The Cambrian Way, Wales – 4 day itinerary

The Cambrian Way

4 Days

The Cambrian Way is a complete north-south journey along the mountainous spine of Wales, running for 185 miles (300km) from coast to coast. It winds through two National Parks – Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons – and the big green spaces of the Cambrian Mountains in between. At the north end you’ll find the Victorian splendour of Llandudno. At the south is Cardiff, the Welsh capital city.

This itinerary covers the south part of the Cambrian Way, taking visitors from leafy vineyards to 300ft below ground to the bottom of a retired coal mine, to discover how Blaenafon Cheddar is matured.

Getting There

Cardiff is only 2 hours journey by train from London or Birmingham. It is also served by an international airport with direct routes from many short haul destinations and global connections via Doha, Amsterdam and Paris.

Day 1

Penarth Quay & Cardiff City

Escape Charters

Day one of this itinerary starts on a fishing boat out in the waters of Penarth Marina. Owned and skippered by Wayne Cook, a keen fisherman of 32 years, this hands-on fishing experience is suitable for beginners and experts alike. Visitors will be briefed on safety and then be given a short tutorial before being equipped with a rod, reel and bait to try their hand at catching some fish.

Supplier Information

Name Escape Charters
Category Activity
Profile An unforgettable Sea Fishing Adventure sailing daily from Penarth Marina, Cardiff Bay, South Wales. Sail the beautiful Bristol Channel and catch the biggest fish with our experienced skipper.
Phone +44(0)7890 782 344
Email fish@escape-charters.com
Website http://www.escape-charters.com/
Min - Max capacity: Max 20 We have 2 boats available for groups, each with a capacity of 10.
Frequency: 4 hour and 8 hour trips can be organised daily between 7.30am and 5.00pm Evening trips can also be arranged - please enquire for more information.
Private tours: Yes
FIT or Groups: FIT or Groups
Extra information: We strongly recommend your clients dress for cold and wet weather. Tea & Coffee is provided but guests should bring food on board with them should they wish to eat anything.

Cardiff Castle

Still on a the water, but heading inland, a trip on the Princess Katherine  (a 90 seater water bus) from Cardiff Bay is a great way to get a close up view of over 2000 boats in Cardiff Bay itself, as well as some of Cardiff’s top sights, as the boat makes its way towards Cardiff Castle.

Disembarking at Bute Park, a tour of Cardiff Castle reveals over 2000 years of history. Located within beautiful parklands at the heart of the capital, the castle offers a wide variety of tours, ranging from the House Tour to tour of the Wartime Shelters, along with a selection of fantastic seasonal events.

Supplier Information

Name Cardiff Castle
Category Attraction
Profile Cardiff Castle is one of Wales’ leading heritage attractions and a site of international significance. Located within beautiful parklands at the heart of the capital, Cardiff Castle’s walls and fairytale towers conceal 2,000 years of history.
Phone +44 (0)29 2087 8100
Email cardiffcastle@cardiff.gov.uk
Website https://www.cardiffcastle.com/
Min - Max capacity: Maximum 25 people on each tour. Larger groups will be split into a 10 minute interval between the start times of each tour group, subject to availability. For a Curator Tour, minimum group size is 20 people and maximum is 45
Frequency: Tours available daily - please enquire to make a booking
Private tours: Yes
FIT or Groups: FIT or Groups
Translation: Audioguides available in English, Welsh, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese
Extra information: The official Cardiff Castle app, containing the audio guide content, is available as a free download from the iTunes and Google Play app stores Coach parking: drop off points immediately outside the Castle offer easy access for coach parties, with parking close by (nearest coach parks: Sophia Gardens and Civic Centre)

Experience Cardiff

From there, it’s time to experience the city of Cardiff by foot, on a walking tour of the city. Visitors can discover the ghosts of Cardiff’s past with the Cardiff History & Hauntings tour, or take a step closer to the macabre with the Creepy Cardiff Ghost Tour. For those who don’t have a taste for the supernatural, there is still a chance to learn about the history of this ancient city with Cardiff on Foot, or Planet Wales’ Cardiff Walking Tour.

