Sometimes all you need is a weekend away, preferably in the comfort of a motorhome. You just need to escape your familiar surroundings and see new places. Well, if that’s the case, then you’re in luck, as we’ve rounded up the five best weekend trips from Cardiff for you.
All of these road trips from Cardiff can easily be done in two days, or stretched over a bank holiday weekend. You’ll get to explore the beauty of Wales or head just over the border to the stunning Malvern Hills AONB. Time to pack your bags and get away for a weekend!
1. The Pembrokeshire Coast
It wouldn’t be right to leave one of the best-known tourist destinations off our list of road trips from Cardiff. The Pembrokeshire Coast is what comes to mind for a lot of people when they think of the Welsh coastline, and with good reason.
What makes the Pembrokeshire Coast such a delight to visit? Perhaps it’s the colourful houses perched along the water, reminiscent of the Cinque Terre in Italy. Maybe it’s the crystal clear blue waters and long stretches of uninterrupted sandy beaches. Maybe it’s the rugged castles set on hilltops with a backdrop of the roaring Atlantic Ocean. Whatever it is, we wish that we could bottle it up and take it home whenever we’re missing our travels.
Things to do on the Pembrokeshire Coast:
-Pembroke Castle is a must-see for history buffs. Prepare yourself, as you’re going to read about a lot of castles in this blog, but what else would you expect of Wales? Built in 1090 AD, Pembroke Castle is best known as the birthplace of King Henry VII in 1457.
-If the weather permits, a trip to the beach is in order! You’ll have plenty of options, but we’d recommend Barafundle Bay Beach, Saundersfoot Beach and Broadhaven Beach.
-Spend an afternoon in Tenby. This seaside town looks like it was pulled straight out of a postcard. Back in the day, the seaside was known as a medical cure for just about any ailment, and perhaps it can cure your wanderlust as well. It’s home to Castle Beach, which was awarded ‘Britain’s Best Beach’ in 2019. While here, take a short boat ride to the monastery on Caldey Island, which is a breathtaking sight.
Staying at: Caerfai Bay Caravan and Tent Park
This family-run campsite is situated about halfway on your Pembrokeshire road trip Itinerary, making it the perfect place to stop for the night. Caerfai Bay Caravan and Tent Park is located right beside a gorgeous beach of the same name, and it’s only a fifteen-minute walk from St Davids. This campsite offers everything you’ll need for your stay, including phone charging lockers, a kitted-out kitchen and hot showers.
Ffordd Caerfai, St Davids, Haverfordwest, Wales
2. Gower Peninsula
The first place in Britain to be named an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1956, the Gower Peninsula is beloved by birdwatchers, surfers and walkers. It’s filled with dramatic limestone cliffs, sandy beaches, wild moors and more, making it the perfect destination for your road trip from Cardiff.
Being only 19 miles long, you can easily drive across the Gower Peninsula in a day, but why rush it? Split this trip over two days, and make sure to stop in Swansea, Mumbles and Rhossili.
Things to do in the Gower Peninsula:
-Grab a bucket and a spade, and try your hand at an archaeological dig! Or you could visit the sights already uncovered. The Gower Peninsula AONB is home to over 1,200 archaeological sites, including caves, medieval castles, Iron Age forts, churches and more.
-Visit Weobley Castle. This well-preserved fortification is accompanied by explanations of the various structures. From the castle, you’ll get to enjoy stunning views of the Gower salt marshes and the mainland beyond. Definitely worth a stop during your road trip!
-We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, if you haven’t gone coasteering yet, then you’re missing out! Described as “Everything you weren’t supposed to do when you were a kid”, Adventure Wales takes you cliff jumping, swimming, scrambling and exploring caves along the Gower Peninsula. Follow up your adventure with a snooze on one of the many golden beaches around.
Staying at: Skysea Caravan and Camping Site
Flanked on either side by limestone cliffs, this campsite feels like it’s sheltered from the rest of the world. It’s close to the beach, so you can start your day off with a nice swim — if you dare! Skysea Caravan and Camping Site is popular with surfers, thanks to the outside wetsuit washing area and proximity to great surfing locations.
Skysea Caravan and Camping Site, The Seafront, Port Eynon, Gower, Swansea, Wales
Would you like more options? Check out our list of the best campsites in the Gower Peninsula AONB.
3. Bannau Brycheiniog National Park
Previously known as the Brecon Beacons, the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park is right at the heart of Wales. If you’re looking to lose yourself in dramatic mountain scapes and lush forests, then this is the weekend trip near Cardiff for you.
Bannau Brycheiniog National Park is only an hour’s drive from Cardiff, but it’ll feel like another world. If your perfect weekend trip from Cardiff includes plenty of hillwalking, then you’ll adore your time here.
