Best Places to Visit in South Wales
South Wales combines the Welsh capital of Cardiff with some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. So it’s no surprise that this beautiful area has long been one of the top places to visit in the UK.
Easily accessible from the UK – the city of Bristol is just a short drive away – the area is also a popular holiday destination thanks to the magnificent Brecon Beacons that stretch from Snowdonia Home to Pen y Fan, the highest mountain in the south. This beautiful region also includes the magnificent South Wales Valleys, once famous for coal, as well as the Wye Valley, Usk Valley and the beautiful Glamorgan Heritage Beach.
If you only have a day or two to visit Wales on your UK itinerary, your best bet is to spend time exploring the picturesque valleys and small ancient mining communities found here. You’ll find quaint towns and villages, many filled with unique hotels and inns, museums and shops, very friendly people and traditional Welsh culture. Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in South Wales and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in South Wales
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in South Wales:
1. Dan yr Ogof
A must see natural place in South Wales is Dan yr Ogof. Dan yr Ogof is located in the upper part of the Tawe Valley, full of stalagmites and stalactites, and many magnificent passages and chambers. Altogether, this magnificent network of caves stretches for 10 miles where some of the most accessible areas are floodlit.
Part of the main tourist attraction of the National Cave Center of Wales, the site also contains the Bone and Cathedral Caves and replicas of Iron Age villages. Also worth seeing is the ancient stone circle.
There’s also a fun dinosaur park for those traveling with kids, with an impressive collection of over 200 life-size dinosaur replicas. Camping and self-catering accommodations are also available for guests wishing to extend their trip.
The Cotebrook Shire Horse Center is also worth a visit. This authentic Victorian farm spans 50 acres and includes native and exotic species, indoor playgrounds, campsites, and many specimens of the famous Sharma, who has worked on many farms across the country.
Location: Aberclough, Swansea, Wales
Official website: www.showcaves.co.uk
2. Glamorgan Heritage Coast
The Glamorgan Heritage Beach stretches 22 miles from Portwell to Abersoor. It is easily accessible from Cardiff and is growing in popularity among walkers and cyclists.
A good place to start exploring is the Glamorgan Heritage Beach Center in Dunraven Park, the westernmost point of the coastline. You’re just a short walk from the stunning cliffs and limestone formations of Dunraven Bay, in addition to interesting displays about the history, flora and fauna of the area, including interactive educational games for kids.
Other attractions include Cape Nash, known for its beautiful scenery, ancient Iron Age fortifications and lighthouses, as well as easy-to-find fossils, and the rocky beaches of Aberso, a popular destination for wildlife viewing, fishing and surfing. The beaches at Cwm Col-Huw are also worth a visit and are a great place for a picnic or birdwatching at the nearby nature reserve.
Address: Southerndown 2 Beach Road, Bridgend, Wales
3. Carreg Cennen Castle
After visiting the majestic Carreg Cennen Castle, it’s easy to understand why this place was chosen as a castle. The castle rises on a massive cliff about 300 meters above the Cennen River and offers breathtaking views of Brecon Beacons National Park and the surrounding countryside.
It is one of the few private castles in Wales, painted by Turner, one of England’s most famous landscape painters. In fact, it’s a fascinating story about how existing owners accidentally paid a small sum of £100 as part of their farmland purchase.
Today, it’s fun to explore the ruins of Carreg Cennen. The same is true for the hotel’s caves and hiking trails. Next, explore an authentic Welsh mountain farm, enjoy drinks in the tea room, and shop for souvenirs at the gift shop.
Address: Trapp, Llandelow, Carmarthenshire, Wales
Official website: www.carregcennencastle.com
4. Brecon Beacons National Park
The Brecon Beacons are less than an hour north of Cardiff and are considered one of the most beautiful areas in Wales, if not the UK. This stunning region boasts an extremely diverse landscape that includes native deciduous trees, North American conifers, and vast wilderness.
The best way to explore this naturally beautiful area is to plan a visit to Brecon Beacons National Park. Founded in 1957 and known for its wild ponies, this 519-square-mile estate is bordered by the Black Mountains to the west and another mountain range also known as the Black Mountains to the east.
Most of the park’s peaks are above 1,000 feet, and many are over 2,000 feet. They are said to resemble lighthouses as they are composed of red sandstone, hence the name. However, the name may also have been derived from the fires lit on mountain peaks in the Middle Ages as warning signs.
One of the most popular activities here is hiking, and many of the best trails can also be used as bike paths. You’ll also find a variety of accommodation options, from cozy bed and breakfasts and hotels to camping and even “glamping.” You can stay here and enjoy the night sky for a truly unforgettable experience. The Brecon Beacons have been designated an International Dark Sky Reserve since 2013.
Address: Plas y Ffynnon, Cambrian Way, Brecon, Wales
Official website: www.beacons-npa.gov.uk
Brecon Beacons National Park also has many beautiful waterfalls that you can easily spend a day visiting the park. The most famous of the four waterfalls in the park is the 90-metre Henley Falls in Coelbren, the highest in Wales. An easy walk along the creek to the pool at the foot of the falls is a fun hike.
