Did you know this week is Wales Week Berkshire? So I thought I would mark the occasion. Despite not being Welsh, I lived in South Wales for a good proportion of my later teens / early adulthood years and have some very fond memories of the country. Today we visit South Wales on holiday and to also visit family, so in support of Wales Week Berkshire, I thought I would share some of my favourite places to visit. Did you know that Cardiff, the Welsh capital is only 2 hours 10 minutes away by car from Reading according to Google maps and now the toll on the Seven Bridge has gone Wales is even more accessible from Berkshire.
Here are several places we enjoy visiting when we head to South Wales:
Cowbridge is a quaint market town in the Vale of Glamorgan, not too far from the beach or Cardiff and Cardiff Bay. Cowbridge has a great Farmers’ Market and the chocolate shop, Cocoa & Co, set down a cobbled street needs to be visited. The Bear Hotel does great food and the Physic Garden is wonderful to visit especially in the summer months when in full bloom. There is also a play area next to Waitrose, if you are visiting with children, who need to let off steam.
Cowbridge High Street
Playground in Cowbridge
Physic Gardens in Cowbridge
Monmouth sits on the border of England and Wales. Monmouth has some lovely shops, cafes and restaurants to visit. The Bees for Development shop is a shop dedicated to bees, I love bees so might be biased but it’s great to look round. The Marches Deli will help recommend great Welsh cheeses and Estero Lounge offer a good menu choice and are child friendly.
Other great Welsh market towns include Abergavenny, Chepstow and Hay-on-Wye.
Castles and an Abbey
There are a number of impressive castles in South Wales including Cardiff Castle, Caerphilly Castle, Chepstow Castle and Castell Coch to name a few. Cadw have written a great article – 10 Castles for Kids which is worth a read if your visiting Wales.
Tintern Abbey which is now a ruin is set in the small village of Tintern in the beautiful countryside of the Wye Valley and looks truly stunning as you approach the abbey, especially on a sunny day as the sun beams through the ruin windows. I haven’t been into the abbey, but you can visit the attraction.
Techniquest is a hands on Science and Discovery Centre set one Cardiff Bay, alongside the hand on exhibits their are science shows, workshops and a planetarium. Techniquest is similar to The Look Out Discovery Centre but larger and different.
Cardiff Bay is a freshwater lake and waterfront just down the road from Cardiff City Centre. The Wales Millennium Centre has some amazing productions if you wanted to catch a show, the last time we visited we went to see Justin’s Band. You can also walk along the Cardiff Barrage which gives great views of Cardiff Bay and the Severn Estuary. The Norwegian Church stands in Cardiff Bay. I haven’t been for a number of years but it always did great food. The Bay has plenty of places to eat and drink and a wonderful atmosphere.
The Royal Mint Experience is fascinating and we enjoyed our visit. Not only do you learn plenty about our currency and coins here in the UK and overseas you also discover about their other makes including the Olympic Medal. The museum was fun and educational with visual and some hands on exhibit including lifting a bar of gold. The highlight was being able to see in the factory and the guided tour of the museum and factory.
The Royal Mint Experience
St Fagans National Museum of History on the outskirts of Cardiff makes a great day out and entry is free of charge. The museum has been Wale’s most popular heritage attraction for many years. It explores the history of peoples live’s in Wales, there are lots of different houses and buildings to go in and out of and it makes a really educational and interesting place to visit for the whole family.
If you love shopping the Cardiff is a great place to visit with plenty of shops. Also McArtherGlen Designer Outlet in Bridgend has plenty to offer. The market towns also offer shopping experiences with more independent retailers.
One aspect of South Wales that is a real asset to the area are the beaches. We enjoy visiting the following:
Rest Bay, Porthcawl is a beautiful with golden sand beach that run for miles.
Merthyr Mawr Warrant National Nature Reserve is certainly worth a visit if you are near Bridgend. It is home to the highest sand dune in Wales known as the Big Dipper and it’s great fun to explore.
Merthyr Mawr – The Big Dipper
Penarth Beach is a pebble beach which looks out to the Severn Estary and is home to Penarth Pier.
Barry Island is home to golden beaches, amusements and cafes. It has something on offer for the whole family.
The Gower Peninsular is stunning and named as an area of Outstanding Beauty. To find out where to visit, click here.
One place we love to visit us Tenby. It’s such a picturesque town with beautiful beaches, the most idyllic harbour and some great independent shops. When we were last in Tenby about 3 years ago now we took a trip to Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo. It was a wonderful farm and zoo experience and we thought it was very well run. We saw all the zoo animals including feeding time at the penguins, the animal barn with farm animals. There is a fun fair and soft play in doors too.
We haven’t been, but will one day but At David’s also comes highly recommended.
If you go to South Wales I recommend trying some Welsh Cakes, I think they are delicious but also pretty straight forward to cook at home. Here is a recipe from Berk and Bite blog which we tried on St David’s Day and they were yummy!
*Click here to view the Berkshire Mummies disclaimer. If you visit any of the above places please check opening times, prices, parking, venue / event T&Cs before visiting. Views are those of Berkshire Mummies.*