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Castles & Coast of Wales – Suggested Self Drive

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Castles & Coast of Wales

Remarkable landscapes and castles, and fine food combine with strong Celtic roots, Welsh history, myth and language to lead you on a journey of discovery. The intricate country roads are perfect for exploring in your own vehicle as you drive from green valleys in the south to Snowdonia’s mountains in the north.
Exploring Wales is easy. In the countryside, the roads are excellent, well signposted and largely toll free. Distances between towns are short and driving is on the left hand side of the road, same as in New Zealand.

Suggested Itinerary
Day 1: Cardiff – Swansea – Tenby (148km)
Explore Cardiff, a city bursting with historical arcades and modern shopping centres, museums, galleries and Cardiff Castle. Head west to Swansea or arch up through Brecon Beacons National Park, and onward to Tenby. Who can spot the fort on the island first? Stretch your legs on a sunset stroll through the narrow streets.

Day 2: Tenby – Pembroke – St David’s (60km)
An invigorating morning walk around the picturesque seaside harbour before continuing west to Pembroke and the imposing 12th century castle. Enjoy coastal scenery out to St David’s, Britain’s smallest city, but more like a bustling village with a magnificent cathedral.

Day 3: St David’s – Fishguard – Aberystwyth (116km)
From Fishguard, drive along the beautiful coastline of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Travel up the coast to Aberystwyth and the castle ruins dating back to the 13th century. This is a lovely town to stay with its sweeping seafront, energetic promenade and traditional seaside pier.

Day 4: Aberystwyth – Snowdonia – Caernarfon (150km)
Drive through Snowdonia National Park to view the magnificent architecture of Harlech Castle, perched on a rocky outcrop. Llyn Peninsula is a protected ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ where you’ll find the abandoned village of Nant Gwrtheym.

Day 5: Caernarfon – Conwy (163km)
Caernarfon Castle, World Heritage-listed, is one of the finest castles in Wales with murder holes and a moat. Detour inland through Snowdonia, home of Mount Snowdon and the exciting Zip World.

Day 6: Conwy
This medieval town has a castle perfect for exploring, with ramparts, towers, dark passages and dungeons, and a tiny house. Explore Llandudno, a sweeping beach lined with Victorian hotels and a long wooden pier, or Bodnant Gardens for inspirational beauty.

Customise this itinerary to travel at your own pace.
Carry on to Manchester or take the ferry from Holyhead to Dublin.

Highlights worth seeing along the way
Three Cliffs Bay in Gower –
Trek out, off the beaten track and be rewarded with dramatic views over the glistening ocean and stretches of white sand lying between black cliff faces, topped with emerald green.
Tenby – The colourful walled town has arguably the best beach in Europe, make sure you do a walking tour.
Pembroke offshore islands – Take a boat ride out to visit the cormorants, puffins and guillemots that reside on the islands. You may even see a seal!
Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail – Immerse yourself in nature by walking a section of the coastal trail which covers steep limestone cliffs, undulating red sandstone bays, volcanic headlands, beaches and flooded glacial valleys. The Coastal Bus Service takes you back to your car.
Conwy – Walk through the narrow streets of this historic walled town to discover Britain’s smallest house and explore the ramparts, towers and dungeons of the fortified castle.
Fishguard Tapestry – Stop in to the Town Hall to see this beautifully embroidered tapestry It’s 100 feet long and is admired internationally as the Last Invasion Tapestry, a sort of local Bayeaux Tapestry.
Narrow-gauge steam train – Step back in time as you embark on a ride through spectacular Snowdonia, past rivers and castles.

Our favourite places to stay:
• Lovesgrove Country Guest House, Pembrokeshire
• The Cardigan Bay Guest House, Aberystwyth
• Glan Heulog Bed and Breakfast, Conwy

Choosing your Rental Car
Take into consideration the size of the vehicle you require. We strongly recommend a minimum 1.4 litre for two adults. If the vehicle is to be used for day touring from a central base and not for transporting your luggage, a smaller vehicle may be adequate. We suggest you book your car before leaving home as this will save money and ensure you get the car of your choice.

> View for more HOT UK & Europe road trips

Image credit: Crown Copyright Visit Wales

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