“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”– Anonymous.
We did a 2 days road trip to Wales (Southern Part of Wales) in August 2019.
Wales is a destination with so much to offer in terms of activities, history, railways and beaches.
Every corner has something interesting to discover. It doesn’t have the fame or glory of England or Scotland, but it’s loaded with just as many treasures. Wales’s destination tend to be lesser-known to the general traveling population.
We started our trip from Nottinghamshire (in Britain) in the morning.
The distance from Nottinghamshire to Wales was around 161 miles (covered in 2.50 Hrs)
Brecon Mountain Railways:
The first destination that was covered on Day 1 was the ‘Brecon Mountain Railways’.
Starting point of the journey was Pant Station (Timings – 10.30Am, 12.15Pm, 2PM, 3.45Pm).
Tickets can be purchased directly from the Pant station and the ticket price was around Adult 15 GBP, Kids (2-15) 6.25 GBP.
You can also book your tickets online here : https://bookings.bmr.wales/(S(0u3i4kf5yskooxfh3krgmnd3))/booking.aspx
All trains travel nonstop from Pant to Torpantau. All returning trains from Torpantau stop at an intermediate station in Pontsticill, where you can visit the Lakeside Cafe, admire the view or go for walks alongside the reservoir, there is also a children’s play area.
Passengers can stay longer at Pontsticill and get a different train back to Pant station. The entire trip was around 2 hours (including the 20 minutes tea break at Pontsticill).
You can also see the Workshops in the Pant station, where these locomotives are repaired.
In this entire trip, you will get a chance to travel behind a vintage Steam Locomotive.
I felt that the tickets are overpriced (15 £/Adult) because you don’t have a lot to see enroute. If you have not travelled in such a steam engine driven train, this trip might be interesting for you.
One thing to admit is that train and compartments are well maintained and is very clean.
Later we went to Cardiff (capital of Wales)
The distance to Cardiff from Brecon Mountain will be around 37 minutes/27 miles.
Cardiff is beautiful, conveniently connected by transportation, highly walkable, and feels like a small town while having the amenities of a larger city.
Cardiff Bay is often described as one of the most successful redevelopment projects in the United Kingdom.
Cardiff Bay is supplied by two rivers (Taff and Ely) to form a 500-acre freshwater lake around the former dockland area south of the city centre. It’s an excellent place where you will get lot of options to capture some really nice photos.
If you want to explore Cardiff’s coastline, there’s no better way than a boat. Cardiff Bay is where all the boat trips head out from.
Many of the boating here in the Bay close by 5:15 Pm-5:30 Pm. So, it is advisable to reach here no later than 4:30 Pm.
There are many adventure/kids’ activities available near to the main bay area.
The Millennium Centre is possibly one of the newest landmarks in the city to see! Best yet, there’s so much to do inside, especially if you want to explore the creative side of the city.
It’s a 2,500-capacity venue that can host massive bands, comedians and touring theatre shows.
The national assembly of Wales (named Senedd) is also located here and its near to the Millennium Centre.
We had booked our stay in Cardiff (Clive Road Flat 5, Cardiff, Wales CF5 1HG, United Kingdom) and stayed in this place for 2 nights.
Quick review of the accommodation:
We stayed in the ground floor and the room was quite clean.
This house is in a Residential area
You can find a Fish and chips shop near by
There were no much pans/pots for cooking.
Second day was a fully packed trip where we had to cover a lot of places.
Some places that we explored were:
Strumble Head Lighthouse:
This is very nice place, not much explored.
You need to be a good driver, as the roads are quite narrow, and you might encounter one or another vehicle from the opposite direction. You won’t get permission to get inside the light house.
The present lighthouse was erected in 1908.
There is enough parking space available near the lighthouse, but no shops / Toilets available in that region.
The area is known as the Pencaer Peninsula, although it isn’t actually a peninsula. Bordered on two sides by the sea and on the inland side by a line of low hills, it does give the feeling of being cut off.
Porthgain was once a small commercial harbor used for exporting stone from the nearby quarry but is now a popular spot for tourists and locals. If you don’t have a car, you can reach Porthgain by taking the Strumble Shuttle coastal bus service. Porthgain has a couple of restaurants, art galleries, and it’s a great spot for launching kayaks. There are also public toilets available in this place.
The harbour was used as a location for the filming of the comedy ‘Their Finest’ starring Gemma Arterton, Bill Nighy and Sam Claflin.
