Welcome to South West England and South Wales

Each destination within the South West of England, has its own unique character to explore. From stunning beaches to unmistakable landscapes. From bustling cities to mysteries, magic & mythical history, the south west has everything.

The South Wales Valleys are blessed with huge green spaces that are perfect for walking and mountain biking. With the added benefits of some of the best beaches in the UK, South Wales Valleys is packed with things to see and do and is perfect for organised events. We are proud of our welsh heritage, and love to receive visitors who come for history, adventures and a warm Welsh welcome.

South Wales

No other part of Wales is as instantly recognizable as the Valleys, a generic name for the strings of settlements packed into the narrow gashes in the mountainous terrain to the north of Newport and Cardiff. Each of the Valleys depended almost solely on coal mining which, although nearly defunct as an industry, has left its mark on the staunchly working-class towns: row upon row of brightly painted terraced housing, tipped along the slopes at incredible angles, are broken only by austere chapels, the occasional remaining pithead and the dignified memorials to those who died underground.

Major attractions in South Wales

The Afan Valley and The Afan Forest Park

As the A4107 meanders through the steep sided valley it is easy to understand why this valley has been developed as a premier Mountain Bike riding venue in the United Kingdom. The Forest Park also has nine waymarked walking trails, ranging from a 30-minute amble to a 3-4 hour ramble. There are also miles of public rights of way to make up your own walks. As well as mountain biking, there is also a network of 25 miles (40 km) of disused railway lines which can be used for walking and cycling. These are called the Family Routes, or the Low Level Cycleway. These also form a link between the mountain bike trails.

The Forest Park Centre has camping facilities, with campsites with a shower block and toilet block which can also be used by other visitors. In addition to these basic facilities, the Centre also offers a cafe, small local museum on mining, bike shop and a gift shop

Afan Forest Park was created in the 1970s and has grown into one of Britain’s iconic mountain bike destinations.

Situated in a former coal mining valley a few miles from the M4, the forest park offers mountain bike trails for beginners to expert riders.

Most of our mountain bike trails start from the visitor centre car park but two trails may also be started from Rhyslyn car park and there are three additional trails from Glyncorrwg Mountain Bike Centre.

There are three walking trails from the visitor centre which range from a short level route along a former trackway to a strenuous seven mile walk along a ridgetop with panoramic views.

The visitor centre is managed by Neath Port Talbot Council and is home to the South Wales Miners’ Museum, a café and a bike shop.

Zip World South Wales

Home to Phoenix and the Tower Coaster, Zip World Tower is the 4th Zip World site to open, and is the 1st to be situated in south Wales. Nestled in the Rhigos mountain range, and boasting stunning panoramic views, this adventure hub is situated at the old Tower Colliery coal mining site, and had created a new lease of life for this historic and widely-loved base.

Phoenix is the world’s fastest seated zip line, with 4 parallel lines in 2 separate zip zones. This zip line will see you flying across the Welsh countryside. The Tower Coaster is the only of its kind in Europe, boasting a side-by-side kart, making it possible for two people to ride at once.

Enjoy the beautiful facilities and refreshments at Tower’s Adventure Terminal, where you can check-in, kit-up, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy the wonderfully restored Colliery site, where old meets new

Our Homes in South Wales are based in the following areas

The Rhondda Valley

Rhondda Fawr – sixteen miles long and never as much as a mile wide – is undoubtedly the most famous of all the Welsh Valleys, as well as being the heart of the massive South Wales coal industry.

Between 1841 and 1924 the Rhondda’s population grew from under a thousand to 167,000, squeezed into ranks of houses grouped around sixty or so pitheads. The Rhondda, more than any other of the Valleys, became a self-reliant, hard-living, chapel-going, poor and terrifically spirited foot-hold ground for radical religion and firebrand politics

The last pit in the Rhondda closed in 1990, but what was left behind was not some dispiriting ragbag of depressing towns, but a range of new attractions, cleaned-up hillsides and some of the friendliest pubs and communities to be found anywhere in Britain.

One famous attraction in the area is the Rhondda Heritage Park at TREHAFOD. The site was opened in 1880 by William Lewis (later Lord Merthyr), and by 1900 some five thousand men were employed here, producing more than a million tons of coal a year. Wandering around the yard, you can see the 140ft-high chimney stack, which fronts two iconic latticed shafts, named Bertie and Trefor after Lewis’s sons. Guided tours take you through the engine-winding houses, lamp room and fan house, and give you a simulated “trip underground”, with stunning visuals and sound effects re-creating 1950s’ life through the eyes of colliers.

 

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Cornwall – THE GATEWAY TO BODMIN MOOR

Camelford

The picturesque town of Camelford lies on the banks of the tranquil river Camel and minutes from the stunning Cornish coast, which flows past a wonderful children’s park and wildlife area before flowing through the town centre, down the valley to Wadebridge and Padstow.

Camelford lies just inland of the popular coastal destinations of Tintagel, Port Isaac, Padstow and Polzeath. It is situated just 4 miles from the nearest beach and just 1 mile from Bodmin moor making Camelford the perfect location to explore North Cornwall and beyond. Steeped in history Camelford is the home of the North Cornwall Museum and Art Gallery. Rough Tor lies just a few miles inland of the town, it’s the highest point in Cornwall and boasts a wealth of historic remains from neolithic, bronze age and medieval times.

Camelford lies in the ideal location to suit every holiday interest, from Beaches, Surfing, Golf, Coastal walks, Cycling the Camel Trail, Exploring ancient remains at Bodmin and Tintagel, or simply winding away with a glass of wine soaking up the atmosphere of one of the numerous working fishing harbours.

St Austell and the Eden Project

The old market town of St Austell is just a few miles from the coast and is one of Cornwall’s biggest towns. It was for centuries an important mining town but it was a discovery in the mid 18th century that really put the town on the map. William Cookworthy, a chemist from Devon, discovered massive deposits of kaolin (a form of decomposed granite), or china clay in the area. The mineral is used in not only the production of porcelain but a whole host of industries including paper, pharmaceuticals and textiles. 

The extraction of china clay became the mainstay of local industry and accelerated the growth of the town from the eighteenth century onwards. The china clay industry has left a significant mark on the landscape around St Austell. The Cornish Alps as they are sometimes referred to are the spoils from the clay pits which form large, originally white, conical mounds. Another long running industry in the town is St Austell Brewery. Founded in 1851 by Walter Hicks it has grown to become easily the biggest brewery in Cornwall with a string of pubs. The brewery is open to the public for tours. Perhaps the town’s biggest draw these days is its proximity to the mighty Eden Project, only 2 miles away. 

Eden is now, without doubt, the most popular single tourist attraction in Cornwall. Interestingly enough the biomes were built in an old china clay pit. If you are looking for a busy beach resort, try Carlyon Bay. Other popular nearby beaches include Duporth and Porthpean. If you prefer somewhere quieter and smaller, Polkerris is ideal for swimming. St Austell’s port is the lovely harbour of Charlestown, where you will frequently see old sailing ships. The port has been used as a film location for numerous films and television series, such as Poldark, and there is a small museum open during the season.

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Quedgeley, Gloucester

Welcome to the city of Gloucester

Welcome to Gloucester, a cathedral city located on the River Severn and fantastically situated between the beautiful areas of the Cotswolds and Forest of Dean. The most inland port in the UK, Gloucester has a proud industrial past, intertwined with a rich history that dates back to Roman times. Combine this with an ever-changing and developing city, and Gloucester offers the perfect mix of old and new.

No matter what your interests are, you’ll find that there are plenty of things to do in Gloucester. Take advantage of the discounts in the Gloucester Quays designer outlet, or explore Gloucester’s many independent shops.

Gloucester and surrounding areas has a number of stunning wedding venues including Elmore Court

Cheer on the Cherry and Whites at Kingsholm Stadium, the home of Gloucester Rugby. Explore the breath-taking Gloucester Cathedral. Delve into Gloucester’s history at the Museum of Gloucester or the National Waterways Museum. Enjoy live music at Gloucester Guildhall. There really is something for everyone.

Alongside the urban experience that Gloucester city centre provides, the area also offers the chance to escape into nature. Enjoy stunning waterfront views in Gloucester Docks, or visit one of Gloucester’s many green spaces, including Robinswood Hill Country Park, and Barnwood Arboretum. Gloucester is also perfectly situated as a base for exploring the spectacular Cotswolds countryside.

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Plympton, Plymouth

Rain or shine, Plymouth, Britain’s Ocean City is home to breath-taking views, plenty to see and do and lots of fresh, sea air. Explore the waterfront, shop ’til you drop or experience world-class events. There’s nowhere quite like it – let us show you around.

Plymouth is a vibrant waterfront city packed full of attractions, activities, shopping, entertainment and sightseeing. Come rain or shine you’ll find something for everyone among the city streets, surrounding countryside and marine environment beyond.

There are well-known landmarks, historical sites and natural assets to explore across Plymouth’s many unique areas and districts. Wander the Barbican’s quaint cobbled quayside following in the Mayflower Pilgrims’ footsteps or visit the National Marine Aquarium with its deepwater fish tanks.

Sample Plymouth’s finest export at the Plymouth Gin Distillery or take a boat trip around the Sound from the Mayflower Steps. There’s more family fun to be had up on the Hoe where you can climb the iconic Smeaton’s Tower lighthouse, take the plunge at Tinside Lido, our restored Art Deco swimming pool or simply take in the panoramic view of busy boating activity from this stunning natural amphitheatre.

Further afield you can stroll round the many stately homes and gardens, get up close to some big cats at Dartmoor Zoological Park, or go for a hike or bike ride through the magnificant Dartmoor National Park.

Plymouth is also located at the mouth of the River Tamar, set in the UK’s youngest area of outstanding natural beauty. Unspoilt and still relatively unknow, the Tamar Valley retains it’s unique character and beauty. Take the Tamar Valley Train or a boat trip, it’s well worth exploring the surrounding area.

Visitors to Plymouth, Britain’s Ocean City, can enjoy many days out with the whole family as some of the most popular attractions cater for all.

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