I recently decided to combine a family wedding in Wales that I was attending with a road trip around South Wales. Despite the pretty consistent rain I had a great time! Also despite the fact that half of my family live in Wales and I’ve driven there so many times myself since I passed my test (nearly 10 years ago!!), I still felt fairly unprepared for this road trip.
Maybe because I haven’t visited as a ‘tourist’ before and gone to places I wasn’t sure about or maybe because since living in London I no longer have my own car and hadn’t driven for a while, but either way here are a few things that I learnt and will remember for my next road trip that I thought might help you out too if you are looking to do a road trip in Wales.. which you should! FYI!
1) Have change with you for parking!
Pretty much all of the car parking at beaches, castles and major attractions are chargeable. It can be from as little as £1.00 for an hour to about £5.00 a day but make sure you have those pound coins handy as most of them do not yet take cards! This was a big downfall for me as I never carry change on me!
2) Be careful and have patience when driving down the lane roads!
Wales is full of one way lane roads and your satnav will be sure to take you down a few. Although you may think its impossible to fit two cars down the road, the Welsh make it happen by being very patient!
Drive slowly and take the corners even slower so if someone is coming the other way you can stop. There’s no need to drive more than 15mph to be honest. Keep an eye on the inlets in the road and if you see a car coming at you then pull in and let them go past. Be sure to thank people too. The Welsh are very friendly!
3) Use a SatNav!
Talking of SatNav’s, definitely use one in Wales! Do not try to be a hero and work out where to go the old school way. I was keeping an eye on the signs of where the satnav was taking me and most of the time the town or beach I wanted to go wasn’t even noted on the signs until I got closer which means you’ll have to go by road names which is way too confusing and I wouldn’t have had a clue where to go without the satnav!
4) Don’t get put off by the signs!
Remember that the Welsh have their own language so road signs and signs written on the roads are in both English and in Welsh. I tend to get a bit panicky when I start seeing a sign with so much information on it but you soon realise that only half of it is applicable to you!
5) Google car park postcodes!
I’ve never really road tripped before so when it came to working out how to find a beach I wasn’t sure how I’d type it into the SatNav. I soon discovered that after a bit of googling I could find the beach car park’s postcode and use that, and it didn’t fail me once!
6) Don’t rely on having internet and phone signal!
However saying that the phone and internet signal in Wales is hit and miss, especially when you’re out in the countryside or on a beach. As I said, to find my way I was googling the postcodes of car parks for beaches and entering them in as I went, which was great until I was in a car park with no signal or 3G so I had to drive until I found signal to search the postcode (which turned out to be in the wrong direction!). I’d definitely suggest doing some research when you have internet and screen shotting postcodes so that you don’t end up not knowing where you are with no internet!
7) Don’t underestimate how much you can see!
Wales is only a small country and unless you are travelling the length of the Country it doesn’t take long to get to places. They have lots of good A roads which tend to only get busy within the cities. The M4 gets pretty busy at rush hour but apart from that it’s usually fine so be sure to fill your day with destinations!
Have you got any more tips to add? I’d love to hear them! Let me know in the comments or by tweeting me!
Here are my other Wales posts from my trip!
To SEE my trip to Wales check out my Vlog here!