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Driving in Wales

Planning to drive from Cardiff along the coast north and then cut over to Shropshire with 1-2 short stops. Staying in Oswestry. Is this drive too ambitious? May 25 or so. Driving my parents who are 75 and 84. We are interested in scenery, food and togetherness so any interesting pubs along the way will be appreciated as well. I'll be the DD. Many thanks!

Posted by
1246 posts

We drove all over Wales with no problem except sheep in the road. Get an automatic and you'll have a great time!

Posted by
1889 posts

Not viable to drive the coast and then cut over to Oswestry. If you give more details of where you are coming from when you enter/exit Wales and for how long, it would help.

To go from Cardiff to Oswestry - in one day, I would suggest you choose between these 2 routes - of which 1 is the more scenic.

  1. Leave Cardiff on A470. About 35 minutes north of the city, you enter the Brecon Beacons National Park. On descending from the highest point on the A470, you will come to a village called Libanus. If you turn left here onto a minor road, within 8 minutes, you will come to the National Park ‘Mountain Centre’ = an interpretation centre about the BBNP (& toilets).
    Return to A470 and continue towards Brecon - take by-pass - continue on A470 for Builth Wells. (Watch out for a hard left turn about 7 miles E of Brecon). At Builth Wells (Little Chef near bridge has toilets) proceed north on A470 to Rhayader and onto Llangurig - fork R for A470. Pop into Llanidloes to see small town mid Wales - but watch out for road humps! Back onto A470 for Caersws and then E to Newtown. Now A483 going NE towards Welshpool. About 1 mile prior to Welshpool, turn off for Powis Castle - check opening times.
    After Powis Castle - just continue on A483 to Oswestry.

  2. Leave Cardiff on M48 & eastbound M4. After going around Newport, leave M4 at Junction 24 & proceed NE on A449. Leave A449 at Raglan Junction to visit castle.

Leave castle & turn left and follow signs for A40 Monmouth. A few miles NE of Monmouth, you will come to a turn off that says A4137 - Hereford. Take it and a few miles further turn left onto A49 for Hereford. Now, Hereford is the most congested place on this route. You could just stick to the A49 or park & visit Hereford.

Continue N on A49. Ludlow is well worth a slight detour. This is real Ye Olde England.
About 2 miles N of Ludlow (on left) is :>
(Toilet available even if you don’t pay to go in).

At Craven Arms, you could turn L onto A489 and later A490 for Welshpool and Powis Castle - as in route 1. Alternatively, continue on A49 to Shrewsbury (worth a visit) and then A5 to Oswestry. (If staying in Oswestry, you could drive to nearby Gobowen and take a train to Shrewsbury or go north to see the historic city of Chester. See

With stops, either of these two routes would take you most of the day. If you were to drive non stop from Cardiff to Oswestry, it would take about 3 hours.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you both. We are coming from Bath and staying in Cowbridge and then onto Oswestry before traveling onto Dumfries. Would like to see a bit of Cardiff, Tintern areas then. Perhaps one 1-2 castles and more people watching and music. I'll scale back the driving--just means we need to make another visit. Just want it to be fun for my parents.

Posted by
1889 posts

You can detour to Tintern when entering Wales from Bath. Go N form Bath to join M4. After skirting Bristol, the road descends a hill towards the estuary. Look out for the sign ‘M48’ Chepstow & fork left off M4 onto M48 to cross the ‘old’ Severn bridge. Toll is about £6.70. Leave at first junction on Welsh side. Follow A466 to Tintern.

The coast is just 15 minutes S of Cowbridge. Go to western end of main street & fork left and follow signs for Llantwit Major. Go through LM and continue down road to beach (free parking). Not the best of Welsh beaches but the nearest to Cowbridge - which is very nice. Also, you could consider going a little further along the coast to Southerndown and Ogmore-by-Sea - both about 15 minute drive from Cowbridge.

Also consider seeing Dyffryn Gardens, St. Fagans Castle & Museum (needs about half day), Cardiff Castle, Caerphilly Castle and Castell Coch. Google them for more info.

Posted by
467 posts

Second vote for Tintern Abbey. Check it out on Google Images. It's better actually if it has been raining or misty just prior to seeing it. The stone is more vibrant.