Group Travel Guide
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Contents 04 Regional Overview
13 Explore Blaenau Gwent
16 Coach Parking
06 12 Refreshment Stops
15 Event Highlights
17 Tour Guides
18 Maps & Travel Information 3
.. … r u jo on B . … e a M d w h S Hello… it u d ia D o… ll a H . … g a T Guten Welcome (or Croeso as we prefer to say) to Southern Wales You may already have an idea what to expect from a trip to Southern Wales. We are split into ten distinctive areas, each with their own character and charm. The areas of Blaenau Gwent, Blaenavon, Caerphilly, Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taf are well known for their history and heritage, whilst nearby Monmouthshire is more rural and famed for its fabulous food and drink. Newport and Cardiff are thriving cities with some world class attractions whilst along Bridgend and the Vale of Glamorgan is a mix of coastal resorts, market towns and fabulous countryside. We have plenty of castles and museums but we also have a National Park, the start of the Wales Coast Path and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We also have some things you may not associate with us. There are the remains of a Roman amphitheatre and barracks, vineyards producing award winning wine and a great big sculpture, soaring 20 metres into the sky and standing guard over the Valleys below.
For more information visit our website www.visitsouthernwales.org or contact the tourism team: tel - +44 (0)1495 355937 email - firstname.lastname@example.org To order group travel brochures for other areas of Southern Wales please contact +44 (0)845 6002639 or e-mail email@example.com
Group Travel Guide
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Each of our areas has its own guide. So have a flick through this one and then take a look at the companion brochures and before long you’ll be planning your trip to Southern Wales.
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Discover Blaenau Gwent At the heart of the Valleys lies Blaenau Gwent, one of Wales’ best kept secrets. The area was shaped by the industry that once dominated the region and the landscape is dotted with reminders of this time. Not least, the towering figure of ‘Guardian’. At 20 metres high, the giant sculpture stands guard over the village of Six Bells on the site that was once occupied by the local colliery. Now restored to beautiful parkland, the site and its imposing memorial are fitting and striking tributes to the 45 men and boys who lost their lives in the 1960 pit explosion.
Tredegar’s Bedwellty House and its surrounding parkland was once the 19th Century home of local iron master Samuel Homfray. The house is also notable as the place where Aneurin Bevan, founder of the NHS cut his political teeth. The chamber of the local council and his seat are still intact today. It not all about the past however. Festival Park shopping outlet is located just minutes from Ebbw Vale and comprises dozens of shops selling the latest fashions. If shopping isn’t your thing, then you can wander around the lakes and parkland, take a fun thrilled ride on a super-tubing run or even visit an owl sanctuary.
Attractions There’s plenty to do in Blaenau Gwent, whether learning about the area’s history, enjoying the countryside or visiting a giant memorial. Abertillery and District Museum
Bedwellty House & Park
Discover the history Abertillery. Bronze Age artefacts and an authentic miner’s kitchen are just some of the exhibits on display. Ideal for understanding the rich cultural and industrial heritage of the area.
19th century Grade II listed house, surrounded by 26 acres of beautiful parkland. Once the home of the local ironmasters, it now houses exhibitions and films on the area’s history.
tel: +44 (0)1495 211140 email: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.abertilleryanddistrictmuseum.org.uk
tel: +44 (0)1495 353370 email: email@example.com web: www.bedwelltyhouseandpark.co.uk
Blaina Chartist Visitor Centre
View the story of the Chartist Movement and find out about the characters involved, what motivated them and their legacy. This fascinating story is told through film, pictures, artefacts and historical documents.
This fascinating museum displays the history of Blaina. Browse brand-new displays including sections on the local coal and iron industries, chapels, schools, local celebrities, and a fully furnished reconstruction of a Victorian Welsh Kitchen.
tel: +44 (0)1495 292817 email: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.nantygloandblainatc.co.uk
tel: +44 (0)1495 292025 email: email@example.com web: www.blaina.moonfruit.com
Ebbw Vale Works Museum
Brynmawr Museum is home to a varied collection of everyday artefacts including a collection of locally made Brynmawr furniture. The town has some amazing stories to tell, including pioneering the Brynmawr Experiment of the 1920s.
