A Cardigan Holiday

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Wales is too often overlooked by holidaymakers from outside the country.  But there are all kinds of holiday deals to be found online which make Wales an even more attractive option than the south of England.

It can be surprising that those Britons who stay in the UK for the holidays forget Wales. Tourism to Cornwall and Devon is incredibly popular. And while it is true that the further south you go the warmer it gets, the difference in temperature is really only noticeable if you’re coming from the far north to the far south. The beaches in Cornwall and Devon may be beautiful, but Wales’s beaches have been voted the best in Britain by several organisations, not least travel writers with a lot of experience of Britain’s beaches.

The Welsh New Quay, almost ironically having a Cornish counterpart with the same name, has the dramatic Cardigan Bay. Cardigan Bay is the largest bay in Wales and has unique sea-life. Here you can see dolphins, porpoises and seals. In fact, Cardigan Bay has the greatest number of bottlenose dolphins in Britain. New Quay was once just a handful of thatched cottages surrounded by farmland. Then a pier was built and shipbuilding started up in the area and the collection of houses turned into a village. Today New Quay is a popular seaside town. This is in part due to the vast expanse of the sandy Cardigan Bay and partly because of the aforementioned dolphins.

Welsh beaches are always a refreshing experience, especially for those who do not visit them often or who are visiting for the first time. They are more vast than Cornish or Devonshire beaches and have less pebbles. The seashells on Welsh beaches are of an entirely different variety to those on Cornish beaches too.

Visitors can stay at holiday resorts at Quay West that have sports activities, swimming and entertainment on site. There are different companies through which it is possible to organise kayaking, windsurfing, sailing and power boating as well. Bring a wetsuit and surfboard or buy them here.

New Quay is about 20 miles south of Aberystwyth, which is the nearest place with a train station. There is a regular bus service between Aberystwyth and New Quay. If that’s over-complicated, it’s a near five-hour drive from London to New Quay to give an idea of distance.

A good way of doing the trip might be to take a train as far as a main city in Wales such as Cardiff, or closer than that, Swansea, and pick up a hire car when you get there. That way you save driving the longest leg of the journey. If planning a holiday far enough in advance, book train tickets at the same time. Britain may have the highest train fares in the UK, but it also has the cheapest advanced fares in Europe. Book early enough and when weighed up against the combination of the price of petrol and the uncomfortably long drive, the train and hire car combination can be an attractive alternative.


Sophie Collard (@QunoSpotter) writes about fascinating places to visit and people she’s met while on her travels. She’s travelled in the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia and loves the sense of distance and changing landscapes.