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.

Escape Charters

Cardiff Castle

Still on 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.

Cardiff Castle

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.

Loving Welsh Food

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.

Cardifferent Historical Pub
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.

llanarch vineyward

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.

castell coch
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.

Caerphilly Castle

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.

Blaenavon Cheese Co

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.

big pit

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.

Black Mountains Smokery

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.

whtie castle
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.

breacon beacons

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.

penderyn whisky 1

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.

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