Ebbw Vale Works Archive is a collection documenting the diverse and important history of Ebbw Vale’s coal, iron and steel community, from its industrial origins in 1790 to the steel works site closure in 2002.
tel: +44 (0)1495 313900 email: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.brynmawrmuseum.co.uk
tel: +44 (0)1495 350941 email: email@example.com web: www.evwat.co.uk
Festival Park Outlet Shopping and Leisure
With over 40 leading stores to choose from, there are masses of bargains for everyone, whatever your tastes. Situated amongst 70 acres of parkland it is a shopper’s paradise.
Guardian towers 20 meters above the former Six Bells colliery site; scene of the 1960 Six Bells mining disaster. The memorial is constructed from over 20,000 slices of steel and is dedicated to all mining communities.
tel: +44 (0)1495 350010 email: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.festivalshopping.co.uk
tel: +44 (0)1495 211732 email: email@example.com web: www.sixbellsconferencecentre.co.uk
Market Hall Cinema
Festival Park Owl Sanctuary
Brynmawr’s Market Hall Cinema is the oldest in Wales. Showing modern films as well as some classics at its special themed events. 2014 Screen Awards Cinema of the Year winner.
The sanctuary is home to almost 60 different birds of prey, although this fluctuates as new birds arrive and wild birds are released. Birds include Falcons and Hawks as well as Owls.
tel: +44 (0)1495 310576 email: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.markethallcinema.co.uk
tel: +44 (0)7805 677473 email: email@example.com web: www.theowlsanctuary.co.uk
Parc Bryn Bach
Set in 340 acres of countryside with a 36-acre lake at its centre. Ideal for strolling, cycling or one of the many activities available. Visitor centre provides local information and refreshments.
A small but important collection detailing the town’s heritage, including its importance in the iron, steel and coal industry and as the birthplace of the founder of the NHS, Aneurin Bevan.
tel: +44 (0)1495 355920 email: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.parcbrynbach.co.uk
tel: +44 (0)1495 355972 email: email@example.com web: access2heritagebg.co.uk/museums/tredegarmuseum
Activities Get fit, slide down a mountain side or score a hole in one at some of the countryâ€™s most picturesque golf courses. Blaenau Gwent Sports Centres Abertillery There is always something you can do to at Abertillery Sports Centre, whether thatâ€™s swimming, a visit to the gym, squash courts or a fitness class.
Ebbw Vale New, state of the art centre offers many opportunities to participate in sport, whether a fitness classes or a relaxing hour in our sauna or jacuzzi.
Tredegar Tredegar Sports Centre is a modern, disabled friendly centre with many sports activities and classes run by qualified instructors.
tel: +44 (0)1495 357779 email: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.bglife.co.uk
tel: +44 (0)1495 357777 email: email@example.com web: www.bglife.co.uk
tel: +44 (0)1495 353395 email: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.bglife.co.uk
Parc Bryn Bach
Set in 340 acres of beautiful countryside, Parc Bryn Bach is the perfect setting for a range of activities that provide adventure, recreation and relaxation for visitors of all ages and abilities.
Enjoy the thrill of hurtling down a 120 metre slope on the longest supertubing run in the country. Challenge friends and colleagues and see who can reach the bottom first.
tel: +44 (0)1495 355920 email: email@example.com web: www.parcbrynbach.co.uk
tel: +44 (0)1495 304035 email: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.supertubing.co.uk
Tredegar & Rhymney Golf Club
West Mon Golf Club
The course sits on the mountain between the industrial towns of Tredegar and Rhymney with the Brecon Beacons in the distance. 18 holes of challenging golf await.
Officially the highest golf club in Great Britain with the 14th standing at over 1500ft above sea level. The rural setting offers spectacular views over the Brecon Beacons and Monmouthshire countryside.
tel: +44 (0)1685 840743 email: email@example.com web: www.tredegarandrhymneygolfclub.co.uk
tel: +44 (0)1495 310233 email: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.westmongolfclub.co.uk
Accommodation Independent hotels, cosy guest houses and renowned brands mean that there is plenty of choice when planning your visit. Kings Arms
Premier Inn Ebbw Vale
Traditional Inn with a great welcome. Recently refurbished rooms for visitors. Located near the centre of Ebbw Vale with views over the rugby ground and across the valley.