For those who want to find out more about the city’s food and drink, a Cardiff Tasting Tour, such as Loving Welsh Food, visits specialist food producers, retailers & the city’s indoor market. The menu includes a variety of tastings – continental meats, cheeses, cockles, laverbread and Welsh beverages – as well as passing many of the city’s key landmarks along the way.

Supplier Information

Name Loving Welsh Food
Category Activity
Profile Loving Welsh Food offers a variety of food & drink tours, safaris, cooking workshops, demonstrations and Welsh food talks & tastings in Cardiff & the Vale of Glamorgan.
Phone 01970 631731
Email sian@lovingwelshfood.co.uk
Website https://lovingwelshfood.uk/
Min - Max capacity: 2 - 50
Frequency: Cardiff Tasting Tour every Friday 10 30 - 14 30 Cardiff Food Safari every Saturday 10 30 - 15 30
Private tours: Yes
FIT or Groups: Yes
Translation: English, Welsh, French, Italian, Spanish, German

Cardifferent Historic Pub Tour

Or if visitors fancy a tour of historic pubs, a walking talking pub tour (not to be mistaken for a pub crawl) with Cardifferent tours is just the thing. Visitors will be guided by professional actors, and will experience outdoor performances that bring Cardiff’s history and characters to life.

Supplier Information

Name Cardifferent Historic Pub Tour
Category Guided Tours
Profile This is Cardiff's Original Theatrical, Walking and Talking History Pub Tour. Let us take you on a special and unique journey celebrating Cardiff's people, streets and stories. Our rough guide tour is bursting with fascinating facts and allows you to discover something truly Cardifferent.
Phone +44 (0)750 538 5663
Email cardifferenttours@gmail.com
Website https://www.cardifferenttours.co.uk/
Min - Max capacity: Min 8 Max 30 Smaller groups can be accommodated – please contact us with your requirements
Frequency: Scheduled tours run Thursday-Saturday: 6.30pm Private tours available daily
Private tours: Yes - please enquire for further information
FIT or Groups: FIT or Groups
Extra information: Guests must be 18 or over The tour starts in the Angel Hotel and throughout your journey there are two further pub breaks. However, whilst these venues are important to your experience it is not essential for you to drink, if you are not so inclined.
Day 2

Llanerch Vineyard and Castell Coch

Llanerch Vineyard

Day two begins at the Llanerch vineyard where visitors can observe and sample the delights of everything the vineyard has to offer with a tour and wine tasting. Also on site is the Angela Gray cookery school that provides a range of cookery courses for all abilities and tastes.

Supplier Information

Name Llanerch Vineyard
Category Attraction
Profile Llanerch Vineyard is a successful, modern wine producer offering exceptional hospitality in the heart of the beautiful Welsh countryside, just 20 minutes' drive from Cardiff city centre
Phone +44 (0)1443 222716
Email info@llanerch-vineyard.co.uk
Website https://www.llanerch-vineyard.co.uk/
Min - Max capacity: Max 30
Frequency: April-October Thursday - Monday: 12:30pm, 3:00pm and 5.00pm. Tuesday & Wednesday: 5.00pm. Please enquire for tours at other times of the year
Private tours: We are able to offer a private tour and tasting and can tailor the tour to you. Please contact us with your requirements and we will confirm availability and pricing.
FIT or Groups: FIT or Groups
Extra information: We politely ask you to arrive 20 minutes before your tour starts in order to collect your tickets, as our tours start promptly. Approximately half of the vineyard tour is outside in the vineyard. The vineyard is exposed to all weather conditions, and the ground can be loose and uneven in places. Please ensure that your clients dress appropriately for the weather and wear the appropriate footwear.

Castell Coch & Bike Park Wales

After all that delicious food and drink, it’s time to walk some of it off, at Castell Coch (meaning Red Castle) – a late nineteenth-century ‘fairy-tale’ castle situated on a wooded hillside on the outskirts of Cardiff. Lavishly decorated and furnished in the Victorian Gothic style it is designed to represent a Romantic vision of the middle Ages. Coach parking is possible but groups must phone in advance of visiting and group discounts are offered for 15 or more guests.

