Wales has a full network of public transport routes, both trains and bus. The main train line from London Paddington travels direct to Newport and Cardiff. Passengers arriving into Wales by train from Manchester Piccadilly and Birmingham can also take a direct train to these cities.
Getting around South East Wales by train is easy. There are trains between Cardiff and Newport approximately every 30mins.
The main railway line runs more or less parallel to the coast, connecting Chepstow, Newport, Cardiff, Swansea, Carmarthen and Pembrokeshire. See our fact sheet for public transport in South West Wales. Branch lines from Newport, Cardiff and Bridgend serve The Valleys, the Wye Valley and the Vale of Usk.
The Explore South Wales Pass allows four days travel within a period of eight days on trains and selected bus operators in South Wales. Explore the Capital day-to-go ticket and Explore Cardiff and Valleys ticket are also available for unlimited travel during off-peak times.
Most train lines in Wales are experiences in their own right on some of the most scenic roads and railways in Britain.
There are plenty of accommodation options in the region’s major cities and towns such as Cardiff, Newport and Abergavenny.
A day in the Capital
Cardiff is the capital city of Wales. The airport is linked to the city with both bus and train connections. The Traws Cymru T9 service is the most convenient connection running every 20mins between the airport, Cardiff city centre and Cardiff Bay.
Once in the city, your clients will find plenty of things to see and do including Cardiff Castle, once the site of a Roman fort and now a neo-gothic castle with exquisitely decorated interiors. Principality Stadium and National Museum of Wales are also in the city centre. For more information about attractions in Cardiff and the Bay visit our sample itinerary for sightseeing in Cardiff.
City Sightseeing Cardiff tour bus visits many attractions around the capital. Clients can hop on and hop off all day at twelve stops. The audio guide is provided in seven languages and coupons are given for discounts at some of the attractions and restaurants.
Skycar by Cardiff Bus operates from June to September and runs from Cardiff to Penarth, stopping at Mermaid Quay in Cardiff Bay. The open top bus offers fabulous views of the coast.
City of Arcades walking tours are a great way to explore Cardiff. Fogo's Free Tours and Loving Welsh Food both provide walks exploring the Victorian and Edwardian arcades. Choose from either a tasting tour, historical tour or a self guided photography trail. Please note Fogo's 'free' tours operate on a 'pay as you feel' basis after the tour.
A short hop by bus Baycar 6 or train from Cardiff Queen Street station links the attractions at Cardiff Bay with the city centre. Visit the TfW website for Cardiff Bay train station and times. Highlights include Norwegian Church Arts Centre, The Senedd, The Pierhead, Cardiff International White Water, and a trip on the water with Cardiff Boat Tours. Wales Millennium Centre has a programme of box office shows.
Days out from Cardiff
There are regular train services from Cardiff to South Wales’ popular coastal towns. Barry Island is home to the mile long Whitmore Bay Beach. There are amusement arcades, funfair, shops, a wide selection of places to eat including Marco's café from the TV series, Gavin & Stacey. A walk around the coast path leads to Jackson’s Bay.
One of the finest examples of a medieval castle in Europe. Caerphilly Castle is just a 20 minute train journey from Cardiff Central. The castle is a five-minute walk through the town centre from Caerphilly station. Alternatively, bus service number 26 is a 50min journey with the bus stop on the road for the entrance to the castle.
The 13th century fairytale castle has been lavishly adorned for over 700 years. Castell Coch sits proudly amongst the trees of Fforest Fawr. It can be reached using service number 132 which runs from Cardiff Greyfriars Road at least three times an hour. The castle is a 4min walk from the bus stop.
With geographical features and unspoilt coastline, your clients can walk the cliff tops of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast from Llantwit Major which forms part of the Wales Coast Path from Llantwit Major. There is an hourly train service which travels direct from Cardiff and the journey takes 40mins. The coastline and Llantwit Major beach is 1.6 miles (2.5 km) from the station and a walk through the village would take around 35mins.
A direct train from Cardiff takes you to Merthyr Town in just over 1hr. There is a regular bus service (service number 3 and service number 25) to Cyfarthfa Park and Castle which takes 3min.There is much to do here including a walk around the 65 hectares of parkland and lake, and a visit to the historical castle, museum, art gallery and Bothy Heritage Centre. There is a café on site. The town centre provides many high street shopping retailers as well as a daily market. For entertainment, visit Merthyr Leisure Village for sports facilities, an eight screen cinema, bowling complex and several restaurant chains. For a spot of retail therapy, Trago Mills complex, which occupies over 23k square metres, can be reached using service number 6, service number 9 or service number 23. Alternatively, Cyfarthfa Shopping Park is a 20min walk from the train station.
St Fagans National Museum of History
Just outside Cardiff, St Fagans National Museum of History is the perfect place to start a tour of South Wales. Two new galleries tell the story of Wales and its people, and there are 100 acres of outdoor space with original Welsh buildings relocated from their original sites each telling a story of life in Wales. Cardiff Bus service 32 and Adventure Travel service number 320 runs there daily from Cardiff.