Nestled in striking scenery at the heart of the areaâ€™s attractions. Take a well-earned rest in our spacious rooms and extra-comfy beds.
tel: +44 (0)1495 352822 email: email@example.com web: www.thekingsarms-ebbwvale.com
tel: +44 (0)8715 278356 web: www.premierinn.com/en/hotel/EBBVIC
Soar Chapel Guest House
Roseland is a refurbished Georgian gentlemanâ€™s residence set in its own secluded grounds. The house is ideally situated for those who wish to enjoy the rich industrial heritage of the area.
A former Baptist Chapel in the heart of the South Wales Valleys. Now open as a Guest House and extending hospitality to visitors from all corners of the globe.
tel: +44 (0)1495 722040 email: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.roselandbnb.co.uk
tel: +44 (0)1495 305154 email: email@example.com web: www.soarchapel.co.uk
The Cambrian Inn
The Castle is a delightful, traditional inn recently modernised whilst retaining original charm and features.
A sympathetically restored historic inn in the centre of Tredegar. It continues to be at the heart of the community, serving beer and good cheer as it has done for almost 300 years.
tel: +44 (0)1495 302087 / +44 (0)7931252521 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
tel: +44 (0)1495 723319 email: email@example.com web: www.cambriantredegar.co.uk
BLAENAU GWENT TOWNS Blaenau Gwent is full of friendly town centres, accessible and distinctive with welcoming people who have a strong sense of pride. This passion provides a quality offer to short and long stay visitors. Our five town centres of Abertillery, Blaina, Brynmawr, Ebbw Vale and Tredegar have a lot to offer from larger high street brands to the more specialist independent retailers and also offer a variety of refreshment stops.
Abertillery Abertillery is nestled in the beautiful Ebbw Fach valley, offering dramatic views towards the hills and beyond. Narrow streets offer a museum, theatre, variety of shops and great coffee stops. Market day on Thursday.
Blaina The town of Blaina is one of the smaller town centres in Blaenau Gwent in the heart of Ebbw Fach valley, offering museums and a visitor centre dedicated to Chartist history.
Brynmawr The market town of Brynmawr hosts a variety of shops and colourful murals along itâ€™s main street. Activities focus in the Market Square that hosts the Saturday market, museum and the oldest cinema in Wales.
Ebbw Vale Ebbw Vale is the largest of Blaenau Gwentâ€™s five town centres with a great shopping offer and spectacular artworks. The town is always busy on Fridays when it hosts a large market.
Tredegar Tredegar is a great little browsing town complemented by its rich heritage. Dominated by the famous Town clock and Bedwellty House and Park, there are many specialist shops, tea rooms and walking trails that celebrate local history and its famous son, Aneurin Bevan. www.tredegarbusiness.co.uk To discuss your visit call the Tourism Team on 01495 355937 email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk
Refreshment stops Take time out from your tour to enjoy a spot of lunch or a refreshing tea or coffee at one of the many cafés, pubs or restaurants throughout the region. Bedwellty House & Park
Massarella’s Restaurant, Festival Park
Orchid House Tea Room is set in the beautiful surroundings of Bedwellty Park. Ideal for teas, coffees, light lunches or one of their exquisite afternoon teas.
Born out of a desire to create the ultimate in quick, counter service cafes. Offers cooked meals and tasty snacks with scenic panoramic views of the Ebbw Fawr Valley.
+44 (0)1495 353370 Tredegar, NP22 3XN www.bedwelltyhouseandpark.co.uk
+44 (0)1495 306239 Ebbw Vale, NP23 8FP www.festivalshopping.co.uk
Parc Bryn Bach
The Mountain Air
Serving a selection of quality light bites, snacks and delicious deserts and freshly ground coffee. A great place to relax in front of the log fire whilst enjoying lakeside views.
Traditional Inn with restaurant offering private dining. A daily carvery, main menu and delicious cake cabinet ensures there’s a dish to suit everybody.
+44 (0)1495 355920 Tredegar, NP22 3AY www.parcbrynbach.co.uk
+44 (0)1495 723116 Tredegar, NP22 3SD www.themountainair.co.uk
Tyˆ Ebbw Fach Enjoy a true taste of the Welsh Valleys. Delicious food home cooked on site to traditional regional recipes. Highly recommended for your elevenses, lunches or afternoon teas. +44 (0)1495 211732 Six Bells, NP13 2ND www.sixbellsconferencecentre.co.uk
Explore Blaenau Gwent 1 day Itinerary Take a tour around Blaenau Gwent, an area proud of its heritage. See the giant Guardian statue, visit beautiful parkland and historic buildings before hitting the shops.
