Please sign in to post.

Where to stay/what to see in Wales in 6 days

We are heading to the UK in August, spending some time in the Lake District, and then want to drive down to Wales. We will have about 6 days to explore before heading back to London. We aren't opposed to driving around the coastline to see the majority of it, but wouldn't mind finding 1-2 spots to make our home base and explore from there. Our main goals are nature (hikes & national parks), the coast, and cute small villages to explore the culture.

If we stayed in 2 places for 3 nights each, which areas should we look at? Would Conwy be a good hub for the north and St Davids for the SW? If we made it more of an ongoing drive, are there spots we shouldn't miss?

Posted by
1355 posts

Look up the CADW Monument Pass available online or in person at sites listed. We bought ours at Conwy Castle. This covers most if not all the Castles in Wales. There is also a Coastal Path near Pembroke that does include short passenger ferry rides. The Lake District will be very crowded in August. Wales might still be less on top of mind to the average foreign visitor. We stayed in a farmhouse B & B in both Wales on Anglesey and the Lake District near Kendal. If you are Driving you can enjoy that too.

Posted by
111 posts

Someone also suggested Hay-on-Wye, and the proximity to Brecon Beacons makes that inviting, as well as cutting the final drive back to London shorter than if we drove from St Davids. Would starting with 3 nights in Conwy, 2 nights in St Davids and ending with 1 night near Hay-on-Wye make for an ideal itinerary?

Posted by
1472 posts

Either Conwy (walled medieval town with a ruined castle) or nearby Llandudno (Victorian seaside town with Victorian tramway upo the Great Orme) would make an excellent base. From there you have access to places like Betws y Coed or Llanberis for Snowdon as well as Anglesey. There is more choice of accommodation in Llandudno.

In the South St David's or Tenby would be a good base.

Then choose somewhere in the Middle for a break of journey. The Aberystwyth area is a possible as you can drive (or take the steam train up to Devil's Bridge) for the waterfall walks. There is lots of good walking in the area around Devil's bridge. Ideas here and here. The Hafod Hotel by Devil's Falls has accommodation.

Posted by
111 posts

Either Conwy (walled medieval town with a ruined castle) or nearby Llandudno (Victorian seaside town with Victorian tramway upo the Great Orme) would make an excellent base. From there you have access to places like Betws y Coed or Llanberis for Snowdon as well as Anglesey. There is more choice of accommodation in Llandudno.
In the South St David's or Tenby would be a good base.
Then choose somewhere in the Middle for a break of journey. The Aberystwyth area is a possible as you can drive (or take the steam train up to Devil's Bridge) for the waterfall walks. There is lots of good walking in the area around Devil's bridge. Ideas here and here. The Hafod Hotel by Devil's Falls has accommodation.

Thank you for the Llandudno tip; there does seem to be many more hotel options there. Thanks also for those links - I'll check them out.

Posted by
5590 posts

If you did decide to rent a car, there are enough things to see on Anglesey to occupy a day; South stack lighthouse, Beaumaris castle, Llynon windmill, Llanfair…gogogoch, Neolithic burial chambers and standing stone, etc. From St. David’s you can walk the Pembrokshire coastal path for a few miles. It affords some great views. Caernarfon castle is as nice as Conwy castle, but there’s not much to the town. If you stay in Llandudno, look for the Alice in Wonderland sculptures around town. We did buy the CADW pass because of all the CADW site we planned on visiting.

Posted by
111 posts

We will have a car. Thanks all for the tips so far!

Posted by
595 posts

Hay on Wye is not really on the way between St David’s and London. Cardiff would be a more natural stopping point in Wales because you’ll be on the M4 motorway and Cardiff is just off this main route. Hay on Wye is reached via slower roads and so will add a considerable amount of driving time.

Highly recommend St David’s area as a base. You don’t need to stay in the town itself if you have a car. Accommodation in this area will be heavily booked for August. Very few overseas tourists but it’s full of Brits on holiday. There is a Premier Inn in St David’s but I don’t know if they will have availability.

Posted by
111 posts

Hay-on-Wye is itself of interest to us as is the proximity to Brecon Beacons. It splits up the drive to Heathrow so that we don’t have to do it all in one day from St David’s. So 5.5 hours over 2 days instead of 4.5hrs in 1 (according to google maps). We have little interest in Cardiff.

Posted by
595 posts

If it’s specifically the Brecon Beacons that you want to visit it would be easier to do this from Abergavenny area and will cut down on driving time. Abergavenny is a really nice very small town.

Posted by
111 posts

Brecon Beacons yes but as I mentioned we do want to visit Hay-on-Wye also, so that seems feasible as it only adds one hour more to our total drive time (as far as google maps thinks). I’ll look into Abergavenny too, if it’s worth a stop in addition to the other areas.

Posted by
595 posts

Absolutely if you want to go to Hay on Wye then go! I thought you wanted advice about whether it was a convenient place to break the journey, which really it’s not, but if you particularly want ant to go there then of course it’s worth a bit of extra travel time.

Posted by
2273 posts

No direct highway goes from Hay towards London as the Black Mountains are in the way to the south of the town. You could stay in Hay or Brecon but to get to London you would need to reach either off the Severn Bridges which will put you on the M4 eastward to London.

