DAY 1 Travel DayALL DAY Fly from your gateway to Cardiff or Bristol. Book a non-stop flight if you can to Bristol and return from Cardiff. Ask your travel agent to compare connections to Cardiff and to Bristol. Aer Lingus flies non-stop from 10 U.S. gateways. The Wye Valley, the starting point of the trip, is an hour drive from either city. Cardiff is the final destination. Getting There Aer Lingus 800.474.7424
DAY 2 Wye ValleyMORNING Rent a car and drive to Wye Valley. Compare the best car rentals and deals, at CarRentals.com. Car Rentals website lists 25 rental companies. Transportation Car Rentals Enterprise AFTERNOON Drive to medieval Chepstow. Visit the castle, then drive or walk to Tintern Abbey. The ancient gateway to Wales, Chepstow has the first stone castle built by the Normans in the 11th century. For visitor information, stop at the Tourist Information Centre located in the car park at Chepstow Castle.The castle is open to the public daily throughout the year and ample parking is provided off Bridge Street immediately below the Castle. Life-size models depict Civil War battle scenes. Sight Chepstow Castle 1 Bridge Street, Chepstow South Wales, Wales NP16 5LH 01443 336 000 View Map AFTERNOON From Chepstow, take the Wye Valley Walk path to Tintern Abbey. A walk is the best way to enjoy the natural beauty of the Wye. On the banks of the River Wye, this 12th century abbey church filled the poet William Wordsworth with “tranquil restoration.” By car, the distance is four miles. Sight Tintern Abbey Tintern, Chepstow Gwent, Wales NP16 6SE 01443 336 000 View Map EVENING Stay in the Usk Valley at Llansantffraed Court Hotel. More a stately home than a hotel, Llansantffraed is managed by Mike Morgan and his family. The Raglan Suite on the first floor has a king-size four-poster bed, black marble bathroom and views of the lake. Lodging Llansantffraed Court Hotel Clytha Llanvihangel Gobion (near Abergavenny) Monmouthshire, Wales NP7 9BA 01873 840 678 View Map DINNER Have dinner at The Hardwick in Abergavenny. The organic Herefordshire beef is delicious as is the roast loin of Welsh pork with coco beans, spinach, dandelion and pancetta. End the meal with a plate of local cheeses: caerphilly is a mild white cheese with a crumbly texture. Restaurant The Hardwick Old Raglan Road Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales NP7 9AA 01873 854 220 View Map
DAY 3 Hay on Wye, BreconMORNING Browse the bookstalls and Norman castles at Hay-on-Wye. Stop at the visitors center on Oxford Road for a map of this booksellers’ town. Poke around the secondhand book stalls at Hay Castle. Although mostly in ruin, the habitable part of the castle houses the collection of Richard Booth, the man who created the secondhand book capital of Europe. The town lies on the east bank of the River Wye and is within the Brecon Beacons National Park. Sight Hay on Wye Oxford Road, Hay-on-Wye Powys, Wales HR3 5DG 01497 820 144 View Map AFTERNOON Visit the Brecon Beacons National Park Visitors Centre (Mountain Centre). Offa’s Dyke path runs along the ridge of the Black Mountains, a popular site for pony-trekking. Option: drive along Gospel Pass Road to the car park at the base of Hay Bluff for a panoramic view of the Radnorshire countryside. Sight Brecon Beacons National Park Libanus, Brecon Powys, Wales LD3 8ER 01874 623 366 View Map EVENING Stay at Llangoed Hall, a five-star legacy hotel. You may pass the stout, sturdy Welsh ponies grazing as you approach Llangoed Hall, the country’s premier estate and manor house. Each of the 23 rooms is decorated with Elanbach fabrics. The sitting rooms are scrumptiously decorated and as welcoming as you could imagine. Lodging Llangoed Hall Hotel Llyswen, Brecon Powys, Wales LD3 0YP 01874 754 525 View Map
