Coming to Wales


#1

First of all, I wasn’t sure where to put this, so if it’s in the wrong place please do feel free to move it somewhere more appropriate.

Secondly, I’m coming to Wales! Me and a friend (both from Australia) are going to be in the UK in September/October, with the Welsh portion of the trip covering about two weeks, starting in the last few days of September. We plan to hang around in the north mostly, rather than stretching ourselves too thin trying to see everything and go everywhere (though I think there’ll have to be a day trip to the National Wool Museum, for Reasons). We’re going to hire a car, so we’ll hopefully have a fair amount of flexibility.

The plan is to book a few cottages for a few days each in strategic locations to cover everything we want to see. I’ve looked at the Best of Wales website (filtered by Welsh-speaking owners :wink:) and found a fair few places that look promising. But before we lock anything in I thought it would be a good idea to check in on here and see if anyone had any advice, recommendations or warnings in terms of travel, accommodation or general touristy stuff.

The earlier part of the trip is a meandering sort of drive from Manchester up to Inverness (Manchester, Lake District, Dumfries, Loch Lomond, Inverness), which we have booked already, but if anyone has any incidental comments in any of those areas I’d be very appreciative as well.

Goes without saying I’m going to be amping up my Welsh in the coming months :sunglasses:


#2

Fellow Aussie here - and I’ll also be in Wales at that time, although I’ll almost certainly be staying in Cardiff. It’d be great to meet up if you do happen to swing down South, and I could perhaps meet you half way if it’s on a weekend.

Having been to Wales twice already, I can say that AirBnB can be a fantastic way to travel, and there are a few Welsh-speaking hosts on there. Just be sure to check the reviews. :slight_smile:


#3

Strangely enough, many people have asked the same thing in this forum! :wink:

Having a car means you won’t have to depend on public transport, so that’s a plus. However, do keep an eye out for parking restrictions - the wardens up here can get quite zealous at times. Even with a car, it’s best to allow plenty of time to get from A to B though - we don’t have many ‘big’ roads and you can often find yourself stuck behind a tractor/caravan/HGV for some time!

In terms of general touristy stuff, it depends what your interests and tastes are - there’s pretty much something for everyone here, but there’s no point listing all the heritage railways if your interest is in outdoor thrills-and-spills (or indeed vice versa!) - so give us a few more clues, and there’ll be plenty of suggestions :slight_smile:

And I’m happy to meet up for panad-a-sgwrs-Cymraeg if you find yourselves in Caernarfon :smiley:


#4

Yeah, I was going to say the same thing (not prompted by having just bumped into Siaron in town, who was thoughtless enough to be coming back from the gym while we were coming back from ice-cream, with evidence in hand).

Happy to host a panad-and-sgwrs up here, too… :slight_smile:


#5

Regarding the Lake District leg of your trip: If you are fairly limited for time, and want to stay on reasonable roads, one option to take in some scenery might be: Leave the M6 for Kendal, then Windermere, possibly Ambleside and a detour to Langdale and back, then over the Kirkstone Pass to Ulswater and Penrith, or perhaps Ambleside, Keswick, Penrith, then back up then continue on the M6 to Scotland.


#6

Thanks Karla, it would be great to meet up if we can arrange it :slight_smile:

Thanks Siaron for the tips and the offer! Generally speaking I think it’s fair to say we’re interested in history and the natural world - railways aren’t a specific area of interest but happy to ride on a train or two. We’ve definitely got our eye on various castles, museums and craft centres. Keen to get out in nature as well but nothing too strenuous - it’s a holiday, after all!

Thanks Aran, we’ll definitely be in and around Caernarfon at some point!

Thanks so much John, it’s absolutely priceless to get this kind of local information. Much appreciated!


#7

Plenty of that to see then!

You’re probably aware of the most obvious ones (Caernarfon Castle, National Slate Museum in Llanberis, etc), so here are some other things to consider -

Rhys Mwyn (archaeologist and musician!) often leads tours at various historical sites in the area. It may be too early to say what he’s got planned for the time you’re here, but I’d thoroughly recommend trying to get on one of his talks - and he often leads groups of learners, so he doesn’t get too technical with the Welsh!

Yr Ysgwrn, the home of the poet Hedd Wyn, near Trawsfynydd is well worth a visit - look out for the video presentations by Ifor ap Glyn!

