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5 Day-Trip Destinations That Are Within 45 Mins from Cardiff

04 Sep 2018
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As a student in Wales, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to days out. You’ve got some of Britain’s best beaches, oldest castles, highest mountains and most striking history within a couple of hours. But if you’ve just got a day, where’s nearby? Here are five of the best day trips from Cardiff – all within 45 minutes of the city – and a couple of bonus trips for those willing to go the extra mile(s).


Newport Transporter Bridge

30 minutes driving

Newport Transporter Bridge crosses the River Usk in the bridge’s namesake city. It’s a Grade I-listed structure, a monument to Edwardian engineering, and one of seven transporter bridges that remain in use in the world; in fact, only a few dozen were ever built – so you better believe that what you’ll see here is truly one of a kind!

The walk across the high level is not for the faint-hearted but it’s nonetheless exhilarating. Not to mention that you’ll be following in the footsteps of the many workers who climbed the stairs and walked across the gantry twice a day only to save the halfpenny fares for the gondola ride.


Barry Island

35 minutes driving

Gavin and Stacey fans rejoice! Barry Island is well-known as the setting of the hit sitcom and you can visit all the famous sites and landmarks with a tour.

Even if you’re not familiar with the tv series, there’s so much on offer here; you can go on rides or challenge your friends in battles of wits on arcade games in the Pleasure Park, or you can build sandcastles or sample some of the local fish and chips by the beach… You get the gist: there’s plenty of fun to be had here.


Waterfall Country

45 minutes driving

Few places in Wales have a richness and diversity of waterfalls that can compare. Waterfall Country in the Vale of Neath boasts nine publicly accessible waterfalls set in a stunning vista of mountains and steep-sided valleys. This heavenly destination has been renowned through the centuries for its breathtaking beauty and idyllic sceneries. In fact, it’s been a source of inspiration for generations of artists, including landscape painter J. M. W. Turner who trekked here to paint Aberdulais Falls back in the day – so, what’s your excuse?


Pen y Fan

45 minutes driving

Think you’re up for a challenge? How about climbing a mountain standing at 886 metres (2,907 feet) above sea-level?

Situated in the picturesque Brecon Beacons National Park, Pen y Fan is the highest peak in South Wales. Conquer the steep climb to the summit and you’ll be rewarded with some impressive views that will keep you coming back again and again. What are you waiting for? Grab your boots, maps, and compass, and run for the hills – literally!


Brecon Mountain Railway

45 minutes driving

Full steam ahead: see Wales in an all-weather observation coach on one the most popular vintage railway routes in the country!

The round trip from Pant through the foothills of the Brecon Beacons takes just a little over an hour, including a 20-minute stop at Pontsticill, where you can alight from the train and visit the cafe, take in the beautiful view across the water to the peaks of the Brecon Beacons, and go for a relaxing ramble alongside the reservoir. Just note that the main station at Pant opens at 9.30am so it will be an early start if you want to beat the crowds!


Go the Extra Mile: Dan yr Ogof Caves

1 hour driving

Fancy going for a longer drive? Dan yr Ogof is a cave system 45 miles northwest of Cardiff that stretches over 17 metres – one of the most extensive in Western Europe.

The caves of Dan yr Ogof were first explored more than 100 years ago by three local brothers. Nowadays the National Showcaves Centre for Wales is widely regarded as the greatest natural wonder in Britain and features underground lakes, rivers, and two spectacular waterfalls; there are also rock formations like stalagmites and stalactites that date back thousands, if not millions of years.

As if that’s not enough, you can even recreate your own Jurassic World moments here with one of the world’s largest collections of life-sized dinosaur models, including species from the ever popular Tyrannosaurus Rex to the lesser-known Tsintaosaurus.


Don’t worry if you don’t go to uni in Cardiff, we’ve not forgotten about you! We also have travel guides for Newcastle and Nottingham – where will you wander next?