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day trip from bath--Glastonbury and Wells or Cardiff/South Wales

Howdy

Optimistically planning two week trip in Great Britain in May 2020. Home basing in Bath for three days with a few side trips planned and wondering which (Glastonbury-Wells vs Cardiff/South Wales would be a better day trip and why? Thanks as always for those taking time to help out

Best

Mike DC

Posted by
8280 posts

I guess it depends on what you are after. Will you have a car?

Personally, I've been to Glastonbury and Wells twice, once with a Rick Steves tour and once with a Road Scholar tour. I found Glastonbury underwhelming and the main street kind of tacky with the New Age shops. I am not big on King Arthur but found the legend of Joseph of Arimathea being there interesting. I LOVED Wells...love the cathedral with the scissor arches, love the medieval side street/clock/etc. Last time I opted out of a Cathedral tour to go do the tour of the Bishop's Palace and Gardens on my own. I enjoyed that very much.

If you have 3 full days in Bath (4 nights?) I'd save 2 of those days for Bath sights. To me there is so much to see there. If you enjoy gardens take a look at going to Prior Park which has a Regency era Palladian style bridge feature. I also particularly recommend #1 Royal Crescent which is a restored Georgian townhome. Check the board outside Bath Abbey to see if they are having any special music programs when you are there. Of course the Roman Baths are the top site and very worthwhile.

Others will comment on Cardiff...my last visit was well into the last century so not up to date, lol! Did like St Fagans though!

Posted by
4767 posts

I too would give the tacky Glastonbury a wide berth, but Wells is a wonderful place and you could spend several hours there including the charming cathedral, Bishop’s Palace and the unusual Vicar’s Close. There is also a great farmers market. Instead of Glastonbury, you could visit Cheddar - the village itself is also tourist tacky, but there is a great circular walk from the village along the top of the gorge.

Cardiff is a much longer, dull drive - probably 1.5 hours each way and parking there is expensive and hassle. It is a big city and therefore doesn’t have the charm of Wells, but it has a castle and the Welsh Assembly (Parliament) has tours. St Fagans Museum is worth a visit.

Wells would get my vote.

Posted by
3226 posts

Ditto what Jennifer and Pam said. If you have a hire/rental car, the castle at Chepstow is nice as is Tintern Abbey just up the road from it. If there was still time, a few miles from Tintern is Monmouth. Its Monnow bridge is interesting, walking around the town is a nice way to spend and hour or so, and you can park in the Waitrose parking lot free for an hour. Parking in the smaller towns is easier to find and is less expensive than Cardiff. The drive from Bath would be shorter than if going all the way to Cardiff.

Back in 2005 we too based ourselves in Bath and took a day trip to Cardiff Castle and Tintern Abbey. We got an early start. However, those were the only two things we saw; castle and abbey. We drove further into Cardiff, but didn’t find it overly interesting and left.

Posted by
4906 posts

Glastonbury is a nice base for day-drives, even if you're not interested in new-age shopping! I've also been to Cardiff, and it has a few things to do. But it's too far for a daytrip that includes the interesting outings FROM Cardiff. Cardiff by itself isn't worth the trip. The problem is that Wales covers so much ground. I agree that a day in Bath is worth much more than a day in Cardiff.

Posted by
1758 posts

We had a car. I wish we’d spent the entire day in Wells. The cathedral was a favorite among many we have visited and the adjoining palace grounds and garden were wonderful. Other interesting sights as well. We went to Glastonbury because he had read a book in which the tor featured prominently. Turned out a drive by sighting was sufficient for us. We have no interest in New Ageobilia and meandered through the crowded town half heartedly looking for a parking place but ultimately relieved when we didn’t find one. If the New Age scene holds no appeal, Glastonbury may appear tacky as mentioned above...it did to us. We did not make it to Glastonbury Abbey. Safe travels.

Posted by
4893 posts

We did a day trip to Glastonbury and Wells from Bath in October 2017. It is a nice day trip. On the way back, you can choose to ride through a scenic area called Cheddar Gorge.

The Cathedral at Wells is small but impressive and the small town is neat to visit.
Glastonbury is interesting, but it didn't WOW us.

After our stay at Bath and day trip as described, we drove to South Wales and Cardiff, stopping at Tintern Abbey and a couple of castles on our way to Cardiff. There are many, many interesting castles in Wales.

I think a day trip from Bath to Cardiff would be a bit much, since you wouldn't have a lot of time to see Cardiff Castle and the Museum of Welsh History, or Caerphilly Castle, a short train ride north of Cardiff.

Also, we visited Tenby for a couple of nights, before proceeding on to visit Penbroke Castle, where Henry VII was held before he escaped with the help of his uncle, Jasper Tudor. Tenby has an interesting history regarding Jasper Tudor, escaping in a tunnel to the port. Also, St. David's at the SW tip of Wales is worth a visit.

We spent five nights in South Wales and loved it.