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Things to do in North Wales (+ 7 day itinerary)

Wales is famous for its stunning countryside, rugged mountains, appealing coastlines, waterfalls, walking trails and rich dramatic history.  

Choose to visit North Wales and you will discover an area that offers a unique and rewarding experience. Attractions include formidable castles, a world-famous National Park plus many Heritage and preserved train lines (perfect for lovers of both a classic steam train and a diesel train experience) 

With so much to see and do throughout the region, it can be difficult to know what to include in any North Wales itinerary and what to leave out!

In this article, you will discover not only the top things to do in North Wales but our own detailed itinerary which you can use to plan your own trip to this beautiful part of the UK.

Snowdonia 2

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 Things to do in North Wales

The area is famous for its fantastically preserved castles including Conwy Castle, Caernarfon Castle, Beaumaris Castle, Dolbadarn Castle and many more! All worth a visit to explore for the whole family and all with a story to tell.

A great many other popular attractions in the area can be found, including Plas Mawr (Great Hall), the ‘smallest house in Great Britain’! and Padarn Park National Slate Museum, a magnificent reminder of the country’s rich Slate tradition and heritage.

The family favourite heritage railways include the multiple routes of the Blaenau Ffestiniog and Welsh Highlands Railway, the Snowdonia Mountain Railway and the Llangollen Railway, others scatter the area and are all worth a visit too.

Favourite things to do in North Wales

  • Castles – Conwy Castle, Caernarfon Castle, Beaumaris Castle, Dolbadarn Castle and many more!
  • Plas Mawr (Great Hall), the ‘smallest house in Great Britain’
  • Padarn Park National Slate Museum
  • Heritage railways include the multiple routes of the Blaenau Ffestiniog and Welsh Highlands Railway, the Snowdonia Mountain Railway and the Llangollen Railway
  • Snowdonia National Park
  • Llandudno

Exploring North Wales by train (and bus)

How to plan a 7 day North Wales Itinerary 

As a lifelong train and railway fan one of the main focuses of this trip was to explore as many of the Heritage and Preserved railways in the north of Wales as time would permit. This was to answer an increased number of questions we received in our UK Travel Planning Facebook group.

Being an avid reader of mediaeval history it also provided an opportunity to explore some of the region’s many castles!

Not having a car at this time I was determined also to accept the potential challenge of using only public transport to get around. 

My intention was to use public buses, national rail trains and also to walk where possible, as long as it was not too far. I wanted to also experience an organised tour while in the area to see the type of tours available and how logistically easy they are to navigate for the solo traveller.

After looking at the places I wanted to visit in North Wales and their locations on a map I decided to base myself in Bangor (Gwynedd) and chose a perfectly located budget hotel – The Traxx Hotel, straight across the road from the railway station.

The 7 day North Wales itinerary below is based on my travel experiences and includes some ‘top tips’ I picked up along the way including my experiences of using the local buses.


  • The itinerary considers the longer daylight hours in June in the UK and allows 12 hours of travel each day.
  • All prices quoted below are correct as of June 2023.
Enjoying beautiful views of the mountains is one of the most popular things to do in North Wales.

Planning the logistics for getting around North Wales by train & bus

I discovered that there are multiple bus companies in North Wales offering services. Although some services run across the entire region there are others which predominantly serve one area only.

The services I planned to use included Arriva buses, Lloyd coaches and Gwynfor coaches to Snowdonia. 

Trying to find bus ticket/pass prices was not difficult for each company but it was a struggle to find a ticket or pass valid across all companies prior to the visit though they all offer a 1 day pass though not covering all routes, including some on my plan. For example the 1bws bus ticket.

This was looking at the individual bus sites, Arriva and Gwynfor but also the Traveline Cymru, an excellent bus journey planner in Wales. This gives routes, prices and also a list of bus stop locations.

To schedule the places I wanted to visit, the castles, national train lines and heritage railway lines (and much more…) I used multiple online resources and books to arrive at the following itinerary.

Note – I planned to start and finish in the beautiful northwest Roman-founded fortress city of Chester in the English county of Cheshire.

7 day North Wales Itinerary

Day 1 Chester – Porthmadog (National Rail) via Portmeirion

➡️ Depart Chester

  • I caught the National Rail train service from Chester to Porthmadog with a train change at Shrewsbury (well worth a visit). Setting out at around 10 am.  The cost is around £30pp
  • The journey takes around 4 hours 30 mins.
  • The train service operator is, ‘Transport For Wales’. I found this had excellent free onboard wifi. There was no need to reserve seats as this was mid-morning.
  • The train divides later in the journey and half of the train goes to Aberystwyth. Don’t worry, the train guard makes many announcements on the PA and also walks through the train checking tickets and asking where you are going.
  • Multiple scenic landscape views, with a particular favourite being the viaduct at Barmouth, with breathtaking views on both sides of the train.

