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Wales - where to base for hiking, castles?

Wales - where to base for hiking, castles?

Sep 2nd, 2010, 04:56 PM
  #1  
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Wales - where to base for hiking, castles?

My husband and his brother are planning a trip for next May. A couple years ago they went to Scotland and loved it and would like to repeat the trip, only perhaps someplace different but with same "feel". That trip they rented a car but would like to consider the possibility of doing it by public transportation. Is there some place in Wales that would make a good base for about a week where they could take reasonably short train or bus trips to a different location each day to hike and visit castles/ruins? My husband claims the guide books are not giving him the answers that he wants and that since I spend all my time on this forum I should post a question for him. So I am.
isabel is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 06:46 PM
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Betws-Y-Coed worked great for us.....castles, gardens, the whole enchilada.
Judyrem is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 06:48 PM
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Nearby.
Meaant to say.
Judyrem is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 06:49 PM
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Once I stayed at St.David's for walking along Pembroleshire Coast, travelling by public transport, you might like to check out: http://www.countrygoer.org/pembrk.htm
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Sep 2nd, 2010, 06:50 PM
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Sorry, should be Pembrokeshire
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Sep 4th, 2010, 03:21 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions.
isabel is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2010, 05:08 AM
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My husband has found three towns that might work and wondered if anyone here had opinions - Beddgelert, Llanberis, and Betys y Coed. Thanks
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Oct 3rd, 2010, 06:46 AM
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There all relatively near each other, Betys y Coed will have most choice for accommodation but Beddgelert and Llanberis are more scenic locations.
stevelyon is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2010, 07:52 AM
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In North Wales Conwy would be the best location for someone with your husband's interests and travelling on public transport.It is at the junction of the Chester to Holyhead railway line(or within half a mile of it at Llandudno Juntion-but I've never heard of anyone staying there) and the Conwy Valley line which goes up to Blaenau Ffestiniog. There is also a quick trip to Llandudno also by train.
To the west you can travel by train to Bangor and change to bus for Caernarfon Llanberis Porthmadog and the Lleyn Peninsula(together with other places). The train crosses on to and across Anglesey to Holyhead which is the ferry port for Ireland. Anglesey is fabulous for walking-I've been here 32 years and still haven't covered it all.It is very different from the mainland though which is more dramatic and mountainous.Most of Anglesey is probably accessed more easily by getting off the train in Bangor and continuing on bus from there.
In this direction(i.e. to the west of Conwy) you have castles at Caernarfon, Beaumaris, Criccieth, Dolbadarn not including Conwy which dominates the town.
Up the Conwy valley you have river and mountain scenery finally arriving at Blaenau Ffestiniog a slate mining town in the mountains.You can connect here to a narrow gauge railway down to Porthmadog visit Portmeirion on the way and then bus back up to Caernarfon and back to Conwy.
Alternately if you wanted to move on you could connect at Porthmadog by train down to Aberystwyth.
Neither Beddgelert nor Llanberis have a main railway line(only a narrow gauge tourist line. Betws Y Coed is picturesque but slightly overrated. Your communications from here would be nowhere near as good as Conwy.
To top it all Conwy is a very pretty small town with a few good places to eat.You can connect here easily from the station at Manchester Airport.
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Oct 4th, 2010, 07:19 AM
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We just spent three days in the Conwy area. We loved it and found the trains and buses very easy to negotiate. We stayed at Bryn B&B which is one of our all time favorite B&B's. It's right by the castle wall with a stunning view of the castle, the water and the Snowdonia mountains- all for 70 pounds a night for a double room and breakfast. The owner did everything she could think of to make our stay enjoyable.

We also stayed at Gwydir Castle near Llanwrst, a 30 minute bus ride from Conwy. It is a unique experience to stay there and have free rein in the mostly restored 15th century manor house and grounds. This was 85 pounds a night for a double room with breakfast in a grand room in front of a roaring fire in the fireplace.

We definitely want to return to this area- lots more castles and gardens to see.

We found that Betws is much harder to get to using public transportation, especially on a Sunday when there are fewer buses and trains.
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Oct 4th, 2010, 11:19 AM
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When I saw the subject line, I immediately thought "Betwys y Coed". Without a car, as Frances so elegantly writes, Conwy is definitely the best place. If you can't get some place like Bodnant Gardens by train or bus, you can certainly find a day tour.
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Oct 4th, 2010, 03:01 PM
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We went to Conwy in August using all public transportation, I speak about restaurants in our trip report "UK without a Car". The train does stop in Conwy but you have to tell the conductor you are getting off there and when you leave you have to signal the conductor from the platform as the train arrives. We stayed at Glan Heulog Guest House and it was fantastic. Stan will even give you Welch lessons. Our first night we walked the wall around the town and they went down by the water. The next day we went to the castle and a Victorian house. Then we tool the bus to LLanduduno and went to the great Ome. You can take the tram all the way uo or you can hike all or part of the way. When you get to the top you are looking out over the Irish see. You can also take a bus to Caernarfon Castle. We loved Conwy abd the train and buses were great.
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