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Should I book everything ahead of time?

After a few days in London (June 7-9), I plan to head to the Welsh coast and roam along the coast for a week (June 10-16), relying on public transport.

Am I likely to find a range of accommodations available, or should I book ahead? I'd like to allow for some flexibility, but...

I'm looking for castles/ruins and Welsh music sessions; any tips appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Posted by
1514 posts

Have you considered renting a car for travel flexibility to roam around the coast of Welsh to visit the castles and other ruins ? Public transport may not be the best bet for 6 days there.

Posted by
1085 posts

I agree, public transportation in Wales is not as convenient as it is in England. I would suggest taking train to Cardiff and renting a car for your wandering. I would also suggest farm stays in Wales as a wonderful way to get the flavor of the country. I'd plot an itinerary and then see how much is available for each place you are planning on stopping. That should give you an idea how much you need to book ahead.

Posted by
5817 posts

The schools will still be in so you “ should” stand a chance at finding accommodation as long as you aren’t too fussy.

The the most northern stretch of the coast, is really not very attractive so I would give it a miss. It starts to get more pretty from Colwyn Bay onwards.

It is also worth stopping off in Chester which is very historic city and can serve as a base to explore North Wales.

Posted by
2661 posts

Depending on how many castles you are seeing, consider getting the CADW pass. It could save you some money. I agree with Emma. We made reservations for our upcoming trip a month ago, and many of our 1st and 2nd choice accommodations were already booked. We’ll have a rental car so not relying on public transportation, so we were able to book some places outside of the city centers.

Posted by
1834 posts

If you are not hiring a car, the most important website you will need to find local transport in Wales is:>http://www.traveline.cymru
Also check out the longer distance bus routes in Wales at:> http://www.trawscymru.info/routes/

You say that you would like to roam along the coast. Well, although most parts of the coast are scenic, some areas are not. So, consider heading for the best bits such as Pembrokeshire, the Lleyn peninsula and the Gower peninsula - which is west of Swansea.

I would consider heading maybe for Tenby in south Pembrokeshire first. (On summer Saturdays, 1 direct train leaves London for south Pembrokeshire - otherwise you must change trains en-route). The area west of Tenby - particularly around Stackpole / Bosherston / Manorbier offers fine coastal walks although an area just to the west is closed on weekdays (except in mid summer) as it is a military range known as Castlemartin. Also consider west Pembrokeshire with perhaps St.David’s making a base. To reach here from London, you must take a train to Haverfordwest & then bus. Pembroke has a Castle and another one (ruin) can be found at Carew. Pembrokeshire map:>https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.8121206,-4.7997097,45011m/data=!3m1!1e3!5m1!1e1
https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/bus-routes-and-timetables/bus-routes-list-coastal-buses

A shorter journey from London is the Gower peninsula. This involves a direct train to Swansea (which is a dump) and then bus onto the peninsula. If doing this, best to head for Rhossilli at the western tip and then start walking east along the south coast. Map of Gower:>https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.5884876,-4.1127215,19021m/data=!3m1!1e3!5m1!1e1

Also consider the coast of the Lleyn peninsula in NW Wales. To get here, take a train from London (Euston) to Birmingham or Shrewsbury - where you change for one heading for the Cambrian Coast. (Be careful as these trains will be split at Machynleth with one section going to Aberystwyth - you need the section for Pwllheli. If doing this, consider heading for Porthmadog as that is a local transport centre and also has:> www.festrail.co.uk and Portmeirion is nearby. From here, you can reach Caernarfon castle and/or go back down the coast to Harlech castle. You can then go on down the Lleyn peninsula as well if coast is what you want. Map:> https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.904848,-4.3532919,41145m/data=!3m1!1e3!5m1!1e1
https://www.scenicrailbritain.com/lines/cambrian-lines

Pre-book longer trains journeys as turn up and go fares can be expensive. www.nationalrail.co.uk

PS. If going to south Wales, consider a couple of nights in Cardiff - which has a castle in the centre whilst Caerphilly Castle & Castell Coch are just to the north and St.Fagans Castle & museum is an easy bus (32A) ride to the west.
https://www.visitwales.com

Posted by
372 posts

What are you looking for from ‘Welsh music sessions’? There are good welsh rock/pop musicians who’ll often play at Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff but are you after something traditional like a male voice choir?

Posted by
65 posts

Thanks, folks - appreciate all the details!

As far as Welsh music, I was looking for something traditional, although choir music is no high on my list.

Posted by
5817 posts

Choral music IS the traditional music in a lot of wales, specifically male voice choirs.
Watch a few videos on Youtube and prepare for the hairs on the back of you neck to go up, its quite something.
There isn't as much of a culture for music performed in pubs etc as you will find in Scotland or Ireland

One thing to look out for are local eisteddfod ( pronounced eye-sted-fod)
These are festivals of writing, music and performance. The standard can be really high, although be aware alot of it will be in welsh.

If you can get to one, even a small local one, you will experience real local welsh culture.

Posted by
9408 posts

Don’t miss the tour at Pembroke Castle! A real highlight for us! Daily at 10:30 and (I think) 14:30. Pembrokeshire is incredibly lovely and the Celtic Coaster (bus) supports walking out of St. David’s, a lovely town and worth a few nights.