➡️ Portmeirion

  • I alighted the train at Minffordd to walk the 20 – 30  mins to the famous Portmeirion Village (up and downhill along the 1.5 mile walk)

Portmeirion Village was designed and built by architect Clough Williams – Ellis from 1925 to 1973. The buildings are either Arts and Crafts style or classical.

There is a Mediterranean feel about the village and plenty of shops and bars/cafes/restaurants as well as delicious ice- cream.  The village is also well known for its pottery style and the location of the 1960s TV program, ‘The Prisoner’. 

  • Pre-booked village slots cost £18 per person.
  • Download the Portmeirion Village app for the audio guide. (Experience – I found this a really good resource, a bit too much information if I am honest.  I listened to the introduction and the history of the village but after a while, I found I was no longer paying attention.)  
  • The plan was to catch the train from Minfford to Porthmadog after the visit.
    • I did not!.. After the walk from the station. When arriving at Portmeirion the ticket staff were amazing and so helpful. 
    • They booked a taxi to the Guest house (previously booked) in Porthmadog with a time and price arranged. 
    • Checked in to the guest House for 1 night (and booked a table for dinner – the restaurant is well known and popular).
  • The same day, I walked to Porthmadog Harbour station to take photos of the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highlands Railways station and also booked a train for the following morning. There are stunning views from the station….not to be missed.
  • This was the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highlands Railways ‘Mountain Spirit’ service from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog. The Journey is 13.5 miles each way and takes around 3 hours.
  • The views take in a beautiful coastline and also the green, lush mountains and then the historic landscape shaped by the famous slate quarry industry.


  • Sit on the right hand side of the train from Shrewsbury for the best sea views after Dovey Junction train station.
  • Consider catching the train to Porthmadog and then taking a taxi or a bus to Portmeirion if the walk from Minffordd is likely to be too much of a challenge. Same for the return.
  • There are cafes and supermarkets in Blaenau for refreshments if you require them.
  • In Porthmadog, the station cafe is ‘Spooners’. They serve excellent, reasonably priced food, including a breakfast service that seemed to be a popular choice for passengers before catching the train.

Day 2  Porthmadog to Bangor (Gwynedd)(National Rail)

  • I caught an early train to Bangor, changing at Shrewsbury with a  journey time of 5 hours 31 mins.  I stocked up with refreshments before leaving (from the supermarket close to Porthmadog National Railway Station). The train ticket cost is around £28pp. 
  • The train line from Chester passes through multiple stations, including Prestatyn, Rhyl,  Colwyn Bay, Llandudno Junction, and Conwy. 
  • Lovely sea views are to be had from the right side of the train (in the direction of travel) from Prestatyn. Also a great view of Conwy Castle straight after leaving Llandudno Junction train station as the train passes right next to the castle walls.
  • On arrival in Bangor, I checked in at the budget-friendly hotel and returned straight to the train station and caught the train 6 mins to the next station at ………. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwlllantysiliogogogoch
    • Yes, that is spelled right.. 58 letters long it is the longest place name in the UK and the world’s second longest.  Usually abbreviated to Llanfairpwll or Llanfair Pg.
    • This is on the Isle of Anglesey, separated from Bangor (on the mainland) by the Menai Strait.
    • The Menai Suspension Bridge was designed by Thomas Telford and was built in 1826, originally a rail-only bridge but now accommodates road and rail.
    • Some great photos are to be taken here!
    • There was no train back for a long time so I caught the 4A Arriva bus back to Bangor. A single ticket, paid with cash cost £3.70 and took 20 minutes.
    • The journey back gives great views of the Menai Bridge and the Britannia Bridge, which opened in 1850 and was designed and built by Robert Stephenson (son of the famous railway engineer George)
Llanfair 1 1
  • I explored Bangor on my return including the famous Garth Pier that extends out into the Menai Strait and the Isle of Anglesey.
    • Fantastic views to be had on this 460 metre long Grade 11 listed Victorian Pier.
    • Also worth looking at is the Cathedral, St Davids, with the foundation dating back to 525 AD
  • I also located Bangor bus station and different bus stops (Stands) as I required over the coming days. These included the bus stops outside the hotel and the railway station I had highlighted during my research.

