When we left off in part 2, we had left the Celebrity Eclipse in Southampton and made our way via taxi to the train station. We had pre booked train tickets to Cardiff Wales. The tickets were quite a bit cheaper ordering them on line ahead of time. Just be sure to leave yourself enough time for them to arrive in the mail. The train trip to Cardiff was quite lovely through the English countryside. Really enjoyed it. It was about a 3 hour trip. We checked into our hotel and got a map from the front desk. We set out on foot to the city centre which was about a 15 minute walk. Cardiff’s old town area is really awesome. We only had the 1 afternoon there. Could have used more time. We were starving so found a nice pub with outside seating and had a bite to eat. Then we strolled around the area and walked to Cardiff Castle. Loved Cardiff.
Next morning we had pre arranged with our car rental company to pick us up at the hotel. When we booked this trip we did not realize that it was a Friday of a long weekend in Wales. The car rental people were swamped and were REALLY late picking us up. But finally we got to their office and picked up a little mini cooper car. Greg loved this vehicle. It was an automatic which we also pre arranged. Thankfully it came with a GPS system in it because once you get out of the city there is no cell service anywhere to speak of so google maps on my phone wasn’t an option. So off we went for our first adventure driving on the wrong side of the road. Greg picked that up pretty quick and it wasn’t much of a problem. It was a bit scary until we got out of the city and onto the motorway. We were headed west from Cardiff to the coast to St. David’s. The further west we went the worse the traffic got. Also the further west we went the smaller and narrower the road got. Soooo scary. The local area around St.David’s has extremely narrow 1 track roads. The local people drive very very fast. There are ancient stone walls on either side of these goat paths that they call roads. So there are literally only inches to move over when a car approaches. The potholes are also very treacherous. They do have some passing places where you can back up and pull over if necessary. Greg was cursing me, let me tell you. Finally found our B & B which was called Bwthyn Bach. It means little house in Welsh. Super cute place, loved it. Got settled in and then realized we would need to drive into the town to get a few groceries. By this time it was about 6pm. No choice, so off we went. Scary, but made it there and back. Wales was great for gluten free options. We had no problem there.
We had 3 days in and around St Davids. Went to Picton Castle where they were having a little fair going on that weekend. They had local crafters with tables set up, an antique car show and dog demonstrations. Loved the local art. The castle was and is owned by the Philips family. My mother is a Phillips and her family did come from Wales. We don’t know if it is the same branch of family but we thought it fun to visit there. We explored St David’s cathedral which is so worth going to. We went to one of the local beaches where you can hook up with the coastal pathway. Greg prowled around the beach looking at rocks and I climbed the cliff up onto the coastal pathway. Views were outstanding. Then we went to a little village up the coast and went to an art gallery displaying local art. Then found an outdoor cafe for tea. The little villages are so cute I can’t tell you how cute. You have to go there.
This is Picton Castle.
This is St. David’s Cathedral.
Then we set off to the north for Conwy. We stayed in a neighbouring town called Llandudno. It has rows and rows of old Victorian houses all turned into B & B’s. Very touristy place. It has a long pier with old fashioned amusement park stuff on it. Real throwback to the 50’s. Great view of the Grand Orme which is a huge rock formation jutting out into the ocean. Next morning we set off early for Conwy so we could be at Conwy Castle early. We loved Conwy Castle. It is a ruin and so interesting. It has a definite special vibe to it. Awesome. We spent a lot of time there. Then we went on foot from there into the town centre. We went to the smallest house in Great Britain and a 16th century townhouse called Plas Mawr. Very interesting day, thoroughly enjoyed it.
This is Conwy Castle in north Wales.
Next day we set off for Chester England en route to Scotland. We drove through Rhos on Sea and Ruthin which is an area where some of the Phillips family originated. Cutest area ever. Loved it. We stayed in Chester that night. Chester is a walled city where you can walk around the whole city on the wall. We checked into our hotel, set off on foot and walked the whole way round the wall. It was awesome. Such a nice old city.
I loved our 7 days in Wales. I liked having 3 days in the west and 3 days in the north. It gave us time to really get the vibe of the local area and just stroll around and really see it. I don’t think I will be able to convince Greg to drive there ever again but I would definitely love to go back. It has a great vibe and ambiance about it. Everything is very old and you can imagine yourself way back in time as nothing really has changed there. The countryside is very green with rolling hills covered in sheep. Most of the buildings in the villages and towns are hundreds of years old. The people still live the same way, shopping in their little tiny local shops. The people in Wales are very real and friendly. Super polite kind of like Canadians! I loved them and I loved Wales. The only thing I would have done differently would be to spend more time in Cardiff and go to the far southern area of Tenby. We did not have time to get there and I understand it is worth going to. But as on any vacation, you can’t possibly see it all, but we loved what we saw and can highly recommend Wales if you are considering going.