The A40 from Pembrokeshire goes east to the Brecon area and then down to Abergavenny. This route goes through lush countryside and avoids industrial areas but is mainly not a dual highway and has many bends. If not going to Pembrokeshire in the SW - you would come down from north Wales on the A470 through the middle of Wales. This route mainly travels through scenic areas and is a pleasant drive but not exactly fast - 60 mph at best. You could use either Brecon or Hay area as a stop over place but Hay is going out of your way a bit if using the A40 route from Pembrokeshire but less so the A470 route direct from north Wales.

If you do go to Pembrokeshire and then use the A40 to go east, I would suggest that Dyslwyn Castle, Dinefwr Castle and Carreg Cennen Castle are all worth visiting in the Llandeilo area. However, note that the A48 and M4 route is the fastest route across south Wales but can be very heavy with traffic but is all dual highway.

Assuming you get to Abergavenny and want to head to London - take the now dual A40 east to Raglan - take sharp left to see the Castle before joining A449 and heading south to join M4 just east of Newport. From the Severn Bridges - it is roughly a 2 hour drive to Heathrow.

Here is a Google Map of the area. Suggest you go on Streetview and check out the roads.

PS. Note that the Brecon Beacons National Park has been re-named into Welsh version only - much to the annoyance of the majority!

Posted by
4010 posts

I was in Wales for about 2 weeks last summer. No car, train and bus only.

I stayed in Llandudno. There are many places to stay there with sea views. I chose the Bromwell Court and used it as a home base to visit other places including Conwy. There is free street parking right in front. The breakfast was great and the location very convenient for me. Here's the link: https://www.bromwellcourt.co.uk/index.html

I'm not a big fan of castles, so I didn't visit the one in Conwy. My favorite thing there was Plas Mawr, described as "finest surviving Elizabethan town house anywhere in Britain." It was so much fun to walk through and not at all crowded. Here's the link: https://cadw.gov.wales/visit/places-to-visit/plas-mawr?lang=en

The other place I visited was the Smallest House in Great Britain. I must admit that this sounded like something too touristy for me, but I changed my mind at the bus stop near my B&B in Llandudno. I met a woman there who was also going to Conwy. She had recently retired at the age of 60, gotten bored being home so much and was working at the Smallest House 2 afternoons each week. What luck! When we got off the bus in Conwy, she walked me to Plas Mawr.

After I finished there, I walked around town a bit and ended up at the Smallest House. The short line moved quickly. She took my picture with my arms stretched out. My fingertips almost reached to the far edges of the place. More fun. Here's the link: http://www.thesmallesthouse.co.uk/

Before catching the bus back to Llandudno, I had a great meal at the Erskine Arms, a place she recommended. They also have rooms. Here's the link: https://erskinearms.co.uk/

I spent a few nights in the Premier Inn in Aberystwyth. It's in a very convenient location near the water. The breakfast was great, and they have guest parking.

My main reason for staying in Aberystwyth was to take the steam train to Devils Bridge. It was a several block walk from the hotel and they have lots of parking so you might want to drive. I just walked up and bought a ticket. It was great fun. There were people on the train with dogs. I loved that. Some on the train were getting on and off the train to hike. Note that there are toilets where you get on the train and where you get off at the top. There are none at any of the stops along the way. There are snacks where you get on as well as a nice cafe at the top. Also note that if you ride in one of the open cars, you may get a little soot on your clothes. This is the link to the Vale of Rheidol Railway: https://www.rheidolrailway.co.uk/

I stayed at the lovely Ramsey House in St. David's: https://www.ramseyhouse.co.uk/

It's a few blocks out of town but has parking, easy walking access to hikes and walks in the area and to the amazing St. David's Cathedral: https://www.stdavidscathedral.org.uk/visit-us

I hope this wasn't TMI and that it might help you with your planning. I'd never been to Wales before. After I got home, I learned I have 8% Welsh heritage. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Posted by
111 posts

Absolutely if you want to go to Hay on Wye then go! I thought you wanted advice about whether it was a convenient place to break the journey, which really it’s not, but if you particularly want ant to go there then of course it’s worth a bit of extra travel time.

Cheers, Helen! Sorry I wasn't more clear. I'm not looking for convenience as much as a spot to break up the drive from St Davids to London. We are serious bibliophiles, and a friend who used to live in Wales told us about Hay-on-Wye, so I'm afraid we can't resist!

@James, we aren't worried about being on main highways to get back to London, as we aren't in a rush. But thank you for the other ideas - we will look into some of those spots in case we have time.

@ Lo, thank you so much for all the details, especially your accommodation recommendations! We are looking into probably staying in Lladudno now because of the availability of hotels. Thank you also for your sightseeing memories. I think we will definitely check out Aberystwyth, as someone else mentioned, on the way to St Davids. It sounds like you had a lovely trip! Wish we had more time to spend and see everything, but not this trip. My grandfather's family was Welsh, so I'm glad I get to see a bit of this country on the trip. We had originally planned to go to Scotland after the Lake District, but it is much more expensive and we will need more time there to really explore than we have this trip.

Posted by
6995 posts

For South Wales, I recommend Tenby for a stay. It is nice small historic town on the water.

You can see several castles from there as well as St. David's.

Cardiff has Cardiff Castle as well as other nearby castles and The Museum of Welsh Life that are good.