How to make the most of a Welsh road trip

I recently embarked on a journey around Wales, tasting what the little principality had to offer as well as charging my way along its beautiful roads. I learnt a lot from that trip and while m’colleague has covered the trip in detail here, I wanted to offer a little advice for those following in my tyre tracks.

Get the right car

IMG_3788The Renault Captur was my car of choice for this trip and unfortunately it did struggle on some of the steeper Welsh roads but  what it lacked in speed, it made up for in size and economy.

If you’re going on a week-long road trip, size matters and there’s something very convenient about a car that you can fit your entire life into. I lived out of the car for a week and never felt like there wasn’t enough room for me or my stuff.

The boot is large by anyone’s standards but the rear seats also slide in case you need a touch more space. If that’s not enough, the seats fold nice and flat. More than enough space for golf clubs, shoes, 11 jackets and bag fulls of local produce.

Go off the beaten path

IMG_2700While the dual carriage way along the side of Conwy River is pleasant enough, if you drive off up the hill not far from the amazing Bodnant Welsh Food Centre, you’ll be treated to some of the most exciting roads I’ve ever had the pleasure of driving.

Wherever you are in Wales, get off the big roads and head for the more interesting ones as this is where you’ll find amazing scenery, all sorts of wildlife and quirky places to eat, drink and shop.

Vary your accommodation

IMG_3912I’ve never stayed in some many varied places during one trip. From the National Trust hall to the quaint little 17th century cottage, each place had its own charm but I got to experience so much more than if I’d stayed in the same faceless hotels.

One night we were eating breakfast for dinner on the floor of a cottage in front of a woodburner, the next we were dressed to the nines to sample some fine Welsh cuisine.

Not only do you get to experience more but varying your accommodation keeps the trip interesting.

Use Airbnb

If you want to find some truly strange and wonderful places to stay then consider booking through this amazing site. Not only will you find the most quirky places to stay here but it’s affordable and the owners of the houses/apartments/cottages will be able to give you loads of advice when it comes to things to do in the area.

Take your time

The joy of a road trip is the driving so give yourself enough time to really enjoy the drives between each hotel. If you try and cram in too much, you’ll just be stuck on the dual carriageway panicking that you won’t make that tour in time. Add an hour or two to travel time to ensure you get enough time to stop, explore and enjoy the place you’re driving through.

Eat local

IMG_3975When on a road trip there’s the temptation to stop at generic service stations and fast foot outlets. Don’t! When in somewhere as exciting and diverse as Wales, you should make the effort to find independent places to eat. This might take a bit of planning but you definitely won’t regret it.

Make friends

IMG_3960It might be with the people who own the place you’re staying or it might be with the local cows. Don’t hide yourself away, meet the amazing people (and animals) of Wales as they add character to your journey. Don’t be afraid to ask people where you should visit or what you should do in the area as they know and it’s great to get a local’s insight into the play you’re staying.

Plan but don’t over plan

This goes for all road trips. Before you leave, look up a few places you’d like to go but don’t plan every tiny detail of your trip as spontaneity is one of the best things about travel. The freedom a car affords you might mean you plan to drive off into the sunset and not return for hours, certainly not something you could do if you’d planned to visit a restaurant then a museum, followed by afternoon tea.

Let your trip fall around a few exciting things but from there, just go with the flow.

Author: Jess

Writer, traveller, Norfolk gal.

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