way to Evesham where you reach the A46/A44 by-pass - turn R and loop around the town and then proceed on A44 towards Worcester. You could go through the middle of Worcester but I would suggest that you loop around to the south of the city using the A4440 - which has numerous roundabouts. Anyway, you need to then head NW on A44 towards Bromyard and on to Leominster - which you can by pass. (Just before Bromyard, you might like to take a break and short detour & visit Lower Brockhampton Hall = real Olde England).https://www.visitherefordshire.co.uk/thedms.aspx?dms=3&venue=1401125

From Leominster - take A49 going N & on reaching LUDLOW - I would definitely take a detour into the town. (Best view of the castle is from the west side of the river). https://www.ludlow.org.uk
Then back onto A49 going towards Shrewsbury & about 1 mile N of Ludlow - turn left into STOKESAY CASTLE. (Really a fortified Manor House). Then back onto A49 going N.https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stokesay-castle/

Just after Craven Arms, turn L onto A489 towards Newtown - which you can by-pass. Stay on A489 & at Caersws turn R following A489/A470 NW towards Machynlleth. On reaching Cemmaes Road turn R following A470 towards DOLGELLAU. This will be the the most mountainous section of the route as you go between the Aran Mountains & Cader Idris. Dolgellau has many narrow streets and amazing buildings built out of huge blocks of stone. You can by-pass the town if you wish and then just follow the A470 north. After passing a large lake look out for a left turn for the A487 to PORTHMADOG - which you by-pass and finally A497 down to Pwllheli.

Regarding beeches on Llyn peninsula: check out Abersoch and also Morfa Nefyn and the adjoining Porth Dinllaen.https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/porthdinllaen
https://www.visitsnowdonia.info/abersoch

Posted by
5817 posts

North Wales is not a particularly big area so somewhere that is 12 miles from Pwllheli is not near Pwllheli, if that makes sense? Do you have more specific location details?
One thing to be aware of when driving in Wales is that the road signage, including place names, are in both languages. Most places in that area just have a Welsh name, no English so it's not too confusing but it's worth being aware of.

The Welsh coastline is different to the fornish coastline so you will struggle to recreate a Poldark moment but it's lovely in its own right. Get up into Snowdonia for really majestic scenary.

Ps just in case you were wondering, Pwllheli is (kind of) pronounced "puthellie". Puth to rhyme with puff, ellie as in the girls name.....kind of...:-)

Posted by
13 posts

Thanks everyone for replying. I hope to hire a car when we leave Bath around Bristol road. Haven’t started that research yet. It seems a bit overwhelming but I was happy to see that no one said not to attempt it! Will definitely look at the info and sites you all recommend. How long is daylight that time of day? To Emma, we are heading to a cottage Bwthyn yr Ardd! At Gwynedd. Do you know if nav systems or Mapquest will be working in those areas?

Posted by
5817 posts

I’ve googled the cottage name “Bwthyn yr Ardd” and it looks like there might be a couple of properties with that name in the area?

Gwynedd is actually the name of the wider county so that won’t help you with directions. All U.K. addresses have “postcodes”, like zip codes, which you can use to find locations on sat navs etc. You will find it at the end of the address for the property. The post code for that area looks like it begins LL52 or LL53?

Posted by
13 posts

the cottage is part of a national trust and is next to Plas Yn Rhiw with zipcode? of LL538AB. is that what you put into nav system when using GPS in place of an address? thanks Emma for telling me how to pronounce the town, I am sure we will fumble with the language as long as no one gets upset at our ignorance for the welsh language. I think English is also spoken? that is part of the fun of traveling, get to learn so much! on a more serious note we briefly took a look at the google maps and are not adept yet at zooming into look at roundabouts and street views. but we will need to figure it out along with a good map. Any suggestions for a map? It seems like Nigel and James are giving a similar route to follow , is that correct? we were thinking of picking car up near Bath and going to Bleinhein and then Chipping Campden for 2 nights. do you advise a car for the costwolds or just for the Wales portion of the trip? Or another possibility would be to take a train to Chester , rent a car and then drive to Ilyn peninsula. Any comments are greatly appreciated! thanks everyone

Posted by
1832 posts

I have found where you are staying - though the red balloon marker on Google Maps is not the exact location of your cottage. So, to find it you could just have used Google Maps and put LL53 8AB in the search box. Now, click the following link to show you on Google Maps where you are going to stay:>https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Rhiw,+Pwllheli+LL53+8AB/@52.8238573,-4.6268331,1433m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x4865edd37e724bab:0x70c15a3a3a30d211!8m2!3d52.8257704!4d-4.6249441!5m1!1e1

Now go to the bottom right corner and you will see a yellow map. If you click and drag and drop him onto any of the road that turn blue, you will go to streetview. To return to the map - go to the top left. Above the yellow map you will see a - & + signs. These are your zoom in/out. So, you will see that where you are staying is not in Pwllheli but a little way to the west - near the end of the peninsula. It so happens that I actually drove along that road to eventually reach Aberdaron. Do not go in the sea at the big beach called Porth Neigwl /Hell’s Mouth due to dangerous currents. This is probably the strongest Welsh speaking area in Wales due to it being remote. However, all the locals can also speak English though you will probably notice they have a strong Welsh accent - which is rather different from the Welsh accent of the Welsh speakers in south west Wales. You will also encounter many tourists from England in Wales though where you are staying is relatively quiet.

Now click the following link which will take you to a streetview of the road approaching Plas Rhiw. I wonder if your cottage is down the turning on the left? (You can click on the road to advance). https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.8258856,-4.6127122,3a,75y,251.41h,79.56t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sQou3Q3bMhy4liH1-Y2k4iw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!5m1!1e1

You can also click and drag to see what is around you. You will definitely need a car in this place! You may also have to know how to drive backwards should you have to reverse to a passing place. Do not hire a massive car and make sure you have an automatic if you cannot drive manual shifters.

It could be that your cottage is up this even narrower road - which is marked ‘Plas Rhiw’. I think you should check beforehand as to exactly where this cottage is located as you don’t want to be searching around after such a long journey. Click the link and click forward to go up the drive:>https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.821603,-4.6190672,3a,75y,351.75h,88.39t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sMUZ4A53HyHRolENduVDS_Q!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!5m1!1e1

Posted by
5817 posts

As the cottage is attached to a National Trust property you will also be able to follow the signs to the main house to get you almost there. Tourist site signs are in brown and those related to the National Trust often have an oak leaf symbol on them. The post code is the most accurate part of any address so use that when route planning. It is written in 2 half's, LL53 8AB Some websites don't mind if you type it all in one, some want the gap.
The area has welsh as a first language but everyone will also speak English. Some visitors (usually English!) find the use of Welsh everywhere a bit off putting, or they interpret it as the locals being rude. They aren't they are just using their language and getting on with life. As a general rule people in this area are quite quiet and not 'in your face' friendly, but get past the occasionally dour exterior and they are lovely. The north Walean accent is lovely but you might need to tune your ear into it to understand it.
It's always good to attempt the correct pronunciations bur the locals are use to people butchering the language!:-) It's hard if you aren't brought up speaking it. The two main pronunciations to be aware of are "LL" (a spitty CL sound pronounced from the back and sides of your mouth) and "DD"( a breathy TH)

Taking the train to Chester and getting a car from there would definitely make the driving easier. Chester is also a lovely historic town to visit in its own right. You could take the train to Llandudno and get a car there but Chester might he better as the roads into Wales will be an easier introduction in to driving in the area.