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Cardiff time planning

I am acting as tour guide for a group of family members on a Welsh heritage tour coming up. I've never been to Cardiff or south Wales and that will be our first destination. We are planning to visit these locations:
Tintern Abbey
Caerphilly Castle
St. Fagan's National History Museum
Cardiff Castle
I have been unable to find any guidelines as to how much time to allot for the first three. We are looking for a duration that would not be too drawn out, but not rushed either. Does anyone have any recommendations? Any recommendations for which tour to take at Cardiff Castle?
Thanks for your help!

Posted by
1934 posts

The additional cost for the guided tour will add about 50 minutes to Cardiff Castle. Some might find it a bit long winded as you will get detailed descriptions about furniture etc. Others might find it interesting. So, it depends on the type/age of people in your group. The roof garden on this more detailed tour is not up to much but some of the rooms that you will see in the tower are very ornate. On the basic entry ticket, you are left very much up to your own devices to tour most of the Castle - except the clock tower. The Norman tower has very steep winding stairs but is well worth the climb for those who are fit enough.

St.Fagans would need around 2 hours at the Castle & grounds - so you could say that this would be half a day.

Timings for the other places depends on how you are getting about as you do not say whether you are using public transport, private car or have hired a mini bus. Knowing how many people are in your party would perhaps have some bearing on how long it would take plus the age range. How long will you be in the Cardiff area or has that not yet been decided?

Posted by
13 posts

Thank you, James. There are 12 of us and we have a small bus taking us around. Most are early 60's - early 70's. We have from noon on the first day (Tintern Abbey & Caerphilly Castle) and the entire 2nd day (Cardiff Castle & St. Fagan's). Hope to squeeze a tour of Cardiff in there if we can.

You seem very knowledgeble. Are there any you would skip or add? The idea isn't just to see the best castle, or whatever, but to get the most complete history of the country.

Posted by
1934 posts

It sounds like you are entering Wales from southern England via the Severn Bridge. That being so, you would need to cross the M48 bridge and leave at the first junction on the Welsh side for Tintern (A466). Please note that a Castle also exists at Chepstow so you may wish to make a slight detour to view that from the outside - good view also from the river bridge which is just a short walk from the parking area.

Tintern Abbey is a ruin set in the beautiful Wye Valley. Best seen from the outside - which can take as little as 12 minutes. If you then drove direct to Cardiff or Caerphilly, it would take around 50 minutes. Alternatively, you could continue up the Wye Valley to Monmouth - turn left onto A40 and after another 12 minutes or so turn off for Raglan Castle.

Then, it is the A449 expressway down to the M4 for the journey around Newport and thence to Caerphilly. Caerphilly is the second largest castle in Britain & is well worth seeing. It is best seen from the outside. If your party wish to climb the battlements etc. , then by all means pay to go inside.

Much depends on where you are staying in the Cardiff area as to best advice on how to see the other 'attractions' with the most economical use of time/distance.

You don't say when you are visiting but Dyffryn Gardens (just west of Cardiff) are also worth a visit if in July & August.

You would really need to go further into Wales to get a true picture of the country.

Posted by
90 posts

Hello Sue,

My daughter and I will be traveling to South Wales in two weeks. While there we will be attending a Welsh Banquet at Cardiff Castle. Here's the link:

Promises to be fun. You need to send an inquiry to: Tell her date, number in your party (adults/children), time you will be arriving and whether you wish a tour prior. They will call you back as confirmation depends on minimum of guests attending. Your phone number should also be included in e mail. If you are calling directly to inquire from the U. S., begin "01144" and then their listed number. DO NOT INCLUDE THE 0 (as first digit).