Alternatively, for those seeking adventure, a short journey up  the A470 brings you to Bike Park Wales, the UK’s first full scale mountain bike park with a network of trails for riders of all abilities. Bike hire, bike shop and a café are all on site.

Day 3

Caerphilly Castle & Big Pit National Coal Museum

Caerphilly Castle

There are over 600 castles in Wales, of which Caerphilly Castle is the largest. With its Great Hall and drawbridge, working siege engines and elaborate water defences, this is a great place to start day 3 of this itinerary.  Explorer passes are available for the travel trade and allow groups to visit a number of properties to get the most out of their visit.

Caerphilly Castle is one of the many properties throughout Wales protected and preserved by the heritage organisation, Cadw. Cadw Explorer passes are available for the travel trade and allow groups to visit a number of properties throughout the country to get the most out of their visit.

Supplier Information

Name Caerphilly Castle
Category Attraction
Profile Like the famous cheese, the castle has long been synonymous with Caerphilly. The fortress sprawls over a huge area making it the largest castle in Wales.
Phone +44 (0)300 0256000
Email cadw@wales.gsi.gov.uk
Website http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/caerphilly-castle/
Min - Max capacity: N/A
Frequency: Castle open daily - please check website for seasonal opening hours.
Private tours: No - however group operators are welcome to provide their own guide
FIT or Groups: Groups
Extra information: There is both short and long stay pay and display car parks 200m from monument.

Blaenafon Cheddar Company

Just a 40 minute drive away is the Blaenafon Cheddar Company, a specialist cheddar cheese company based in the World Heritage site of Blaenafon, South Wales. As well as meeting the staff, and seeing where the cheese is made, a visit is also a great way to get to taste some of this delicious cheese – which is actually matured 300ft below ground at the bottom of the mine shaft at Big Pit Mining Museum, which is the next stop.

Supplier Information

Name Blaenavon Cheddar Company
Category Attraction
Profile We are a family run, specialist cheddar cheese company based in the World Heritage site of Blaenavon, South Wales. We are proud to be a food tourism destination for Wales.
Phone +44 (0)1495 793123
Email achunkofwales@btinternet.com
Website http://www.chunkofcheese.co.uk/
Min - Max capacity: Max 52
Frequency: Tours are available to book: Monday - Saturday 9:00am - 5.00pm We can also accommodate groups on Sundays or in evenings by prior arrangement
Private tours: Yes
FIT or Groups: FIT or Groups
Translation: Tour guides are welcome
Extra information: If combining a visit with a trip to the Big Pit Museum, we suggest booking your group in with the Museum first.

Big Pit National Coal Musuem

Mining is a huge part of Wales’ history and heritage, and was responsible for much of the prosperity which flooded into the mining towns. A visit to Big Pit Mining Museum gives a fascinating insight into life and work at coalmine .Visitors can take an underground tour, led by ex-miners, which takes them down in the pit cage to walk through underground roadways, air doors stables and engine houses built by generations of mineworkers, as well as exploring all the buildings and machines at the surface.

Supplier Information

Name Big Pit National Coal Museum
Category Attraction
Profile Big Pit is a real coal mine and one of Britain's leading mining museums. The tunnels and buildings that once echoed to the sound of the miners now enjoy the sound of the footsteps and chatter of visitors from all over the world.
Phone +44 (0)300 111 2 333
Email bigpit@museumwales.ac.uk
Website https://museum.wales/bigpit/
Min - Max capacity: Max 34
Frequency: Tours are run daily and depart at regular intervals during opening hours
Private tours: Yes - if you would like to book a tour at a set time for your group, please contact us.
FIT or Groups: FIT or Groups
Extra information: The underground mine tours may be closed for maintenance in January - please contact us ahead of your visit to avoid disappointment

Black Mountains Smokery

Next, visitors can experience award winning, traditionally oak smoked fish, meats and cheese with selected accompaniments, deli goods and luxury hampers at the Black Mountain Smokery. They can take a tour of the smokery, and see demonstrations of salmon slicing with a tutored tasting, serving suggestions & recipe ideas.

