Rhondda Valley is an area of outstanding natural beauty with a rich mining heritage. For more than 100 years this was an industrial heartland where tens of thousands of men extracted coal from the earth. The mines may have closed, but their history can be explored. Go underground on a mine tour and get active in the outdoors on a hiking or cycling expedition.
Today, Rhonnda Valley's coal mines are silent, but their stories can be heard in museums and heritage centers. Visit Rhondda Heritage Park, situated on the site of a former colliery. Go on a guided tour of the mine in the company of an ex-miner. Hear about mine working conditions and the hazards that miners faced.
Discover more mining history at Pontypridd Museum, which is housed in a converted chapel.
Although mines scarred the landscape, few signs of the industry remain. The region has some of the most beautiful scenery in the country and their wide open spaces are waiting to be explored.
Walk through meadows and by the rivers of Craig y Nos Country Park. Take the marked trails through Dare Valley Country Park's 500 acres (202 hectares). At Barry Sidings Countryside Park, find a network of cycling paths through the countryside. If you are a golfing enthusiast, play a round at Rhondda Golf Club. The course is spread across mountain tops and looks down on rows of miners’ cottages.
Mining wasn't the only industry to suffer a decline in the area. Whisky making died out in Wales toward the end of the 19th century. However, in 2004, the first Welsh distillers in more than a century opened for business. Sample the whiskies of Penderyn Distillery after you’ve toured the premises and seen how the spirit is made.
Rhondda Valley with its industrial heritage and breathtaking outdoors is easily accessible by road and rail from many parts of the United Kingdom. The nearest international airport is in Cardiff, less than a 1-hour drive away.