The Best Things to Do in South Wales

© Peter Bolter / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Kathryn Beeson
16 July 2020

South Wales is home to quiet bays, stunning national parks and one-of-a-kind attractions. So, how do you know where to begin in an area that has so much to offer? Culture Trip asks our local insiders for their favourite things to do in the region, from beautiful walks along the Pembrokeshire coastline, to good old-fashioned seaside fun at Barry Island.

Dylan Thomas Boathouse

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The Dylan Thomas Boathouse in Laugharne on the Taf estuary in Carmarthenshire, Wales UK. Image shot 2011. Exact date unknown.
© Adrian Sherratt / Alamy Stock Photo

Learn about the life and work of one of Wales’ most famous writers with a visit to the Dylan Thomas Boathouse in Carmarthen, where he wrote many of his best-known works. Nestled in a picturesque spot overlooking the Taf Estuary, it’s now a museum dedicated to the Under Milk Wood (1954) playwright, with an art gallery and tea room attached. Put yourself in the great man’s shoes with a slice of bara brith while enjoying the views. Recommended by local insider Holly Brace

National Showcaves Centre for Wales

Natural Feature, Historical Landmark
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Dan Yr Ogof. The National Showcaves Centre for Wales
© Michael Olivers / Alamy Stock Photo

The National Showcaves Centre is an impressive 17km (11mi) cave system inside the Brecon Beacons National Park, just a 35-minute drive from Swansea. Alongside the main showcaves (which are breathtaking in themselves), you can dive back into the distant past with a visit to the replica Iron Age farm and ancient stone circles. The attached Shire Horse Centre is a must for animal-loving children and adults alike. Recommended by local insider Holly Brace

Barry Island Pleasure Park

Amusement Park
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Boutique coastal villages might be lovely, but are they as childishly fun as a day full of rollercoasters, cheap chips and penny machines? No, they are not. Scratch that itch with a trip to Barry Island Pleasure Park – think dodgems, log flumes, arcades and more sugary snacks than you can shake a stick at. You can even combine it with a trip to the beach (if you can find a spot) for a day of good old-fashioned seaside fun. Recommended by local insider Annis Ince

St Fagans National Museum of History

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Museum of Welsh Life Celtic Village re created at St Fagans 1992 Circular Roundhouse based on excavated remains of actual b
© Detail Heritage / Alamy Stock Photo

St Fagans is an outdoor museum which features a host of medieval buildings, including a nonconformist chapel and a 17th-century farmhouse. There’s also a ‘living’ section with regular historical demonstrations from craftspeople, and a working Victorian farm. Entry is free, so you won’t find a better-value day out anywhere. Recommended by local insider Annis Ince


Architectural Landmark, Natural Feature
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Just before dawn at Penarth Pier near Cardiff on the south coast of Wales
© Helen Hotson / Alamy Stock Photo

For a more refined seaside experience, visit Penarth. A quaint seaside town just a 10 minute train journey from Cardiff. As a relaxed day out, spend time rooting around the town’s independent shops followed by a stroll along the beach to the lovely old pier, fish and chips in hand. Your worries will melt away. Recommended by local insider Annis Ince

Manorbier to Barafundle Coastal Walk

Hiking Trail, Natural Feature
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Overlooking the stunning beach at Barafundle Bay on the Pembrokeshire coast of South Wales UK Europe
© ian woolcock / Alamy Stock Photo

The Manorbier to Barafundle route covers a particularly breathtaking 16km (10mi) stretch of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Start at Manorbier for a chance to explore the castle, situated next to the beach. You can take a taxi back once you reach Barafundle (it’s a short, 20-minute drive), or visit one of Europe’s best sandy beaches and walk the return journey. It is so beautiful that you’ll want to go again. Recommended by local insider Holly Brace

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