This is a two-day tour, sampling the industrial heritage and its legacy to Cardiff and the South Wales Valleys
Your tour begins in Cardiff, the Capital of Wales. This bustling city was built on the fortunes of coal which is still evident to this day. To retrace the steps of this bygone era where ‘coal was king’, the tour begins with a historical tour of what was then the Cardiff Docks, now Cardiff Bay, one of the most exciting waterfront developments in Europe.
As you approach the Bay, the magnificent Wales Millennium Centre beckons you on – but tucked in behind is our first stopping off point, the terracotta Pierhead building, built in 1897 as the headquarters of the Bute Dock Company. Across the bay, you will see the Port of Cardiff, where two of the remaining docks built in the 1800s, are still in operation. In the 1800’s, coal trade in these ports transformed Cardiff from a small town to the largest in Wales.
After lunch, the tour arrives at Cardiff Castle. The castle dates back over 2,000 years but was lovingly restored in the late 19th Century as a summer home for the Marquess of Bute. The legacy of the Cardiff Docks and Cardiff Castle are intertwined. It was the vision and entrepreneurial spirit of the second Marquess and later his son, that enabled the docks to be built. The docks created thousands of jobs for the locals and brought an influx of many nationalities to Cardiff. Hence, Cardiff became a thriving cosmopolitan community. A delightful tour of the Castle, will cap the day off.
Approx distance : Cardiff City Centre and Cardiff Bay - 1.5 miles (2.4km)
Approx driving time : 10 minutes (add 5 minutes for coach & parking). Allow extra time during peak times.
Overnight suggestion : Cardiff City Centre/Cardiff Bay - search for accommodation
The day begins with a drive towards the Valleys of South Wales. Here you will encounter mining towns which had contributed to the industrial revolution of this South Wales region. En route, the tour stops at Cyfarthfa Castle in Merthyr Tydfil. Merthyr Tydfil was the Iron Capital of the World in the late 18th century. This castle was owned by the affluent Crawshay family, who owned and ran the many ironworks in the area. The iron works and the mining of coal in these valleys, paved the way for Cardiff to become a successful and thriving city and port.
Further up the Valleys, the tour arrives at Blaenavon, with places of interest such as Big Pit, the Ironworks, the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal and spectacular surrounding landscape. This town is part of the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in November 2000 based on the numerous monuments and buildings of significance in and around the town.
Saving the best for last, enjoy an evening of traditional Welsh hospitality at the Cardiff Castle Banquet.
Approx distance : 40 miles (65 km)
Approx travel time : An hour each way
Overnight : Cardiff City Centre/Cardiff Bay - search for accommodation