London to Cardiff

Old Mar 24th, 2010, 02:39 PM
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London to Cardiff

Driving from London to Cardiff and back this summer. I am looking for interesting places to stop on the way and suggestions for day trips out of Cardiff (we will be able to spend about 4 days there).
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Old Mar 25th, 2010, 03:18 AM
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Depending on which part of London you start from, a direct journey to Cardiff would take 2-3 hours. You will need to find the following places on a decent map, and look them up on the internet, but the following are not far off your direct route along the M4 motorway, and you could go to more than one of them.

Windsor
Lacock
Castle Combe
Westonbirt Arboretum
Dyrham
Bath
Chepstow Castle

Driving into Bath is not as difficult as some people imagine, but walking is the only realistic way to get between the major city centre sites. Coming from the north, your best option is to follow the signs for the Lansdowne Park & Ride, leave your car there, and get the bus down into the city centre. Choose the front seat on the top deck, unless you are easily scared in which case go downstairs.

When you are staying in Cardiff, the following are in easy reach.

Cardiff Castle
Castle Coch
Caerphilly Castle
(These 3 castles are very different from one another)
Chepstow Castle
Roman baths and ampitheatre at Caerleon
Big Pit, Blaenavon
Gower Peninsula

It all depends on the size and ages of your party, and what your interests are.
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Old Mar 25th, 2010, 04:44 AM
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Agree, more info on your interests will help. As for day trips, you can easily combine some of these (sample days):
* Chepstow Castle + Tintern Abbey
* Big Pit + Blanavon ironworks
* Castle Coch + Caerphilly
* Caerleon + (less-known) Roman ruins at Caerwent
* Gower Peninsula is in a different direction from all these others and would, I think, be less combinable.

Plus, in Cardiff itself, there are of course things to see:
* Cardiff Bay: Doctor Who Exhibition (if, like me, you're a fan) + Millennium Center + National Assembly Building (very cool)
* Central Cardiff shopping arcades + Cardiff Castle

I was in Cardiff for four days last September and will be back in May. Other commitments meant that last time I didn't get to see Castle Coch + Caerphilly; hope I'll do so next time. The Gower is supposed to be outstandingly lovely. Of the other sites, I most enjoyed the industrial history (Big Pit + Blaenavon).
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Old Mar 25th, 2010, 05:09 AM
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I forgot the Brecon Beacons, which offer some rugged scenery and good walks. There are also some interesting smaller towns like Abergavenny and Monmouth, which will give you a flavour of local life.

If you think you still want to see more castles, there are good ones at Raglan and Goodrich, and also 3 more, small and mostly ruined, at Grosmont, Skenfrith and White Castle.

Just check them out on the internet.
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Old Mar 25th, 2010, 06:54 AM
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Thanks for all the ideas. Traveling with my 80+ year old parents -- they are very mobile (could walk all day but not quite up to hiking). We are all very interested in history...all the castles sound wonderful! We are also foodies and would love to hear about great traditional places to eat in the area.
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Old Mar 25th, 2010, 07:04 AM
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I see no one has mentioned Tintern Abbey, just a few miles from Chepstow Castle. The ruins are very picturesque and evocative, in a beautiful setting.

I wrote up a few other places in a trip report from last April. Here's the link -- just scroll down to the Wales portion, about halfway through.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-and-wales.cfm
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Old Mar 25th, 2010, 07:45 AM
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We loved the little village of Haye-on-Wye - I have never seen so many books for sale! Litterally propped up against walls all over the place. Found two old Daphne DuMaurier books as we had just been to Fowey in Cornwall and was in the mood for mystery!

I loved Caerleon! You must read up on the history first because it's no ordinary Roman ruin.
http://www.caerleon.net/

If you are interested in the newish Millenium Stadium they have tours going during the day - it's quite something.

Wales is small (well to South Africans!) and found we could cover a lot of places.
There's a lovely pub just after the sign to Llangadog on the A40. We tucked into most delicious Sunday roast I'll remember for a long time! The Welsh beef just melted and was accompanied by the freshest vegetables ever. The Pub is in this photo album with other photos of Wales and England.
http://tinyurl.com/yc2jlfl
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Old Mar 25th, 2010, 09:45 AM
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Besides the places already mentioned -- Avebury is about 15 miles from junction 15 of the M4. In the same area are the West Kennet long barrow, Silbury Hill and the Kennet/Avon canal.

Then you can rejoin the M4 at junction 17
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 03:29 PM
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At the edge of Cardiff is the Welsh Folk Village Park. Houses and farms from different eras of Welsh history, animals, craftspeople at work, etc.
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 04:40 PM
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slimbridge wildfowl centre - which strangely I've jsut mentioned on another thread.
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Old Mar 26th, 2010, 04:57 PM
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Just checked on the Welsh Village--it is at St. Fagan's just outside of Cardiff. Includes manor house and Celtic houses (recreations). the farm animals are Wesh national breeds. Google Welsh National Museum.
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Old Mar 29th, 2010, 02:23 PM
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fabulous ideas!
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