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Wales base

We extended our UK trip by another week so we’ve added 4 nights in Wales. Need a good base location to travel from. We are looking at a cottage in llandough Cowbridge. Too remote? We will have a car.

Posted by
18862 posts

What places do you want to see in Wales? Llandough is way down in the south and wouldn't be a good base if you are targeting Northern Wales, but I assume you are not. You'd be about a 30-minute drive from Cardiff (though I'm clueless about what parking challenges you'd face), and I see a National Trust property, Dyffryn Gardens, not too far off Google's proposed southern route to Cardiff.

Other than a day-trip to Cardiff (which I found worthwhile), I spent my Wales time in the north. I'm sure others can suggest other good destinations in the south.

Posted by
3201 posts

It depends on what you want to do. While not technically remote, it really isn’t that close to much other than Cardiff. If you like castles then the popular ones in the area are Cardiff, Caerphilly, Coch, and Chepstow. Tintern Abbey is also nearby. Monmouth is nice to walk around, but not that close to Llandough either. Check out the list of CADW properties and if you’re going to visit them, see if the CADW pass would be worth it: cadw.gov.wales . For me, I’d choose a base closer to the places I’d like to visit.

Edited: if you decide to go to northern Wales, Conwy, Caernarfon, or Llandudno would work as bases. Don’t forget to check out things to see on Anglesey.

Posted by
1007 posts

If I were going to Wales I would stay in Conwy and drive to Snowdonia National Park (1h) one day.

Posted by
442 posts

Snowdonia, yes. In 2016 we stayed in a B&B in Betws-y-Coed for 5 nights and explored Snowdonia and the northwest (Blaenau Ffestiniog, Portmeirion, Caernarfon, Menai Strait, Conwy). It was our first time in Wales, and it was pretty impressive.

Posted by
18862 posts

Also in northern Wales is Bodnant Gardens, which I really liked.

Posted by
228 posts

I know this my sound like the idiot's question - but why have you decided to visit Wales. What are you wanting to see/do while there? That will determine where you decide to stay. What made you choose this particular place , or did you just like the sound of the cottage? Where else have you looked at?

Are you are coming from the Cotswold area? If so then South Wales makes sense as it is closer.

Looking on the positive side, Cowbridge physic garden gets good reviews on Trip Advisor. Dyffryn Gardens is only a short drive.

If you are interested in social history, then St Fagans National Museum of History is only a short drive away. It is one of the best Folk Museums with buildings from across Wales rescued and reassembled here. You could easily spend a full day here.

Tredegar House in Newport is 45 minutes drive. This is a splendid stately home in the care of the National Trust.

If you want a steam railway experience, there is the Brecon Mountain Railway and there are the Brecon Beacons which can be added into that day. Allow an hour to drive there.

The Gower peninsular has some good scenery and lovely beaches - again about an hour away.

Castles at Cardiff, Castlell Coch and Caerphily are within reach. Chepstow and Tintern Abbey could be done on the way there, along with Raglan Castle.

Posted by
25723 posts

I've never been off the main roads west of Cardiff so I had a look at Llandough on Google Streetview.

I see that you said you will have a car. Are you familiar with driving on lanes and tracks in Wales? The reason I ask is that around Llandough the roads are no larger than lanes, and pretty narrow lanes at that - just wider than a car and traffic going both ways in that single lane, and the one I followed from the south is very steep with tight corners.

I love driving that kind of road but not everybody is....

Posted by
24 posts

I have driven in Ireland many times over the last 20 years so I’m ok with narrow roads. We want to visit Wales because we’ve never been there and interested in seeing the country. Haven’t researched enough definitely have to do that. Sounds like the north is the place to be. Simply looking for a great spot to have as a base so we can explore. Thx everyone.

Posted by
228 posts

The North and South are very different. The north has the mountains but you still get some pretty good scenery in south Wales too with the Brecon Beacons and Pembrokeshire. Do your own research and decide what you want to see.

Posted by
228 posts

Roads in North Wales can be pretty narrow and winding too!

Posted by
389 posts

This is my backyard! It's a lovely bit of Wales to stay in - yes you wont be right on the doorstep of some of the touristy destinations, but Cowbridge is a cute little market town with old town walls, castle ruins, the Physic gardens and maybe you'll bump into Sir Anthony Hopkins! Definitely have a meal at The Hare and Hounds in Aberthin, my favourite local restaurant, and the Bush Inn in St Hilary will be close to you and serves very good pub food. You can visit local vineyards, amazing sand dunes at Merthyr Mawr, Margam Park is nice, so to Dyffryn Gardens (no real access to the House at present). St Fagans museum is a must and on the right side of Cardiff. You can get to Castell Coch and Caerphilly Castle relatively easily. You could get to the National Botanic Gardens of Wales in less than an hour. Really depends what floats your boat.

Posted by
1838 posts

The country lanes to Llandough near Cowbridge are VERY narrow . I suggest you go on Google street view and check out any place where you are planning on staying fro access and parking. Cowbridge is a lovely little country town and the coast is only about 15 minutes south at Llantwit Major and Monknash. However, although this coast is nice enough, it is not up to the standard of other sections of the Welsh Coast such as the Gower peninsula west of Swansea and the Pembrokshire Coast.

Much depends upon where you are coming from when you enter Wales from England. Driving into central Cardiff is very confusing and awkward as the local Council have declared war on the car. Cowbridge has buses every 30 minutes into Cardiff. In the outward direction - they will be going to the coastal town of Porthcawl which has nice beaches 1 mile west of the town.

Posted by
2619 posts

When we went in 2018, we enjoyed seeing both Conwy Castle and Caernarfon Castle. Both were spectacular. We enjoyed a drive through Snowdonia and Betws-y-Coed. You will not be disappointed seeing this part of northern Wales. It's gorgeous.

Posted by
5627 posts

ryanandgill….doubt the OP will see Sir Anthony. After a recent Wales/Uk visit he’s back in SoCal.