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Museums and castles

Hi,

Traveling on a 4 day itinerary after leaving Shrewsbury, England and wish to enjoy the best of Welsh museums. Is Conwy worth a look see? I know I'll find a wealth of museums and galleries in Cardiff, but don't know the rest of the country. Anyone advise seeing Powis Castle? On my to do list are the castles at Caerfilly and Pendragon. Haven't worked out the logistics yet.

Thank you

TK

Posted by
1834 posts

Not sure what Pendragon is?

Powis Castle is at Welshpool = the first train stop W of Shrewsbury. The Castle is about 2 miles from the station and has fine gardens - especially in July.

North West Wales has wonderful medieval Castles. From Welshpool, you could continue west on the railway to Harlech. The castle is up a steep hill from the station so hope you are fit! Other fine medieval castles are at Caernarvon & Conway (Conwy). You could reach both of these from a base at Porthmadog.
http://www.eryri-npa.gov.uk/home
http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/maps-and-itineraries/?lang=en
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/powis-castle-and-garden
www.festrail.co.uk
http://www.portmeirion-http:
//www.snowdonrailway.co.uk

Posted by
5817 posts

A quick Google of "Welsh museums" is probably the quickest and easiest way to find this type of info.
I'm not really aware of any particularly renowned museums and galleries in North wales but there is still lots to see.
The castles are definitely worth a visit, to be honest you can't really miss them they are just there! For something slightly different Plas Newydd house on Anglesey is worth a visit.

Posted by
1079 posts

There are 3 and 7 day CADW Explorer Passes available for sale at most historic Welsh Castles. It many save you money depending on how many historic sites you plan to visit. We did 2-3 a day. We drove ourselves.

Posted by
703 posts

we visited a number of castles in the UK last year but one standout was Powis castle. we really enjoyed it and the gardens were excellent in june.

Posted by
90 posts

James,

Thank you. May base in Porthmadog as it will be less travel time to Cardiff. I appreciate the wonderful and plentiful links.

TK

Posted by
90 posts

Emma,

Thank you. Plenty to do, indeed! I found a wool mill near Cardiff and have e mailed them a request for a tour. Having a Welsh surname in the family tree (In laws,) the opportunity to purchase a tartan plaid directly from a regional business will be an additional highlight. I am excited to have a side trip from all the castles in my to do list. Here is the link for interested parties:https://www.welsh-tartan.com/about-mill.php

TK

Posted by
90 posts

Hi Glenn!

Appreciate the thumbs up for Powis. Think I will also include Caerphilly and Caenarfon.

TK

Posted by
1834 posts

The Cambrian Woolen Mill is located at Llanwrtyd Wells - which is deep in the heart of rural Wales. If you intend to visit this place, note that it is on the Heart of Wales Railway = a slow single track line that has infrequent trains running between Swansea (with fast frequent connections from Cardiff) and Shrewsbury. The HoW is very scenic. http://www.heart-of-wales.co.uk
The Woolen Mill is about 1 mile north of Llanwrtyd Wells on the A483. If you do intend to visit, I would definately request that they send someone to pick you up a the station - and return you to the town or station. (Bear in mind that the trains are usually 4 hours apart and that this would massively eat into your limited time in Wales).

If you did use the Heart of Wales Railway, it would be silly to return to your starting point - far better to keep going and use it as your link between south & north Wales via Shrewsbury. The quickest way to get from Cardiff to Shrewsbury is via the Marches Line which follows the Wales / England border (roughly). Cardiff to Shrewsbury on a fast train is 1 hour 45 minutes.

You can find train times and fares here:> www.nationalrail.co.uk (On longer journeys, book specific trains in advance will get you cheaper fares than turn up & go fares). You should also check the fares against Passes :>http://www.arrivatrainswales.co.uk/ExploreWalesPass/

Buses can be found here:>http://www.traveline.cymru

When in Cardiff, I would definately visit this place - which is 5 miles west of the city centre. (Bus 32 or 320).
http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/stfagans/castle-and-gardens/

Also visit the waterfront in Cardiff:> http://www.visitwales.com/explore/south-wales/cardiff/must-do-cardiff-bay

www.visitwales.co.uk

Posted by
90 posts

Hello James,

Thank you (again). I haven't had response via e mail from the mill yet (sent inquiry Sunday). Glad to know preferred train route. I had thought it would be half day trip from Cardiff, but as you suggested, it may be a better option to make a stop en route from Shrewsbury. Hopefully, the infrequency of the trains will be daily so as not to have to readjust itinerary again.

The suggestions to see water front and elsewhere may not be possible given my three day limit. It all depends on how many hours I can manage away from my hotel. Sharing this journey with another person and that person having their own wish list also cuts into the possibilities. But, as RS says "Keep on traveling"!

Appreciate your wealth of knowledge.

