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Driving from Cardiff to Conwy in December

ak4
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Driving from Cardiff to Conwy in December

We are planning to drive from Cardiff to Conwy and I've looked at routes on google maps. If we go in one day it looks like taking A470 would be the most scenic. If we want to stop over night, does it make more sense to drive to Aberystwyth (that route seems to go west towards Swansea and then north)? Or are there some other, better ideas so that our drive will be as scenic as possible?

Our plan was to leave in the morning so that the next day we could be in North Wales by, at the latest, mid-day. We want to see the castles and spend a night (or 2) in Conwy and then head southeast to London.

We are from Alaska, so rural roads in bad weather are no problem for us.

Cardiff, United...
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1. Re: Driving from Cardiff to Conwy in December

I do that journey a couple of times a month, should take four hours, including a "comfort" stop. Going via Aberystwyth just adds unnecessary time to your journey in my view, although you wouldn't need to go toweards Swansea as you could still go up the A470 then head towards Aber when you see signs north of Builth Wells. To be honest, while the scenary is awesome it's not worth an overnight stop in my opinion, so I'd crack on to Conwy.

Cardiff, Wales
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2. Re: Driving from Cardiff to Conwy in December

Tony's advice is bang on!

You don't need an overnight stop. If you leave Cardiff at about 10am that will give you ample time to have breakfast and miss the rush hour and get to Conwy in time for tea. Stick to the A470. It is a lovely drive.

The only option I would throw in is staying in Rhayader overnight. The only reason for that would be the chance to see the Red Kites feeding. These beautiful birds of prey were once commonplace in Medieval Britain and were our means of controlling the rat population, but almost died out totally but have recovered and Wales has the only indigenous UK breed still going strong. I have never forgotten the sight of them dive bombing on a farm at the head of a valley 2 years ago. Fantastic! If that floats your boat make sure you are arriving at Gigrin farm in Rhayader by about 1.30pm GMT.

http://www.gigrin.co.uk/

You could spend the rest of the daylight hours at the Elan Valley reservoirs before settling down for the night in Rhayader and having a leisurely journey the next day to head for Conwy. Rhayader also marks a good turning point in your journey north - after Rhayader the green rolling hills begin to fade away and make way for the more dramatic crags of the north.

Wales
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3. Re: Driving from Cardiff to Conwy in December

The A470 may be the quickest route, but it's also the busiest, and not always scenic. Don't be afraid of taking B and unclassified roads.

The B4518 from Llanidloes to Llanbrynmair is beautiful - it feels really remote. The road is fine, if a little narrow in places. I would also try some of the B roads (usually marked in yellow on a UK atlas) as you get further north,

ak4
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4. Re: Driving from Cardiff to Conwy in December

We are finalizing our trip plans. We are spending 3 days in Cardiff, then flying to Cork for 3 days and then back to Cardiff. Our flight gets in at 12:20 p.m. By the time we get a car and head out I wonder if there will be enough time to make it to Conwy before dark. Any suggestions besides Rhayader for where to stop?

Cardiff, Wales
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5. Re: Driving from Cardiff to Conwy in December

Given the time of year your are only going to have about 2-3 hours of daylight so an overnight stop is definitely sensible. Depending on your taste and budget there are two places I can recommend from personal experience which you should get to in good time, and leave you ample time the next day to continue your journey north, and arrive by lunchtime.

The Lake Country House is a splendid retreat, nice rooms and good food, and plenty of grounds for an early morning walk weather permitting. It's in Llangammarch Wells which is a slight detour off the A470:

http://www.lakecountryhouse.co.uk/

The other option is the New Hall Guest House in Llanwrtyd Wells. We stayed there in the spring this year and had a lovely time. Llanwrtyd Wells seemed such a happy town - everybody just seems to love living there, and they pile into the Nueadd Arms hotel in the evening and cluster around the bar and the fire. Llanwrtyd is, again, a slight detour from the A470 but worth it.

newhallguesthouse.co.uk/www.newhallguesthous…

ak4
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6. Re: Driving from Cardiff to Conwy in December

Thank you Jim. Llanwrtyd Wells sounds like a good possibility. We are more of the budget, homey type, so we can save our money for food and drink. And, since we are traveling with 20 and 23 year old daughters, we need to stay on a budget. Clean, friendly, comfy, and the chance to meet interesting people is what we are looking for in a place to stay. If we can find a pub with music, then we'll all be happy in the evening. If you can think of other towns for us to consider, I'd appreciate it. You've been really helpful each time I've posted with a question.

Cardiff, Wales
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7. Re: Driving from Cardiff to Conwy in December

Hi ak4

The Stonecroft pub in Llanwrtyd Wells has live music - I'm not sure if it is every evening, but worth checking out.

http://www.stonecroft.co.uk/

as for other towns, thinking along the A470 route I would say Dolgellau is worth checking out. Its architecture is interesting because it is all stone and slate, and in December will have quite an atmosphere if it is grey and misty weather.

http://www.discoverdolgellau.com/en/home.aspx

Betws y Coed is also worth a stop. It is more "touristy" but is a very pretty spot.

http://www.betws-y-coed.co.uk/

I also recommend you take a short stop at Dolwyddelan Castle near Betws y Coed, and on the A470. It will be interesting to compare a castle of a Welsh prince - small, remote and atmospheric - with Conwy, the mighty fortress built by the English conquerors under Edward I.

http://www.castlewales.com/dolw.html

Hope that helps! Have a great time. Do come back if you have any more questions, especially on things to do in Cardiff.

Jim

Lake Forest...
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8. Re: Driving from Cardiff to Conwy in December

I'd like to second the recommendation for Betws y Coed. We were just there for two nights this month and found it to be a lovely little town, beautiful sights, friendly people and great food.

We stayed at THe Aberconwy House, which is a lovely B & B run by husband and wife, Stuart and Emma. The rooms were gorgeous and the beds were perhaps the most comfortable I've ever slept in! Lovely little place and the family room we stayed in would suit you and your daughters just fine.

We also climbed up to the castle as Jim suggested. It was a cool, misty day....perfect for exploring this old beauty.

Good luck with yout trip. I know we are anxious to see more of Wales next time.

9. Re: Driving from Cardiff to Conwy in December

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