Rhondda Cynon Taf Group Travel Guide

Page 1

Rhondda Cynon Taf

Group Travel Guide

nt u Gwe Blaena von Blaena nd Bridge hilly Caerp f Cardif fil yr Tyd Merth ire outhsh Monm ort Newp The Royal Mint Experience


Taf ynon C a d d Rhon gan lamor G f o Vale

Contents 04 Regional Overview

08 Activities STRAEON, TEITHIAU, BLASU A RHAGOR... Mae Rhondda Cynon Taf, sy'n cynnwys rhai o'r golygfeydd mwyaf mawreddog yn y DU, yn daith o ddim ond 30 munud mewn car o Gaerdydd, prifddinas Cymru. Mae Rhondda Cynon Taf yn agos at yr M4 ac mae'n cynnig atyniadau unigryw ar gyfer grwpiau gan gynnwys y Bathdy Brenhinol. Beth am gael golwg ar beth sy gyda Rhondda Cynon Taf i'w gynnig?

Taith Pyllau Glo Cymru / Welsh Mining Experience

Profiad y Bathdy Brenhinol / The Royal Mint Experience

06 Attractions

10 Accommodation

12 Refreshment Stops

TALES, TOURS, TASTINGS & MORE... Featuring some of the most majestic scenery in the UK, Rhondda Cynon Taf is a mere 30 minute drive from Cardiff, the capital city of Wales. Easily accessible from the M4 and offering unique group attractions (there is only one Royal Mint after all) why not take a look at what Rhondda Cynon Taf has to offer?

13 Explore Rhondda Cynon Taf


Distyllfa Penderyn / Penderyn Distillery

15 Event Highlights





Coach Parking

Rhondda Cynon Taf

Tour Guides

Maps & Travel Information 3

….. r u jo on B . … e a m w h S o… ll e H 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. 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.


Visit Rhondda Cynon Taf Welcome to what is probably the most famous valley in the world. Coal from the Rhondda once powered the world and although those days are long gone, the history and legacy are preserved as are the epic landscapes and scenery which attract visitors from all over the world. If you’re looking for something to do while you’re visiting, we have plenty of options!

For more information visit our website www.visitsouthernwales.org or contact the tourism team: tel - +44 (0)1443 424052 email - tourismenquiry@rctcbc.gov.uk To order group travel brochures for other areas of Southern Wales please contact +44 (0)1656 815336 or e-mail brochure@southernwales.com nty Bridgend Cou

von Blaena vel Guide

nt Gwe nau Blae avel Guide

Group Travel Guide

Group Tra

Group Tr

dfil yr Ty Merth avel Guide

Group Tr

thshire Monmou Guide

ff Cardi

iff Card

l Tydfi hyr hire Mert uths mo Mon f ort wp n Ta no Ne a Cy

ent Gw enau Bla dd n avon orga Blaen Rhon Glam of end Vale Bridg hilly Caerp

fil Tyd rthyr Me hire ouths nm Mo ort n Taf Newp Cyno dda n Rhon rga mo of Gla Vale


Gwent Blaenau



y Caerphill


Cardiff Merthyr




thshire Monmou

nt Gwe Blaenau on Blaenav gend

e4438 Cardiff Council

ort f n Ta Newp Cyno dda n rga Rhon mo of Gla Vale

ort Taf Newp non a Cy ndd n Rho morga of Gla Vale

Group Travel Guideorgan

Gwent Blaenau n Blaenavo

Newport Rhondda Vale of

Taf Cynon

organ Glam

Tydfil Merthyr ire Monmouthsh Gwent Blaenau Blaenavon

gen Brid www.visitsouthernwales.org waleBrids.org www.visit southernwales.orgBridgend lly rg .visitsouthern s.owww rphilly Caerphi Cae rnwale Caerphilly iff southe Card Cardiff s.org w.visit fil ff Tydfil Cardiff wale ww yr Tyd Cardi Merthyr dfil Merth hern ire Tydfil yr Ty sout rth uthshire Merthyr outhsh Me hire visit Monmo Monm e ouths www. mouthshir

nm Mo

Vale of Glam

Group Travel Guide

ent u Gw Blaena von Blaena gend Brid illy Caerph Cardiff fil r Tyd Merthy ire outhsh Monm port New ent on Taf u Gw a Cyn ndd Blaena Rho n The Royal Mint Experience morga von of Gla Blaena Vale


