Getting around in Cymru

Dear friends,

I may have mentioned before once or twice, but my wife and I expect to be in Wales late July through mid-August. We are curious whether we can access pretty much anywhere we want to go via rail and bus or will we need to consider renting a car. We’re both very good drivers, but neither of us has dealt with driving on the left before. So we are looking at options. If anybody is able to help us out with the voice of experience in these matters (or even with the voice of learned opinion) we’d be most grateful. Thanks ever so.


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Not the most experienced person on here to answer maybe but I’ve lived here long enough to answer in some way. :blush:

The trains are notoriously bad around Wales but the buses are very good to be fair and seem to get into all the nooks and crannies fairly regularly. Don’t expect to get anyway quickly though. My mother and father-in-law travel by bus (with a bus pass so for free) fairly regularly and they seem to really enjoy it. If it could fit into your budget I would consider hiring a car but it really isn’t a cheap option.


It depends where you want to go (sorry - is that stating the obvious?) On the trains, getting east–west is OK, but it’s very difficult to get north–south.

As an example, I live in Cardiff (so I should be able to get more or less anywhere) and next month I am going up to Nant Gwrtheyrn, which is up on the Pen Llÿn in the north west. I will have to get a train up to Shrewsbury (in England) to change onto a westbound train back into Wales to the Pen. And I think that would be the case if I were right out in west Wales - I would have to come all the way across to Cardiff, up/out to Shrewsbury and then back into Wales. (And then I will have to get a taxi from the train station to the Nant - about 7 miles.)

But buses might be your answer, if you have the time. You’ll get some lovely views of the country along the way :slight_smile:


Oh really? Ti isio panad? :sunny:

Morgan, are you going to be at the Eisteddfod? :sunny:

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Well dw i’n meddwl mod i’n cyrraedd ar y trên i Bwllheli prynhawn dydd Llun (21 Mawrth), a wedyn bydd rhaid i fi gymryd tacsi i Nant Gwrtheryn. Felly, tasai unrhyw posibilrwydd o chi bod yn rhydd (ac ym Mhwllheli!) byddai’n wych i’ch weld chi … ond dw i’n gwbod nac ydy’r amser y mwyaf gyfleus…

This is the best source of information for travelling around Wales. As someone who lives in fairly rural Sir Gar, I can get to almost anywhere I want by public transport, but it isn’t necessarily quick or easy or cheap and needs planning.

Hardly any buses on a Sunday, or later than about 7pm.

First Cymru, a bus company, offers day tickets and weekly tickets.

There is a ticket called a West Wales Rover which would get you from Llanelli to Machynlleth on the bus. I’ve travelled by bus from my front door to Bala.

So you can get round but will be your best friend!

@faithless78 is a bus driver in Cardiff and might be able to help.

Buses in the cities, as all over the world, are better than in the countryside, but are also the place where you may find Welsh being spoken, in the more Welsh, probably more rural areas.


In answer to the original question from @morganlevans, where do you live, Morgan, what sort of roads are you used to? Friends from the USA were thrown by
a. finding their hire car had gears
b. finding that many roads on Gower are single track.
I found, despite being used to Gower roads, driving up the coast I met a number of very difficult and winding challenges. There was a nasty right angled bend at Machynlleth. I actually made very gentle contact with a car coming the oher way. We got out. He started to say, “You were on…” and stopped when I pointed at the white line. We were both exactly the same amount in the wrong, so we shook hands on it. He was a tourist too, fro the USA.
So, drive if you really must, but be ready to drive slowly with gears and don’t trust sat-nav!!! (Some of the places folk have ended up in are horrendous!!!).
p.s. I’ve just realised I moved to Yr Alban (Scotland) in 2003-4, so all my knowledge may be totally out of date!


Swnio’n bosib iawn - gad i mi wybod pan ti’n gwybod faint o’r gloch bydd hi, ac mi wnawn ni weithio rhywbeth allan - digon hawdd i ni redeg chdi i fyny i’r Nant, hefyd :sunny:

Byddaf! (A 'sdim angen fy ngyrru i!)

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I’ve just realised I moved to Yr Alban (Scotland) in 2003-4, so all my knowledge may be totally out of date!

Sounds about right to me! :wink: (And I don’t think it’s changed much from when I was first driving in Wales in the 1980s - except of course we didn’t have satnav then…)

From a Mid Wales perspective, you can travel by bus, but you do need to be highly organised regarding timetables and be prepared for having to wait several hours in places where there isn’t much to do whilst waiting. I have got stuck sometimes because the timetable on the internet was not accurate. Really bus travel is only for travel between major towns and there are usually no buses after 7pm.

Personally, if cost isn’t a real issue, I would hire a car. There are many places you might want to go that bus travel will be very difficult to access, driving you can stop whenever you like and go where you want when you want. Really I think you’ll get so much more out of your trip this way. Yes, Welsh roads are hilly, narrow and windy, but drivers in Wales are relatively very laid back. All you need to do is remember to pass on the left on single track roads. Perhaps it depends on how stressful you would find driving, compared to the stress of travelling by bus.


I tend to agree with @Y_Ddraig_Las about hiring a car, for the flexibility it will give you. Perhaps you can communicate with the hire car firm in advance and see if you can get an automatic (if that’s what you want). My son is a good and experienced driver, but even he was thrown recently when he hired (on behalf of us all - he’d volunteered to drive us all around when on holiday recently) by having a car with an electronic handbrake. It took some getting used to! So good to be sure in advance what you are going to end up with.

On the other hand, public transport will give more opportunities for chance meetings with Welsh speakers (if you are lucky!).

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Aran, we hope to be there the first day or two. I have lodgings booked at the Coach and Horses in Tredegar, which I understand is fairly near to Abergavenny.

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Margaret, thanks very much. That looks like an excellent resource, and we shall be examining it closely in the coming days. And I definitely do hope to find people speaking Welsh. Patient people, who don’t mind siarad yn araf…oh, all right…yn arafach iawn hefo fi. Diolch eto.

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henddraig, I grew up and live in a rural part of Pennsylvania, and learned to drive standard shift on winding country roads. I still drive a car with gears by choice, so that part of it should not present too great a problem. Hopefully we will get to visit Yr Alban too some day. Thanks for the input.

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Excellent! Hope we’ll get to see you there… :sunny:

Bydd hynny’n braf iawn.

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Y_Draig_Las a mikeellwood, diolch i chi ddau. Efallai byddaf yn gyrru.

As someone who doesn’t drive, whenever I go to Wales (normally mid and north Wales) I always use public transport.

The country is served by rail and Traws Cymru (long-distance bus) services, with local buses branching off and serving towns and villages throughout the area.

Here are a few links that may be useful if public transport is the way you want to go :slight_smile: :

  • Summary transport map: HERE
  • Detailed transport map: HERE
  • Rail information: HERE
  • Traws Cymru information: HERE
  • Local bus timetables are available from local council websites or on the Traveline website.

Hope this helps :slight_smile:


That’s a hugely kind and detailed contribution, Danny, thank you so much :star: :star2: