We travelled to South Wales on the train from Chester through the beautiful Welsh Marches region. It really is the most scenic route.
We stayed at the Wyndham Arms Hotel in Bridgend, which was originally built in 1792 and has been recently refurbished to a high standard. The rooms are clean and comfortable with all the usual facilities. Being only 5 minutes walk from the railway station it was ideal for exploring the region. Of course if you were to choose to travel by car there are some lovely places to visit in the surrounding countryside.
We spent a day in Swansea and spent time in the Maritime Quarter visiting Dylan Thomas Square, the Tram Shed Museum and Wales’s oldest museum nearby. The Marina area was surprisingly attractive with views over to the Mumbles. As we walked towards Castle Square up Wind Street we thought that it was aptly named for the weather on that day!
Our next trip was to Cardiff and there was certainly a lot to see. The Millennium Stadium and the Millennium Arts Centre were both impressive modern structures. We visited the much older Cardiff Castle a mediaeval building right in the heart of the city. The history of the site goes right back to Roman times, but there have been many reincarnations, which were quite fascinating. An unusual feature of the nearby Bute Park is the carved animals on the surrounding wall. There is also the Drama Village where productions such as Doctor Who, Casualty and Upstairs Downstairs were made.
The following day we went to Newport by train then got a taxi to Tredegar House a National Trust property. The 17th century house has been wonderfully restored, but the original 500-year-old house and 40,000 acres of land belonged to the Morgan family who had enormous influence on southeast Wales. So of course we could not leave without taking tea in the Brewhouse tearoom.
Our evening meals were taken in Bridgend to include Zia Nina, an Italian restaurant and the Toby Carvery. It was on our walk home from there that we found a great pub for real ale fans – the Coach on Cowbridge Road. The friendly locals even gave up their seats for us! There are a variety of places to eat and drink in town. Although the place was lively at the weekend it was very quiet in the bedrooms at the Wyndham Arms and the staff were very helpful.
Our overall impression of South Wales was the friendliness of the people and the efficiency of the railway services.