Home to Wales’ biggest cities, best beaches and the world’s oldest record shop, South Wales is the ideal place for a short break, with stunning coastal walks, glorious countryside and fascinating history.
Here we offer some top ideas for where to begin on your journey through this varied and exciting region, including where to set up base when exploring further afield.
We ask all passengers to wear a face-covering in stations and on trains. Make sure you plan your journey in advance, reserving a space and downloading tickets to a mobile device if you can, and avoiding travel when it’s busy. For more safety guidelines, visit gwr.com/safety.
Swansea Bay and the Gower Peninsula
Setting up camp in Wales’ second city is the perfect way, not only to discover bright lights but to venture forth to the surrounding region of Swansea Bay, Mumbles and the Gower Peninsula – some of the country’s finest beauty spots. Among the area’s highlights, check out the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, the seaside resort of Mumbles, with its charming Victorian pier, and arguably the UK’s best beach, Rhossili Bay on the Gower Peninsula. For details about onward travel to Swansea Bay, visit swanseabaywithoutacar.co.uk.
A trip to South Wales wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the capital. While there, don’t miss the world’s oldest record shop, Spillers Records, dating back to 1894 and selling vinyl and CDs. Take in the sights of Cardiff Bay, including the Wales Millennium Centre, where you can catch a show or two, and the Grade I listed Pierhead Building. Travel onward to the charming seaside town of Penarth, with its restored Art Deco pier, and be sure to relax at the spa hotel of Holm House nearby.
Nearest GWR station: Cardiff
A great place to begin when exploring Wales’ south coast, the former mining town of Bridgend has plenty to offer visitors looking to shop, including an indoor market, as well as loads of history and culture to discover. The exceptional Glamorgan Heritage Coast is a short journey from the town, home to impressive, fossil-strewn Jurassic cliffs and the seaside village of Ogmore-by-Sea.
Nearest GWR station: Bridgend
Take up residence in the town of Carmarthen and you’ll find yourself amidst top countryside, ripe for discovery, including miles of golden sands, enchanted castles, and tranquil green valleys. Visit the Dylan Thomas Boathouse in Laugharne, and explore where the famous poet lived and worked, penning some of his best-loved pieces. Or head for Llansteffan Castle perched on a hill, overlooking a long sandy beach, offering stunning views across the Tywi River towards Ferryside and its beachside GWR train station on the other side of the estuary.
It’s one of the nation’s favourite meals so let’s celebrate the humble fish and chips this summer. Whether you’re by the sea or in the city, here are some of the best places to feast on this British classic.
Thatched-roof cottages, golden stone buildings, great pubs and British countryside. Visit the Cotswolds with GWR. Check out one of the prettiest patches of rural England, only a short journey London Paddington.