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First visit to Wales: no car

Northamptonshire...
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First visit to Wales: no car
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Hi

I have never been to Wales but thinking of visiting late September/early October for about 10 days. I will not have a car so relying on public transport or tours.

I was thinking of splitting my time between North and South Wales or would it be better to just focus on one area?

I am interested in Scenery, Castles and some good walking.

Thanks

13 replies to this topic
Machynlleth, United...
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1. Re: First visit to Wales: no car
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Here's a thread about North Wales by public transpor including the info resources you'll need.

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g186435-i835-k13151705-Planning_North_Wales_Trip-North_Wales_Wales.html

[ive ignored some more recent threads, as getting bogged down in Covid-related service curtailments; am assuming normality, which is already largely restored].

There's is plenty of scenery, castles and good walking in most parts of Wales, and many bases can offer that for 10 days.

If you'd said 7 days I'd definitely have said choose either north or south; with 10 you could do 5 in each. Personally I'd stick to 5 days in each of 2 well-chosen transport hubs. ,which could be north and south, or to not stretch yourself too much, north and mid, or south and mid.

Edited: May 17, 2021, 4:46 am
Machynlleth, United...
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2. Re: First visit to Wales: no car
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Note that the rail routes in Wales mostly run east-west.

North-South travel is generally by bus, apart from the Welsh Borders rail line from Chester to Newport. Therefore north-south travel on the west side is generally by bus, therefore slow. Not a complete deterrent, just something to be aware of.

Machynlleth, United...
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3. Re: First visit to Wales: no car
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Here's another thread focusing on South Wales. Here there needed to be a degree of expectation management re what was achievable by public transport in a limited period of time.

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g186425-i307-k13159902-Best_of_Wales_Itinerary_help-Wales.html

Note that across this half of the country there are several different areas offering what you want:

- Chepstow Tintern Abbey and the Wye Valley

- The Brecon Beacons , with trips out to castles

- Pembrokeshire ( coastal walking, St. Davids, super Pembroke castle)

- Gower Peninsula ( beaches and walks)

These areas are really too far apart for day trips from one to the other by public transport. Two bases from those could keep you happy and busy for 10 days. But you still won't see big chunks of South Wales.

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Similarly in the north you can consider

- Northrtn Snowdonia

Southern Snowdonia

- the Lleyn Peninsula

- Anglesey ( Ynys Mon)

All those constitute a very large area when it comes to day trip travelling, so again, 2 different bases over 10 days isn't unreasonable either.

-----

Personal taste whether you want a quick taste of a larger number of places, or to explore somewhere in more depth. With walking as a focus, and public transport to plan for most of your walks, and other activities, I'd settle on fewer bases.

Machynlleth, United...
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4. Re: First visit to Wales: no car
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The Trawscymru / AcrossWales bus routes, for the main north-south routes

https://www.trawscymru.info/routes/

Northamptonshire...
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5. Re: First visit to Wales: no car
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Sonia, thanks for all the info. I will look through it.

Yes, I thought maybe choosing two bases would be a good idea and do day trips. It is just deciding where

Machynlleth, United...
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Beware of lack of bus services Sundays and evemimgs in rural areas. Major routes like Llandudno-Conwy-BangorCaerarfon are well- served even at these times, but others aren't.

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Southern Snowdonia, whilst being very rural , and generally less-visited than more well-known northern Snowdonia, does have some incredibly scenic transport routes:

Pasted from one of my posts elsewhere:

If you want a taste of southern Snowdonia as well as the more well-known northern part, consider taking the train from London to Conwy or Betws y Coed ( via Chester), but returning to London from Machynlleth (via Shrewsbury).

To travel between them you are spoiled for choice: the coastal rail line from Porthmadog to Machynlleth is stunning, past Harlech castle and lovely Aberdyfi, but so too is the T2 bus route through Dolgellau and past Cader Idris and Talyllyn lake ....

.... you can't go wrong, really.! Have fun planning!

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Southern Snowdonia is super walking country. Dolgellau is a great bus hub, even though not on the rail line. If you're not wanting the mountain walking of Cader Idris, check out the Mawddach Trail, Coed y Brenin Forest, Talyllyn Lake, Tany Coed Woodland, Panarama Walk, Torrent Walk, Bala Lake, just a few of the possibilities that are reasonably accessible by public transport from Dolgellau. One of the best easy high-level walks in the U.K. is the Precipice Walk, but that would need a taxi. ( Cost £7.50 each way a couple of years ago).

Machynlleth, United...
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I would suggest two bases in 'north' Wales for this particular trip.

First

One of these ( rail line / bus route linked): Conwy - Llanrwst- Betwus y Coed. While fewer of the mainline trains stop at Conwy , it's better linked by bus. And when not laden with luggage, the half-mile walk from Llandudno Juntion rail station (where all trains stop) across the estuary bridge with the stunning view of Conwy Castle is THE best way to approach Conwy anyway!

(Cases can be made for lots of other places. Criccieth is one, but also visitable from suggested second base below).

Then, move to:

Either Dolgellau or Machynlleth.

Dolgellau for the reasons stated in last post.

Machynlleth, because all the Dolgellau options are still accessible with an initial half-hour bus ride. But Mach is also the train hub, for easy return home, and for the Cambrian coast ride to Aberdyfi, Barmouth, Harlech Castle, Criccieth etc, and also down to Aberystwyth.

Llandudno Junction...
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8. Re: First visit to Wales: no car
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The quickest (and probably cheapest) way to get from North to South is to fly. If you book now a flight from Cardiff to Anglesey will cost about £25 and the flight takes about 50 minutes. The equivalent train journey would cost almost £90 and take at least five hours.

https://www.easternairways.com/destination/cardiff

If you're staying in Gwynedd or Anglesey check out the Red Rover bus ticket. These currently cost £6.80 and give unlimited bus travel on the day of purchase on any bus in Gwynedd or Anglesey as well as buses where one of the terminuses is in Gwynedd, e.g. the Arriva 5 service between Bangor and Llandudno.

https://www.gwynedd.llyw.cymru/en/Residents/Parking-roads-and-travel/Travel-passes/Red-Rover-Tickets.aspx

Wrexham, United...
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9. Re: First visit to Wales: no car
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If you walk from Llandudno Junction to Conwy, you'll take the footpath across Telford's suspension bridge, giving you a chance to see this old and very important bridge without the usual charge.

As Sonia has said, you'll also get some great views on this walk.

Bath UK
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10. Re: First visit to Wales: no car
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I am glad I opened this thread as I had no idea there are flights from Cardiff to Anglesey. It's a long slog of a drive from Bath (even with stopovers).

I was going to suggest that places like Cardiff and Swansea are likely to have organised day trips if that of interest.

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