Things to see and do in the South Wales Valleys The former industrial heartland of Wales is an area of fascinating history, natural wonder and a great place to enjoy fine food and drink. Welcome to the all-action South Wales Valleys… A Big Pit Mining Museum Big Pit National Coal Museum in Blaenavon, South Wales Valleys There are few museums which feature a 100 metre journey underground. The Big Pit Mining Museum is located in a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the former Lewis Merthyr Colliery, just a short drive from Cardiff. All the guides are former miners and the tour offers the unique opportunity to experience just what it was like to work in a coal mine during the 1950s. More museums and galleries in the South Wales Valleys. B Afan Forest Park Afan Forest Park, Neath Port Talbot The quality of the five mountain biking trails of Afan Forest draws visitors from all corners of Britain. There are many other attractions besides, including numerous walks and the Afan Forest 4x4 tour. The South Wales Miners Museum charts the industrial heritage of the area, while Kanji Wood is a Japanese garden that creates a reflective and peaceful retreat in the midst this all-action corner of the South Wales Valleys. More parks and gardens in the South Wales Valleys. C Cyfarthfa Castle Cyfarthfa Castle in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales Valleys Merthyr was the focal point of iron production during the Industrial Revolution. It became the most populated town in Wales at the turn of the 19th century, with people drawn from all over the world to work at the ironworks owned by the Guest and Crawshay families. Cyfarthfa Castle was built by William Crawshay II in 1824 and the museum offers a fascinating insight into the colourful history of Merthyr. More heritage attractions in the South Wales Valleys. D The Bunch of Grapes One of a rising number of quality places to eat and drink in the South Wales Valleys. The Bunch as it is affectionally known, is a characteristically unpretentious pub serving locally-sourced food and drink, including award-winning Otley ales. It has also become a focal point for lively events, such as the Sausage and Beer Fest and a Barbecue and Beer Sale. You can see the recurring theme there… E Caerphilly Castle Caerphilly Castle, South Wales Valleys This is the biggest and arguably the most impressive castle in a country that isn’t short of an ancient monument or two. Just a short drive from Cardiff, Caerphilly Castle is surrounded by an elaborate collection of moats and islands and was renovated during the 19th century under the instruction of industrial magnate the third Marquess Of Bute. Unfortunately, history doesn’t record whether he was a keen water skier. More heritage attractions in the South Wales Valleys. F Sultan the Pit Pony Sultan the Pit Pony in Caerphilly, South Wales Valleys The UK’s largest figurative earth sculpture features a 200 metre horse, created by landscape sculptor Mick Petts. It was carved on the site of a former coal tip on the outskirts of Ystrad Mynach and has been included among the Top 10 Woodland Sculpture Trails, compiled by the Woodland Trust. More countryside attractions in the South Wales Valleys. G Waterfall country Gnoll Country Park, near Neath The Vale Of Neath is a fascinating area featuring numerous geological attractions, including a series of dramatic waterfalls. The Waterfall Centre in Pontneddfechan is a good place to start your exploration. You’ll find details of how to find such landmarks as Sgwd Gwladys, Melincourt Falls, Aberdulais and Sgwd yr Eira, on the fringes of the Brecon Beacons National Park. More entertainment attractions in the South Wales Valleys. H Blaenavon Ironworks Blaenavon Ironworks, South Wales Valleys Blaenavon Ironworks offers a real step back in time to the height of the industrial revolution. This was the setting for an ingenious multi-furnace ironworks established toward the end of the 18th century, resulting in Wales becoming the most important steel-making producer in the world. More heritage attractions in the South Wales Valleys. I Penderyn Whisky Distillery Penderyn Whisky Distillery, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Brecon The distillery in the rural village of the Rhondda Valley is the first Welsh whisky producer since the 19th century and has won innumerable awards for its less-is-more approach to producing quality single malts. The visitors centre has tours, tasting sessions and masterclasses, as well as an exhibition of whisky-making in Wales. J Brecon Mountain Railway Brecon Mountain Railway in the snow, Brecon Beacons by Griffin Guiding A picturesque journey on a traditional steam train takes in some magnificent sights, including the Taf Fechan valley and reservoir. Locals recommend a bowl of traditional Welsh cawl, a hearty Welsh broth, at the Red Cow pub in Pontsticill; and who are we to argue? More heritage attractions in the South Wales Valleys. Enjoy this? Share it with friends Related items South Wales days out Discover a fabulous range of things to do, just a short driving distance from the Vale of Usk. Wild adventures in Wales Preseli Venture owner Sophie Hurst explores a range of options for wild adventures in Wales. South Wales walks South Wales has some great walks and scenery, all within a stones throw of the major cities. South Wales' wildlife Peregrines on City Hall, bats in old coal mines – the wildlife is taking South Wales back. South Wales history The Big Bang, castles built on shifting sands, the rise of industry and the call of the collieries. Faith in South Wales Your guide to some of the special sites of faith heritage across South Wales. Fly south for winter A blaze of autumn colours kicks off a season of winter wildlife. Alternative Fathers Day Gentleman’s relish…! For papas with panache, check out these totally hip Father’s Day ideas. Marc Evans’ Wales The director of Visit Wales’ TV advertising campaign for 2014 tells us what’s special about Wales.