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Wales or Cornwall??

Help!
My husband are starting to think about a trip to Great Britain next summer...we are planning to use trains and buses, love the countryside far more than the cities, enjoy walking, biking, and discovering those special "out of the way treasures!" We have decided to spend several days in the Cotswolds taking small area tours, biking, and hiking...it sounds like a beautiful area....our dilemma is where to go next, ( or before) Bath, Cornwall or Wales? They sound very different from each other, and I keep changing our plans. Our outside limit of travel is at most two weeks( including travel days in and out of London). We have in the past been to the Lake District and York, and Scotland and Ireland..all of which we have loved. Now we prefer not to drive by car, and are trying to figure out a reasonable itinerary which would allow us to get different experiences, but also would not entail traveling long distances every day... Several home basis would be ideal, not a different one very night. . Any suggestions for an itinerary? Any or all advice would be greatly appreciated!
Monica

Posted by
1137 posts

Neither Cornwall or Wales are easy without a car although there are local buses. When I last used them in Cornwall they didn't run on Sunday but we rented bikes and had a wonderful day. I think Bath might be easier without a car and I know there are local day tours of the area available also.

Posted by
1838 posts

I would say that Wales beats Cornwall because the inland scenery (for the most part) is better in Wales than Cornwall. Wales also has many impressive castles. http://www.castlewales.com/home.html#Please%20Select

I will start by giving you 3 important websites regarding travel. To find train times & fares use www.nationalrail.co.uk
Some fares are cheaper if advance booked - even the day before but others are the same - even if you pay on the day. When planning a rail journey, it is also prudent to see if split ticketing will reduce the fare of a particular journey - even if you stay on the same train.http://www.splityourticket.co.uk

www.transportdirect.info will give you bus schedules. In Wales, you can also use http://www.traveline-cymru.info

I will now suggest a doable route via public transport from the Cotswolds to Wales & back to London. You will probably go from London to Moreton-in-Marsh (MIM) by train as this is the most convenient jumping off point for the most attractive Cotswold villages = Chpping Campden, Broadway, Bourton-on-the Water & Lower Slaughter. Stratford-upon-Avon is also within shot but you will have to check bus times.

When done with Cotswolds - head off to Wales by train either from MIM or Evesham. Buy a ticket to LUDlow (on the Welsh border).http://www.ludlow.org.uk Have a wander around for an hour or 2 & then head N to Shrewsbury (SHR) with another ticket. You could stay 1 night in Shrewsbury. http://www.shrewsburyguide.info The next day, go from SHR > Porthmadog by train* - look out for Harlech Castle en-route. From Porthmadog (which I would not rave about but it is central for Snowdonia) - take these 2 steam railways into interior >http://www.festrail.co.uk
http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/caernarfon-castle/?skip=1&lang=en
Also visit nearby Portmeirion http://www.portmeirion-village.com

After Porthmadog - go south to Aberystwyth for 2 nights. You can either do this by train - but this will involve 1 change, or by bus. It might be better to take the bus as this is a direct service & takes about 2 hours whilst the trains tend to take 1 hour longer. Take Vale of Rheidol Railway to Devil's Bridge.http://www.rheidolrailway.co.uk

When done with Aberystwyth - take bus to Tenby (Pembrokeshire). This will involve bus to Carmarthen & then train to Tenby. (You may like to go by bus from Aberystwyth to Aberaeron and spend about an hour in this attractive little town before resuming journey on another bus).http://www.aberaeron.info/index.htm Give Tenby about 3 nights.http://www.tenbyvisitorguide.co.uk (Visit Caldy Island).http://www.visitpembrokeshire.com

On leaving Tenby - take train across south Wales to Cardiff. Stay about 3 nights. Visit Caerphilly Castle, perhaps Castell Coch, St.Fagans Castle & Museum, Cardiff Castle & Cardiff Bay (not a beach). (You don't like cities but the centre of Cardiff is virtually traffic free). http://www.visitcardiff.com
http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/stfagans/
http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/caerphilly-castle/?lang=en
http://cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/castell-coch/?lang=en
http://www.cardiffcastle.com
http://www.visitcardiffbay.info/things-to-do.html

When done with Cardiff, you can either travel directly back to London by train or take train to Bath (1 hour away) and maybe have an overnight stay. http://visitbath.co.uk

http://www.seewales.com
* = if you wish to add an additional stop on the seaside, choose Aberdovey or Barmouth. http://www.aberdovey.com http://barmouth-wales.co.uk
Go on Google Earth to find the places mentioned. Also Google the places to find more info & see if you think they are right for you.
www.visitwales.co.uk

Posted by
26 posts

Wow!! Thank you all so much for your information and suggestions.. I wil take a look at what you advised for us to do... may have furtheer questions!!! :-)

Posted by
9110 posts

You might want to regroup your thinking a bit. The Cotswolds is not out of the way and is very thoroughly tromped. It has little in the way of hiking and a lot in the way of strolling.

Parts of Shopshire have the same feeling and it groups nicely with Mid Wales where you can hike your heart out, even working north into the southern portion of the Snowdonia National Park if you want to walk upland moors instead of the higher, steeper stuff. You could also move over into Pembrokshire which has maybe the best parts of the Coastal Path, especially around Cardigan.

In your other area, it might work better if you consider Devon and Cornwall as a single unit. In Devon, the Exmoor and Dartmoor national parks both have a couple lifetimes of hiking opportunity. My druthers would be Dartmoor with Mortenhampstead being fairly central. Moving out into Cornwall, any of the little coastal towns is fine, but the AONB (Bodmin Moor) takes the cake. It's much like Dartmoor but without all the darn tors that eat your knees on the downhill. There's also a little coast-to-coast walk (Portreath to Devoran) that follows an old railbed -- it's only seven or eight miles, so you'd have no trouble double-walking in an easy day.

How you'd hook it all together by public transport I've no idea, but there's enough central locations in the areas mentioned to make it workable. A car would make it easier and you'd be way the heck out of hard driving spots except for maybe right around Penzance.

Posted by
1172 posts

I vote for Wales...it is mystical...but you do need a car to really get anywhere... driving isn't that hard because most of the road systems are modern. Wales is not a big country and distances are not far. I enjoyed it much more than the Cotswolds and the Lake District because it is not so over run by day trippers.