TOP TIP – Buses

  • The online bus times and the timetables at the bus stands do not always state the same times.  I found it best to be at the stand earlier than the earliest time quoted.
  • All the bus stands I used also had electronic displays giving the eta of the next bus, including its number and destination and occasionally the route it would take.

Day 3 Snowdonia Mountain Railway

  • I caught the 07:03 S2 Gwynfor Coach service from Bangor to Llanberis to catch the Snowdonia Mountain Railway. The bus stand was directly across the road from the station and the hotel (Stand H). 
  • Beautiful scenery through the 44 minute bus journey to Llanberis Interchange bus stop.  The cost was £6 for a return ticket and this was paid by contactless.
    • Llanberis Interchange bus stop is directly across the road from the Snowdon Mountain Railway.
    • Gift shops, toilets and refreshments are available at the station.
  • The Mountain Railway trip was booked for 09:30 until 12:00. I arrived in plenty of time so had a leisurely walk around Llanberis and took in the beautiful early morning scenery. You are asked to arrive 30 mins before the expected departure time to collect your tickets from the ticket office.
  • Snowdonia Mountain Railway – Has been operating since 1896 as a tourist railway.
    • The only Abt rack and pinion railway in the UK with the original Swiss steam locomotives.
  • I pre-booked the steam-hauled train and not the diesel. This cost a little more at £50. The early bird diesel service looked to be the cheapest option.
  • The full summit experience and visitor centre, Haford Eryi, was not yet open (until later that month after winter weather) so service was only ¾ of the distance to the summit, stopping at Clogwyn at 779 Metres above sea level. (A partial refund was given from the ticket office).
  • Subject to the weather, trains run from April until the end of October each year.
  • Absolutely stunning views in both directions, all the way up and down.
  • We had 30 mins at Clogwyn, before the 45 mins return journey. Plenty of time to take stunning photos and videos.
  • I had lunch at the station cafe, including trying some delicious Welsh Cakes!
  • I had another quick look around Llanberis and caught the Gynfor coach bus back to Bangor (Gwynedd).

Day 3 Bangor (Gwynedd)  – Llandudno  (National Rail)

  • I had already planned my national rail train to Llandudno (via Llandudno Junction train station) and planned to take the Great Orme tramway, the only cable-hauled tramway in Great Britain (funicular) to the top of the limestone headland from Victoria (tram) Station and return via the Great Orme cable car.
    • Unfortunately due to the wind speed, the cable car was not running that day.
  • Approximately 15 to 20 mins walk to:
    • Great Orme Victoria Tramway station (from Llandudno train station) – Open until 5 p.m.
    • Tramway was opened in 1902, the tramway climbs a mile through the Great Orme country park and nature reserve to the summit.
    • At the Halfway point to the summit, you change trams and walk through the museum.
    • Great Orme Cable car – Open until 7 p.m. on the day I visited (Thursdays only- around 5 p.m. other days).
    • I did not have time on this visit but on future visits, I will be visiting the Bronze Age Copper mines on the Great Orme.
    • Also:
      • Completing the free walk (The Alice Trail) around Llandudno to find some if not all of the statues of characters from Lewis Carrol’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ characters that celebrate Lewis Carroll’s association with Llandudno, the suggested inspiration for the famous story. 
      • Walk the well known Llandudno Pier, the longest in Wales and the seafront. Both give stunning views of the North Wales coast. The Victorian pier has a lot to offer with food and drink outlets or just try the amusements including the famous Ferris Wheel.
  • There are a great number of cafes/pubs and restaurants catering for all tastes and budgets.  I ate at a cafe called Forbes which offered traditional British cuisine and also had good wifi.  The staff were also friendly and helpful. 
  • I returned by national rail (NR) mainline train to Bangor, having already checked the train times earlier in the day.

TOP TIP – Snowdonia (Yr Wyddfa)

Snowdonia 1
  • Check your return bus time at the bus stop on your arrival.
  • There is no WIFI on Gwynor Coaches (June 2023)
  • The return bus journey bus stop/stand is across the road.
  • Explore Llanberis if time allows you to, with plenty to see, including the Llanberis Lake Railway, the Iron Sword in the Stone Sculpture (The legend of King Arthur is well associated with Snowdonia (Yr Wyddfa)) and also the National Slate Museum (see day 4).
  • I previously booked the Snowdonia Mountain Railway journey online, not only to be guaranteed a ticket but also to plan my day around the arrival and departure time but also to find out the time I needed to be at the station prior to the train departure.
    • This gives plenty of time also for photographs of the lovely train and station.
    • Advance booking are recommended by the Snowdonia Mountain Railway company.
  • If arriving by car, it is best to arrive in plenty of time, I noticed the car park fills up quickly. 
  • CASH – I noted that the car park machines were mostly via an app (if you have a working phone) or cash only. A card at the machine was not an option that I could see.
  • No toilets or refreshment facilities at Clogwyn, so be prepared.
  • Take a jacket, whatever the time of year or weather… and good shoes.