TK

Posted by
1005 posts

Some of the best castles are in northern Wales. I particularly enjoyed Caernarfon, Beaumaris, and Conwy. If you like gardens, you'll love Bodnant Garden, and if you want to tour a woolen mill, there's one nearby called Trefriw Woolen Mills. Plus the villages in and near the mountains are oozing with charm, such as Betws-y-Coed and Beddgelert. So don't pass on a chance to visit northern Wales as well.

Posted by
1834 posts

I think that going to the Cambrian Woollen Mill at Llanwrtyd Wells is going to eat too much into your limited time. It would probably mean leaving Cardiff on the 8.05 to Swansea where you change for the Heart of Wales train that will take you to Llanwrtyd (are.11.18).
You then have to get to the Woollen Mill and then return to Llanwrtyd station for the 16.24 to Shrewsbury (are.18.28). There is nothing much to see in Llanwrtyd - look at it (& mill) on Google Streetview.

By contrast, you could go from Cardiff to Conway (Conwy in Welsh) in 4 hours. Shrewsbury to Portmadog takes 3 hours 23 minutes as it is a slow line - especially once you reach the west cost at Dovey Junction. (It is very scenic).

Posted by
90 posts

Hello James,

My purpose for visiting Cambrian Woolen Mill is to purchase a locally made tartan for our family. Can you direct me to a retailer in the Cardiff or Conwy area as an alternative?. I am trying to support the local artisans.

Thank you

TK

Posted by
1834 posts

The Cambrian Woollen Mill at Llanwrtyd only appears to sell Welsh scarfs on site. They have a close relationship with The Welsh Tartan Centre in Swansea to whom they supply made to measure kilts. What you would need to do is contact them with your measurements and required Tartan name. They will then contact the Cambrian Mill to get your request made. (Make sure room is allowed for waist expansion).

The address of the Wales Tartan Centre = Unit 13, Cwmdu Parc, Carmarthen Road, Swansea, SA5 8JF.

So, you could catch a train from Cardiff to Swansea. (This is a mainline with frequent trains travelling at up to 100 mph). A pay on the day off-peak return is only £9.30. Journey takes about 1 hour. You could take a taxi from the train station to the Wales Tartan Centre - it is about 2 miles from the station. Having collected your tartan, you may wish to take a bus (or taxi) back into Swansea Bus Station and then take another bus down the Gower Peninsula - providing the weather is good. If so, I would head for the furthest point out = Rhosilli. Such a journey would take about 1 hour. (If you want to go for a walk without the kilt, ask someone to look after it for you in the shop or hotel that you see at Rhosilli). Here is line of the bus timetables for the Swansea to Rhosilli route. (Check new timetable for summer timings). http://www.natgroup.co.uk/sites/www.natgroup.co.uk/files/118%20-%20Swansea%20-%20Rhossili%20MARCH_0.pdf
http://www.the-gower.com/villages/Rhossili/rhossili.htm
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-26625340

Posted by
90 posts

James,

Thank you. I'm not interested in a kilt, but will check their online for other items in their product line. I am printing all your valuable information and will take with.

TK

Posted by
5817 posts

I have a large welsh family and i have never heard of welsh tartan. I think it might be a bit of a modern marketing thing.

You can get beautiful welsh wool blankets. They are often heavy and triple woven in intricate patterns. Traditionally no house in north wales was without one.

They are still made but because of the quality of the workmanship and cost of the materials they aren't cheap. You can also buy cheaper smaller woven items. Melin Tregwynt do some stunning ones in modern colours.

http://www.melintregwynt.co.uk/designs/

Vintage ones are often found in antique shops and online eg Ebay. These are often cheaper than the new versions because they aren't in short supply as people clear the houses of elderly relatives!

Posted by
90 posts

Hello Emma,

I have forgotten my source for thinking that there are Welsh tartans. A family surname is "Morgan" which is not rooted in Scotland. Who knows. Anyway the marketing strategy worked because I have a reference to a stunning plaid in mustard, red and black. I guess I'll play the game.

I'm still in the midst of planning where and when and the thought of stretching my already long days to include retail therapy makes me want for a long afternoon's nap.

Thank you for your suggestions.

TK

Posted by
5817 posts

Tk

A friend of mine worked in Edinburgh woolen mills , a chain of shops selling tartan, Scottish tat etc. She regularly had tourists asking for the "kowalski" tartan or the "gomez" tartan. They used to think she was being very difficult when she said there was no such things. Sometimes she e would just sell them one they had a lot of!.

You will have no problems buying nice things in Wales. As well as the wool look at the wooden love spoons and the Welsh gold. Welsh whisky also exists and apparently it's very good!

Posted by
90 posts

Emma,

I had read about the wooden love spoons. Lovely tradition. Wish I could include mementos in my travels, I'd bring along another suitcase!

TK