Your clients will be able to discover the heart of Wales by a range of rail and bus services. Mid Wales can be reached from main line stations such as London Euston, Liverpool, Manchester to Shrewsbury and then accessing the Heart of Wales Line rail network, travelling south through Mid Wales. The Cambrian Line can take your clients from Shrewsbury to the towns of Welshpool, Newtown and Machynlleth and then the line splits into two sections with the southern line going to Aberystwyth and the northern line to southern Snowdonia ending at Pwllheli. Mid Wales is easily accessible from Cardiff, Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and London airports.
Attractions accessible in and around Aberystwyth
The coastal town of Aberystwyth is a great base to explore the coastline and northern tip of Mid Wales. From Birmingham Airport, take the train to Birmingham International and change for the TFW service direct to Aberystwyth which runs every 2hrs. The town has many shops, eateries and attractions for a day out, including two beaches, a pier, harbour and castle ruins.
Located on the north of the promenade, Aberystwyth Cliff Railway offers panoramic views of the town and coast beyond. It is Britain’s longest funicular electric cliff railway. At the summit of Constitution Hill, there is also a café, gift shop and a historical display of the cliff railway.
Ceredigion Museum is near the seafront in a beautifully preserved Edwardian theatre. The collection of art, heritage and culture is displayed over three floors with a range of free exhibitions and chargeable events. There is a café and shop on site.
Aberystwyth Arts Centre is home to cinema and theatre performances. Discounts are available for groups of eight or more.
The National Library of Wales can be reached on the T2 TrawsCymru bus from the main station and takes 10mins. Not only are there over 6 million books and newspapers in the library but also videos, maps, manuscripts, photographs and maps. Exhibitions and events take place throughout the year.
The Vale of Rheidol Railway travels 12 miles (19.3 km) through mountainous scenery to Devil’s Bridge Falls taking 1hr. It is recommended that due to the 1hr stop off, only the ‘punchbowl and three bridges walk’ should be attempted. The ‘nature trail, waterfalls and three bridges walk’ takes 45mins or longer due to its strenuous 675 steep, natural stone steps.
Your clients can travel on TrawsCymru bus service T1 or T5 to Aberaeron. The journey takes around 40mins. Aberaeron is a pretty harbour town lined with colourful houses. The main street is lined with independent shops, craft centres and eateries. The park and harbourside have many benches to sit and enjoy the views.
The route continues to Llanerchaeron. The 18th century Georgian Villa is in the care of the National Trust and as well as visiting the property, there is a farmyard lake, a walled garden and wild parkland to explore.
Travel on the T5 TrawsCymru bus to the pretty seaside resort of New Quay. The journey takes around 54mins. There are dolphin and seal spotting expeditions with New Quay Boat Trips who run daily cruises lasting from 1 to 2hrs. Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre overlooks the beach and harbour and is open daily. The bus service also travels to Pentre’r Bryn in 25mins where Afon Mêl Honey Farm & Meadery is a 15min walk away. Watch the honeybee colony work behind safety glass. Films and information boards provide information about the importance of the pollinators. There is a coffee and gift shop, meadery exhibition, and woodland walks on site.
Travel 31mins from Newquay on the T5 TrawsCymru bus and disembark at Gogerddan Arms to walk 2mins to In the Welsh Wind Distillery. Your clients can take a 2hr tour and participate in a gin making experience. The distillery can also be reached on the same service from Aberaeron (46mins) and Cardigan (27mins).
On the border of the county of Ceredigion is the coastal resort of Cardigan. It is accessible direct from Aberystwyth on the T5 TrawsCymru bus but takes 1hr 51mins. Alternatively, clients can stay overnight in Aberaeron and travel a shorter distance of 1hr 9mins. In the heart of the town, explore the remains of Cardigan Castle, the Georgian mansion and gardens within the medieval walls. The town has many independent shops including a bike hire shop. See our shopping fact sheet for more information.
Adventure Beyond and Cardigan Bay Active offer many water and land activities, including climbing, archery, coasteering and rafting. For arts and entertainment, visit Theatr Mwldan which includes three digital screens showing the latest films.
