Over the years we have been asked by many people to plan a custom South Wales tour for them. From 2 days to 10 days, we have planned bespoke tours that have allowed us to show guests more of Wales than just Cardiff & South East Wales. Parts of Wales, we simply can not reach in one day. Places such as Pembrokeshire & Elan Valley.
Whilst planning these tours, the same places were requested time after time. Places like Tenby & St Davids Cathedral in Pembrokeshire. Aberystwyth & Devils Bridge, and ofcourse, Bannau Brechinniog (The Brecon Beacons). During the planning of these custom tours we would also add various places, that we believed would be well recived. We have taken the feedback from these tours and put together some of the most popular places we have been too across the years to create a three day and a five day South Wales Tour. This allows us to make the booking process more streamlined for our guests. In the words of the famous BBC Childrens Program, Blue Peter, we can simply say, “Heres one we made earlier”
So where does our Five Day South Wales Tour go? What can you see, and what can you do on our Five Day South Wales Tour?
Day one begins at any location of your choosing in Cardiff, when your driver for the whole 5 days will meet you at around 9:30am. Leaving Cardiff you will head up through the Rhondda Valley and to the top of The Rhigos Mountain, one of the tallest mountains in South Wales. From here you will have equisite views across the Brecon Beacons National Park.
You will head north from Cardiff, and be taken up through the Rhondda Valley, once the heart of the Welsh Coal mining industry.
After a short stop admiring the views and taking pictures, you will head into the park itself, and towards the first experience of the tour. A visit to Penderyn Distillery, where you can take a tour of the site, and find out about the history of Whisky Distilling in Wales, and Penderyn’s own journey.
From the distillery you will head further into the National Park heading towards Porth-yr-Ogof, the largest cave opening in Wales. The cave is situated near the start of the famous Four Waterfalls walk. If you want to you can walk some, or all of the trail to see the Waterfalls for yourself.
If you dont want to walk the Four Waterfalls walk, you will be taken on a drive to the near by Melin Falls instead. After which you will be taken through the Neath Valley, and through Swansea to your hotel for the evening in the Mumbles area, just outside Wales 2nd City
The second day starts with a drive out to, and around The Gower Peninsula. This stunning are of Outstanding Natural Beauty is one of the most picturesque parts of Wales, most famous for its beaches.
From The Gower, you will return to The Brecon Beacons. This time along the Swansea Valley, making your way to Dan-yr-Ogof National Showcaves. Here you will have the chance to spend a few hours exploring the massive cave system underneath the Brecon Beacons. The cave system itself covers 17km long, but there is so much more than just caves to Dan-yr-Ogof. Including the Dinosaur Park, indoor and outdoor play areas, a Farm, Shire Horse Centre, Iron Age Village and more. In reality, your could spend the whole day at Dan-yr-Ogof alone. If you want to, you can.
After leaving Dan-yr-Ogof, you will be taken towards Pembrokeshire. With a short stop on the edge of the national park at the pretty Market Town of Llandeilo to break the journey up.
In the early evening, you will arrive in Tenby, where you will be taken to your hotel for the evening.
The half way point of your tour, will have a relaxed start. In the morning you will be left to your own devices, and you can wander round and explore the magical harbour town of Tenby, with its narrow streets and colourful houses.
You will be able to visit the ruins of Tenby Castle, spend time on one fo the beaches, or visit the Tudour Merchant House. There are numerous boat trips that set sail from the Harbour, including trips to the nearby Caldey Island. The island is unique in the UK, as it is one of the few parts of British coastline, that is not owned by the Monarch. A monastry was first located on the island in the 6th Century. The Normans established a new monsatry in the 12th Century, which was forced to close in the 16th Century due to King Henry VIII dissolution. In 1906, the island was purchased by Anglican Benedictines, who rebuit the St Davids Church and numerous other buildings on the island, and built the present day Abbey. In 1929 Cistercian Monks took up residence, and nearly 100 years later, they are still there today.
