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Wales with Kids - skip the south?

We are headed to Wales with our 2 kids (ages 8.5 and 3 at the time of the trip). We have 11 days (including the day we arrive). I'm trying to finalize the itinerary. For sure we are doing the following:

-Conwy area (castle) - first 2 nights
-Snowdonia - 3 to 4 nights
-Renting a longboat on the Llagollen canal (3 or 4 nights)

I'm trying to decide if it's worth spending a couple nights in Cardiff and checking out Brecon Beacons or if we should focus all of our time up North and maybe stay the last night in Bath (or closer to the airport - our flight is at 1 from Heathrow).

We will be taking the train to the Conwy area, but then renting a car - so transportation is flexible.

Posted by
221 posts

It's been a few years, but we enjoyed the coastal town of Tenby as well as Cardiff and surrounding area including the Folk Museum at St. Fagans https://museum.wales/stfagans/

Tintern Abbey ruins are nearby as well. I think you will be advised to spend your last night nearer Heathrow than Bath.

Posted by
1834 posts

If you have got to get from llangollen or NE Wales to the south (Cardiff &/or Bath), then you may well consider driving down as there are plenty of places that are of interest. The A5 from Llangollen to Shrewsbury is a reasonably good road - in fact, from the canal, you may well going this route at Chirk. Then, it would be the A49 going south to Hereford. This route can be slow going and Hereford is prone to congestion. On the A49 route, Stokesay Castle is well worth a stop - really a medieval Manor House. 1 mile S of Stokesay is Ludlow - well worth a look though castle is nothing like as grand as those in north Wales. If heading to Bath, continue south towards Monmouth and then follow A466 down the lower Wye Valley. The main place of interest here is Tintern Abbey (ruin) - then over the Severn Bridge and on to Bath.

If heading from NW Wales to the south, the A470 is the route to take and this is more scenic than the route already mentioned. You could skip Cardiff and travel via Talgarth and Crickhowell to Abergavenny before hitting the A40 expressway to Raglan (Castle) and A449 > M4 to the Severn Bridge. That is not to say that the Cardiff area is not worth visiting - it just depends on how you wish to allocate your time. (The kids might well like the ride on the Llangollen steam railway - which goes through some lovely countryside).

You could travel by train to Bath or Cardiff. From the Llangollen area, the nearest point to pick up the train is Ruabon or Chirk. Direct trains also run from places on the north Wales mainline to Cardiff & London. Chester is well worth a visit and could be done by train.
If going from north Wales to Bath, you can travel down the line that goes via Hereford & Abergavenny to Newport - where you change trains.

Mention has been made of Tenby - which is a lovely coastal town in Pembrokeshire (SW Wales). This would however, be going way off in another direction. All well & good - if you have the time to drive down the western side of Wales.

Look at this map of Wales and try and ‘street view’ the routes/places mentioned to try and figure out what is right for you. (Also google the places mentioned). https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.4569983,-3.3043975,9z

Posted by
23402 posts

The LLangollen Canal is seriously beautiful. Good choice. Just by the way, if you are in a longboat you may be a viking or native elsewhere. If you are on the British canals you will be in a narrowboat.

Posted by
16766 posts

I agree with Katheryne. Think about how much it would cost you to buy last-minute one-way tickets home if you miss your flight at Heathrow. Stay closer to the airport! You'll probably be told to get there by 10 AM, so I'd stay at the airport and deal with returning the rental car the night before. The Premier Inn near Terminal 4 is relatively new and has been offering bargain rates.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you! And yes - I meant Narrowboat... been reading a bit too much history with my son. :)

Sounds like we are ok to skip Cardiff, but could take a nice drive over a day and a half to get back to London/Heathrow.

Posted by
4128 posts

We love Wales, my paternal and other ancestors came from there.

Some think North Wales is better than the South. We have been to both and liked the South more. Tenby and St. Davids are must see places. The Brecon Beacons are great. Also, many castles.

Posted by
4128 posts

We has visited North Wales in 2013 and enjoyed it visiting Conwy and Snowdonia.

Last October, we spent five nights in Wales on our 28 day drive tour of Wales and England.

We stayed in Cardiff, since it was convenient to visit castles we wanted to see as well as the museum of welsh life st fagans cardiff.
We visited St. FAgans, Pembroke Castle, and more. Check out the link for the details on my review of the trip.
We spent two nights in Tenby and loved it. Also, visited St. Davids Cathedral on the peninsular that is the SW corner of Wales.

Also, visited the village in the foothills north of St. Davids, were my surname ancestors came from 300 years ago. It was great.

We drove through the Brecon Beasons, which are very, very scenic.
28 days in Britain and Celebrity Eclipse home
https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=599139

Posted by
921 posts

I'd skip Cardiff but yes to St Davids and Tenby. Ross, Hay and Chepstow are nice lttle towns, parts of the Wye Valley are very close to heaven.

Posted by
5 posts

Particularly with kids, I think Cardiff is a worthwhile destination - there are other areas in the South that may also be worth seeing. Some of the beaches and cliffs near Swansea are just stunning. For Cardiff, though, the castle and St. Fagan's are both worth the trip down.