Stop 1 – Guardian Towering above the village of Six Bells is the Guardian Mining Memorial. Commemorating the 1960 Six Bells mining disaster, the monument was unveiled in 2010. www.guardianwales.info Stop 2 – Fesitval Park Outlet Shopping Festival Park Outlet Shopping has masses of bargains for everyone, whatever your tastes. Situated at the head of the Ebbw valley, amongst 70 acres of what was the Garden Festival of Wales site in 1992, it is a shopper’s paradise. www.festivalshopping.co.uk Stop 3 – General Offices & Museum Former steelworks offices with spectacular architecture housing Gwent Archives and Ebbw Vale Works Museum. www.evwat.co.uk Stop 4 – Bedwellty House and Park Bedwellty House is a listed Regency villa in Tredegar. It is surrounded by a historic garden that was established in the early 19th century for the Master of Tredegar Iron Works. www.bedwelltyhouseandpark.co.uk Stop 5 – Parc Bryn Bach Parc Bryn Bach is conveniently situated just off the A465 in the heart of the South Wales Valleys, set in 340 acres of mixed grass and woodland and has a 36-acre lake as its focal point. www.parcbrynbach.co.uk
Explore the Region - 2 Day Itinerary With so much to do it can be challenging to know where to start. We’ve put together a sample two day itinerary for you, giving you the opportunity to visit some of the very best attractions in the region. Day 1 Stop 1 – Llancaiach Fawr Manor, Caerphilly Llancaiach Fawr Manor near Caerphilly is a 17th century manor house. Take a tour of the house and meet the servants who will tell you tales of what life was like for them back in 1645. www.llancaiachfawr.co.uk Stop 2 – Cyfarthfa Park & Museum, Merthyr Imposing 1824 castle housing a museum with a collection of fine art and social history items. www.visitmerthyr.co.uk/attractions/cyfarthfa-park-museum.aspx Stop 3 – Guardian Mining Memorial, Six Bells Towering above the village of Six Bells is the Guardian Mining Memorial. Commemorating the 1960 Six Bells mining disaster, the monument was unveiled in 2010. www.guardianwales.info Stop 4 – Blaenavon World Heritage Centre, Blaenavon The Centre features an interactive Victorian school room, film and multi-media displays which not only provide visitors with a unique insight into the significance of Blaenavon’s Industrial Landscape, but also introduces them to the area’s many attractions. www.visitblaenavon.co.uk Stop 5 - Shire Hall, Monmouthshire Built in 1724, the elegant building has a remarkable past. Once a centre of commerce and governance for the town, it also served as a courthouse. www.shirehallmonmouth.org.uk
Day 2 Stop 1 – Tredegar House, Newport Set in 90 acres of beautiful parkland on the outskirts of Newport is this 17th century house. Now in the care of the National Trust, visitors can hear about the house’s history and it’s eccentric former owners and view the art collection. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/tredegar-house Stop 2 – Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff As part of a visit to the Centre, behind the scenes tours are offered where you can discover the secrets of the landmark building and find out what lies beneath the inscription. Special deals are available for groups and there is ample coach parking nearby. www.wmc.org
Day 2 (Continued) Stop 3 – Dyffryn Gardens, The Vale of Glamorgan Covering more than 55 acres, Dyffryn Gardens feature a stunning collection of intimate garden rooms including a rose garden, Pompeian garden and an extensive Arboretum featuring trees from all over the world. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dyffryn-gardens Stop 4 – McArthurGlen Designer Outlet, Bridgend Situated right on junction 36 of the M4 Motorway, the undercover mall has over 90 shops selling high street and designer brand names at discounted prices. www.bridgenddesigneroutlet.com Stop 5 - The Royal Mint Visitor Experience, Rhondda Cynon Taf Take a look behind the scenes at Britain’s oldest manufacturing organisation. See for yourself the people and processes that put the pounds and pennies in your pockets. www.royalmint.com/en/the-royal-mint-experience
What’s on in Southern Wales Time your visit right and not only will you stay in some great accommodation, get to sample some great food and visit some top attractions, you’ll also get to enjoy some fabulous events. We’ve highlighted some of the most popular ones here, but there are hundreds more going on throughout the year. For a full list of events in the region, please visit www.visitsouthernwales.org Steelhouse Festival, Blaenau Gwent