At an agreed time in the late morning / around lunch time, your driver will meet you at your hotel, and you will say good by to Tenby. If your hotel is in, or near to the centre of Tenby, your driver will not meet you until it is time to leave Tenby. However, if your hotel is further out, and the town walls and harbour are not walking distance from your hotel. your driver will meet you at your hotel earlier, and take you into Tenby for you to explore the town.
From Tenby, you will be taken through the Pembrokeshire Countryside to the town of Pembroke, where you can visit Pembroke Castle. Birthplace of King Henry VII, the first Tudor King.
From Pembroke you will head through picturesque towns such as New Gale & Solve on the way too St Davids. With a population of less then 2000, St Davids is the smallest city in the UK. Despite its size, it boasts the largest and most impressive cathedral in Wales. Construction of the current Cathedral began in 1181, and replaced a smaller one that had been consecrated only 50 years ealier, on the site of a Monasty founded by the patron St of Wales in 589.
After visiting the impressive Cathedral you will be taken to your hotel for the night somewhere between St Davids & New Quay. Prehaps around the village of Newport..
The Penultimate day of the tour, is a special one. We rank it as one of the best single days of all our tours. Infact, one of the reasons designed this whole tour so that we could put together this one day. It is that good in our opinion.
In one day we will take you to see Dolphins, an erry abandoned mine in the middle of no where. Give you the chance to ride the 2nd longest funicular railway in the UK, see peaks of 26 different Welsh Mountains. Admire bridges that could have been built by the Devil. If that isnt enough, you will be driven along two of the best roads in Wales, over a Mountain Range, and through the stunning Elan Valley.
The first stop of this amazing day is Dolphin Spotting off the Pembrokeshire Coast. Your driver will meet at your hotel, at a time that would ensure you arrive in New Quay around 30 minutes before your excursion begins. There are different excursions available, so we will leave it to you, to book the one you want at the time you want, you just need to tell us what time your excusrion sets sail, and we will make sure you are there on time.
Once back on dry land, hopefully with many pictures of Dolphins, you will be driven up the west Wales coast. We have had the pleasure of driving along almost every single road in Wales. Many of them have spectacular scenery. We believe the road that runs along the West Wales coast is one of the best. It is impossible for us to conclusive state any road is the outright best, but this road is in the top 5.
At times the road runs along the top of the cliffs, providing amazing views along the dramatic Welsh Coast, out across the Irish Sea. In other places, it gives just as stunning views inland, across the Cambria Mountains. The road also passes through a number of old, and pretty villages, such as Aberareon
You will almost certainly want to stop along the way, probably more than once, to take in the views and take pictures. Your driver will be more than happy to do so. They will also be able to suggest places to pull over for that perfect picture.
Eventually, you will arrive in Aberystwyth. During the Victorian era, the town was a popular tourist destination for the wealthy. A town with a rich educational history. In 1872, the first University in Wales opened in Aberystwyth. A university which King Charles attended for a term prior to his investiture as the Prince of Wales, to learn Welsh and about Welsh Culture. The Welsh National Library is also located in Wales, and sits proudly on the hills overlooking the town.
In Aberystwyth, you will have the chance to go on the cable pulled Cliff Railway, the 2nd longest funicular railway in the UK. As you are pulled up the side of the mountain, you will get views across the town. At the top, you can use the Camera Obscura to see up to 60 miles in all directions. Across the Irish Sea, up and down the coast, and inland across the Cambria Mountains and the peaks of 26 different Welsh mountains.
During your time in Aberystwyth, you will be able to walk along the promenade or beach. Visit the arcades. Explore the town, and get a light lunch should you wish too.
At an agreed time you will meet back up with your driver by your driver, who will take you into the Cambria Mountains and too Devils Bridge, just outside Aberystwyth. Here you will be able to choose either a short or long walk to Devils Bridge Waterfalls and to see the three bridges built on top of each other. According to legend, due to the terrain it was impossible for the three bridges to be built by man, and they were were indeed built by the Devil himself.