Welsh Wildlife Centre is 1.2 miles (1.93 km) from the centre of Cardigan and would take 23mins to walk. There is a café and shop on site.
Travel to the National Wool Museum from Cardigan on the 460 bus service which takes 33mins. Watch weavers craft cloth from fleece to fabric on historic machinery. Also visit the engine room, mill, textile gallery, Natural Dye Garden, café and gift shop.
A Bay to Remember offer wildlife and dolphin spotting boat trips around Cardigan Bay. They are based in St Dogmaels which is a 9min bus journey from Cardigan on bus service 405 and bus service 408. Check direct for seasonal changes and departure points.
For more inspiration, see our Literature in Mid Wales itinerary.
Attractions accessible in and around Llandrindod Wells
The direct train from Shrewsbury to the spa town of Llandrindod Wells takes 1hr 30mins. It is home to the National Cycle Museum, where the hundreds of bicycles are displayed in period settings. The Radnorshire Museum is free and holds a wide collection of artefacts and art, preserving the county's heritage. Clients can take a walk through the woodland at Rock Park & Heritage Centre or a circular walk around Llandrindod Wells lake which is 1km long, or hire a boat and venture out onto the water before enjoying refreshments at the Lakeside café. There is also a longer heritage trail which includes the lake and other historic attractions in the town. Maps for the 2-3 mile route (3 or 5 km) are available at the Tourist Information Centre. Llandrindod Wells Golf Club is a 1.2 mile walk (1.9 km) from the town. Or take the T4 bus service from the train station and alight at Grosvenor stores to walk 0.6 miles (1 km) to the club.
From Llandrindod Wells, the T4N bus service operated by Stagecoach travels to Newtown and takes around 45mins. Visit Newtown Textile Museum where clients can see how weavers worked and where they lived in the 19th century. Oriel Davies Gallery is a contemporary visual arts venue showcasing art and craft from around the world. The Robert Owen Memorial Museum is dedicated to the influential thinker and social reformer’s life and works. Explore the views of the Cambrian coast with an Explore Cambrian Coast day ticket, tickets can be purchased from Newtown train station.
There is a direct TFW train service from Newtown to the ancient market town of Welshpool and takes 14mins. On the canalside, there is Powysland, a small museum with a collection of local artefacts, archaeology and social history of Welshpool and Montgomeryshire. Powis Castle and Garden is a 1.3 mile walk (2.1 km) from the centre and takes around 24mins. The medieval castle has a collection of tapestries, paintings, sculpture and furniture. It is also home to the Clive Museum with its private collection of Indian artefacts. The castle is surrounded by stunning Italiante gardens.
Bus service 87 travels to Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway and takes 22mins. The steam railway travels from Llanfair on 1-2hr trips through the countryside and there are a limited number of boarding tickets available to board at Welshpool, which must be booked online prior to the journey. It is also possible to get to Welshpool Golf Club in 43mins using this service, although the 1.3 mile walk (2.09 km) when alighting from the bus takes around 34mins.
The T12 or X75 bus travels just outside of town to Coed y Dinas Charlies, a garden centre and country store with a restaurant. There are also many other attractions to visit using this service. The Andrew Logan Museum of Sculpture is the first museum in Europe dedicated to the life and vibrant work of a living artist. Glanservern Hall has 25 acres of exotic plants and diverse landscape to explore. The estate has many garden attractions, including a five acre lake, cascading water garden, secluded bird hide and woodland walks. Llyn Coed y Dinas Nature Reserve is owned by the Mongomeryshire Wildlife Trust and the reserve offers walking trails to spot birds, butterflies and dragonflies.
The market town of Knighton can be reached direct in 39mins on the TfW service from Llandrindod Wells. It dates back to the start of the 13th century with its half-timbered houses built around the 17th century. The Offa’s Dyke Centre and Knighton Museum are in the town, ideal for walkers and those interested in history. Knighton sits halfway along the Offa’s Dyke National Trail, which is 177 miles (285 km) long. Glyndwr’s Way also starts in the town at the clock tower.