Nos Galan Road Races, Mountain Ash
Isle of Fire, Vale of Glamorgan
Abergavenny Food Festival
The Big Splash, Newport
RHS Flower Show Cardiff
Merthyr Food Festival
The Big Cheese, Caerphilly
Porthcawl Elvis Festival
Blaenavon World Heritage Day, Blaenavon
Coach Parking Find out where to drop off your passengers, park your coach or get further information about our main towns. Tredegar Historic town at the heart of the South Wales Valleys. Must visit attractions include Bedwellty House and Park and the Tredegar Town Clock. Coach Drop Off and Parking Stable Lane, NP22 4BU
Festival Park Outlet Shopping Festival Park Outlet Shopping on the outskirts of Ebbw Vale has ample free coach parking, ideal when visiting the centre. Coach Driver incentives also available when pre-booked. Coach Drop Off and Parking Festival Park, Ebbw Vale, NP23 8FP
Valleys Ambassadors To further promote this area of Wales, hundreds of local people have been trained to become Valleys Ambassadors. They provide a knowledgeable point of welcome for visitors, by highlighting the local heritage sharing their stories and just making sure they have a memorable visit to Wales. Find out more at email@example.com
Tour Guides Make sure you get the most out of your visit to the region by hiring the services of a tour guide. Members of The Wales Official Tour Guide Association are the only guides officially recognised to be able to guide in Wales. They can provide highly trained, professional and experienced Blue Badge Guides, who will help bring your journey to life. There are dozens of guides, each with their own specialisms, interests and language skills. Blue Badge Guides can take you all over the region, whilst Green Badge Guides offer a more specialist and localised expertise.
To find a guide to suit your needs please visit www.walesbestguides.com
Homfray Trail, Tredegar
Maps and Travel Information Easy to get to We’re a different country with our own language and culture, yet we’re surprisingly easy to get to. We’re only around two hours down the M4 from London whilst Birmingham and the West Midlands are only an hour or so from our borders.
So in next to no time you could be here, immersing yourself in our culture and traditions and who knows maybe even trying to get your tongue around our language. Croeso - or welcome in English. We’re not very big, but we certainly fit a lot in – and getting around the region couldn’t be easier. A comprehensive road system links all the major towns, while many towns and villages are well served by the local train network which connects with the mainline stations.
To Abergavenny M50 and Midlands
BRECON BEACONS NATIONAL PARK
The Castle Inn
Brynmawr Museum Brynmawr Cinema
Soar Guest House
Parc Bryn Bach
Roseland Guest House
King’s Arms Hotel
BRYNMAWR West Mon. Golf Club
Ebbw Vale Works Museum & General Offices
To Merthyr Tydfil and Swansea
TREDEGAR Cambrian Inn
Tredegar Museum Bedwellty House & Park Tredegar & Tredegar Rhymney SportsCentre Golf Club
Ebbw Vale Sports Centre
BLAINA Blaina Chartists Centre Blaina Museum
Festival Park Shopping Village, Supertubing & Owl Sanctury Abertillery Sports Centre
Ty Ebbw Fach Guardian
KEY Accomodation Attraction Food
To Cardiff, Newport and M4
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, Southern Wales Tourism cannot accept responsibility for any errors, inaccuracies or omissions, or for any matter in any way connected with or arising out of the publication of the information contained within this brochure. The brochure may not be reproduced in part or in whole without the prior consent of the publisher. www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/leisure
To Pontypool, Newport and M4
Published by: Southern Wales Tourism Photographs: Southern Wales Tourism would like to thank Mike Chapman, Paul Clements, Bridgend Bites, Visit Britain and © Crown Copyright Visit Wales for the use of their images in the publication. Map © Collins Bartholomew Ltd Design: Mediadesign
Bedwellty Pitts Incline Engine
Blaenau Gwent lies on the fringe of the Brecon Beacons and at the Head of the Valleys region of Southern Wales. It is an area of startling c...