Highlights of South Wales in 3 days
Cardiff is a modern and cosmopolitan Capital city. What’s really great about Cardiff is its size; it’s compact; almost everything you want to see is within walking distance or a short drive away so visitors aren’t wasting time travelling around. Listed below are some suggested places to visit, so mix and match as time and preferences allow.
The Civic Centre is often referred to as The Washington D C of Europe, thanks to its White Portland Stone Buildings and is where the National Museum Cardiff can be found. It consists of 15 galleries and it has the best collection of impressionist paintings outside of Paris, including works by Monet, Manet and Renoir. Guided tours of the historic art galleries are available on request. Your clients can also experience the galleries via AR animation. Hand-held devices are available to hire from the shop for £10 per hour, with a refundable deposit. There are three experiences to choose from which are available in Welsh, English or Japanese. It also tells the story of Wales from earliest times and is unique among British museums and galleries for its range of art and science displays. Pre-booked groups benefit from, 10% off in the museum café and restaurant on a minimum spend of £5 per person, 10% off in the museum shop on a minimum spend of £5 per person, guided tours and complimentary refreshments for the coach driver.
Cardiff Castle is located in the heart of the city and enjoys a history spanning nearly 2000 years. The highlight is a guided tour of the spectacular castle apartments. They were created in the 19th century by eccentric architect William Burges for the very rich Third Marquess of Bute. Designed as a medieval fairytale home, the rooms are filled with ornate fireplaces, gilded ceilings, intricate stained glass and carved and painted animals throughout. House Tours can be arranged in English, Welsh, French and Spanish and audio guides of the site in English, Welsh, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Mandarin Chinese and Portuguese. The café offers views of the Norman Keep and castle and a gift shop is available. For groups attending the evening ‘Castle Banquet’ for a small additional charge there is the option for a 30 minute evening tour of the clock tower beforehand and travel trade rates for the banquet are available. Castle, Cruise & Cream Tea package for groups are also available to combine the Castle and Cardiff Bay.
Principality Stadium (formerly known as Millennium Stadium) was built for the 1999 Rugby World Cup and is now a major sporting and concert arena. A 90 minute behind the scene tour is a great introduction to the Welsh love of rugby and to find more out about the stadium. Check directly on availability as during build-up to matches and events tours may not be available but a mini 40 minute tour is usually offered instead. Group discounts for groups of 20 or more are available on request.
Shoppers like browsing along the Victorian Arcades home to many of Cardiff’s individual and unique shops. For 21st century shopping, many of the big brands are located in the St Davids 2 shopping mall.
Cardiff Bay today is the vibrant waterfront area with a mix of shops, bars and restaurants. The Wales Millennium Centre has already established its reputation as a unique and lively performing arts centre. Visitors come from all over the world to enjoy performances ranging from blockbuster West End musicals, Welsh National Operas, ballet and stand up comedy. Your clients can also take a behind the scene tour of the centre or a variety of specialist tours, such as building's architecture or technical aspects and touch tours for the visually impaired. Discounts are available for pre booked groups of 10 or more.
Cardiff International White Water offers watersports, such as kayaking, paddleboarding, rafting and river boarding.
Alternatively or you can book clients on these bookable walking tours of Cardiff:-
• Cardiff History & Hauntings
• Cardiff on Foot
• Creepy Cardiff Ghost Tour
• Planet Wales’ Cardiff Walking Tour
• Loving Welsh Food – private tours can be arranged in French, Italian, Spanish and German
Tonight there’s a choice for dining, enjoy a Cardiff Castle Banquet, take a boat ride to Cardiff Bay and sample one of the many restaurants by the waterside or check out one of the city centre restaurants.
