Top 10 Things To Do in South Wales

June 26, 2013 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Top 10 Things to Do

Glorious sandy beaches, beautiful landscapes and historic sites, there’s so much to see and do whilst staying at one of the many holiday cottages in South Wales. Here’s my guide to the Top Ten Things To Do in South Wales.

Cottages4You have over 300 holiday cottages in South Wales, from Monmouthshire and the Welsh Borders to Pembrokeshire and the West Wales coast. Sykes Cottages have a great selection of holiday cottages in South Wales with over 250 properties available. Hoseasons have a smaller selection, with about 70 cottages.

1. Have fun on the best beach in Britain

Rhossili Bay on the Gower peninsula has received many accolades over the years and recently was voted the third best beach in Europe (and best beach in Britain) in a TripAdvisor survey. Rhossili Bay (pictured) is a three-mile stretch of white sand. It has Worm’s Head at one end – a small tidal island and the most westerly tip of Gower – and at the other lies the small tidal island of Burry Holms. Along the beach stands a solitary building – the Old Rectory, a house dating to the 1850s which is now owned by the National Trust, and a ship wreck can be seen on the sand at low tide.

2. Visit the Garden of Wales

Not without reason is Carmarthenshire known as The Garden of Wales; its rolling landscape contains some excellent gardens and parklands including the flagship National Botanic Garden of Wales. Situated in the unspoiled Tywi Valley, it features Mediterranean flora as well as typical Welsh species. At the centre of this garden, created in celebration of the Millennium, sits Sir Norman Foster’s Great Glasshouse, the world’s largest single-span ‘greenhouse’.

3. Walk in the footsteps of Wales’s most famous poet

Perched precariously on the cliffs above the Taf Estuary in the sleepy seaside town of Laugharne lies the Boathouse where Dylan Thomas lived and worked. This modest building is now a heritage centre and is part of the Dylan Thomas Trail, a route through some of the poets favourite parts of West Wales and the places that inspired some of his best writing.

4. Go underground at the Big Pit

Big Pit was a working coalmine until it closed in 1980. Now the National Coal Museum, Big Pit is home to an impressive collection of mining machinery and memorabilia. It’s not just about what coal mining was like for the workers but about the dignity and pride of local people and the wider background of why the coal boom happened when it did, and how what came out of the Valleys changed the world. The highlight of the visit is the hour-long underground tour, led by ex-miners, which takes you down in the pit cage to walk through an underground labyrinth of roadways to the coal face.

5. Admire the best preserved Medieval abbey in Wales

Tintern Abbey is one of the greatest monastic ruins of Wales. Once the richest monastic establishment in all of Wales, though now in ruins, its grand design is still evident. It occupies a delightful position in a narrow stretch of the tidal River Wye, surrounded by wooded hillsides.

6. Discover a hidden gem of a garden

Colby Woodland Garden is a beautiful hidden gem in South Wales, boasting a secluded position in a wooded valley within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. This glorious informal woodland garden with a fascinating industrial past is always bursting with colour and wildlife. There is an ornamental walled garden, fine collection of rhododendrons and azaleas, wildflower meadow and stream with rope swings and stepping stones for children to explore and play.

7. Enjoy a beautiful waterfalls walk

A walk through the Mellte Valley in the Brecon Beacons, takes you to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Walls – Sgwd Yr Eira, meaning ‘fall of snow’. Walk under the waterfall without getting too wet for a unique perspective on the woodland scene. Along the way are several other waterfalls as well as a host of wildlife and fauna to spot, not forgetting the many cave entrances to peer into.

8. Head down into Britain’s most spectacular caves

In the heart of the Brecon Beacons, award-winning Dan-yr-Ogof is one of the most spectacular showcaves in Britain. Discover the Bone and Cathedral Caves and view amazing floodlit rock formations including a frozen waterfall.

9. Go surfing in the Gower

The Gower Peninsula is a wild area of natural beauty, with soaring cliffs and some of the UK’s most beautiful beaches. The Atlantic breakers that come rolling in make this one of the nation’s best places for surfing. There are excellent surf schools at popular Caswell Bay, which can be surfed on all tides, and Llangennith, which has some of the peninsula’s most consistent surf.

10. See the icon of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
Pentre Ifan (‘Ivan’s Village’) is one of the most famous prehistoric monuments in Wales and has become an icon for the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. This splendid burial chamber is situated near the top of a gently sloping hill above a river to the north of the famous Preseli Mountains. The most obvious feature of the site is the large stone measuring 5 metres in length and estimated to weigh around 17 tons that is delicately balanced 2.5 metres above the ground by three supporting upright stones.

My pick of the best holiday cottages in South Wales

holiday cottages in south wales choice

Parc Y Bryn is a detached Edwardian coach house for six in the village of Ferryside, Carmarthenshire. It enjoys an elevated position overlooking the estuary of Camarthen Bay and countryside, within walking distance from the beach, country footpaths, including the Wales Coast Path, and local amenities, offering all the modern conveniences whilst retaining its original charm and character. It has an open-plan beamed living/dining room with wood-burning stove, wooden floor and large kitchen area, three bedrooms, enclosed garden and internet access. Click here for more details.