TOP TIP – Llandudno

  • The Great Orme tram ticket is £8 for a single and £9.75 for a return (low season price at the time of my visit, this rises to £9.20 and £10.90 respectively in the high season from July to August. 
  • I purchased a single only intending to return by the cable car and only found out the cable car had stopped operating due to high winds on reaching the top of the Great Orme.  Then having to purchase another single ticket to return.
  • ASK before purchasing any tickets at Victoria station if the cable car is currently operating. Otherwise the walk back to Llandudno is quite lengthy, at least 1 hour. 
  • A hop on/off bus is also available in Llandudno, including a Great Orme-specific site seeing tour and a 24 hour sightseeing ticket.

Day 4 –  Guided Tour – From Llandudno taking in brilliant views of Snowdonia and visiting 3 castles in the area.

  • Early train from Bangor (NR) to Llandudno, changing trains at Llandudno Junction. Journey time 38 minutes in total.
  • I met the 3 castles and Snowdonia group tour outside Llandudno mainline train station at 08:30. Returning at 5:30 pm. The cost was around £60 and did not include any refreshments/meals or entry to any paid site.
  • Started the tour with a drive up the Great Orme to the summit for views and an explanation of the area’s key viewing attractions and local history and myths. Including the Irish Sea and the Isle of Anglesey.

Main sights on the tour included

  • Conwy Castle & Town – The fortified castle built by King Edward 1 during his conquest of Wales (1283 to 1287). Ran by CADW (the Welsh Government’s historic environment service).
    • Town –  A well-preserved and largely intact walled mediaeval town with narrow streets and history at every turn!  Many little quirky arts and crafts shops including the famous Baravellis chocolate shop! Also see the world’s first Suspension bridge built in 1819.
  • Plas Mawr (Great  Hall) –  The best example of a wealthy merchant’s household Elizabethan town house dating from the 16th century, built in stages between 1576 and 1585. The house is managed by CADW. 
  • The smallest house in Great Britain. This tiny house (see photo above) was once lived in by a 6 foot 3 tall fisherman. Entry is £1.50 (Cash only)
  • I then caught a National Rail train service back to Bangor (journey time of 38 minutes)
  • I had dinner at a local pub in Bangor before strolling around the Cathedral grounds and paying a return visit to the Garth Pier.


  • Check with national rail timetables for trains to and from Bangor as trains are not very frequent.
  • Check before the day to plan how much time to allow to arrive at the tour meeting point.
    • I use the National Rail Enquiries app for timetables and live train information
  • Plenty of opportunities to buy food/drink during stops at locations throughout the day. I still took my own snacks and a bottle of water.

Day 5 – Part 1 –  Llangollen Railway

  • I caught the same early train from Bangor (Gwynedd) to Ruabon (near Wrexham Central). Service departs at 0703.
    • The journey takes 1 hour 39 mins, a direct service.
    • Approx cost per adult for a return ticket is £32.
    • Breakfast at Snowden’s Cafe at Bangor train station.  
    • Free wifi in the Cafe.
  • I caught the Arriva bus service to Llangollen (Lloyd bus service was an alternative option but I opted for the Arriva day ticket – See Local Bus Information.
  • I activated the M- M-Ticket prior to leaving the hotel.
    • Arriva bus service 5 – The bus journey was around 20 mins. I found where the bus stop was located by looking at the map shown on the Cymru Transport bus website.
    • The bus stop/stand in Llangollen is on Parade Street.  The bus back out later is from the same bus stand/stop.
  • It is about a 5 minute walk to the station down the picturesque Castle Street and over the River Dee bridge to the Llangollen railway station.
  • The station is beautiful with period posters and signs and a well-stocked shop and refreshment cafe.
  • The staff also were incredibly friendly and helpful (one particular station guard/conductor I had a good chat with several times during the day, also a driver and a station guard were only too happy to natter). 
  • I caught the Llangollen Railway service to Corwen, with the station only recently opening.
    • The train line runs for 10 miles through the beautiful Dee Valley in an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB). 
    • An runs largely alongside the River Dee and over the historic Dee Bridge one mile from Llangollen.
    • Unfortunately due to the hot sunny weather, the steam train did not run that day (due to the risk of lineside fires) but a heritage diesel was running which was equally enjoyable
  • The train journey time was scheduled to be 1030 to 1200. I pre-booked, for the reasons mentioned in the Top Tips below. 
  • I thoroughly enjoyed this heritage train line, made more memorable by the beautiful hot summer day and also the incredibly friendly staff.
  • I had some lunch and a drink in Llangollen where it is well worth a walk around before catching a bus back to Ruabon train station.
  • Return train Bangor.

