Touring Wales

Old Jan 9th, 2016, 12:56 PM
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Touring Wales

We only have a few days in Wales, are we better off to book day tours out of Cardiff or just rent a car and drive. We have total of three days. We are a couple 70 and 72 years of age, would renting a car be a problem given our ages?
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Old Jan 9th, 2016, 01:19 PM
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North Wales to me is more exciting with lot of neat stuff in a very compact area and most of it easily reachable by public trains and or buses - Check out Conwy as being the perfect small ancient town base for Mt Snowdon; Caernarfon Castle and town; bucolic Conwy Valley; Beaumarais castle - a seaside gem of a ruin, and the famous Great Orme, tackled by ancient trams.

Conwy is on a main rail line:

https://www.google.com/search?q=conw...HVRFAEkQsAQIGw

https://www.google.com/search?q=grea...sAQIQg&dpr=1.1
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Old Jan 9th, 2016, 01:57 PM
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here are some pics that should give you an idea or two, repeating some of which Palenque gave you above. North Wales and Central is the way to go, and please consider driving. https://picasaweb.google.com/stuarttower/Wales#
It's easy and the independencece is worth it.
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Old Jan 9th, 2016, 01:58 PM
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excuse typos please...us old folks sometimes have fading eyesight.
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Old Jan 10th, 2016, 03:36 AM
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I'm a bit concerned that you are being puhed to North Wales without any questioning why you want to be based in the Cardiff area. I agree North Wales is dramatic and scenically much better than the Cardiff area BUT there is lots to do and see around Cardiff. While most of it is do-able by public transport, this is going to take you longer than jumping in the car.

Starting off, there is Cardiff Castle which is Medieval meets Victorian Gothic. It has a Norman keep built ontop of a Roman fort. In the C19th the castle belonged to the Marquis of Bute. The family had made their money from coal and used it to remodel the castle into sumptuous accommodation. It is stunning.
http://www.cardiffcastle.com/

On the outskirts of Cardiff is Castel Coch, everyones image of a fairy tale castle with turrets. This again was given the Victorian Gothic makeover by the Marquis of Bute and really has to be seen to be believed. It would make a suitable setting for the Tales of the Arabian Nights.
http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/castell-coch/?lang=en

The National Museum of Wales in Cardiff is also well worth visiting, covering the art and history of Wales.
http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/cardiff/


St Fagan's Museum a few miles from Cardiff is described as a Natural History Museum but that is a bit misleading as this conjures up images of stuffed birds. It is in fact one of the best open air museums in Europe with a large collection of old houses that have been carefully restored here. It gives a marvellous insight into life in the past and you can easily spend several hours here.
http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/stfagans/

If you enjoy ruined castles, there are several easily reached from Cardiff. Caerphilly Castle with its moat is one of the best and the equal of any in North Wales.
http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/caerph...astle/?lang=en

A bit further away but easily done as a group in a day are Raglan Castle
http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/raglancastle/?lang=en
White Castle
http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/whitecastle/?lang=en
Grosmont castle
http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/grosmontcastle/?lang=en
Skenfrith Castle
http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/skenfrithcastle/?lang=en
You might even have time to include Tretower Court and Castle
http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/tretow...astle/?lang=en

If you are 'into' the Romans, then there is th Roman Fortress and Baths at Caerleon
http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/Caerle...baths/?lang=en
as well as an amphitheatre
http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/caerle...eatre/?lang=en.
Caerwent Roman town
http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/caerwe...-town/?lang=en

If you want to learn more about the coal industry which was so important to the prosperity and growth of South Wales shaping the character of the Welsh Valleys and the people, then there is the Big Pit where you can go down a coal mine.
http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/bigpit/
Close to this are the Blaenavon iron works.
http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/blaena...works/?lang=en
Togther these make another good day out.

In all of this, I've not talked about scenery. That isn't forgotten with the Brecon Beacons or the Gower both easy day trips from Cardiff...

And this is only just beginning to scratch the surface of a fascinating area....
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Old Jan 10th, 2016, 07:02 AM
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I only just discovered Pembrokeshire last year having reached middle age (and more) in the UK and never been there. How ignorant am I? This is a fantastic area and no need to journey much more North than this. There is enough drama to be had in the Cardiff area itself.
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Old Jan 10th, 2016, 09:29 AM
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I agree with ESW, you may have your reasons for visiting Cardiff. The suggestions ESW made are excellent and you will have no problem filling a couple of days. North Wales is wonderful as is the Pembrokeshire coast but so is Cardifff!
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Old Jan 10th, 2016, 10:01 AM
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Do tell us why Wales and why Cardiff/South Wales. You can have a great visit in Wales (north, south, west, or mid/along the Marches) - if there is a reason you want a specific region of Wales let us know and we can help you a lot.

Apparently PQ did visit Conwy/north Wales so he tends to recommend that area to everyone. True there is a lot to see up there -- but just as much in other parts of the country.

For instance - the Pembrokeshire coast is one of the prettiest stretches anywhere in the UK.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Pemb...ykCwAQ_AUIBygC

https://www.google.com/search?q=st+d...EjCBAQ_AUIBygC
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Old Jan 10th, 2016, 10:19 AM
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Apparently PQ did visit Conwy/north Wales so he tends to recommend that area to everyone.>

I have visited everywhere of importance in Wales and for a short few day trip I recommend North Wales for the reasons I gave - Cardiff was nice but a large city - the Ffestiniog Railway is great - the south coast - stayed a few days in Abertsywith (sp?) an interesting college town and Harlech, etc.

As usual your accusations about me are simply untrue, for whatever reason!
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Old Jan 10th, 2016, 10:51 AM
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>>As usual your accusations about me are simply untrue, for whatever reason!
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Old Jan 10th, 2016, 11:47 AM
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Apparently PQ did visit Conwy/north Wales so he tends to recommend that area to everyone.>

Oh come on janis - this is a snipe, as usual - and an accusation that I had - perhaps!!! - only visited North Wales and thus that was the only reason I recommend it - when in fact I have been all over Wales -

As ESW says: - for the nicest part of Wales from several angles I believe North Wales is a better bet for a few days for the average traveler - thus I recommended it for that and NOT because of your implication that that was the only area I was familiar with. Lose the haughty attitude please.

I did not mean to imply the Cardiff area was not also nice in its way - and I was thinking the OP was just thinking of Cardiff when thinking of Wales - now if OP had said they were going to Cardiff only that would be different - but if they were clueless about Wales I thought they should consider North Wales too and yes it is by far my favorite part of Wales, a sentiment with which you obviously disagree with and the parts of Wales you mention are also neat.
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Old Jan 10th, 2016, 12:14 PM
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Seconds out children.

It would be helpful if the OP could tell us why they want to base themselves in Cardiff rather than elsewhere in Wales.

I too have travelled widely throughout Wales and each of the different parts has its own beauty and things to recommend themselves. I also prefer North Wales and the Ffestiniog Railway is my all time favourite steam railway - the experience of being pulled up the valley by one of the iconic double Fairlie locos with a heavy train is exhillarating.

But we are here to help the OP and find out why and what they want to do.
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Old Jan 10th, 2016, 01:29 PM
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Until the OP responds and as others read these threads the Ffestiniog Railway is a weird weird trip - not only the tiny train itself but Ffestiniog itself - freaked me out how this down-at-its-heels old slate mining town (why the railway was built from the sea to nowhere) that reminded me of Appalachia - grim town and people looked like they'd been thru tough times - now maybe in the decade since I was there it is all gussied up but don't expect a normal British town - slate mines and slag heaps adorn the environs.

And as ESW says about the locos - they seemingly do an impossible job. I did not put it in as a possible day trip from Conwy/Llandudno area because it would take a long time to get to Ffestiniog and just turn around but it would be a great way to go between north Wales and south Wales as it terminates at the sea at Porthmadog, on the main line via Harlech and its famous castle practically sticking out into the sea to Abertsywyth and on.
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Old Jan 10th, 2016, 01:43 PM
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The Ffestiniog Railway was built to take slates from the mines at Blaenau Ffestiniog to the wharves at Porthmadoc where they were shipped all round the world.

Blaenau Ffestiniog was run down and the people had been through very tough times. Recently a lot of money has been spent on it and it is no longer as bad as when palenQ visited.
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Old Feb 12th, 2016, 10:51 AM
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Thank you for you many kind suggestions. The only reason we mentioned staying in Cardiff was because we were flying from Dublin to Cardiff. Actually we decided a better option was to take the ferry to Holyshead. So we will end up in the north by default. We will have three or four days in Wales. I'm not crazy about driving on the opposite side of the road, but can do it if it's my only option. Is renting a car the most efficient way to cover the north in our short period of time? Or can anyone suggest a home base town and a local tour operator who does day trips?
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Old Feb 12th, 2016, 10:58 AM
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Conwy or Llandudno and area is a perfect base from which to take trains and or buses to any of many sweet places, like:

The Great Orme (tramway to the top)
Caernaveron (sp?_
Mt Snowdon
Beaumarais Castle
Ffestiniog Railway
and Conwy itself - a perfectly walled small town that would be a dream base for many:

https://www.google.com/search?q=conw...Ha0pAtUQsAQIGw

I did all those day trips once from a Llandudno base - lots of inexpensive B&Bs and hotels in this fading but still popular seaside resort.
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Old Feb 12th, 2016, 11:04 AM
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I would rent a car. You can see so much more of the area with a car, starting in Holyhead if possible and exploring Anglesey before moving onto Snowdonia, and maybe the southern part of Snowdonia too.
Where are you going after Wales?
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Old Feb 12th, 2016, 11:16 PM
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Is anyone else detecting a certain "romantic" tension between our two regulars?
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Old Feb 13th, 2016, 04:40 AM
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Again thank you! Does anyone have a suggestion for two things: Is there anywhere I could look at the rail timetable for train to and from Conwy and Llandudno? Also any suggestion for a nice B & B in Conwy or Llandudno near the train station?
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Old Feb 13th, 2016, 08:08 AM
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http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/

For schedules and fares of all UK trains.
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