Supplier Information

Name Black Mountains Smokery
Category Food, beverage & Entertainment Venues
Profile Award winning, traditionally oak smoked fish, meats and cheese with selected accompaniments, deli goods and luxury hampers. Offering tours of the smokery and demonstrations of salmon slicing with a tutored tasting, serving suggestions & recipe ideas.
Phone +44 (0)1873 811566
Email admin@smoked-foods.co.uk
Website https://www.smoked-foods.co.uk
Min - Max capacity: Max 12
Frequency: Wednesday 11.00 from March to September Please enquire for tours at other times
Private tours: Yes
FIT or Groups: FIT and Groups
Translation: N/A

White Castle Vineyard Tour & Tasting

A half an hour’s drive from Big Pit is the final stop of the day, White Castle Vineyard. Nestled in the village of Llanvetherine, the 5 acre vineyard is planted on a gentle south facing slope that is ideal for growing vines and ripening grapes for Welsh wine. Guided by one of the owners, the tour lasts approximately 45 minutes and covers the early beginnings of the vineyard, through to planting, grape quantities, varieties and yields – as well as a wine tasting, of course.

Supplier Information

Name White Castle Vineyard
Category Attraction
Profile White Castle Vineyard is situated in the beautiful rolling countryside of Monmouthshire. Your clients are warmly invited to visit us and experience the beauty and tranquillity of our rural setting.
Phone +44 (0)1873 821443
Email info@whitecastlevineyard.com
Website http://www.whitecastlevineyard.com/
Min - Max capacity: Min 1 Max 25
Frequency: Scheduled tours are held Friday - Sunday & Bank Holidays at 3.00pm We can also open for tours at alternative times including Monday - Thursday by prior arrangement.
Private tours: Yes
FIT or Groups: FIT or Group
Day 4

Brecon Mountain Railway, Penderyn Distillery & The Royal Mint Experience

Brecon Mountain Railway

Day 4 starts on the Brecon Mountain Railway, providing a scenic journey through the Brecon Beacons National Park along the full length of the Taf Fechan Reservoir. Starting at Pant station, there is a workshop where old steam locomotives are repaired and a footpath to a picnic area with views of the valley – and once aboard, passengers can sit back and enjoy the vintage steam locomotives weaving for 1hr 30 mins (including a stop of 25 mins) up to Torpantau.

Penderyn Distillery

Next is a trip into the southern foothills of the Brecon Beacons National Park, to visit the Penderyn Distillery, an Award-winning Distillery, Visitor Centre and Shop. The distillery’s hour-long tour gives an insight into the founding of Penderyn, how the award-winning whisky is made and what makes it so unique, including seeing the mill, the mash tun, the innovative single copper-pot Penderyn stills and the latest addition – a pair of pot stills. At the end of the tour there is the chance to sample some of the products in the Tasting Bar.

Supplier Information

Name Penderyn Distillery
Category Guided Tours
Profile Award-winning Distillery, Visitor Centre and Shop in the southern foothills of the Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales. Tours and Masterclasses available.
Phone +44 (0)1685 810 650
Email visitor@penderyn.wales
Website http://www.penderyn.wales
Min - Max capacity: Max 20 for Distillery Tours Max 12 for Masterclasses
Frequency: Distillery Tour - Daily: 10.00am - 4.00pm on the hour Masterclass - Daily: By request
Private tours: Yes
FIT or Groups: FIT or Group
Translation: Welsh, French
Extra information: The Visitor Centre is open 7 days a week, from 9:30 to 17:00 (18:00 in the summer months), including most Bank Holidays. Book online at www.penderyn.wales/visit

The Royal Mint Experience,

About 45 minutes south, towards Cardiff is the last stop on the tour – The Royal Mint Experience. Visitors can take a guided tour of the factory and explore the interactive exhibition of Britain’s oldest manufacturing organisation and the world’s leading export mint, now making coins and medals for approximately 60 countries worldwide. Tailor-made tours are offered for groups of fewer than eight people, and there is a Royal Tea Experience available for individual and groups alike.