I need advice on developing an itinerary as to where to stop after staying in Conwy for 3nights . Is that enough time? How should the trip be broken up driving along the western coast to the south of Wales?
When we visited Wales we entered from Chester going West to Conwy and then South visiting as many of Edward's Castles as we could. Get a Castle Pass when you visit Conwy. We didn't stay more than one night as we found it more convenient to just drive to the next destination and find a room when if was about 5 o'clock. Since we were traveling in the shoulder season both times no problem (April-May or September-October). Also look at the National Trust UK online site for other ideas and an Overseas Visitor Pass which may include other sites to visit.
What is the total length of your holiday as this has a bearing on how much time to allocate to different areas. Does the 6 nights include south east Wales or just south west Wales as well as north Wales?
Where are you coming from/departing to? Manchester Airport is the most convenient one for north Wales.
Check out www.farmstay.co.uk
In north west Wales, Harlech Castle is worth a visit:> http://www.harlech.com
You might like Aberaeron and here is a hotel on the quay:>http://www.harbour-master.com
It is not exactly cheap but lower cost accommodation is available. Nearby New Quay (Wales) and Llangrannog might also appeal but parking is limited - find the places on Google Earth.
Further down the Welsh coast - into Pembrokeshire, you might like St.David’s:> http://www.visitwales.com/explore/west-wales/pembrokeshire/alf-anderson-st-davids
Tenby is a particularly attractive town on the south western coast of Wales and just a short drive to the west are lovely beaches interspersed with spectacular cliffs.http://www.visittenby.co.uk
We are flying into Manchester and going to the Lake District for 3-4 nights. Then heading to North Wales to Conwy for maybe 3 nights as a base. We could use another 3-4 nights to go along the western coast to the south. We need another base stop along the way We have to get to an airport for a night's stay after that maybe Heathrow or Gadwick . Is this feasible ? Don't know how long driving from place to place will take.
ViaMichelin.com is frequently recommended as a source for driving times. The estimates do not include any stops, and several posters have suggested that a bit of extra time should be added.
It can be slow going along the western coast of Wales. Non of the roads are dual highways due to lack of population.
Driving from Caernarfon to Cardiff (not via west coast) - mainly using the A470 - takes 4 hours (without stops). Well that's how long it takes me and I know most of the route quite well. So, we are talking of more like 5 hours for most people.
Going down the west coast takes longer via Harlech & Barmouth than using the A470 to Dolgellau. (It is worth using the coast route to see Harlech Castle). Try using this site to figure times & distances:>http://www.theaa.com/route-planner/index.jsp
I presume that you are from USA or Canada and need a transatlantic flight. (Cardiff & Bristol Airports have European flights only).
Tenby to Cardiff is about 100 miles and takes 1 hour 40 minutes on good roads. Cardiff to Heathrow can be done in about 2 hours 20 minutes given a clear run on the M4. Getting to Gatwick is more difficult as you have to use the M25 around SW London - and this frequently jams up. You could consider turning in your car in say Cardiff and then using the train to reach Heathrow (via Reading Railer bus link) or Gatwick - by changing trains tin Reading.
You may also like to know that direct trains run at hourly intervals from Carmarthen to Manchester via Swansea & Cardiff. To get to Manchester Airport station (MIA), you would probably change at Crewe rather than go into central Manchester (Piccadilly station) and then back out to the airport. Direct trains also run from Swansea & Cardiff to Reading and London (Paddington).
www.nationalrail.co.uk will have details of the trains. Turn up and pay on the day is much dearer for longer trips than pre-book ahead a specific train(s). Check out the fares 11 weeks ahead of now. Try and avoid Fridays and commuter times. Sundays can be prone to engineering works.
I've been to Tenby quite a few times and a location I'd say is a worth while visit. It's quite accessible (http://tenby.co.uk/how-to-get-here/) and has quite a lot of places you can branch out to from there. As it's a 'tourist' location, there's a lot of sights and activities to break things up. You could then carry on down the coast going to places like Saundersfoot and Barafundle if you go down further.