DAY 4 North WalesMORNING Drive to the North coast of Wales to Conwy Castle. Head west to the castle coast of North Wales where you can visit this monumental fortress of medieval Europe. Sight Conwy Castle 5 Rose Hill Street, Conwy North Wales, Wales LL32 8LD 01492 592 358 View Map LUNCH Drive 3 miles to Bodysgallen Hall. After you check in, have lunch or a traditional Welsh tea in a comfortable chair by the window. The tea room is a lovely setting to enjoy homemade scones with strawberry preserves and clotted cream; and Bara Brith, a moist brown bread. Lodging Bodysgallen Hall Llandudno North Wales, Wales LL30 1RS 01492 584 466 View Map AFTERNOON Take the train to the top of Mount Snowdon. Ride Snowdon Mountain Railway to the 3,560-foot summit of Mount Snowdon. Trains have scaled this impressive peak on a unique rack and pinion railway since 1896. Visitors have varying luck with the weather as clouds often shroud the summit. Sight Snowdonia National Railway Nant Peris Road Caernarfon Gwynedd, Wales LL55 4TY 0844 493 8120 View Map
DAY 5 Gwynedd, Anglesey, Llyn PeninsulaMORNING Drive 25 miles from Bodysgallen Hall to Caernarfon Castle. Back on the castle trail, visit mighty Caernarfon, the haunt of Edward I who was relentless in his conquest of Wales. Edward’s military stronghold and dream castle,“the fairest that ever man saw”, makes you feel like you are walking into a tale from the Mabinogion. Sight Caernarfon Castle 8 Castle Ditch, Caernarfon Gwynedd, Wales LL55 2AU 01286 677 617 View Map LUNCH Drive 13 miles to Beaumaris on the Isle of Anglesey. Have a pint and shepherd’s pie at Olde Bulls Head. The inn is a local gathering spot. Beaumaris Castle, Edward I’s imposing fortress, is within walking distance of the Bulls Head. Restaurant Olde Bulls Head Inn Castle Street, Beaumaris Anglesey, Wales LL58 8AP 01248 810 329 View Map AFTERNOON Stay at Portmeirion on Llyn Peninsula. Each cottage in Portmeirion village sports an eccentric style and name. Salvage from the London Blitz was artfully used by Clough Williams-Ellis in the construction. As you walk around the village, look for The Mermaid and Telford’s Tower. Browse in the pottery shop for one-of-a-kind tea pots. Have dinner at Portmeirion Hotel down on the seashore. Lodging Portmeirion Penrthyndeudraeth Gwynedd, Wales LL48 6ER 01766 770 000 View Map
DAY 6 Carmarthenshire, CardiffMORNING Visit Carreg Cennin Castle. In a remote corner of the Brecon Beacons, climb a path to Carreg Cennen Castle, a Welsh hillfort from the 1300s. The path leads through a passage and out onto a precipitous crag. Four miles south of Llandeilo. Sight Carreg Cennen Castle Ffairfach Carmarthenshire, Wales SA19 6UA 01558 822 291 View Map AFTERNOON Drive southeast to Cardiff and check into St. David’s Hotel & Spa. The corner rooms are the most spectacular. The moment you enter the room, Cardiff Bay sweeps into view through high-ceiling glass windows. Slip into a plush bathrobe and bathing suit to enjoy the spa and hydrotherapy pools. Lodging St. David’s Hotel & Spa Havannah Street, Cardiff South Glamorgan, Wales CF10 02920 454 045 View Map AFTERNOON Visit Cardiff Castle, Llandaff Cathedral. The Romans, Normans and the British Victorians have all left their mark on Cardiff Castle. Welsh Banquets are held throughout the year in the Undercroft, one of the oldest parts of the castle. Sight Cardiff Castle Castle Street, Cardiff South Glamorgan, Wales CF10 3RB 02920 878 100 View Map DINNER Have an early dinner at the Tides Bar & Restaurant. Stuffed pheasant, chestnut stuffing and wild cranberry sauce is a savory Welsh feast. Restaurant Tides Restaurant, St. David’s Hotel EVENING Attend a performance at St. David’s Hall. Welsh choirs are renowned throughout the world but the national concert hall of Wales is their home base. The fine Welsh tenor Bryn Terfel may be on stage or a harpist, plucking a Welsh triple harp. Event St. David’s Hall 38 Charles Street Cardiff, Wales CF10 2 029 2087 8500 View Map — CT Editors. Photography by Visit Wales.