The Thomas Telford Centre near the Menai Bridge is a little hidden gem - everywhere along the Menai Strait is beautiful, but this little ‘history of the bridges’ centre is very informative.

The Llŷn Maritime Museum in Nefyn is another little hidden gem - and the stunning little shore-side village of Porthdinllaen is nearby too.

The Llechwedd Slate Mine (near Blaenau Ffestiniog) tours are excellent.

The Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn Wildlife Centre at Pont Croesor is good if you like birdwatching, although the stars of the show, the ospreys, will probably have gone by the time of your visit.

There are many more places of course - far too many for one short trip!

I’m sure Aran and I will definitely coordinate our usual ‘pincer movement’ for a panad in Caernarfon :wink:


#9

Awesome. Just awesome. Thank you so much!


#10

One thing to be aware of is that both the Lake District and Snowdonia (in my humble opinion :grimacing:) are fairly compact and very popular, so your word “meandering” at a leisurely pace will be the order of the day.


#11

I live very close to the Wool Museum so happy to organise a meetup in the Museum Café if you’d like to meet a few locals. I also have a twin room on AirBnB - Twin Room over the Teifi - if you’re interested in staying overnight.


#12

Thought I should jump in and thank everyone for the advice as well. I’m Alex’s friend and traveling companion. I’m starting on the 6 month course at the moment so I’m very excited at the prospect of meeting up with people for a chat once our trip rolls around. Also very thankful for the advice!
(I am also most of the Reasons that Alex mentions for the possible day trip to the wool museum. If anyones got any knitter/spinner/crafty advice for places to visit/things to do I’m all ears :smile:)


#13

@margaretnock might be able to help you with the crafty things! :slight_smile:


#14

In that case, as well as the National Wool Museum in Llandysul (which is a considerable distance further south than Caernarfon), there are the Trefriw Woollen Mills near Bettws-y-Coed.
There are also various crafts at Bodnant Craft Centre and Parc Glynllifon (the Glynllifon artists also have a shop/workshop in Caernarfon called Siop Iard), although I not so much knitting/spinning as other crafts). If you do make it as far south as Llandysul, you could pass through Corris as there is a craft centre there too.
There are also places like Piggery Pottery near Caernarfon and the Glass Blobbery near Corwen for more ceramic crafts.


#15

Ooh, so you’ll pretty much have finished the 6 month and then jumped straight into a Welsh tour - ideal - I will be fascinated to hear how the tour goes, and to see how your Welsh holds up if we manage to meet up for a panad… :slight_smile: [Hey, no pressure… ;-)]


#16

The wool museum at Drefach Felindre has staff who speak both English and Cymraeg. There is a weaver in St Fagan’s museum and he speaks Cymraeg, but may not be there all the time. It might be worth phoning beforehand to check he’s there. I’m a member of a spinners group but I have to confess I don’t know many Welsh speaking Craftspeople.


#17

@siaronjames The woolen mills are high on the to see list. Thanks!

@aran Sounds great. I’m rather interested to see how I go once I’m released into the wild. The six month course couldn’t have been better timed.

@margaretnock that sounds amazing, makes me even more excited about going. Thanks for the tip.


#18

I love serendipity… :slight_smile:


#19

Thanks Dee, hopefully we’ll be able to make it down!


#20

So now it’s a couple of weeks until we fly out and a bit over a month until we’re in Wales :smiley:

Specifically, we’re going to be staying in Ruabon, Dolgellau, Llanbedrog and Caernarfon, in that order, for a few days in each and then nearly a full week in Caernarfon before flying back home.

It’s a fair way off still, but I’ve got vanishing amounts of free time left before it all kicks off and I’m starting to seriously think about details, so I thought I’d dredge up this thread and see if anyone had any more wise words or wanted to plot any adventures :smiley::smiley::smiley:

Our Welsh dates are:

  • Ruabon 27-29 Sept
  • Dolgellau 29 Sept - 2 Oct
  • Llanbedrog 2-5 Oct
  • Caernarfon 5-10 Oct

#21

I’d be happy to meet up for a panad and a sgwrs while you’re in Caernarfon, and I’ll keep my eyes open for any crafty events that might be on in the area :smiley: