Wales Itinerary Help (June 2022)

Old Feb 27th, 2022, 12:20 PM
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Wales Itinerary Help (June 2022)

Hello…looking for any help/guidance as we start to organize our first trip to Wales. We are a group of four (40-something) well-traveled friends looking to experience as much of Wales (and maybe Southern England) as we are able in 2 weeks. We appreciate a somewhat leisurely pace so we can actually experience the areas that we visit...it isn't about checking as many things as possible off a list for us. I'd appreciate some in-the-know guidance as we get started with our approach and itinerary. Here’s what we (think) we know…
  • Flying in overnight from Chicago (most likely) to London in June
  • Taking a train from London to Newport/Cardiff (?) and pick up a rental car to use throughout Wales if this is the approach that makes the most sense
    • We are experienced with European road trip travel with multiple trips throughout Europe (and on various terrains)
  • We prefer a few different locations (each for a 2 – 4 days) as “home base” and then making day trips versus a daily forward progressive road trip
    • We totally understand that we may do some backtracking each day to get to various locations, but we really like to experience the areas we are in by staying a little longer and not constantly packing/unpacking
    • Being from the US, driving longer distances for day trips (1 - 2 hours each way) doesn’t bother us…the journey in getting places is part of the fun for us
  • Prefer pensions/house/cottage rentals, when possible
  • Prefer spending time in smaller/mid-size towns - as long as there is at least a pub - versus cities (for example, we aren’t planning to spend any extended period of time in Cardiff for this specific trip)
Areas we are excited to see/spend some time in:
  • Brecon Beacons / Hay-on-Wye
  • South West Wales (i.e. Rhossili/Tenby)
  • Pembrokeshire
  • Northwest Wales / Snowdonia
  • If there is any time, we would be up for a stay somewhere in Southern England (the Cotswolds, maybe) as we make our way back to London for our return flight (this isn’t mandatory if it means prematurely cutting Wales short)
I do realize that I have basically just outlined that we want to see the whole country 😊. But any help in figuring out, the general direction to start/end the journey (go west, then north, then southeast….or the reverse) as well as some places that would make sense for “home bases” and how much time to allot to each area to not over/under stay would be a tremendous start. We do completely understand we may have to have a random single overnight stay (or two) within the itinerary. We are pretty easy going and are so excited to travel and experience a new place again.

This forum has been so helpful and an amazing resource in the past. Thank you in advance for any thoughts you can share!
TraceeC is offline  
Old Feb 27th, 2022, 01:54 PM
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Ok, the obvious, left hand driving and stick shift...fine?

Narrow roads, very narrow roads...fine?

Other than that you'll be fine, it just takes time.

It rains sometimes, people are lovely.

I'm boring I tend to stick to the north and middle, just seems nicer, but each to their own.

​​​​​​
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Old Feb 28th, 2022, 06:52 AM
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Hi...thanks for the quick reply...yes, we are good with left-hand driving and stick shift on narrow, narrow roads. Gaining experience throughout Europe and New Zealand.
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Old Feb 28th, 2022, 08:07 AM
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Much as I love North Wales, Land of my Mothers, do consider Pembrokeshire and the Cardigan coast as well.
You could easily spend you two weeks never going near Snowdonia. North Wales is something of a victim of it's own success and can be very crowded. Like parts of the south has some fine industrial heritage sites, as well as Roman remains and early Celtic churches in addition to the mountains and castles.

Ynys Môn (Anglesey) is quieter, and mid Wales is lovely too. Gold mines, ruined monasteries, great walks, good coast. Hopefully good weather. North-east Wales is gentler as far as landscape but still has lots to offer too.
Pack waterproofs! Do not underestimate the weather and go well prepared should you decide to go for even a walk, never mind a hike anywhere hilly.

Rather than trying to see it all maybe pick just a couple of bases and explore from them.

Have you looked at the Visit Wales site? Lots of ideas there, https://www.wales.com/visit

Happus Dewi Sant for tomorrow

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Old Feb 28th, 2022, 12:13 PM
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Have you thought about booking open jaw and flying back from Manchester, rather than making your way back to London? That would give you more time in Wales.

A suggestion:

Day 1 head to Cardiff for three nights - Cardiff Castle, Castell Coch, Welsh Folk Museum at St Fagans...
Day 4 Brecon Beacons/Hay on Wye for two nights
Day 6 Drive to Tenby for three nights - all of the South West Peninsula is accessible from here. Don't miss St Davids.
Day 9 drive to Aberystwyth for two nights - Do the Vale of Rheidol Steam Railway, visit Devil's Bridge...
Day 11 head to North Wales for three nights - either use Criccieth (ruined castle, Ffestiniog or Welsh Highland Railway, Portmeirion) as a base OR Llandudno/Conwy areas (Conwy Castle and walls, Great Orme, Snowdonia...)
Day 14 Head to Manchester for flight home.

This gives you a reasonable amount of time in each place. If you want to get back to London for a flight back or to see part of the Cotswolds or south east England, then something will have to go.

You need to get accommodation booked quickly. Many places will probably already be booked for June as these are all prime holiday locations...

Last edited by wasleys; Feb 28th, 2022 at 12:15 PM. Reason: mistake...
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Old Mar 2nd, 2022, 06:42 AM
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If you want to see what we did in an almost 3 week loop, with arriving London and having few days there, time in Cornwall, on to and in and through Wales, and on to Chester and flying out of Manchester, here's my report
A Celebration—Capital Cities, Cornwall Coasts, Cymru Castles—and More!

We'd love to have planned more time in Wales.

We LOVED Portmeirion and Glendyfi Castle (not that old but terrific stay, hosts, food...)--and the people and Cardiff and the lakes and mountains and castles--all!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2022, 07:15 AM
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Glandyfi Castle sold not so long ago - you missed your chance texasbookworm. A bargain at 2.85 million pounds.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2022, 09:05 AM
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Well, sure glad we got to visit, then!

Tracee--do hope your trip plans are proceeding; lots of great choices
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Old Mar 2nd, 2022, 11:59 AM
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Yesterday, being St David’s Day, reminded me of the charming little Pembrokeshire city of St Davids with its 12th century cathedral. With a population of less than 2,000, scarcely more than a village, St Davids is the smallest city in the UK. I’ll never forget my stay in that peaceful little place.
https://www.visitwales.com/destinati...aces-st-davids
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Old Mar 7th, 2022, 07:01 AM
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Thank you all for the above help!! It is so appreciated. I am diving back into planning after a week of work travel! So excited to read the trip report texasbookworm and thank you so much for the rough itinerary wasleys...that is exactly what I needed to get started in understanding a good amount of time in each area. And, Pembrokeshire and St. David's is definitely on the list Heimdall hetismij2, I can't wait!! Again, truly appreciative of your help and guidance. I will post a bit more as plans come together (and new questions arise). Thank you!!
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Old Mar 7th, 2022, 09:11 AM
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It was a pleasant surprise when I stayed in St David’s. I was on a staff visit to RAF St Mawgan, and didn’t want to stay in Haverfordwest with the rest of the team. I don’t remember which hotel I stayed at, but it was an old fashioned place with the tables in the dining room numbered according to the room. One thing I remember about the beautiful 12th century cathedral was its sloping floor.

On a separate trip to North Wales I took my young daughter camping, and we stayed in a campsite on Lake Bala in Snowdonia National Park. Having been a fan of the 1960s TV series The Prisoner, I wanted to have a look at Portmeirion, the setting for the filming. My daughter and I enjoyed the steam train ride from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog and back. There is so much to see in that area I could have happily spent a week there, but unfortunately it was only a long weekend.
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