Day 5 – (Part 2) Bus to Beaumaris on the Isle of Anglesey (Ynys Mon)

Beaumaris 1
  • This part of the day was only possible to the extended daylight hours in the UK summer months, being light until well after 9 pm.
  • I walked to the bus stand/stop B in Bangor, about 10 minutes walk from the train station in Bangor.
  • I caught the Arriva bus to Beaumaris, service 58 on the Isle of Anglesey, and used the same day bus pass as earlier in the day.
    • The bus route passes over the famous Menai Bridge with stunning views of the Menai Strait.
  • I wanted to explore the impressive Beaumaris Castle but I knew it would be closed by the time I arrived so I was happy to walk around the outside and enjoy the stunning views of Puffin Island and the North Wales Coastline..
    • The bus journey takes around 1 hour in each direction.
  • Beaumaris Castle – The mighty symmetrical unfinished fortress of King Edward 1.   Lack of funds meant that building work stopped after 35 years after construction started in 1295.
    • A concentric design with an impressive surrounding water moat. The castle is run by CADW.
  • I decided to have some fish and chips in Beaumaris, with several popular places to choose from. I chose the one with the longest queue!.. I was not disappointed. The place was called the Dockshack. Fish and chips (with mushy peas) costing £11.10
    • Other popular hotels and restaurants are the Bulkeley Hotel and the Bulls Head Inn, both on Castle Street.
  • Also a popular place to visit in Beaumaris is the Courthouse Museum. The courthouse dates back over 400 years with the keystone above the entrance having the year 1614 inscribed.
  • The Old Gaol – An insight into the life of a prisoner in the 1800s.
  • Along the waterfront of the Menai Strait are many kiosks selling boat tours to Puffin Island or fishing trips and boat rides along the Menai Strait, also with great views of the famous bridges.
  • Return bus to Bangor.

TOP TIP – Llangollen Railway.

Llangolen 1
  • I previously booked this journey online, not only to be guaranteed a ticket but also to plan my day around the arrival and departure times but also to find out the time I needed to be at the station prior to the train departure.
    • This gives plenty of time also for photographs of the lovely train and the station.
  • The train from Bangor to Ruabon, it is best to sit on the left hand side of the train for the best sea views along the way, the right for the return journey.

TOP TIP – Isle of Anglesey (Ynys Mon) – Beaumaris.

  • Having read up about Beaumaris Castle (pronounced Boo- Maris) I was not really concerned about arriving when the castle was closed.  A decision justified when the views and true feel of the castle was the same from the outside when I walked most of the way around the castle.
  • If the castle is somewhere you really want to visit or visit during the shorter daylight months, the castle closes at 5pm (in June when I visited) so you need to rearrange your itinerary to visit during the day time.

Day 6 –  Caernarfon for Ffestiniog & Welsh Highlands Railway (Gelert Explorer Heritage train service).

