Self-Catering Holidays in South and Central Wales
Explore the magic of South and Central Wales
There is so much that's appealing about South and Mid Wales, you'll be kicking yourself you've never visited before. Sunny blue flag beaches flow into picturesque countryside, while the scars of an industrial heritage are disappearing, leaving wooded valleys, breath taking moorland and a tangible pride in the role Wales played in the development of British industry. Two national parks, incredible Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ANOB), a UNESCO World Heritage Site and pretty market towns; the list goes on, but we think you're getting the picture!
If North Wales is majestic mountains and imposing castles, South Wales is soft rolling pastureland, wooded valleys and thriving cities. The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is the only coastal national park in Britain and covers nearly 630 square kilometres of pristine landscape. It's expertly managed so everyone can enjoy it, whether you want to walk on more than 200 designated tracks, head off road on a mountain bike or on horseback or, more conventionally but no less enjoyably, drive curving sweeps of road along clifftops and through towns and villages.
St Davids may have the status of a city thanks to its gorgeous cathedral, but is actually no bigger than a small town. It's the ideal place to base yourself for exploring the area, which includes Whitesands Bay (Porthmawr) and Porthmelgan. The landscape and light have attracted artists from around the UK who are inspired by their surroundings. You can't talk about Pembrokeshire without mentioning the iconic sight of the colourful town houses overlooking Tenby Harbour; and the bustling, modern town of Haverfordwest contrasts perfectly with the medieval grandeur of Pembroke Castle, the birthplace of the first Tudor king, Henry VII.
Carmarthen sits nestled between Pembrokeshire and the Brecon Beacons, sweeping down to the coast at Llanelli and butting up against the Gower Peninsula. It's delightfully rural in most places and is predominantly populated by artists, smallholders and farmers. Towns like Newcastle Emlyn and Carmarthen provide all the amenities you need.
Gower Peninsula, Swansea & Neath Port Talbot
The beautiful Gower Peninsula has been inhabited for more than 25,000 years and has lost none of its appeal during that time. Swansea's population swells with university students during term-time, but is always popular for shopping, culture and nightlife. Neath Port Talbot was once one of Wales' most significant mining areas, but you'd never know it as you enjoy the space of Margam Park or the beach at Aberavon.
Many of Wales' movers and shakers have made the Vale of Glamorgan their home due it its fantastic mix of countryside and beaches and its proximity to Cardiff. Places like Barry Island and Penarth are popular with locals for day-trips on a sunny day, but a little further from the capital you'll find that Cwm Colhugh in Llantwit Major and Fontygary Bay in Rhoose never feel crowded.
The drive from Swansea to Cardiff is less than an hour. Cardiff is the Welsh capital and boasts fantastic shopping as well the National Museum and Gallery, an amazing castle and lots of excellent theatres, bars and restaurants. It is a friendly, vibrant city that knows how to have fun - especially when there is an international rugby match on!
Between Cardiff and the Severn Bridge you will find the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Blaenavon, Abergavenny and its renowned food festival, historical Monmouth, the winding Usk River, vineyards and genuine hospitality.
The Brecon Beacons National Park starts in Mid Wales and stretches all the way to Pontypool in South Wales, protecting stunning scenery, flora and fauna. The highest peak, Pen y Fan, is popular with walkers who appreciate the view and the well maintained path. The Brecon Beacons are a wonderful mix of hills and mountains overlooking patchwork farmland and friendly towns. As well as a wealth of outdoor activities, visitors can see the Dan yr Ogof Showcaves, travel on the Brecon Mountain Railway, discover numerous castles including the intimidating towers of White Castle in Abergavenny, or enjoy the serenity that lingers around the remains of Tintern Abbey.
As well as being the birthplace of King Henry V, Monmouth is the gateway to the Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley. It's a top spot for browsing antiques and curios and makes a handy base for visiting nearby Chepstow and Abergavenny.
The northern part of Mid Wales is Owain Glyndwr territory where you'll find numerous features dedicated to the last Welsh Prince of Wales. One of these is Glyndwr's Way, a 135 mile trail taking you through gorgeous forests and moors and past rivers and lakes. The larger towns are Aberystwyth, Machynlleth, Hay on Wye and Llandrindod Wells, but Crickhowell, Dollgellau and Oswestry also make a good base for a self-catering holiday in Wales.
Whether you spend your entire holiday in Wales in one place, or travel around this incredible country, you won't be disappointed with what you find.