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London to Wales RT in 4 days (mid-June)

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san francisco, CA
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London to Wales RT in 4 days (mid-June)

I would appreciate advice regarding a side trip we are planning with our two children (13 and 11). We are leaving Heathrow car rental at noon and driving towards Wales. We've spent several summers visiting beautiful England (husband is English with a Welsh mum), and now we are taking a quick trip to Wales. We're thinking of Stonehenge and Salisbury (animal park) day one. On to Cardiff day two. Wales day three and straight back on to Windsor (M4) on day four. We'll be in London with family after that. Suggestions regarding places to stay and see on the way to Wales? We were considering the Marriott in Wales? Thank you.

Cardiff, Wales
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1. Re: London to Wales RT in 4 days (mid-June)

Don't underestimate the amount of time you will be spending on the road. Salisbury is slightly off the beaten track as far as fast roads are concerned, and once you head into the Welsh countryside, things slow down too. Cardiff to Windsor by motorway is about 2 and a half hours (longer obviously if you are starting away from Cardiff and the M4).

Maybe, given the time constraints, you ought to think about doing either Cardiff or the Welsh countryside but not both in just two days - you risk getting too superficial an impression of either, although as a 'sampler' visit it may not be too bad (don't forget though that the geography of Wales varies quite a bit between north, mid, south and west so don't assume you have 'done' Wales with just one visit). Given that you come from one of the most beautiful cities on earth, my suggestions is maybe skip staying in Cardiff this time (lovely though it is, it cannot compare to SF!). Maybe spend a few hours there to get an idea of its attractions for future reference (take a bus tour or something) but go straight into the countryside and spend a few nights at one of the more 'character' hotels, especially in the Welsh speaking areas (eg Carmarthenshire). A good guide to such hotels is 'Welsh Rarebits' - www.welsh.rarebits.co.uk - all the hotels from this list I have stayed in have been great - great food, well placed to see the real beauty of the countryside, and some even have a resident ghost!

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2. Re: London to Wales RT in 4 days (mid-June)

HI ,

If you are thinking of coming to Cardiff , check out theWelsh Museum at St Fagans, it's aliving museum , full of old houses, animals, etc.

Easy to walk around the kids shouldn't find it too boring as there are plenty of places to stop, old shops with sweets , food etc. and great areas for picnics.

It's free too , so if they do hate it , you can move on- St. Fagans has some nice old pubs too.

One tip- take a picnic, rather than eat your main meal there, as it's nicer.

san francisco, CA
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3. Re: London to Wales RT in 4 days (mid-June)

Thank you for your suggestions. We've decided to spend two nights in Cardiff and take day trips from there. Also, my 11 yr old boy is very excited to see where his father saw the World Cup five yrs ago! Thanks again!

Wales, UK
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4. Re: London to Wales RT in 4 days (mid-June)

Would endorse the earlier recommendation for St Fagans Museum of Welsh Life - we always end up taking friends who visit here and they love it.

I have also heard good things about the Brecon Mountain Railroad which I believe starts from Merthyr Tydfil, about a 30 minute drive from Cardiff.

My wife went on an open-top bus tour of the City Centre recently which she said was good.

The Hilton in the city centre opposite the castle is really nice but maybe a little expensive. (The castle tours are also good, as is a visit to Castle Coch just north of Cardiff).

You need a good half day to a day for St Fagans.

Plenty of choice for eating out etc, but would recommend Cardiff Bay for evenings out - nice variety of restaurants ranging from Valentinos (Italian) to Harry Ramsdens.

We are off to San Francisco in August for 5 days so any recommendations appreciated.

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5. Re: London to Wales RT in 4 days (mid-June)

How about doing something a little bit different and visit Big Pit in Blaenavon (about an hour's drive from Cardiff, near Pontypool in the Welsh valleys). It's an award winning museum based on the site of a coal mine, where you can actually go down in the original lift underground and walk hundreds of feet underground as the miners would have done ,wearing a pit helmet (all free ). Mining was the backbone of the Welsh Valleys until the 80s but there is now only one working mine left, so it's a very important part of our Welsh heritage. Some of the comments on the miners lockers and photos are quite moving as it was such a dangerous way to make a living. We've been there half a dozen times and always learn something new and our kids love talking the guides who are all ex miners and really friendly

Afterwards you can drive a few miles further over the Blorenge mountain to the market town of Abergavenny and on to Brecon in the middle of the Brecon Beacons National Park, if you still want more. Try and get your hands on "the Rough Guide To Wales" for more ideas