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Day Trips from Cardiff: Explore the Best of South Wales and Beyond

20 June 2024

Cardiff, the vibrant capital of Wales, is a gateway to a wealth of stunning landscapes, historic sites, and charming towns perfect for day trips. I have spent a multitude of weekends taking day trips with my friends to get a quick getaway from the busy uni life. Since we were on a tight budget, all these trips had to be low-cost. Additionally, none of us had a car, so we were on a lookout for places accessible through public transport. All these day trips cost us less than 80 pounds as we only spent on transport and food!

Tips for Your Day Trips

  1. Transport: While some destinations are accessible by public transport, having a car gives you more flexibility. Buses and trains may get cancelled or delayed, don’t forget to check the last bus/train timing!
  2. Weather: Welsh weather can be unpredictable, so pack accordingly. Check the weather app one day before. Carry a raincoat/umbrella!
  3. Timing: Start your day early to make the most of your trip, especially for destinations that are further away.

Cardiff’s strategic location makes it a perfect base for exploring the best of South Wales and beyond. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a bit of both, these day trips offer something for everyone. Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, or just looking to explore the region, here are some of the best day trips (on a budget!) you can take from Cardiff.

1. Brecon Beacons National Park

Distance from Cardiff: 1 hour by bus
For those who love the great outdoors, Brecon Beacons National Park is a must-visit. This beautiful area offers stunning scenery, from rolling hills and dramatic mountains to picturesque waterfalls. Activities include:

  • Hiking: Take on the challenge of Pen y Fan, the highest peak in South Wales.
  • Waterfalls: Explore the Four Waterfalls Walk near Ystradfellte.
  • Wildlife: Keep an eye out for red kites and other local wildlife.

2. Caerphilly Castle


Distance from Cardiff: 30 minutes by bus

History enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to Caerphilly Castle, one of the largest and most impressive medieval fortresses in Britain. Highlights include:

  • Great Hall: Step back in time in the grand medieval hall.
  • Leaning Tower: Check out the famous leaning tower, which tilts more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
  • Family Activities: Interactive exhibits and events that bring history to life.

3. St Fagans National Museum of History


Distance from Cardiff: 15 minutes by bus

Just a short drive from the city, St Fagans is one of Europe’s leading open-air museums. It is really interesting, as all the buildings have been deconstructed from their original locations, brought to St Fagans village and reconstructed using numbered bricks. Set in the grounds of a 16th-century manor house, this living museum offers:

  • Historic Buildings: Explore over forty original buildings from various historical periods.
  • Traditional Crafts: Watch craftsmen at work and even try your hand at some traditional skills.
  • Beautiful Grounds: Wander through the picturesque gardens and woodlands.

4. Barry Island


Distance from Cardiff: 30 minutes by train

For a fun-filled day by the sea, head to Barry Island. This classic seaside resort offers:

  • Beaches: Relax on the golden sands of Whitmore Bay.
  • Amusements: Enjoy the rides and attractions at Barry Island Pleasure Park.
  • Coastal Walks: Take a scenic walk along the coastal paths with stunning views of the Bristol Channel.

5. Bristol


Distance from Cardiff: 1 hour by train

For a day trip that combines history, culture, and modern attractions, head to Bristol. This vibrant city offers:

  • Clifton Suspension Bridge: Take in breathtaking views from this iconic bridge.
  • SS Great Britain: Explore the world’s first great ocean liner, now a fascinating museum.
  • Harbourside: Enjoy the lively waterfront area with its museums, restaurants, and bars.
  • Street Art: Discover works by the famous street artist Banksy and other vibrant murals throughout the city.

6. The Gower Peninsula


Distance from Cardiff: 1.5 hours by bus from Swansea

The Gower Peninsula, the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is perfect for beach lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Activities include:

  • Beaches: Visit Rhossili Bay, often ranked among the best beaches in the world.
  • Coastal Walks: Explore the rugged coastline and enjoy stunning sea views.
  • Water Sports: Try surfing, kayaking, or paddleboarding.Enjoy your travels!