From Knighton, clients can travel 15mins on bus service 41 to The Judge’s Lodging in Presteigne. Step back in time to the 1870s and wander around three floors of Victorian rooms with original furnishings, including the luxury living of the judges, servants’ kitchen, cell rooms and courtroom. Follow the historic Presteigne town trail and visit the shops and eateries along the route.
Rhayder and the Elan Valley
Take bus service X47 from Knighton to Rhayader. From the bus stop at Dark Lane, it is a 0.9 miles (1.45 km) walk to Gigrin Red Kite Feeding Centre. The 160 acre farm has plenty of hides to watch the birds, a trail, picnic site, coffee shop and gift shop. Check for feeding times of the red kites.
There is no direct public transport service to the Elan Valley, but it is 3.7 miles from Rhayader to the Visitor Centre. Walking would take 1hr 13mins but there are cycle hire shops in the village. The Elan Valley, which also provides cycle hire, is a spectacular route of dams and reservoirs and is worth planning to spend a whole day there. A range of stopping routes can be found along the journey which takes advantage of the points of interest and gorgeous views. There is a café and gift shop at the visitor centre and a tearoom around mid route of the journey.
Visit our Days our in and around Llandrindod Wells itinerary for more ideas.
Attractions accessible in and around Machynlleth
Travel direct to the town of Machynlleth from Birmingham or Shrewsbury on the TfW train service. The journey takes 1hr 16mins. Welshpool and Newtown are also on the route so can also be reached from these stations in 53mins and 38mins respectively. The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) has six floors of exhibitions, collections and films. There are several eateries and shops on site. Also your clients can visit the historic Owain Glyndŵr Centre, a late medieval town house that was once Parliament House and where Owain was crowned Prince of Wales in 1404. The annual Machynlleth Comedy Festival is held every year during the bank holiday at the end of May.
The X28 or T2 TrawsCymru bus travels a short distance from Machynlleth to Dyfi Osprey Project. Alight at Llyffant Valley Bridge and walk 0.3 miles (0.5 km). Facilities at the wildlife centre include a wildlife watching window, osprey room, Galeri, observatory and boardwalks as well as a shop and café.
Visit the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) using the T2 TrawsCymru bus service. Alight at Llwyn-gwern Lodge and walk 9mins to the sustainable eco centre. Visit the organic gardens, woodland habitats and see working examples of renewable energy. See our Eco friendly days out at CAT fact sheet to see what else they offer.
Your clients can travel to other the following stations and attractions direct from Machynlleth on the TFW service which departs from Birmingham, terminating at Pwllheli. The service also travels to Welshpool and Newtown so the attractions are also accessible from these stations.
The pretty harbourside village of Aberdovey (Aberdyfi) offers spectacular views of Snowdonia's mountains from its sandy beach and waterfront. The village has lovely gift shops, art galleries and eateries, and Aberdovey Golf Club is also just a short walk away.
Fairbourne is the next stop on the line where clients can disembark to take a journey on the Fairbourne Steam Railway. It is a two mile journey to the Mawddach Estuary, which also connects with the ferry to Barmouth. The return journey takes 1hr. Groups of 12 or more benefit from reduced rates.
The seaside town of Barmouth has plenty of independent shops and eateries, a beach and a fairground with amusements for a fun day out. Along the harbourside, Barmouth bridge stands loud and proud across the estuary. The wooden bridge which opened in 1867 is 820-metres (2390ft) in length and can be walked across back toward Fairbourne. The Barmouth ferry also travels across the estuary.
Clients can alight at Tywyn and walk 7mins to the Talyllyn Railway at Tywyn Wharf station. Attractions at the stations on the 2hr round trip include Dolgoch Falls, walking routes, a museum and carriage sheds. Facilities including places to eat are also available. Alternatively, bus service 30 also travels to the falls in 20mins.
