Day one - Newport
The tour begins in Newport, south east Wales. You can choose a variety of things to do on behalf of your clients including:
Tredegar House, is managed by National Trust and one of the finest examples of restoration architecture in Wales. Guided tours of the house are available and there’s the beautiful large garden to explore. Refreshments and light meals available. Allow 1 to 1.5 hours for average visit to house only. Group rates are available for pre booked groups. National Trust 7 and 14 day touring passes for international visitors are also available.
Newport (St Woolos) Cathedral – A 12th century cathedral with Victorian restoration. There is a memorial to the 21 Chartists who were killed during the ‘Chartist Riots’ in 1839 outside the Westgate Hotel and now lie in the cathedral grounds in unmarked graces. Allow 45 minutes. Free entry.
Newport Medieval Ship – The only example in the world of a mid-15th century merchant ship. The Ship Centre is located on an industrial estate and is a very active workshop as well as a public display area. There are toilets but not specially designed toilets for disabled persons. Light refreshments are available. Easy parking and no entrance fee although visitors are welcome to purchase merchandise or make a donation. Allow 1 to 1.5 hours for average visit.
Transporter Bridge – One of only two working transporter bridges in UK and of 6 in the world. Visitors can travel on the gondola across the River Usk for a small charge. They welcome pre-arranged group visits. The more energetic can climb the steps within the supporting towers and walk along the gangway to cross the river. Visitors can enter the engine room as well the visitor centre. Allow 1 hour for average visit.
Newport Museum and Art Gallery – Located in the city centre, it includes excellent displays on the Chartists, the last armed uprising on the British mainland which resulted in the deaths of 21 men who were campaigning for the right to vote. There is also an excellent display of the Roman remains from Caerleon and Caerwent. No entrance fee. Allow 1 to 1.5 hours. There are plenty of places to eat and drink in The Friars and Kingsway Shopping Centres.
Fourteen Locks Visitor Centre – The construction of the canal locks was a major engineering feat with a significant height being achieved over a relatively short distance – unsurpassed within UK. There is a very informative visitor centre, pleasant gardens and refreshments available. Free entry. Allow 1 hour.
Your clients can include a choice of the above. If they wanted to spend longer than a day in the area it’s recommended to visit the Roman remains at Caerleon that includes the Caerleon Roman Fortress and Baths, the Amphitheatre, National Roman Legion Museum – all are free entry, but please note that the National Roman Legion Museum will be closed from September 2019 to September 2020.
There are plenty of small cafes and coffee houses in Caerleon and the Ffwrm is a charming shopping “alley”.
Nearby is the Newport Wetlands, managed by RSPB, and a perfect spot for a walk, there is also a visitor centre and café. (free entry)
Overnight suggestion: Newport or Cardiff
Day two - Cardiff
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. Listed below are some suggested places to visit, so mix and match as time and your client’s preferences allow.
The Civic Centre is often referred to as The Washington DC 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. Group rates apply to pre-booked groups of 20 or more.
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.
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 Centre offers watersports, such as kayaking, paddleboarding, rafting and river boarding.
Alternatively 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.
Day three - Swansea & Gower
For the morning choose from the following:-
The Dylan Thomas Trail that finishes at the Dylan Thomas Centre, where your clients will find a free interactive exhibition telling Dylan’s story. Guided tours of the exhibition at the Dylan Thomas Centre can be arranged for groups of all ages. For those keen to learn more about Dylan Thomas include a tour of 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, the birth place of Dylan. Discounts available for groups of 10 or more. Booking in advance is advised. Lunches, afternoon tea and dinner parties can be catered for and if requested your clients can listen to actors reciting Dylan’s short stories, broadcasts and poems.
Art lovers should visit the Glynn Vivian Gallery and for sheer atmosphere and great bargains visit Swansea’s oldest and largest indoor market with over 100 stalls. Traditional Welsh food including laverbread, cockles from nearby Penclawdd and Welsh Cakes can be bought here.
The National Waterfront Museum tells the story of industry and innovation in Wales, now and over the last 300 years. Pre-booked groups benefit from free entry, 10% off in the museum café on a minimum spend of £5 per person, 10% off in the museum shop on a minimum spend of £5 per person, introductory tour and complimentary refreshments for the coach driver.
This afternoon, head to the beautiful Gower Peninsula - Britain's first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Sit, gaze and enjoy the picturesque scenery with an ice cream or a cup of tea. Maybe take a stroll along the protected coastline to Worm's Head, Gower's western tip. For castles lovers, remember to include a visit to Oxwich or Weobley Castle and pop into the Gower Heritage Centre – a 12th century water powered cornmill and craft centre. Groups can benefit from a guided tour, guided and themed walks and additional craft workshops. Tours can be tailored specifically for your requirements and they can also arrange a guided tour of the Gower. There is a tea room on-site.
Overnight suggestions: Swansea, Mumbles, Gower Peninsula
Day four - St Davids
Leaving Swansea, head west to visit the final city on this tour. The smallest city in Britain and the spiritual capital of Wales, St Davids is more of a bustling village despite its full city status. Take time to explore the magnificent cathedral which nestles in a grassy hollow before exploring the beautiful coastline of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Guided tours can be booked in advance, depending on availability of volunteers. The Refectory at the Cathedral is licensed and offers local home-cooked food on their daily changing menu.
Adjacent to the cathedral is St Davids Bishop’s palace, a ruined medieval palace. There are lots of little hideaways to explore and the story boards brings it to life. The site is managed by Cadw – 3 and 7 day Explorer Passes are available with special Travel Trade rates or for pre booked Group Bookings of 15 or more there is a 10% discount on admission prices.
There are plenty of galleries and craft shops to explore in St Davids for a bit of free time.
It’s recommended to include a visit to Oriel y Parc, a landscape gallery and Pembrokeshire National Parks’ visitor centre. It is a great place to learn about the area and has an interactive interpretation area. It also houses a Class A Gallery displaying works of art from the National Museum Wales collection including works by Graham Sutherland. There’s a gift shop, café and parking available.
If your clients are interested in nature or a bit of adventure there are other alternative options, including a wildlife spotting trip to Ramsey Island. They will be able to look out for puffins, seals and of course the stunning coastal scenery. A number of companies offer boat trips to the island from St Davids including Voyages of Discovery, Thousand Island Expeditions.
The more adventurous can have a go at coasteering, a sport invented in Wales, that involves walking and scrambling along the coastline until you have to jump into the sea! Celtic Quest Coasteering is based in St Davids, as well as TYF which offers all sorts of adventure activities.
Or include a walk along the Wales Coast Path - it is particularly stunning around here. Oriel y Parc is a good starting point and can offer advice on walks in the area. See also Pembrokeshire Coast National Park’s useful walking pages for inspiration.
Overnight suggestions: St Davids / Haverfordwest