Published on 21st June 2021
Wales is a country known for its beautiful landscapes, history, and culture. When you’re not studying, here are some of our favourite suggestions of places to explore in Wales.
Cardiff is the capital city of Wales and as you would expect from any capital, full of history, culture, and entertainment, as well as one of our USW campuses too!
Whether you want to explore Cardiff Castle, hire a bicycle to cycle around the parks, enjoy lunch with a view at the bay, join the sporting crowds at the Principality Stadium, be inspired at one of the many art galleries, or visit some of the small independent boutique shops, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Tenby is a picturesque harbour town in southwest Wales. Its colourful houses and small winding streets are perfect for exploring the small town which is full of tradition and character. There are plenty of shops to visit selling locally produced items too. You’ll also be rewarded with some beautiful views over the beach and bay.
From Cardiff: Approx 3hrs by train
The Brecon Beacons National Park is one of the most visited national parks in Wales and lies 37km north of Cardiff. There’s lots to see, whether you want to join the National Cycle Route at Merthyr Tydfil, follow one of the hiking routes, or even take a ride on the Brecon Mountain Railway. However you choose to explore, you’ll be able to see waterfalls, wild horses, and views across the hills and mountains.
From Cardiff to Merthyr Tydfil: Approx 1hr by train with 15min taxi
Often referred to as Hay and close to the border with England, this small town is famous for hosting a literary festival each year and has 40 bookshops, with many specialising in different topics and subjects! There’s more to Hay than books, with a range of other independent shops. Set in the Breacon Beacons, by the River Wye, there is no shortage of ways to enjoy the beautiful scenery by boat, foot or bicycle.
From Cardiff: Approx 3 hours by train/bus
This part of South Wales is not too far from Swansea, and is a fantastic part of the Welsh coastline to visit. The Gower Peninsula stretches 19 miles and is classed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with lots of coastal walking routes, sandy beaches and scenic places to stop and enjoy the view. Gower also includes a number of Nature Reserves for wildlife and for those who are interested in history, it is also the place of the earliest burial site from 34,000 years ago western Europe, Paviland Cave.
We couldn’t write about Wales and not mention the following places of interest although you’ll need longer to travel to them as they are in the north of Wales.
Snowdonia National Park
This National Park has a lot to shout about. Not only is it one of the oldest parks in Wales, but it’s almost 1,000 square miles, and home to Snowdon – the tallest mountain in England and Wales. There are trekking routes available, or you can also take the mountain railway if you’d prefer to sit back and enjoy the view on the way up (and/or down!).
Portmeirion is like no other village in Wales. It was built to bring the beauty of Italy to the coast of Wales. Renowned for its pottery and designs, if you have a chance, it’s well worth a visit.
Conwy Castle and Beaumaris Castle
Wales is home to lots of historic castles and both Conwy Castle and Beaumaris Castle deserve special mention as both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Conwy Castle is almost 1,000 years old and Beaumaris is also many hundreds of years old, and situated on the island of Anglesey in North West Wales.
Over the border: Bristol
This vibrant city in England is full of different things to see and do as well as being one of the country’s oldest ports. You can go to the harbour and take a boat trip, or visit the shops in the city centre, enjoy the cuisine in the area of Clifton and much more. Bristol is also well-known for its creative culture and there are lots of exhibitions to visit, or you can also join a walking tour for street art, including visiting the work of local artist, Banksy.
If you’re interested in engineering, don’t miss the Clifton Suspension Bridge – designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and is one of the oldest surviving iron suspension bridges in the world.
From Cardiff: Approx 1hr by train