Group Travel Guide


Group Travel Guide

ent au Gw Blaen n avo Blaen end Bridg hilly Caerp

Group Travel Guide


Group Travel

ent Gw enau Bla on enav Bla end Bridg hilly Caerp

Rhondda Cynon Taf

artwork for SW Guide

port New on Taf a Cyn Rhondd n orga of Glam Vale

v3.indd 1

Newport Cynon Taf Rhondda rgan 18/09/2015 17:04 Glamo

Vale of


Newport Taf Cynon Rhondda organ

Glam Vale of www.visitsouthernwales.org rg itsouthernwales.org www.visitsouth ernwales.owww.vis ernwales.org .org .visitsouth wales www uthern isitso www.v

Blaenau Gwent Blaenavon

Take a tour at the excellent Welsh Mining Experience at Rhondda Heritage Park where you can go underground at an authentic Welsh coalmine and listen to fascinating tales from the miners who worked the pit head themselves. At the end of the tour, jump on DRAM - the brand new virtual ride which simulates the roller coaster ride of a runaway coal dram. Relax and refuel at Cafe Bracchi and browse the exhibition and gift shop.

Bridgend Caerphilly Cardiff Merthyr Tydfil Monmouthshire Newport Rhondda Cynon


an Vale of Glamorg


With over 1,100 years of history, The Royal Mint produces coins and Rhondda Cynon Taf

medals for the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. Once based in the Tower of London and now firmly established in Llantrisant, the Royal Mint Experience is the only place in the UK where you can explore this history and see the coin making process in action. Complete with an entertaining and interactive visitor centre and onsite café. this is a unique treat – you can even strike your own coin. Penderyn Distillery is another great trip. Nestled in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons, Penderyn exports its award winning whisky and spirits world-wide. Tour the visitor centre where you will be able to see the whisky making process first hand and sample the results at the tasting bar. Visit Rhondda Cynon Taf and experience the warmest welcome in Wales for yourself.




Enjoy the best of what this area has to offer, including a top whisky distillery, beautiful countryside and an experience of what life was like underground.

Get an adrenaline boost by taking to the great outdoors. Enjoy some heart racing action in some of the most picturesque settings Southern Wales has to offer.

Dare Valley Country Park

Nantgarw China Works Museum

Combat Zone Live


500 acres of breathtaking countryside near Aberdare. Explore our network of Countryside trails, take in the spectacular views and enjoy the play areas or even a game of laser tag at Combat Zone Live. Onsite café and visitor centre.

In the early nineteenth century Nantgarw China Works produced the finest porcelain ever created in the UK. Now a popular museum & contemporary arts centre, Nantgarw China Works welcomes groups from all over the world for tours and refreshments.

Combat Zone Live is the most realistic combat simulation you can find, short of joining the military. Use your skill and judgement to outwit your opponents. Weapons have no projectiles and use an infrared beam of light.

There are 5 golf courses in Rhondda Cynon Taf. Some are 1000 feet above sea level so you play across the tops of the mountains. One is over 100 years old. All offer breathtaking scenery while you play and a very warm welcome.

web: www.visitrct.wales/golf

tel: +44 (0)1685 874672 email: darevalleycountrypark@rctcbc.gov.uk web: www.darevalleycountrypark.co.uk

web: www.nantgarwchinaworksmuseum.co.uk

tel: +44 (0)7859 898222 email: i nfo@combatzonelive.co.uk web: www.combatzonelive.co.uk

Penderyn Distillery

The National Lido of Wales, Lido Ponty

Mountain View Ranch

Taff Valley Quad Bike & Activity Centre

Book a tour where you will learn how the award-winning whisky is made and what makes it so unique. At the end of your tour sample some of the world famous products in the Tasting Bar.

Join us on the sun terrace at The National Lido of Wales, Lido Ponty. Situated in the stunning grounds of Ynysangharad War Memorial Park Pontypridd, the Grade II listed building has been impeccably restored and features three heated pools.

Mountain View Ranch offers over 100 acres of Trails, Meadows and Woodlands to explore, all crammed with wildlife and stunning views. Activities include a High Ropes Course and Segway Trekking.

