A visit to Wales could be paired with a visit to the popular South West England region. We have previously travelled across Wales via a short road trip with stopovers which are highlighted here. We hope this post would be useful to you when planning your own itinerary should you decide to do a road trip across Wales. If you enjoyed reading this post, you might also be interested in our previous road trips in South West Australia and Norway.
Crossing the Prince of Wales Bridge (a.k.a. Second Severn Crossing)
We started the road trip from Bristol via M49 before turning into the Prince of Wales Bridge (formerly known as Second Severn Crossing). We crossed the bridge during sunset and it was quite the experience. Prior to 2018, motorists were charged a fee for using the bridge but the toll has since been removed.
In Cardiff, we stayed at the Travelodge Cardiff Central which was located in a nightlife hotspot. This was essentially a mistake – the constant drumming of club music, honks and door banging may be suited to party goers but not us (we are light sleepers). The base room cost about USD 60 without breakfast. So, for those travelling as a family, you might be better of with other Travelodge options.
We visited the usual tourist hotspots in Cardiff, namely, the Wales Millennium Centre, Mermaid Quay (bars and restaurants), Cardiff Castle, High Street, Principality Stadium and the Brewery Quarter. These places are generally within walkable distances. Since we were doing a road trip, we did not join any tour. For those not driving, we would recommend checking out Viator for a range of tours like the City Tour with a Local (USD 50), Cardiff City Tour (USD 87), Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour (USD 20) and Cardiff Bay Boat Tour (USD 12).
A470 Route Through the Brecon Beacons
We continued on our road trip via the A470 route because we wanted to pass through the Brecon Beacons region, a scenic mountain range in South Wales. This is somewhat similar to our road trip in Norway. Adventurous tourists may want to walk up to the Pen y Fan, the highest peak in South Wales located in the Brecon Beacons National Park.
After Brecon, we continued our journey to Caernarfon, where the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed Caernarfon Castle is located. The castle was constructed in the 13th century by Edward I as a palace and fortress. In addition to the castle, tourists may also be interested in the town’s narrow streets and regenerated waterfront.
The last stop on our Wales road trip was Llandudno, a fantastic Victorian seaside town. It was frankly one of the best resort towns that we visited. It is well-known in the United Kingdom but not well promoted to international tourists – perhaps due to its hard-to-pronounce name?
It is highly recommended to take a leisurely stroll along the Llandudno Promenade against the backdrop of stunning building rows and its coastline. The Llandudno Pier, located at one end of the promenade is renowned for its Victorian architecture. For tourists without a car, it might be worthwhile getting on the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour (USD 11).
In Llandudno, we stayed overnight at the annex part of the Iris Hotel which was merely acceptable. The base room cost USD 65 inclusive of full English breakfast. At the time, parking was free at the front of the hotel between 16:00 and 10:00 every day. If you got spare cash to burn, consider staying at the iconic Imperial Hotel instead.
The Great Orme
The Great Orme, located in Llandudno, is a large limestone headland which rises 207 m straight out of the sea. It is a fantastic attraction in Llandudno and a must-visit destination. We drove uphill to reach the Summit Complex which is known for its panoramic views of the Irish Sea, cafe (Captains Table) and mini golf course. We also visited the Great Orme Ancient Mine, which is the world’s largest Bronze Age mine.