Overnight – Cardiff
Visit St Fagans National Museum of History. It is one of Europe's leading open–air museums and Wales' most popular heritage attraction. It stands in the grounds of the magnificent St Fagans Castle, a late 16th-century manor house donated to the people of Wales by the Earl of Plymouth. Here, visitors travel back centuries with its reconstructed cottages, farmhouses, rural workshops, mill, chapel, village store and so on. There are plenty of options here for lunch – Y Gegin, Gweithdy, or the Gwalia Tea Rooms. They all serve good quality food that is cooked on site using local, Welsh products whenever possible.Surrounding it are over 40 buildings that have been reconstructed from sites all around Wales. Pre-booked groups benefit from, 10% off in the museum café and restaurant on a minimum spend of £5 per person, 10% off in the museum shop on a minimum spend of £5 per person, guided tours and complimentary refreshments for the coach driver.
Drive Northwards towards Merthyr Tydfil and take a steam train ride on the Brecon Mountain Railway. It’s one of the ‘Great Little Trains of Wales’ that travels through the Southern Brecon Beacons National Park and along the full length of the Taf Fechan Reservoir. The journey starts at Pant Station and takes 1 hour 30 minutes including a 25 minute stop at Ponsticill. A discount is available for groups of 20 or more booked in advance. A licensed tearoom and gift shop is found at Pant Station and a café and picnic area at Pontsticill Station.
Either, visit Penderyn Distillery or have afternoon tea at The Angel Hotel Abergavenny, it has been awarded the best place for afternoon tea outside London.
Penderyn Distillery, nestled in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons National Park is the home of the award winning Penderyn single malt whisky and other spirits. Tours (1 hour) and Masterclasses (2 ½ hours) are available. Your clients will meet the distillery team that take you on a journey through the history of single malt whisky making in Wales, and understand the distilling and bottling process at first hand. And, of course, they get to sample the spirits. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.
Overnight Cardiff and chose another evening option as detailed in day 1.
Approximate distance: 34 miles / 54.2km
Approximate travelling time: 55mins
This morning, visit the Welsh Mining Experience at Rhondda Heritage Park, home of the Lewis Merthyr Colliery. The tours are run by retired miners as the tour guides, and they give an insight into the South Wales coal industry.
The Black Gold Experience Underground Guided Tour takes visitors through the recently developed Trefor & Bertie Engine Houses and into the original lamp room to collect a miner’s helmet for the journey underground. Group rates are available for groups of 10+. Caffe Bracchi offers refreshments and there is also a gift shop.
Continue to The Royal Mint Experience, it is the only place in the world to watch the United Kingdom's coins being made, as well as coins from other overseas markets. Visitors can go behind the scenes to see how the coins are created from a ‘blank’. The 45 minute Guide Factory Experience is followed by an interactive exhibition tracing the history of coin production in the UK and finally, visitors can finish the tour with the opportunity to strike their own coin! A wide range of coins and merchandise can be found in the grift shop. The café can cater for up to 90 people.
Advanced group bookings benefit from discounted rates for groups of 15 or more, priority, timed entry for advanced bookings, and a complimentary preview visit for the group organiser as well as free coach parking.
Llanerch Vineyard has a growing reputation for their Cariad wine and although only 20 minutes from Cardiff, it feels like a world away overlooking the vineyard. For group bookings of 20 or more they offer a private tour and tasting that can also be tailored for the needs of the group. It is the perfect location to combine afternoon tea too!
Alternatively, visit Dyffryn Gardens that cover more than 55 acres including intimate garden rooms, formal lawns and an arboretum. The gardens were commissioned by Reginald Cory and designed by the famed Edwardian garden designer Thomas Mawson in 1906 and today you can still see the original design. There are many exotic and foreign plants because Reginald was enthusiastic about propagating and breeding many exotic and foreign species that he and others brought back from overseas plant hunting trips. They have a gift shop and two cafes, often using produce from their kitchen garden. Group rates for 15 or more. Guided tours of the house and gardens can also be booked in advance.
Approximate distance: 37 miles / 60km
Approximate travelling time: 1hour 15 minutes / 37.2 miles (show in km)
You may choose to stay longer and combine with our North Wales itinerary. You can fly from Cardiff to Anglesey and vice versa in just over an hour with Eastern Airways / Flybe.