Another waterfall worth seeing in the “Land of Waterfalls” is Blaen-y-Glyn. It is fed by the Cavanel and Bwrefwr rivers in Nantes and can be reached by many hiking trails. Finally, be sure to visit Sgwd yr Eira. This picturesque waterfall is popular for its narrow path that takes you behind the waterfall as you enter the bottom pool.
If you can spare a few hours, a popular hike is the Fun Four Falls Walk. This scenic adventure can take three to four hours, depending on your pace and picnic stops. It starts at Cwm Porth and wraps around the park to admire sights such as the beautiful Blue Pool, Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd y Pannwr, and Sgwd yr Eira Falls.
6. St Fagan National History Museum
The St Fagans National History Museum (“Sain Fagan” in Welsh) has just completed several million pound renovations and is one of the best places in Wales for those who want to learn more about the history of this small but influential country. visit.
Located just a few miles west of Cardiff city centre, and easily accessible by public transport, St. Fagan’s is set on 100 acres in a 1940s Elizabethan country estate to celebrate and preserve Welsh culture. Much has changed over the years and it is now considered one of the best open-air museums in the UK, with over 40 reconstructed original buildings representing Welsh architecture over the centuries.
Highlights include Stone Age homes and farms that recreate the Iron Age, and buildings are known to have existed in the Middle Ages and were used by the Welsh royalty. Representing a more “modern” era are a schoolhouse, workshop and forge, two working water wheels and even a church. The hotel has an on-site restaurant and offers guided tours, seminars and seasonal events. Also, the historic St. You can explore the gardens and interiors of the Fagans mansion.
Location: West Cardiff, Wales
Official website: https://museum.wales/stfagans/
Ronda’s surviving coal mine buildings have been transformed into Ronda Heritage Park, a fascinating heritage destination. Dubbed the Welsh Mining Experience, it’s where visitors can travel back in time in an elevator to the “bottom of the pit” in one of the original mines.
There are also 1950s arcades by Lewis Merthyr Colliery at work and a multimedia exhibit on the history of coal mining in the area. Black Gold Experience’s exciting underground tour is led by former coal miners; The mine closed in 1983, as did most of the more than 53 working coal mines in the area.
At ground level, a replicated village street showcases the coal mining lifestyle of the residents. Offering affordable accommodation for those who want to stay within the hotel, Heritage Park Hotel is a fun option, especially on special events and days such as Halloween and Christmas. Also worth a visit is an on-site restaurant, Caffe Bracchi, which offers a variety of food and beverage options.
Address: Ronda Heritage Park, Coedcae Road, South Wales
Official website: www.rctcbc.gov.uk/EN/Tourism/RhonddaHeritagePark/Home.aspx
8. Wye Valley and Tintern Abbey
Not just a region of Wales, it stretches from Monmouthshire to neighboring England to the north, while the Wye Valley is of great natural beauty and a worthwhile visit for any South Wales visitor. Here you will have the opportunity to explore some of the most beautiful and of course the most stunning landscapes in the UK.
Stretching nearly 45 miles down the Wye River, the valley’s most scenic parts are its magnificent limestone canyons and dense forests. You’ll find an abundance of wildlife here, including hawks and eagles, making this a popular birdwatching spot.
The human factor is also important here. Notable man-made structures in this beautiful rural setting include Tintern Abbey, a 12th-century monastery in the quaint village of Tintern. This well-preserved religious site, perhaps most notably William Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey, has been the subject of many poems considered the Romantic poet’s best work.
Official website: https://cadw.gov.wales/visit/places-to-visit/tintern-abbey
9. Merthyr Tydfil
The town of Merthyr Tydfil, 37 miles north of Cardiff, is a great place to start exploring the Brecon Beacons, National Park. Not only is it on the National Cycle Route, but you’ll also find the Brecon Hill Railroad here. This wonderful narrow-gauge heritage railway is 8 miles from the Brecon Beacons. It is popular with hikers and steam lovers alike, due to its ability to reach far corners that cars cannot reach.
Another worth-seeing attraction is the Cyfarthfa Castle Museum and Art Gallery, housed in an impressive industrial-age mansion built for local subway tycoon William Claus II. The castle itself hosts many cultural and musical events throughout the year, while the historic old town hall has been converted into the Red House Arts Centre.
10. The Big Pit National Coal Museum
Blaenavon is one of the best preserved traditional South Wales steel and coal towns. Although parts of the town date back to the late 1780s, many of its buildings represent early and middle Victorian Gaelic industrial communities, many of which were built before 1870.
The town is famous for the steelworks of Blaenavon, also known as the “Great Pit” (Pwll Mawr), where the former blast furnace and foundry are now part of the fascinating Pwll Mawr National Coal Museum. Even the hydraulic lifting towers used to lift iron wagons loaded with ore survived.
Things to do here include workshop visits, winding motors, and worker shelter. As part of a truly underground experience, access to the 328-foot-deep well gives visitors a first-hand impression of the hard life of the miners. Underground tours, sometimes led by former miners, require thick clothing.
Address: Blaenavon, Tolfarne, Wales
Official website: www.museumwales.ac.uk/bigpit/
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in South Wales. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in South Wales, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.