A Welsh Coal Mining Experience
There is a regular direct train service from Cardiff Central to A Welsh Coal Mining Experience. Alight at Trehafod station then walk for 8mins. The journey takes 35mins on the train. Visitors will experience life as a miner with a guide on the Black Gold Experience Underground Tour, which concludes with a virtual ride on a dram. Refreshments can be taken at Caffe Bracchi before visiting the art and craft shop, gift shop and exhibition. Chocolate House is also on site which run pre-booked chocolate tasting sessions.
Trains to Aberdare leave every 30mins from Cardiff Central and takes just over 1hr. A vibrant indoor market is the hub of the town centre. Take a 20min walk to the Cynon Valley Museum, a free attraction which recalls stories of the history of people living in the valley. There is a regular programme of exhibitions, a shop and café. Alternatively, it is a 6min walk to the bus station where bus service 7 Glynhafod to Penderyn travels direct to it. To travel further afield, stay on the bus to Chapel Road and walk 2min to visit Penderyn Brecon Beacons Distillery in the foothills of the Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) National Park. Sample some of their finest whiskies on a tour and browse around the visitor centre and shop.
The Winding House is a museum which was built on the former site of a mining colliery. Its centre piece is the original Victorian winding engine dating back to 1891, which operated the cage transporting the men and coal between surface and mine. The museum also includes exhibitions, and historical collections with links to the community of Caerphilly Borough. It can be reached in 1hr by direct train on the Rhymney train from Cardiff. Alight at Tir-phil walk 15min.
Things to do in and around Newport
There are regular train services from Cardiff to Newport City Centre. A short walk from the station is Newport (St Woolos) Cathedral where 21 Chartists killed in the riots of 1839 lie in unmarked graves and a memorial is placed in their honour. The history of the Chartists is also on display at Newport Museum and Art Gallery. Nearby is Newport Market with a diverse range of lifestyle food and drink traders, independent stalls and lifestyle units.
Travel to Caerleon on a selection of routes operated by Newport Bus. The town is bathed in historic importance and is home to the National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon Roman Fortress & Baths (Cadw) and Caerleon Amphitheatre.
Local bus services run by Newport Bus to the Newport Ship, a fifteenth century medieval ship which was found in the city in 2002, and has been painstakingly excavated and conserved for visitors to view the three-masted vessel. The website offers detailed bus service information to reach them.
Highlights of our South and West Wales cities itinerary features the attractions on Day one.
Days out from Newport
The town of Abergavenny can be reached regularly by train from Newport and Cardiff. There are many independent shops in the town and not to be missed is Abergavenny market, which hold different daily market days, including craft, antiques and art. More inspiration can be found under South East Wales market towns on our shopping fact sheet. The Angel Hotel is in the town centre where visitors can indulge in an afternoon tea. For those interested in heritage and culture, Abergavenny Museum and Castle and St Mary’s Priory (the Westminster Abbey of Wales) are also a short walk from the town centre. The Priory church holds a collection of historic monuments and medieval carvings whilst a tapestry and exhibitions can be found in the Tithe Barn. An alternative option for walking enthusiasts is to discover the wildlife of Abergavenny on a two hour nature trail around the town. Seven miles (11 km) from the town is White Castle vineyard. There is no public transport to the vineyard, but taxis can be sought from Frogmore Street.
Chepstow & Tintern
Regular trains run from Cardiff to Chepstow with the journey taking just over 30mins. Alternatively, Chepstow can be reached by bus from Newport on service numbers 73 and 74 which take between 45min to 1hr. Visit the beautifully preserved Chepstow Castle. The town is the start of Offa’s Dyke a 177 mile (285 km) National Trail and one of Lonely Planet’s World’s greatest walks. An hourly bus service number 69 travels from Chepstow bus station to Tintern Abbey. Founded in 1131 by Cistercian Monks, the roofless abbey sits on the banks of the River Wye.
Brecon Town and Cathedral
The Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) National Park is just a short ride from Cardiff. The TrawsCymru bus T4 from Cardiff travels to Pen y Fan, the highest mountain in South Wales. There are a number of local bus routes, so it’s good to plan the route accordingly. The bus continues to travel to Brecon where there are plenty of things to do. Visit the historic Brecon Cathedral or cruise along the Brecon and Monmouth Canal on a narrowboat with Dragon Fly Cruises. A programme of entertainment can be found at Theatr Brycheiniog.
- Adventure Travel
- Cardiff Bus
- First Bus South and West Wales
- Newport Bus
- Phil Anslow & Sons
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.
Useful web sites
Explore South Wales Pass allows four days travel within a period of eight days on trains and selected bus operators in South Wales.
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 – a useful website to help plan your journey by public transport
Wales Coast Path is easily accessible using public transport.
Wales on Rails – promotes sustainable travel and tourism in Wales. As well as being able to purchase tickets, the website also includes itineraries, attractions, upcoming events, rail routes and bus routes.
Search for accommodation in the major cities and towns.