The next stop is Harlech. Royal St David's Golf Club is a 7min walk from the railway station. The grand championship links golf course is ranked in the top 50 courses in Britain. From the golf club, walk 12mins for 0.5 miles (0.8 km) up the steep hill to Harlech Castle. Positioned high up on a sheer rocky crag, the walk is worth the effort as the views from the top of the castle walls, which connect the towers are spectacular. Enter the castle along the floating bridge from the shop and café. There is also a 2 mile (3.2 km) Meirion Trail around Harlech discovering five story chairs around the town telling the story of the battle of Meirion and the Morfeirch (giant seahorses) through QR codes.
Attractions accessible in and around Hay-on-Wye and Brecon
From Birmingham, take the West Midlands train service to Hereford, continuing on the T14 TrawsCymru bus to Hay-on-Wye.
Hay-on-Wye is known as the largest book town in the world. Along with the bookshops, there are many independent shops and eateries. Hay Castle opened to visitors in 2022 for the first time in its 900 year history and has been beautifully restored over 10 years. The castle hosts exhibitions and events during the year. As well as many historical facts to discover, there is also a shop and café on site. Guided tours take place during the day and a lift allows access to all. Private group tours can be booked on request. Entrance is free but there is a small charge for the main exhibitions.
Continue on the T14 TrawsCymru bus to Talgarth Mill. It is a fully restored flour mill dating back to the 18th century where clients can learn about its history, see the restored water wheel and watch the Miller grind the grain. Walks are available along the riverbank and the riverside gardens. There is a Bakers Table Café and shop on site offering food and produce made from the mill’s flour.
The T14 TrawsCymru bus service terminates at the market town of Brecon and is only a 40min journey from Hay-on-Wye. As well as the independent shops (see our shopping fact sheet), there are many attractions four your clients to explore. The historical 11th century Brecon Cathedral is open daily to the public and the Royal Welsh Museum is home to a collection of over 33k memorabilia spanning the first and second world wars and the Anglo-Zulu war. Take a cruise on a narrowboat along the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal with Dragon Fly Cruises or take a walk along the canal. For daytime refreshments in the café or evening entertainment, Theatr Brycheiniog is situated on the riverbank and offers a variety of performances including music, theatre, dance and comedy. The T4B bus service travels to the Storey Arms from the town, where walks in the Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) National Park can be accessed, including Pen-y-Fan.
The X43 Stagecoach bus service from Brecon travels to Crickhowell in 30mins. There are many independent shops and eateries in the town centre (see our shopping fact sheet). The Bear Hotel is an historic 15th century coaching inn. It provides locally sourced food, local craft ales, spirits and wines which can be enjoyed in the relaxing pub garden. A range of accommodation can also be booked here, with some rooms featuring spa baths and four-poster beds. Visit the ruins of Crickhowell Castle or take a walk on the footpath from the bridge which runs alongside the River Usk. Travel 4mins on the X43 from the town centre to Gilfaes Turn. From the bus stop, the permissive footpath at Glanusk Estate and Tretower Court and Castle can be reached, both around 14mins walk in opposite directions.
- Celtic Travel
- Lloyds Coaches
- National Express
- Owen’s Travelmaster
- Richards Bros
When planning a tour of Wales, check the routes and times for all public transport, and the rail network map to ensure easy travel between regions. Many locations may be geographically close but on a different branch line. Check to see if the local bus service is possible.
Cambrian Line audio guide - immersive in-train audio stories when travelling from Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth.
Explore Wales Pass allows unlimited access to Wales’ rail and bus network and discounts for participating attractions and accommodation. See the webpage for full terms and conditions of use.
fflecsi - a flexible way to plan and travel by bus on selected routes by booking a ride via the app or phone.
Trainline - provides helping visitors plan their rail journey and get live train running times, accessibility, and facility information.
Traveline Cymru - Wales Travel Information Service with lots of useful information on planning your journey.
Visit Mid Wales trip planner - information about train and bus stations around the region.
Wales on Rails – promotes tourism in Wales using public transport and includes itineraries, attractions, rail routes and bus routes, upcoming events and you can purchase tickets.
Search for accommodation in Mid Wales.