If you’re into biking, walking, castles and history – the Welsh Valleys will have something to interest you. Now there’s no toll on the bridge into Wales, there’s even more reason to go and visit! Here’s our list of reasons why you should check out the Welsh Valleys:
It’s easy to get active with outdoor sports
There are loads of outdoor adventures to enjoy on bike, foot, vehicles or horseback. Activities include quad biking, horse riding, mountain or fat biking, golf, rock climbing. The roller-coaster landscape of the valleys makes it ideal for getting out and about exploring beautiful landscape with breath-taking views.
It’s great for walking
You can experience both woodland and open expanse in the valleys with fabulous views across to Devon. You can join guided walks or follow your own routes. We enjoyed a lovely walk in the Garw Valley and there are also circular walks in Ogmore and Merthyr Mawr. For walking routes visit here.
You can visit wildlife centres
It’s free to get into the Parc Slip Nature Reserve where there are 300 acres of wildlife species and habitats. There are also 4km of traffic-free cycle paths, bridle paths and 10km of walking tracks to explore. You can also visit the Kenfig National Nature Reserve.
There is loads of interesting history
You can gain a taste of the Welsh mining experience at the Rhondda Heritage Park where retired miners guide you through an old coal mine. You can follow in the footsteps of the miners who worked at the heart of The Rhondda. The ‘Black Gold Experience’ tour takes you through the recently developed Trefor & Bertie Engine Houses and into the original lamp room where you will collect your miner’s helmet for your journey underground.
You can visit the Llancaiach Fawr Manor which dates from 1645. You will be welcomed on a ‘time travelling tour’ by the servants of the manor and taken back to 1645 to explore their home and lives. Or you could visit the ancient town of Llantrisant and a tour and a cream tea.
There are castles
Wales is full of castles where you can pretend to be a knight for the day! You can visit many without paying, although, the big ones have more on offer and have an entrance price. Caerphilly Castle is the biggest in Wales and is almost complete. This impressive castle is great to explore and is surrounded by a series of moats and watery islands.
You can sample some great local produce
Of course, there is the famous Caerphilly cheese with a ‘Cheese Festival’ in July but there are also many local producers and independent shops, restaurants and cafes. You can enjoy the Caerphilly farmers’ market every second Saturday of the month along with exploring many other places to eat and drink. We dined at the wonderful family owned Mediterranean restaurant, Casa Mia which has wonderful views of Caerphilly Castle at night. We also sampled the varied and delicious award-winning local beer from family run Tudor Brewery at Aberbeeg.
On the Sunday we had a fantastic lunch at Woodlands Bistro at Tondu Farmhouse which is highly recommended!
It’s less ‘touristy’ than Cornwall
Of course, Cornwall is fantastic but in Wales, you feel like there’s more space and less people. Perfect for people like us who enjoy getting away from it all. There are more places to discover, landscape to explore and I guess, more unique Instagrammable places!
It has exceptional stargazing sites
The valleys claim more exceptional stargazing sites than any other part of wales. They are the first to pioneer ‘Dark Sky Wales’ and have a number of locations – from mountain tops and country parks to pubs – that offer opportunities to enjoy the sky at night. You’ll find a full list of sites here.
It’s centrally placed to visit
You can get to all the attractions listed very easily when staying in the valleys and the beach isn’t far away either. We stayed at the 3* Heritage Park Hotel set in the beautiful South Wales Valley, minutes from the historic town of Pontypridd. It was very well placed for everything.
There are lots of family-friendly places to visit
Along with all the activities listed, there are many other places to explore with children. We enjoyed the interesting Royal Mint Experience where you can find out about the history of coin making and even have a go at striking your own coin. We also like the look of Mountain View Ranch which has a Gruffalo Trail.
For more information visit Love the Valleys