Taff Valley offers a range of outdoor activities and exciting new ways to see the Welsh countryside for all ages. Experience the thrill of Quad Biking whilst enjoying spectacular views. You can also try Archery, Laser Shooting and Clay Pigeon Shooting.

tel: +44 (0)1685 810 650 web: www.penderyn.wales

tel: +44 (0)300 004 0000 web: www.lidoponty.co.uk

The Royal Mint Experience

Welsh Mining Experience at Rhondda Heritage Park

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. You’ll even have the opportunity to strike your own coin!

Follow our guides underground and listen to fascinating tales of mining life in the Welsh Valley that once powered the world .Experience the thrill of riding a runaway coal dram through the darkest depths of the mine on board DRAM, the new virtual ride.

tel: +44 (0)333 241 2223 web: www.royalmint.com/experience

tel: +44 (0)1443 682036 web: www.rhonddaheritagepark.com



tel: +44 (0)2920 886666 email: i nfo@mountainviewranch.co.uk web: www.mountainviewranch.co.uk

Rhondda Cynon Taf

tel: +44 (0)2920 831658 web: www.adventurewales.co.uk


Accommodation Grand country houses, cosy rural retreats and high quality independent hotels mean that there is plenty of choice for you. Heritage Park Hotel

Llechwen Hall Hotel

Located adjacent to the Welsh Mining Experience at Rhondda Heritage Park, the hotel is an ideal base from which to explore South Wales. The Brecon Beacons National Park and Cardiff, are only twenty minutes by car.

Llechwen Hall Hotel is a privately owned historic country house hotel with magnificent views, exceptional food and stylish surroundings.

tel: +44 (0)1443 687057 email: reservations@heritageparkhotel.co.uk web: www.heritageparkhotel.co.uk

tel: +44 (0)1443 742050 email: enquiries@llechwenhall.co.uk web: www.llechwen.co.uk

Miskin Manor

Premier Inn Aberdare

Miskin Manor Hotel is a Grade II listed hotel set in 25 acres of incredible gardens. The manor is one of the most beautiful, decadent country house hotels in Wales, providing guests with a beautifully warm & friendly welcome.

Walking, waterfalls and whisky... The Premier Inn Hotel Aberdare has all the ingredients for a fabulous getaway. Just minutes from Brecon Beacons National Park or an easy 35 minutes from central Cardiff.

tel: +44 (0)1443 224204 email: reservations@miskin-manor.co.uk web: www.miskin-manor.co.uk

tel: +44 (0)871 5278002 web: www.premierinn.com

Premier Inn Llantrisant

Tŷ Newydd Country Hotel

There’s so much to see and do nearby. You’ll be less than half an hour from central Cardiff, a short drive from some top-notch golf clubs and near enough to the seaside to nip for an ice-cream.

Tranquillity, comfort, excellent food - and some of the most beautiful scenery in Wales right on our doorstep. The grounds extend to over three acres and provide ample parking for coaches.

tel: +44 (0)0871 5278640 web: www.premierinn.com


tel: +44 (0)1685 813433 email: reception@tnch.co.uk web: www.tynewyddcountryhotel.co.uk


Refreshment Stops

Explore Rhondda Cynon Taf

Take time out from your tour to enjoy a spot of lunch or a refreshing tea or coffee at one of the many cafes, pubs or restaurants throughout the region.

1 Day Itinerary

Cafe Cwtch at Dare Valley Country Park

Caffe Bracchi at the Welsh Mining Experience

Cafe Cwtch is at the heart of the beautiful Dare Valley Country Park. Enjoy coffee and cake before exploring the walks and lakes of the country park.

Caffe Bracchi celebrates the impact of the Italian community across Rhondda Cynon Taf since they left their homes in Bardi at the turn of the 20th Century. Serving delicious cakes and hot drinks, it’s the perfect refreshment stop.

Aberdare, CF44 7RG www.darevalleycountrypark.co.uk

Trehafod, CF37 2NP www.rhonddaheritagepark.com

Caradogs at Tŷ Newydd Country Hotel

Heritage Park Hotel

Modern restaurant serving honest, straightforward food. Caradog’s serves the best of Welsh local produce with seasonal ingredients taken from the Brecon Beacons and Neath Valley.

The Loft Restaurant at the Heritage Park Hotel reflects tradition and heritage. The atmosphere is enhanced by the beamed features, with many of the timbers originating from the old wharf warehouses of Cardiff docks.

