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South Wales Holiday Guide

South Wales boasts a distinct character formed by its fascinating history, rich culture and stunning natural beauty. Once an industrial coal and iron working heartland, the region today boasts green valleys, peaceful forests and rolling moorlands. To top it all off there are castles, glorious beaches and, the icing on the cake, Cardiff, the capital of Wales.

The core South Wales region consists of Cardiff, the South Wales Valleys, the Vale of Glamorgan, and the borderlands of the Wye Valley and Vale of Usk. Within these there is enough to cater for everyone, from nature lovers keen to explore idyllic scenery to history buffs interested in medieval castles and museums, and culture, shopping and food aficionados will love the great shops, dining and entertainments of Cardiff and the region’s other vibrant towns.

Sightseeing in South Wales

If sightseeing is your bag, you won’t be disappointed by South Wales. In Cardiff, you can learn about Wales’ history at the National Museum of Cardiff, and explore fanciful Cardiff Castle. Alternatively, you may want to tour the iconic Millennium Stadium and admire the modernist slate and steel architecture of the Wales Millennium Centre.

Elsewhere, explorers will love the Wye Valley, with its ancient and medieval landmarks, including the stunning Roman baths at Caerleon, Chepstow Castle and Tintern Abbey.

Or you can delve into Wales’ recent industrial past at the Blaenavon Ironworks and The Big Pit: National Coal Museum in the South Wales Valleys.

Your options for historical sightseeing don’t stop there: you could also venture into the beautiful Vale of Glamorgan to see its fine Ogmore Castle and wander round the gorgeous Dyffryn Gardens, laid out in Edwardian times.

Shopping in South Wales

When it comes to shopping in South Wales, Cardiff tops the list. The city bursts with places selling everything from designer clothes to books, jewellery and local crafts. You can browse flagship stores at the St David’s Shopping Centre, stroll the High Street, or scour the independent shops and gift emporiums stuffed into the city’s Edwardian and Victorian arcades. Other shopping haunts include Abergavenny with its buzzing Victorian market hall, and Hay on Wye’s endlessly enticing bookshops.

Food, Restaurants and Nightlife in South Wales

South Wales’ culinary scene is focused on Welsh produce and comes to life in countless restaurants, cafes, markets and foodie events. Cardiff offers artisan coffee spots, modern Welsh eateries and international restaurants, while elsewhere, you’ll find stylish bistros, tearooms, ancient inns, farm shops and gastro pubs perfect for lunches and evenings out. Food lovers especially will rave about Abergavenny’s popular Food Festival every September.

Outdoor fun in South Wales

South Wales has outdoor pursuits in spades, and not just on its beaches. Families will adore the sandy beaches, seaside towns and adventure centres of Glamorgan, not to mention the walking trails, cycle paths and industrial heritage sites of the South Wales Valleys. Other draw cards include the bracing Brecon Beacons National Park with its Brecon Mountain Railway, fishing on the River Wye, and the almost endless opportunities for sports like mountain biking, kayaking, horse riding and golf right across the region.


Guide to Exploring South Wales


Top Hotel Deals

See all 488 Hotels in South Wales
£82
Celtic Manor Resort

Celtic Manor Resort

Chepstow Road, Newport
4.2
of 5, from 172 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

This family-friendly Newport hotel is located in a regional park, 1.6 mi (2.6 km) from Isca Augusta, and within 6 mi (10 km) of University of Wales-Newport and Newport Cathedral. Newport Transporter Bridge and Newport Stadium are also within 6 mi (10 km).

The Gower Hotel

The Gower Hotel

11 Church Lane, Swansea
4.3
of 5, from 25 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Bishopston, this hotel is 2.9 mi (4.6 km) from Oystermouth Castle and within 6 mi (10 km) of Swansea University and Swansea Beach. Dylan Thomas Centre and Caswell Bay Beach are also within 6 mi (10 km).

£61
Village Hotel Swansea

Village Hotel Swansea

Langdon Road, Swansea
4.0
of 5, from 153 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in the heart of Port Tennant, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of National Waterfront Museum and Dylan Thomas Centre. Swansea Beach is 2.3 mi (3.7 km) away.

£38
Hampton by Hilton Newport East

Hampton by Hilton Newport East

Wales 1 Business Park M4 Junction 23a, Newport
4.4
of 5, from 329 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Magor, this hotel is within 9 mi (15 km) of University of Wales-Newport, Isca Augusta, and Newport Stadium. Newport Transporter Bridge and Newport Cathedral are also within 12 mi (20 km).

The Windsor Lodge Hotel

The Windsor Lodge Hotel

Mount Pleasant, Swansea
3.1
of 5, from 58 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Castle, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Swansea Market and Dylan Thomas Centre. Swansea University and Swansea Beach are also within 3 mi (5 km).

£86
Swansea Marriott Hotel

Swansea Marriott Hotel

Maritime Quarter, Swansea
4.0
of 5, from 144 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Situated near the beach, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Quadrant Shopping Centre and Dylan Thomas Centre. Swansea Beach and Swansea University are also within 2 mi (3 km).

£38
Newport Student Village

Newport Student Village

Usk Way, Newport
4.0
of 5, from 7 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Newport, this apartment is within 1 mi (2 km) of Newport Cathedral and Newport Transporter Bridge. Newport Stadium and University of Wales-Newport are also within 3 mi (5 km).

£52
Coldra Court Hotel by Celtic Manor

Coldra Court Hotel by Celtic Manor

Chepstow Road, Newport
3.6
of 5, from 196 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Situated in Langstone, this spa hotel is 2.3 mi (3.6 km) from Isca Augusta and within 6 mi (10 km) of University of Wales-Newport and Newport Stadium. Newport Transporter Bridge and Newport Cathedral are also within 6 mi (10 km).

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