  • I caught the Arriva bus service to Caernarfon bus station after again activating an M-Ticket prior to leaving my hotel. This was an Arriva day ticket – See Local Bus Information.
  • I caught the Arriva service 5C from the bus stop/stand H outside the hotel and Bangor train station.
  • Journey took around 30 mins, a scenic route with great views down the coast.
  • The bus station is about 10 minute’s walk to the Welsh Highlands railway station, situated near the harbour area and close to Caernarfon Castle. 
  • I arrived early at the station for the Gelert Explorer, a 16.5-mile trip each way from Caernarfon to Beddgelert that was timed as being from 10 am until 4 pm.
    • Scheduled as a Beyer-Garret steam locomotive but unfortunately the same as the previous day due to the hot sunny weather the steam train did not run this day (due to the risk of lineside fires)
    • A diesel locomotive was used, this was a little disappointing but totally understandable.
    • After checking and receiving my ticket I had a look around the shop and had breakfast at the station cafe.  Excellent wifi was available in the cafe.
  • Allocated train seats are taken after plenty of photo opportunities.
    • I was really lucky with lovely fellow passengers on the day. One family in particular next to me was full of local knowledge, pointing out landmarks and the best upcoming views.  They made the entire journey even more pleasurable.
  • The train staff were also, like the Llangollen railway, friendly, engaging and such a lot of fun to talk to.
    • Like the day before the conductor on the train was a stand out, they had such a cheerful helpful attitude that made everything about the day that much more fun.
    • A beautiful train journey climbing to the railway summit (648 feet) with 360 degree beauty almost for the entire journey.
  • On arriving at Beddgelert station, a stunning mountain village, there is a 90 mins break to look around.
    • I walked through the village and found the hotel just after the bridge over the Afon Colwyn, The Prince Llewelyn, that had been recommended to me.  I had the most delicious Sunday lunch roast dinner.  The cost was £17.95
    • I could not fit one in.. but most of the train was queuing to try one of the famous Glasyn Artisan Ice creams from the shop on the main street. Named after the river that runs through the village.
  • Return train journey to Caernarfon station, great chats and friendly discussions with fellow passengers and onboard staff made the whole journey great fun.
    • I had a while to wait for the return bus but had already noted the return timetable.
    • I had another walk around the outside of Caernarfon Castle and the harbour area.
  • Return bus to Bangor.
Carnarfon Castle

TOP TIP –  Bangor to Caernarfon (Ffestiniog & Welsh Highlands Railway)

  • Sit on the right hand side of the bus for the best views from Bangor to Caernarfon.  The opposite for the return journey.
  • I previously booked this journey online, not only to be guaranteed a ticket but also to plan my day around the arrival and departure time but also to find out the time I needed to be at the station prior to the train departure.
    • This gives plenty of time also for photographs of the lovely train and the station.
  • Hampers are available for purchase online when booking your ticket, though trolley refreshments are available on board the train (cash payments are preferred but cards can be used though the transaction is subject to patchy wifi)

Day  7 – Bangor to Chester (National Rail)

  • I checked out of my hotel and caught the national rail train service to Chester.
  • This journey took approximately 1 hour 10 mins and costs around £13 for a single ticket.
  • Here I ended my 7 day trip to North Wales.

Local Bus Information  – Discovered on the Trip

For my Snowdonia visit, I used Gynfor Coaches that represent this area from Bangor. To and from Llanberis, were the only buses I was planning on using this day. The day return ticket cost £6 (June 2023 price).

To visit the Llangollen railway and from Caernarfon, the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highlands railway I used Arriva buses. Also for visiting Llanfairpwll and Beaumaris on the Isle of Anglesey.

I planned in advance to use the Arriva bus M- Ticket option for two day passes. This was 2 separate area passes, the Wales and North West option and the Wales options. They cost £7.10 and £5.90.  

A good idea, except for the fact you need constant wifi or phone signal to present the QR code to the bus driver because it needs to show the activation date is valid for that day.

Luckily the Arriva buses have free Wi-Fi but you still have to wait until connected. Luckily the bus drivers were patient!  The M-tickets are purchased in advance and activated on the day of use.

TOP TIP – Arriva Buses (Wales)

In talking to the extremely friendly, patient and helpful Arriva bus drivers, they recommend buying your tickets on the day of travel.  Tell them your day’s bus plan including how many buses you are catching and to where/from. 

They will give you the best price for that day (of the week) and whether single, return or day tickets are your best option.  This was the case with the 1bws ticket that in my research I considered an option for purchase.

Two separate drivers advised this was not the best option for me but I could have purchased cheaper day tickets on the day.  The bus driver can also advise if you are planning on several days or a week bus travel ticket options.

The buses I travelled on all took cash or card payments. 


I was very lucky with the weather, and though this ultimately prevented the heritage rail companies from using the steam locomotives, it in no way detracted from the wonderful time I had.  

I met so many fascinating, friendly and helpful people along the way and I am sure you will too if you follow my itinerary or if you tweak it to suit your own preferences.

I enjoyed a combination of castles and trains in my travels and only scratched the surface of the great numbers of both that are available to explore.  By incorporating one day on an organised tour I found it was also the perfect balance.

My experience of only using public transport was a positive one.  On one hand it does mean you have to take things slower and do a great deal more planning and research regarding times of services and ticket types than you would using a car. 

On the other hand, it means you do not overpack an itinerary in a rushed and exhausting on-the gallop visit. Though this of course may suit some!