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 is 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 1hr to 1hr 30min for average visit to house only. Group rates are available for pre-booked groups. National Trust's 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 min. 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 they are not accessible. Light refreshments are available. Easy parking and no entrance fee although visitors are welcome to purchase merchandise or make a donation. Allow 1hr to 1hr 30min for average visit.
Transporter Bridge – one of only two working transporter bridges in the UK and six 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 1hr for an average visit. Please note the site is currently closed due to restoration work and construction of a new visitor centre. The reopening is anticipated to be late 2023 / early 2024.
Newport Market has been dominant in Newport since 1854. The impressive Victorian building has recently been transformed whilst retaining nearly all of its historical features and offers a unique shopping experience to your clients. The lively market showcases a mix of independent businesses such as local produce, crafts, gifts and homeware. It also has a food court offering a good variety of food and drink. The market is open daily but note that the food court is closed on Monday and Tuesday.
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 1hr to 1hr 30min. There are plenty of places to eat and drink in Friars Walk 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 1hr.
Your clients can include a choice of the above. If they wanted to spend longer than a day in the area it is recommended to visit the Roman remains at Caerleon that includes the Caerleon Roman Fortress and Baths and Amphitheatre, and National Roman Legion Museum. Guided tours of the museum are available on request, plus guests benefit from free entry and 10 per cent off gifts from the shop when spending £5 or more.
There are plenty of small cafes and coffee houses in Caerleon and the Ffwrwm 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 suggestions: 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, 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 per cent off in the museum café and restaurant on a minimum spend of £5 per person; 10 per cent 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 30min 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 90min 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 40min 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 David's 2 shopping mall.
Cardiff Bay today is the vibrant waterfront area with a mix of shops, bars and restaurants. 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 offers watersports such as kayaking, paddleboarding, rafting and river boarding.
Alternatively you can book clients on these bookable walking tours of Cardiff:
- Cardiff on Foot;
- Cardiff Tours
- Dark Wales Tours;
- Creepy Cardiff Ghost Tour;
- Loving Welsh Food – private tours can be arranged in French, Italian, Spanish and German.
Tonight there’s a choice for dining. You clients can enjoy a Cardiff Castle banquet, take a boat ride to Cardiff Bay to sample one of the many restaurants by the waterside or check out one of the city centre restaurants.
Day three - Swansea and Gower
Head west along the M4 motorway to Swansea, the birthplace of the great writer and poet Dylan Thomas. He famously called Swansea an "ugly, lovely town" and there are many attractions here.
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. For those keen to learn more about Dylan Thomas, include a tour to Dylan Thomas' birthplace, 5 Cwmdonkin Drive. 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 Art Gallery and for sheer atmosphere and great bargains visit Swansea Market, the 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 per cent off in the museum café on a minimum spend of £5 per person; 10 per cent 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 Castle 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 of the area and additional craft workshops. Tours can be tailored specifically for your requirements and they can also arrange a guided tour of Gower. There is a tea room on-site.
Overnight suggestions: Swansea, Mumbles or Gower
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 St Davids 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.
St Davids Bishop's Palace is in the care of Cadw. Register with the Cadw Tour Operator Scheme (CTOS) to become a member of Cadw’s online group booking scheme. Members benefit from preferential trade rates and discounts, complimentary admission for your tour leader, complimentary introductions to Cadw monuments, enhanced information for existing tours and invoicing following your visit. Site Entry tickets are currently released one week in advance of visit. CTOS bookings are allocated prior to site day tickets being released to the public. See Cadw Admissions for more information.
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 Coast 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 and 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 or Haverfordwest
Exploring the outdoors is fantastic fun, but please read up on the risks and make sure you are prepared.
Find safety advice for exploring Wales' National Parks and RNLI's safety tips for staying safe on the Welsh coast on the Visit Wales website.
Visit AdventureSmart.uk for information on how to stay safe whilst exploring Wales.