According to the legend, the local people wanted a bridge to allow them to cross the valley. The terrain, and tools and technology of the time, in the area made it impossible for them to build one themselves. One day the devil appeared to the locals and he made them an offer. He told them he would build the bridge they desperately wanted, but in exchange, as payment, he demanded the sole of the first being that crossed the bridge. After much discussion, eventually the locals agreed, and the Devil built them the bridge. He stood and waited for someone to cross, so he could claim his payment. Eventually an elderly woman and her dog approached the bridge to cross it. Just before setting foot on the brige, the old woman stopped, and looked at the Devil. She took a piece of bread and threw it across the bridge. He dog ran after the bread, and in doing so became the first being to cross the Devils Bridge. Although angry, the Devil agreed that the dogs sole was indeed the sole of the first being to cross the bridge and so took the hounds sole as payment and disappeared. The old woman crossed the bridge and kept her own sole.
From Devils Bridge, you wil head inland towards Elan Valley. You will be driven past the erry abandoned lead mines of Cwmystwyth, and along what we consider to be one of the best roads in all of Wales, for its beauty and wilderness. You will then be taken down through the Elan Valley and past several of the reservoirs the area is famous for, before arriving in the town of Rhyader. Known as the crossroads of Wales, Rhyader is almost exactly in the centre of the country. Where your driver will take you to the hotel of your choosing for the final night of the tour
The last day of your tour will end back in the Welsh capital. Not with out visiting more of Wales on the way though.
From Rhyader, you will taken towards the border with England where you will visit Hay-on-Wye. The self titled “Town of Books”. Since 1987, the small, but pretty, border town has hosted the Hay-on-Wye Festival of Literature and Arts. This 11 day day festival is the largest literary festival in the world, and attracts people from all over the world. It has also spawned several similar festivals all over the world. For book lovers, not trip to Wales would be complete without a visit to Hay-on-Wye. Non book lovers will still love its old buildings and indpendant shops.
From Hay-on-Wye the tour heads to another small, historic, market town. Brecon. Home to the 160th (Welsh) Brigade and the British Army Infantary Battle School. Brecon is the headquaters for the British Army in Wales. The romans also had a small military prescence in Brecon, as did the Normans.
Brecon is more than just an Army Town though. This historic market town is full of pretty old buildings, just as Hay-on-Wye, many of which date back to the 15th or 16th Century. Brecon is also the starting point of the Brecon Canal.
During your stop in Brecon you will have the opportunity to explore the canal basin and the town itself, aswell as get a light lunch if you wish.
Leaving Brecon in the early afternoon, you will head through the Brecon Beacons for the 3rd time. A little over an hour after leaving Brecon you will arrive in the town of Caerleon in Gwent on the banks of the River Usk. The Romans called Caerleon Isca when they arrived around the year 75AD. In Isca they established the largest Roman Barracks in Wales, which was home to Augusta Legio II for around 300 years until they left the UK in the 5th Century. Today the remains in the town are some of the best preserved Roman Remains anywhere in the world.
In Caerleon you will be able to visit the virtually intact Ampitheatre, the Barracks themselves, and Roman Baths. A museum has been established in the town, which contains a number of artifacts that were discovered during archeological digs, and tells the story of the Romans time in Isca and the archeological discoveries which began in 1840. Although most of the excavations have taken place in the last 100 years, with work to excavate the Ampitheatre beginning in 1926, with the work on excavating the Barracks commencing a few years later. It wasnt until the 1970’s however that the Roman Baths were excavated. In 2010, a Roman Port was discovered on the banks of the River Usk.
After exploring the Remains and visiting the Baths, your driver for the last 5 days will take you to the final stop of the whole tour. The largest Castle in Wales, and 2nd largest in the UK. Construction started on Caerphilly Castle in 1268, by Gilbert de Clare. The last Prince of Wales before Edward I conquest of Wales, Llewellyn ap Grufydd, opposed its constuction and attempted multiple times to destroy it, before it was completed. The Castle was eventually finished in 1290
Covering around 30 acres, Three Principality Stadiums could comfortably fit in the land occupied by the castle. Defensively strong, due to a series of lakes and moats that surround the castle, it has been described as having the best water defences of any Castle in the UK. Not only does it boast about its size, but it also has its own leaning tower. The tower that leans more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa, has been leaning for centturies. The reason for the lean, is unclear, although it is speculated by many that it was damaged in battle. Enough to cause it to lean, but not enough to cause it to fall.