Hirwaun, CF44 9SX www.caradogs.co.uk

Trehafod, CF37 2NP www.heritageparkhotel.co.uk

Miskin Manor

The Waterside Cafe

The Meisgyn restaurant holds 2 AA Rosettes serving incredible locally sourced Welsh produce in menus that encompasses modern cuisine. The restaurant itself is beautiful; Located in the original manor house which dates back to the 16th century.

The Waterside Cafe offers a wide range of delicious homemade meals. Call in for a freshlybrewed Welsh coffee and a slice of homemade cake, with a view of The National Lido of Wales.

Pontyclun, CF72 8ND www.miskin-manor.co.uk

Pontypridd, CF37 4PE www.lidoponty.co.uk



Whether it’s outdoor activities, relaxing places, inspiring views or historic treasures, Rhondda Cynon Taf has something for everyone.

Stop 1 – The Royal Mint Experience 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/experience Stop 2 – Welsh Mining Experience at Rhondda Heritage Park Continue on to the Welsh Mining Experience. Here, you can don your safety helmet, ride ‘the cage’ to ‘pit bottom’ where you will ‘live the experience’ of life as a miner. You’ll hear from your guide about the hazards and difficulties the men (and boys) endured as part of their daily work. www.rhonddaheritagepark.com Stop 3 – Dare Valley Country Park Explore some of the 500 acres of countryside that make up the Dare Valley Country Park. There are countless walks and trails to discover and fabulous views over the Cynon Valley to enjoy. www.darevalleycountrypark.co.uk Stop 4 – Penderyn Distillery One of Wales’ most popular tourist attractions. Discover the secrets of how Wales’ only whisky is produced. Take a tour of the production area before sampling some of the finished product in the bar. www.penderyn.wales Stop 5 – Tŷ Newydd Country House Hotel Finally, it’s time to relax in the beautiful surroundings of the Tŷ Newydd Country House Hotel. Enjoy a meal in the acclaimed Caradog’s Restaurant or indulge in a luxurious Afternoon Tea. www.tynewyddcountryhotel.co.uk

Rhondda Cynon Taf


Explore the Region - 2 Day Itinerary

Day 2 (Continued)

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.

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

Day 1

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 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 5 - The Royal Mint 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/experience

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

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

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

Steelhouse Festival, Blaenau Gwent

Nos Galan Road Races, Mountain Ash

Isle of Fire, Vale of Glamorgan

Abergavenny Food Festival

The Big Splash, Newport

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

RHS Flower Show Cardiff

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 Merthyr Rising



Rhondda Cynon Taf

The Big Cheese, Caerphilly

Porthcawl Elvis Festival

Blaenavon World Heritage Day, Blaenavon


Coach Parking

Tour Guides

Find out where to drop off your passengers or park your coach in some of our main towns and attractions.

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.

Aberdare Gateway to the valleys with notable attractions being the Cynon Valley Museum and the Dare Valley Country Park. Coach Drop Off and Parking The Ynys Car Park, CF44 7RP

Pontypridd The principal town of Rhondda Cynon Taf, Pontypridd has a famous indoor market, historic bridge and beautiful park. Coach Drop Off Ynysangharad Park, Bridge Street, CF37 4PE Coach Parking Sardis Road Car Park, Sardis Road CF37 1HA



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

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.



9.37 miles (19 minutes)

18.43 miles (42 minutes)


25.71 miles (52 minutes)

21.94 miles (42 minutes)


15.56 miles (28 minutes)

22.14 miles (49 minutes)


5.64 miles (28 minutes)

13.65 miles (39 minutes)

Merthyr Tydfil

10.4 miles (24 minutes)

3.98 miles (19 minutes)


11.97 miles (36 minutes)

15.39 miles (56 minutes)


12.47 miles (25 minutes)


12.47 miles (25 minutes)




England London

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. This publication is available in Welsh.





Published by: Southern Wales Tourism Photographs: Southern Wales Tourism would like to thank Mike Chapman, Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC, Visit Britain and © Crown Copyright Visit Wales for the use of their images in the publication. Map © Collins Bartholomew Ltd Design: Mediadesign

Make Rhondda Cynon Taf your next golf break destination

Explore five breathtaking courses and experience the warmest welcome in Wales. WWW.VISITRCT.WALES/GOLF