On the left of the harbour the large brick buildings built into the cliff face are the hoppers used to store crushed granite (of different sizes) before shipment. The hoppers are now a scheduled monument, as Porthgain was designated a conservation area in 1987. Their only use now is as store for the local fishermen who still successfully fish for crab & lobster.
We did not explore much here, and we didn’t like this beach (Black sand). It was very much crowded.
The car park overlooks the beach and fills up quickly in summer. There is also a parking fee.
We did not visit the Blue Lagoon aswell.
Seems this is a popular spot for coasteering and quite a popular bathing place for families.
Saint Davids / St Justinian’s Lifeboat Station / Haverfordwest / St. Justinians:
You can take a boat trip to Ramsey Island from St Justinian’s Lifeboat Station.
This boat trip would be my first recommendation in case if you have very limited time to spent in Wales.
Situated on the spectacular coastline of south-west Wales and close to Britain’s smallest city, St Davids Lifeboat Station has been launching lifeboats since 1867.
The boat starts from a place which is a 10 minutes’ drive from the main town. You can buy your tickets from the main town and drive down to this place. There is enough parking/ toilet facility available near by the boat station (There is a small parking fees).
You need to climb up/down a lot of steps to reach near the boat.
There are a couple of companies operating boats here. Please check for the ticket price in all the such shops. There is always a scope to bargain (to a small extend)
We took Thousand islands Adventure trip (Jet Boat) which last for around 1 hour. They took us along the bays and caves around Ramsey Island.
More details here –> https://thousandislands.co.uk/thousand-islands-adventure/
If you are lucky enough, you will get chance to see a lot of seals during this trip.
This trip will help you to get some stunning views of the sea / caves/ seals / Sea Birds and so on.
There are many shops in the main town and a couple of paid parking grounds / slots as well.
You will find a lot of snack shops in the main town. We tried Crabs Oggie. It was very costly (4.5£/Piece). We personally did not like the Crab Oggie at all. My suggestion would be to buy 1 piece and taste it before buying in large numbers.
Bombay Brasserie (Indian Restaurant):
As always, we started our search for an Indian restaurant to have our Lunch, Infact it was quite a very late lunch that day.
Our search took us to ‘Bombay Brasserie’.(Vine Rd, Johnston, Haverfordwest SA62 3NZ, United Kingdom).
Eventhough the food delivery took some time, I would certainly admit that the fact that the food here was extremely tasty. Staff was friendly and welcoming.I would certainly recommend this place.
There is also a Fuel station and a Hotel (for accommodation) nearby to this restaurant.
Stackpole Quay (in Pembrokeshire):
Pembrokeshire county is full of gorgeous small towns with rich, unique history. It’s also home to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, which is Britain’s only coastal national park.
You can walk from Stackpole Quay to Barafundle bay.
The tiny harbour at Stackpole Quay on Pembrokeshire’s south coast is used by fishing boats and pleasure craft. Just inland from here is a National Trust tearoom and the parking area which is nearest to beautiful Barafundle Bay.
Tenby Beach (in Pembrokeshire):
Tenby is one of the favourite sea-side town in Pembrokeshire. Traditionally a historic fishing town, this colourful coastal town has now become one of the region’s best-loved places. This alone makes it one of the best places to visit on a Welsh road trip.
Tenby overlooks two islands, the closest of which is St. Catherine’s. This island can be reached by foot at low tide. The harbour, North Beach and South Beach are all worth a visit.
Other places that we missed in this Southern wale’s trip are:
Bronwydd Arms Station (Gwili Railway)
Big Pit Mining Museum
Cardiff National Museum
St Davids Cathedral
Merchant Seafarers’ Memorial
St. Catherine’s Island in Tenby
1. You can see a lot of sign boards in ‘Welsch’ language, but everyone speaks English. As part of efforts to protect Welsh language and culture, the Welsh language was placed on equal footing with English in 1993. As a result, Welsh is taught in schools and all government signs are in both English and Welsh. Some Welsh are more comfortable speaking Welsh; others are more comfortable speaking English. That said, today everyone speaks English.
2.We did not find much of Souvenir shops from where we could collect some souvenirs/fridge magnets. It’s advisable to buy one, as soon as you find it anywhere on your trip.
3. Please note that in this entire trip, we completely avoided the Northern Wales, due to time limitations. Northern Wales also have many beautiful places like Snowdonia National Park and so on.