Subject: Re: Aussie in Wales
Hi Margot,

We were in Wales last August for about 9 days, and enjoyed a number of attractions in the area near Cardiff. Firstly, to us, Wales conjured up thoughts of coalmines, we can heartily recommend visiting Blaenavon, a World Heritage Site about 33miles (50km) north of Cardiff. It's free to visit, tours are run underground by Welsh miners who are good natured, amusing and very proud of their heritage and only too keen to share it with visitors. We happily spent 3 hours or so just in the Big Pit mine area. A bus departs from Newport regularly if you don't have a car. Wear good closed-in shoes, it can be wet and a bit slippery underfoot.

Tintern Abbey and town have been mentioned, it's also worth a visit. We had Heritage Passes so I can't tell you the price of admission, but it's about an hour's drive north- east of Cardiff.

Further north than Blaenavon is the Brecon Beacons National Park. Lovely countryside, if you have a car just go for a drive. If you end up at Brecon, travel the few miles to Libanus, a bit south, and visit the Mountain Heritage Centre. Even a short walk up the rolling hills behind the centre provides magnificent views of the Brecon Beacons. When we were there yellow gorse and purple heather were in bloom, you may get white of snow, equally beautiful. Have a look at for a start. There are buses and a rail link to the National Park, or it's about 1 hour drive from Cardiff to Libanus direct.

If you've got time, head west to Tenby for a look. There's a train from Cardiff, takes about 2.5 hours, or it's about a 2 hour drive. Tenby is a walled medieval town, pedestrian only in the centre, with a lovely sandy beach. If you get there, the Tudor Merchant House is worth a visit if you have a yen for old buildings. Sorry don't know the price, it was a Heritage Pass property again for us.

Finally, if you like the old and obscure, try the Margam Stones Museum in Margam, about 45 minutes drive from Cardiff. is the official site, I'm sure a search will show you the stones. There's a collection of inscribed stones from pre-Roman to 11th Century, very interesting including one with Irish Ogham script on it. Entry 2 pound, (we used our pass again). (CADW do have a 4- day pass if you think you'll visit lots of the old castles and ruins that Wales has in abundance.) There was an Abbey situated with the stones musem which you can visit at the same time, and a Country Park nextdoor which we wandered into via the Abbey, I'm not sure if we were supposed to be there or not,but the gardens were nice!

You will have no trouble driving there if you have access to a car, they know which side of the road to use! Main roads are busy but well signposted, minor roads are often a delight.

Hope you enjoy your short visit, and your friend travels without too many difficulties.

Cheers, Sally (from blissfully cool, wet Sydney)