Wales is one totally stunning country to explore, with a huge heap of beautiful spots to see across the country. That being said, it’s sometimes overlooked when exploring Great Britain in light of its bigger sisters, England and Scotland. Honestly, there’s a huge amount of the best places in South Wales that are dotted right from the border with England to the shores of West Wales.
This is exactly why I wanted to share some of my very favourite and some of the best places in South Wales to visit on your next trip.
Now, the train network is much more extensive in South Wales (than any other part of the country), though, I’d still say to hop in a car if you fancy a good explore without any limitations. Although not necessary, I do think a car makes exploring Wales that bit easier.
Anyway, I’m rambling on now! Take a look, below, at some of the best places in South Wales to visit on your next trip! Have the best time.
1.) Brecon Beacons National Park
The Brecon Beacons is probably the most accessible national park to visit in South Wales. Perched about a seventy-five-minute drive from central Cardiff, it’s really easy to visit for a day away from the city (or in its own right.
Once here, make sure to explore beautiful spots like; Pen y Fan, see Llyn y Fan Fach (a pretty isolated lake area) and explore the stunning countryside.
Now, if you’re really up for a challenge, follow the ninety-nine-mile long Beacons Way hiking trail.
It’s easily one of the best places in South Wales to explore if you love a good ramble. though, just make sure to take some comfy shoes… it’s a trek!
For me, the Gower Peninsular is probably one of the most diverse natural areas of Wales and a totally stunning spot to explore whilst in the area. Only around 30-minutes from Swansea, it’s really easy to visit for a day from the city itself.
As you explore, make sure to stop off at Three Cliffs Bay, Rhossili Bay and Worms Head. If you’re feeling extra energetic, head out for some stand-up paddleboarding within the bay area, itself.
Also, don’t forget, you can easily partner a trip to the Gower Peninsular with Mumbles (as they’re right next to one another).
Now, one of the most famous buildings in Caerphilly has to be its Castle. This is easily one of the best places in South Wales to visit if you love history (and castles for that matter). This place is particularly famous for its own leaning tower, which is totally unique to see and well worth a good wander around.
Over the last few hundred years, Wales has had quite a strong connection with Italy, especially with the immigration of Italian people back in the 18th and 19th Century. This all means one thing, there are a good few spots for good gelato and Italian food, even to this day. For me, Volare, an Italian eatery located on Cardiff Road. Start with their fresh mussels sautéed in garlic and chilis before moving onto a plate of al dente pasta. Yum!
4.) Tintern Abbey
Another spot that’s right on the border with England, Tintern Abbey is pretty magnificent to see. Although in ruins, it is totally dramatic and very similar to that of Whitby Abbey in the north of England.
Once here, take a ramble around the grounds, follow the border down to Chepstow to see it’s castle and historic town. It’s a really easy spot to visit and one of the best places in South Wales to explore if you’re close to the border.
Of course, the capital city has to be included as one of the best places in South Wales to visit.
Although a relatively small city, Cardiff has heaps of history, culture and lots to see and do for a weekend away. Once here, make sure to visit Cardiff Castle, see the Gothic Architecture and rooms that are just out-of-this-world and head over to Margam Park for a little trip back in time. Although just out of the city centre, it’s a great place to spend a day exploring the historic buildings in Wales.
For a tasty bite to eat, head over to the Clink Restaurant. They have a yummy Welsh lamb shank. Plus, if you’re looking to stay (down by the Bay) check into Voco St David’s that also has one of the best spas in the city.
Nestled upon the shoreline of Swansea Bay, Mumbles is one of the best places in South Wales to visit and somewhere I’ve visited over twenty times over the years.
It’s pretty small, picturesque and has a laid-back charm about it that just makes it perfect to visit on a sunny day. Once here, you can visit the ruins of Oystermouth Castle, which was founded by the Normans in the twelfth century. Today, you can explore the grounds and castle itself, which has its own chapel as well as paintings and other artwork dating back to the castle’s medieval heyday.
As for the village itself, Mumbles is full of independent shops as well as pubs which serve lots of local brews. For the best of the best, be sure to visit Copperfish, which has some of the freshest and pretty reasonably priced dishes, too. For me, I’d always go with the classic fish fry, with a choice of haddock, cod or hake. Though, the crispy fried salt and pepper prawns are just so good, too.
Cardigan is a pretty sleepy little town on the coast of South-West Wales (just shy of Pembrokeshire). Filled with quaint little cottages, lovely beaches and lots of walking routes across Cambrian Coastal Path, it’s easily one of the best places in South Wales to visit.
Once here, make sure to visit Cardigan Castle, which dates back to the twelfth century and now has some newly-opened restaurants and cafes within the old grounds.
Alternatively, head over to Tresaith (a tiny little village) for some pub grub at the Ship Inn and a walk to find the Waterfall into the sea.
8.) St. David’s
St. David is probably one of the smallest cities in the UK, but don’t let its size put you off visiting… it’s easily up there as one of the best places in South Wales to explore if you love our amazing history.
Once you’ve arrived, make sure to visit St. David’s Cathedral, which not only functions as a shrine, but also a museum which is pretty epic to see.
Also, be sure to stop by Farmer’s Arms for an authentic Welch pub experience, complete with friendly locals, and a tasty yet pub menu offering everything from smoked mackerel pie and salt to pepper squid. After gorging, continue exploring Bishop’s Palace, visit Whitesands Bay and see St Non’s Chapel and Holy Well.
9.) Carew Castle
Situated inland from the gorgeous town of Tenby, Carew Castle is really easy to visit if you’re already in the area and a perfect little spot to spend an hour or two on your road trip across Wales.
Once here, take a wander around Carew Castle, explore the grounds and spend some time exploring the Pembroke area of South Wales. That being said, if you’re up for some thrills, pop on over to Oakwood Theme Park that’s only ten minutes up the road. It’s got one of the largest wooden-rollercoasters in the UK.
Situated right on the border with Wales and England, Hay-on-Wye is one small little village. Though don’t be fooled by how small it is, it’s a book worm’s dream stop in South Wales.
Known for its many independent bookstores and literary festival (usually in May), Hay-on-Wye is easily one of the best places in South Wales to visit if you’re a total book lover, hence its nickname, the book town of Wales.
Still, to this day, Tenby is one of my favourite little towns in all of Wales. Perched in the south-west of the country, it’s a great spot to spend a few days, especially in the summer months.
Dating back to the thirteenth century (with its town walls), as well as stunning stretches of sandy beaches, it’s easily one of the best places in South Wales to visit.
Now, If you are looking for a little more history, you can even book a boat passage to nearby Caldey Island, which is magnificently preserved and maintained by a local monastery.
It’s an island that’s steeped in history and pretty easy to visit by boat in the summer.
Oh, and for a tasty bite to eat, stop off at the Stables Restaurant who have some of the tastiest lobster.