Best base city for North/South Wales?

Feb 10th, 2014, 12:35 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 1
Best base city for North/South Wales?

My boyfriend and I are traveling in Wales in early April. We are hoping to spend about 4 nights in North Wales and then we have 3 more nights, possibly spent in South Wales?

We won't have a car, but want to take the train/bus/walk most places (with the occassional taxi ride!)

Where is a good city to spend 4(ish) nights in North Wales? We hope to visit Snowdonia and the coast for sure. We would like to just get a base hotel or b&b and then explore from there. Not sure where a good central location would be...

Anywhere in the South that would be a good central location for the last 3 nights? I want to see Tintern Abbey as well as maybe taking the trip out to St. David's (if it's worth it?)

We are more into pretty scenery than the city scene, but like to have a good restaurant or pub to relax in after a busy day.

If you have other ideas besides the North and South, let me know! We are also spending 4 nights in London (a work conference for my boyfriend) and then 2 nights in Oxford to visit a friend. Thanks!
alyssarose is offline  
Feb 10th, 2014, 01:26 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,108
For North Wales I would say Conway/Conwy. Good rail and bus connections. BlenauFestiniog and visit the slate mine. Then take the steam train down to the coast. Harlech Castle from there and back to Conwy. Also to see BEaumaris Castle, Caernarvon Castles. Conwy itself has a fine castle and town walls that are in tact. Lots of choices for B&Bs and pubs for evening, but not so big as to be overwhelming.

I have been to the south of Wales several times, but was driving myself so can't comment on public trans. We stayed once in Chepstow which is on the border of Wales and England. Lovely Castle--town big enough for pubs and B&Bs.
St. Fagan's folk village near Cardiff is interesting and can be reached by public transportation (once did it as a day trip from London.) The village has housed from various eras of history, farm animals, various craft demonstrations, etc.
In Newport, there are ruins from the time of the Roman occupation. Tintern Abbey is about an hour away be car.

Have a wonderful trip!
irishface is offline  
Feb 10th, 2014, 09:43 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 17,146
Wales isn't good for carless travel from one or two base cities. There's a lot of bits of public transport, but they don't meet up as seamlessly as you might like, and wherever you stay you're going to have to miss bits out.

There was a useful review of alternatives for North Wales to Conway (mostly that means Caernarvon or Bangor) at

For the south, you probably need to trim your expectorations. Getting to both Tintern Abbey and St David's in the same week by public transport is quite a feat. In three days?

Start off deciding what you really want to see. Then look at how to get there, using the zoomable railway map at, the journey planner for buses at and local websites. St David's is accessible from anywhere only by getting a train to Fishguard or Haverfordwest, then catching a bus.

Railway timetables at

Your base probably tumbles out of this. It's almost certainly going to have to be Cardiff.

To be honest, though, your itinerary is one that screams out for a car. Useless for London and Oxford: a life-transformer for getting to, and within, Wales.
flanneruk is offline  
Feb 10th, 2014, 09:50 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 17,146
"you probably need to trim your expectorations"

Clear proof of the need to be realistic in your expectations about online spellcheckers.
flanneruk is offline  
Feb 15th, 2014, 06:08 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,108
Flanner, out of consideration for others in your vicinity, it would be just as well to "trim your expectorations" as well as your expectations.

(Sorry, just couldn't resist.)
irishface is offline  

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