At the castles closing time, your driver will take you to your hotel in Cardiff. They will leave you with fond memories to last a lifetime of one amazing trip to Wales during which you will have seen stunning coast lines, magnificent cathedrals, impressive Castles and Roman Remain. Awe inspring Mountains, beautiful Waterfalls, and breathtaking scenery. You will have been taken through two National Parks, an Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty, and along two of the top 5 best roads in Wales. You will have learnt abit about the history and culture of Wales, and maybe even picked up a bit of the lingo along the way.
This Five Day South Wales Tour, truly is one amazing and spectacular tour. We are sure you would enjoy it just as much as we enjoyed planning it
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Timings & Numbers
The Three Day South Wales Tour is for up to 4 people, with each day lasting between 8 & 10 hours.
This tour starts at a location of your choosing, but must start and finish in Cardiff.
Additional important information
Whilst this Five Day South Wales Tour is available for up to 4 people, we will need to know how many people will be going on the tour, as the vehicle used may be dependant on the number of people on the tour.
Items may be left in the car overnight, however we are unable to accept any responsibility for any items left the car overnight and can not be held liable for any loss of, or damage too any items left in the car at any time.
Our guides are not historical experts. Your guide will have at least a basic knowledge of the locations they will take you, and Welsh HIstory and Culture in general. They will also be happy to answer any questions you may have to the best of their ability, but there may be some gaps in their knowledge and may not be able to answer all questions fully.
No accomodation is booked or paid for by us on this tour. It is our guests, or their agents, responsibility to arrange their accomodation and advise the accomodation details for each night. We will arrange accomodation for the driver, and an overnight fee to cover this cost is included in the tour fee.
Several of the stops planned for this tour have an entrance fee. These include Penderyn Distillery, Dan yr Ogof National Showcaves, Pembroke Castle, Dolphin Spotting, Aberystwyth Cliff Railway, Devils Bridge, Caerleon Roman Baths & Caerphilly Castle. Other places may also charge an entrance fee. Entrance to any location or attraction is not included in the tour fee, and any fee’s will need to paid directly to the attraction. It is recommended tickets are booked in advance for Penderyn Distillery, Dan-yr-Ogof and Dolphin Spottting.
No meals are included in this tour, and neither do we make arrangements to stop at any particular place for lunch.
You are free to spend as little or as much time as you wish at any of the locations we stop at, and your driver will be happy to stop anywhere else during the day, so long as it is safe and legal to do so.
The weather in Wales can be unpredictable and changeable. We therefore recommend you bring rain jackets or umbrellas on the tour. Even if it is warm and sunny at the start of the tour, the weather may change during the tour. These items can be left in the car at the various stops if not needed.
The walk to Porth-yr-Ogof and Melin Court Falls may be wet and slippery in places, even in dry weather. We therefore strongly recommend suitable footwear, that is sturdy, waterproof and has a good grip is worn, and care is taken when walking
The tour is available all year round, although Dolphin Spotting Excursions do not run during Winter Months, and some attractions may have different opening and closing times during winter months.
No boat trips run between Tenby & Caldy Island on Sundays. St Davids Cathedral is only open 1:00pm to 3:00pm on Sundays.
There are several events throughout the year and various places on this tour that may limit our ability to access certain places on certain times, or may restrict hotel accomodation at certain times. These include Tenby Ironman on 22nd September 2024, which will restrict access to Tenby on this day, and may make finding accomodation hard to come by across the entire weekend. Carten100 on Satuday 11th May 2024 May restrict access to Tenby and accomodation in Tenby on that weekend. Dragon Ride on Sunday 23rd June 2024, may limit our ability to access certain places in Rhondda Valley & Brecon Beacons. Hay Festival Thursday 23rd May to Sunday 2nd June, may severly restrict our ability to acess Hay-on-Wye in a reasonable time. If you wish to take this tour when any of these events, or any other events, are likely to limit the tour, we will advise you when you first contact us. If a tour is booked that clashes with any of these events, we may removes any places we would not be able to access, or would be severly hindered in reaching. Where possible we will look to replace them with alternative stops.