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coming from Scotland to Wales

Hi to all Just starting to look into sometime in Wales...I will be coming off a Rick Steves tour of Scotland(august 14-26 2019)....looking for a place that we can take tours from or buses on our own...Not sure if we will have a car....From what I have read it seems the south coast if beautiful...Looking for villages to see some hiking and cathedrals to see....Actually just the beauty of the country. If you had a week in Whales what would you do...I am grateful for all suggestions. Any suggestions on best way to travel form Scotland to Wales....Again I am just starting...Thanks Pam Gierut

Posted by
1834 posts

Please look at this map of the rail system:>http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/static/images/structure/css/nationalrailnetworkmap.pdf

I would suggest that you need to travel down from Scotland by train and make your first destination Chester (1 night or 2 - if you wish to take a day trip into Liverpool).https://www.visitcheshire.com/chester

To reach Chester you will need to change trains in either Warrington (where you have to change stations - which are very close) or change at Crewe. As this is a long journey, you will get a cheaper price if you pre-book about 11 weeks ahead - when the cheaper Advance fares for specific trains get loaded to the system. (It may be cheaper to pre-book just to the place where you change trains - click ‘Details’ on the National Rail website & it will tell you where this is). www.nationalrail.co.uk

As you can see from the rail map, Wales has relatively few railways and the one that goes from north to south more or less follows the England/Wales border. Having said that, NW Wales in particular, has several narrow gauge steam railways running through scenic areas. From Chester, I suggest you take a train west to Conwy/Conway or Llandudno & stay maybe 2 nights. From here you can visit Bodnant Gardens by local bus. https://www.traveline.cymru is the site to use in Wales to find bus services. (A hire car would be the best way of seeing the scenic areas of Wales).

From Llandudno/Conwy, I would take the train to Blaenau Ffestiniog and then the narrow gauge Ffestiniog steam railway one way down to Porthmadog and stay 2 to 3 nights. Whilst here, visit Portmeirion and also take the Welsh Highland steam railway to Caernarfon (castle) - www.festrail.co.uk (You could return by bus if so desired).

Now go back to the first rail map and you will see a line going from Porthmadog southwards before going east to Shrewsbury. I would suggest that you take this route - and possibly stay 1 night in Shrewsbury. Then head south by train to Cardiff for maybe 3 nights.
(St.Fagans Museum & Castle; Cardiff Castle; Castell Coch & Caerphilly Castle are all worth seeing in the Cardiff area).

As well as the trains, a network of longer bus routes operates across Wales - so you may like to consider using them:>http://www.trawscymru.info/routes/
So, for example, should you wish to go down the western side of Wales, bus would be the way to go if you don’t have a hire car.

Posted by
373 posts

Hi Pam. You can fly pretty cheap from Glasgow, Edinburgh or Aberdeen to Cardiff so that would be my suggestion but book early as if you want to fly down on the 26th that's a bank holiday so might get booked up and more expensive. I would hire a car from Cardiff airport which is on the western side of the city and start heading west to Pembrokeshire - that has the most attractive coastline. Visit St Davids Cathedral, Take a trip from Tenby to Caldey Island, take a pick of any number of castles. If you like Gardens you can visit the National Botanical Gardens in Carmarthenshire or Aberglasney. Work your way back towards Cardiff, there are some lovely villages in the Vale of Glamorgan - Cowbridge is currently in the running for best British High Street. You could spend 2 full days in Cardiff before heading for a flight home LHR would be the easiest transfer, there are cheap coach routes that run from Cardiff to LHR. Things not to miss in Cardiff include the St Fagans Welsh folk museum, Cardiff Castle or Castell Coch just to the north of the city and a wander around Cardiff Bay. If you like impressionist art there's a great collection in the museum.