This trip was very unplanned and I flew without knowing what to expect and which places to visit. My first impressions of Wales where that this place is the perfect destination if you want a relaxing trip. It is what you imagine the British countryside to be; lush hills and meadows with grazing sheep, cows and horses. Driving along the Welsh countryside is what we needed to unwind and take a break from the busy roads of Malta. Apart from the picturesque countryside, Southern Wales was a surprising destination with a lot of things to do and places to visit. Here are some ideas to help you plan your itinerary in the region.
Tenby was my favourite place in Southern Wales. It is a small coastal town featuring a small harbour and colourful Victorian buildings cheering the quiet roads. Tenby also has a nice beach from where you can admire St. Catherine’s island and fort. If I could go back I would choose Tenby as my base both because of its good location as well for the couple of restaurants and bar situated in its pedestrian centre. A small tip – If you feel hungry try the seafood sandwiches shop situated on the harbour … finger-licking goodness!
Forget about busy London. Cardiff is completely different from England’s capital. It is very quiet and although it is the main economic hub for Wales, it is a pleasant place to visit even if you do not like cities. It is also located on the coast and a stoll near the Millenium centre is a must. My favourite attraction was surely Cardiff castle; a mix of medieval and Gothic style in one place. Fascinating is not only the exterior but also the interiors especially the Arab Room as you can see above. No visit to Cardiff is complete without visiting the castle!
The Brecon Beacons is the paradise for nature lovers. The park consists of a mountain range, forests, rivers, lakes and waterfalls where several activities that can be done like trekking, water sports, cycling and horse-riding. We spent a day trekking from a waterfall to the next and I loved observing the different types of flora of the park. This is what I call a relaxing day disconnected from the rest of the world.
Pembrokeshire Coastal Park
The Pembrokeshire Coastal Park, as its name implies, is a very extended park covering the Welsh south west coast. Apart from numerous beaches and cliffs, the park area also includes several towns and architectural gems like St. David’s Cathedral. The park is also popular with wildlife and bird watchers as this is a good place to observe amongst others the Atlantic puffins.
The number of castles you can visit in southern wales is uncountable. Well most of them are ruins of castles, however we found Raglan castle as one of the best preserved castles in Southern Wales. This medieval castle has a curious hexagonal shape and was built more for a show rather than for warfare. An extra reason to visit the castle is its location as it is in the middle of the countryside and can be seen from quite far away.
Rhossili Bay has been voted Wales’ Best Beach for 2018 and 3rd in the UK in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards. It is located close to Swansea and the sandy beach is 3 miles long! The stretch of sand is very spectacular as you can hardly see the other end when viewing from above. As you walk along the Worms Head trail you will be accompanied by sheep that surely do not lack the fresh air. To be honest this is what I enjoyed most. I was not able to appreciate well the beach due to the strong winds and clouds covering the sky. However if you have some extra time better spend it here than in the nearby busy Swansea.
In summer this quiet coastal town becomes a bustling and vibrant holiday resort where sailing, fishing, water sports and relaxation, are the main attractions. This picturesque town is characterised by colourful houses, pubs and restaurants clinging on to the hills that face the Atlantic ocean and Cardigan Bay. A relaxing walk on the pier makes this place an ideal spot to stretch your legs if you are driving to or from Aberystwyth.
This small village will surely not be on the itinerary of most people visiting Wales; it is very small and may seem forgotten. It was home to the famous Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and one of the attractions is his boathouse right on the water’s edge. The other main attraction is the Norman castle facing the bay where the river Tâf meets the ocean.
This is the northernmost place we visited during our stay in Southern Wales. It was quite far away as we were based in the Carmarthenshire, however it was a nice drive along the hills and meadows that form the Welsh countryside. I am not a person that gets discouraged by long drives; in fact I love them 🙂 A visit to Aber, as it is commonly known, is not complete without a funicular ride up the Cliff Railway, where you can admire the beach and the town from above.