Things to do in Bannau Brycheiniog National Park:
-Let’s get the most obvious option out of the way: hillwalking! You could walk to South Wales’ highest point, also known as Pen y Fan. The Pen y Fan Horseshoe loop, which includes the summit of the mountain of its namesake, is about eight miles. Alternatively, you could dedicate your weekend to tackling the Route of the Romans, a twenty-eight-mile route that includes a section of walking over original Roman cobbles.
-Feet tired but looking to do more exploring? Hop on the Brecon Mountain Railway. This tourist railway takes you down the south side of the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park for five miles, including sights like the Pentwyn Reservoir and Pontsticill Reservoir.
-Once you’re pitched up for the night, it’s time for some stargazing. Bannau Brycheiniog National Park has been awarded the rare Dark Sky Reserve status for its low light pollution and high nocturnal clarity. You’ll spot plenty of familiar constellations, and maybe even a few planets!
Staying at: Grawen Caravan and Camping Park
The hardest part of staying at Grawen Caravan and Camping Park will be dragging yourself away to explore the local area. Situated at the foot of the southern ridges of the Bannau Brycheiniog and nearby Llwyn-on Reservoir, this campsite is the perfect starting point for countless walking routes. It’s a family-run park with a playground on-site.
Grawen Farm, Cwm Taf, Merthyr Tydfil, Wales
If you’re looking for weekend trips near Cardiff, and don’t mind venturing over into England, look no further than Malvern. Situated just over the border into England, this town is part of the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Beauty.
This elegant spa town first became popular in the Victorian era, when pleasure seekers would flock here to benefit from the therapeutic quality of its springs. Only a 1,5 hour drive from Cardiff, it remains a thriving town with plenty to offer.
Things to do in Malvern:
-Take a stroll through town. Malvern is particularly popular with antique shoppers, who can spend hours in the cosy stores dotted around. You’ll also find plenty of original fashion brands and artisan food, the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon.
-A great way to honour the history of Malvern is a trip to the spa! The Malvern Spa is renowned across the UK for its first-class spa and wellness facilities. It features hydrotherapy beds, bubble massage stations, an indoor-outdoor hydrotherapy pool and more. The perfect way to unwind after a long week!
-Malvern is also home to many great museums. The Malvern Museum of Local History will allow you to explore this town’s past, including prehistoric hill forts, medieval monasteries, the secret work of radar scientists and more.
Staying at: Marlbrook Farm
Just a half-hour walk from Little Malvern, this adults-only campsite is ideally located for exploring this gorgeous area. Marlbrook Farm is dog-friendly, with plenty of space for your pup to run around. The real selling point is having four pubs within walking distance of the campsite.
Marlbrook Farm Castlemorton Common, Malvern, England
Would you like more options? Check out our list of the best campsites in the Malvern Hills AONB.
This is one of the best weekend trips from Cardiff for history lovers, particularly if you’ve got a taste for Medieval history, or perhaps legends… Carmarthen is said to be the birthplace of Merlin, best known as the iconic wizard of Arthurian legend. It’s the oldest town in Wales and simply overflows with history, mystery and breathtaking sights.
An hour's drive from Cardiff, this is an ideal trip if you’re limited on time, perhaps looking to just get away for a single night.
Things to do in Carmarthen:
-Browse through the shops. Carmarthen has been a market town since Roman times, and this is still the case today. Nowadays, you can do your shopping indoors at the modern market, which sells arts and crafts, food, drink and more. Aside from the market, you’ll find plenty of independent shops dotted around town.
-Explore the majestic Carmarthen Castle. Dating back to the 1100s, this castle has been destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries. It’s best known as the place where Edmund Tudor died, who was the father of the first Tudor king of England, Henry VII. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into an Arthurian legend yourself.
-Take a ride on the Gwili Steam Railway. This Welsh heritage railway operates along the former Carmarthen to Aberystwyth line. It’s considered to be one of the UK’s most picturesque preserved lines and a great way to explore the countryside.
Staying at: Coedhirion Farm Holidays
This cosy campsite is known to go the extra mile. The pitches are spacious and surrounded by lush woodland and a little duck pond. Both the little and big ones will appreciate the farm animals that you can admire. While staying at Coedhirion Farm Holidays, you can drive five minutes to the nearby National Botanic Garden of Wales for a lovely morning surrounded by flora and fauna.
Coedhirion Farm, Carmarthen, Wales
Ready for the difficult part? It’s time to decide which of these great road trips near Cardiff you’ll choose! All of them have plenty to offer, so our advice is simply not to choose. Make time over the next year to tick them all off of your travel bucket list. Staycations are a great way to explore your surrounding area, and all they take is a short drive and a great road trip playlist.
Need a motorhome for your trip? Check out the many options for motorhome hire in Cardiff available on Goboony. Once you’ve got your ride sorted, it’s time to embark on these weekend trips near Cardiff.