How hard is it to drive from Oxford to Cardiff? We would like to spend a couple of days touring South Wales in November. Looking to stay in Cardiff or somewhere nearby. Also what castles are the best to see near Cardiff?
The hardest part of driving in England and Wales is that everything is on the opposite side of the car, opposite side of the road, and round abouts go 'backwards.' We enjoyed Pembroke Castle in Pembroke, and although there isn't a whole lot there to see, Tintern Abbey. And I would assume you will visit Bath as it is basically on the way to Wales.
2 and a half hours dual carriageway and motorway.
Slower when traffic is high or accidents or roadworks.
Unless you are driving around Oxford already (difficult in town, but makes sense for the surroundings), I would take the train to Cardiff (change at Didcot Parkway) and rent a car there; the M4 is relatively easy to drive, but it is rather boring.
When we last visited Wales in 2019 it took 2.5 hours to drive from Heathrow to Tintern where we spent a few nights. Tintern Abbey ruin is a nice stop. Regarding castles, there are a number of them. Some that are not total ruins and have admission fees include, Chepstow, Cardiff, Caerphilly, Pembroke, and Coch. Caerphilly castle is fantastic. If you visit it, rather than parking in town, park in the lot on the backside of the castle off Crescent road. It’s easier to get a spot. There are also a number of castle ruins that are free such as, Skenfrith, Grosmont, White, and Raglan. Raglan is very nice. Monmouth and its Monnow bridge is nice to wander for about an hour. If you like Neolithic standing stones, there are The 3,500 year old Harold’s stones in Trelleck.
Depending on how many historic places in Wales you plan to visit, it might make sense to buy a CADW annual pass. There are different memberships and prices. For example, joint, family, etc. You can check it out at: https://cadw.gov.wales/
On that site you can check out all its different properties and entrance fees. Not all CADW properties have a fee to enter.
Thank You for your help!