The UK is so well known for the wonderful capital city of London that many visitors simply come to visit London, and perhaps check out Oxford, Cambridge or Stratford Upon Avon, but rarely take the time to venture out of the cities and into the phenomenal countryside the country has to offer. With such varied sceneries in a very small area, from London, you can reach most places within an afternoon’s car journey. Brecon Beacons and the Wales coastline were some of my favorite places in the UK. In such a large countryside there are many great places to get outdoors.
Now, admittedly, in terms of getting away from it all camping isn’t everyone’s cup of tea so there are plenty of other options to get away from it all, such as by renting a cottage in the countryside or even staying in an AirBnB.
There’s a current trend sweeping the nation, and Europe in fact, which is the idea of packing up your car (or hire car) with camping equipment and heading to the middle of nowhere in order to set-up camp in an incredibly tranquil setting. Now, if you have a particularly small car, you might want to stop off and get a roof rack before venturing into the world of free camping, and you can view here for more information on such accessories.
Essentially, there are some outstanding area of natural beauty within the country of Yorkshire, but unfortunately, the majority of places in England don’t allow you to (legally) wild camp, whereas in Scotland you can pretty much camp anywhere for free and it’s legal.
To say I knew nothing about Wales was an understatement. I travel often and grew up with the tales of my traveling aunts, uncles and cousins that were often traveling through Europe, hiking in Africa or on archeology missions to the Galapagos and many places in between. Wales however was a place I had never heard any stories about. So close to the metropolitan city of London yet so wild and different.
Everyone’s MO is totally different. And me; I love adventure, nature, history and many more things. But when ranking what I look for in a vacation place that is how I score it. When I first looked up Wales I was taken to the Visit Wales website which is run by their tourism board. While perusing their site I came upon many fun looking activities.
Mountain biking, hiking and climbing in Snowdonia, coastal walks along rugged sea cliffs, diving with seals, birding and something called coasteering. All of those things sounded right up my alley. Not having any idea what part of Wales I would be going to, I ranked the things I wanted to do and came up with a list that included hiking in Snowdonia and taking the train to the top of the mountain. Walking the coastal path- voted one of the top ten walks in the world by Travel & Leisure and Coasteering. Coasteering was supposed to be some mixture of cliff jumping, swimming and sea cave exploration. As soon as I saw the photos of that it was at the top of my list.
My reason for visiting Wales was because my boyfriend and the film I had just been working on were to be filming in Wales, and I would tag along. Turns out the locations were nowhere near all the cool places I had researched so I decided on setting out to see wild Wales on my own. I did some research on the best way to get to where I could go coasteering and picked a few places on the map that looked like good in between spots. Tried to figure out transportation & train schedules and set off on the train from London. I have to say with Google Maps now featuring train timetables getting places and figuring out train times is so simplified.
My plan was to leave London and head to Swansea which was about half way to St. Davids(where Coasteering would be). I would overnight in Swansea and then head to St. Davids for the day. I would also go to Rhossili Beach and Worms head via bus from there.
Getting to Swansea was pretty simple. From London Paddington there is a direct train to Swansea called the GWR or you can take Arriva trains and change onto the GWR in Cardiff. It costs a little over $100 US for my roundtrip ticket. I had also found a rather inexpensive Inn right across from the ocean in Swansea for about $55 US a night.