01904 734 939
Tour Search



South Wales by Steam

Save
You are viewing the 2024 itinerary. Select your departure year
20242025
6 days From £579 £529 per person
3.9 stars(108 reviews)
Gallery
Map

Experience the beauty and culture of South Wales with heritage railways, picturesque coastal towns, and insights into Wales's rich heritage.

Save £50pp

Save £50pp on British Isles last-minute holidays, when you book by 31st July 2024.

View terms and conditions

Mobility Rating 3

2024 Tour code: 24WSS

About the tour

Experience the nostalgic steam trains, rugged landscapes, and charming towns that unveil the very best of South Wales, a place of unspoilt rural beauty. From your base in lively Swansea, journey on the Brecon Mountain Railway through the landscapes of the Brecon Beacons, delve into Welsh culture at fascinating museums, and explore the picturesque coastline of the Gower Peninsula.

Unforgettable Experiences

Brecon Mountain Railway
Brecon Mountain Railway
Journey on the Brecon Mountain Railway, taking in the stunning Brecon Beacons mountain range.
Gwili Steam Railway
Gwili Steam Railway
Enjoy a nostalgic trip on the Gwili Steam Railway, a heritage line that winds through the idyllic landscapes of South Wales.
St David’s
St David’s
Discover St David’s, the smallest city in Britain, and admire its striking cathedral.
Mumbles
Mumbles
Spend time exploring the pretty seaside towns of ancient Tenby and distinguished Mumbles.
St Fagans National Museum of History
St Fagans National Museum of History
Explore the living history and traditions of Wales at St Fagans National Museum of History.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 – Welcome to Welsh culture in Swansea

You meet your Tour Manager at your hotel in friendly Swansea, where you spend the next five nights. Set amidst the rolling hills and golden sands of Swansea Bay, the city is an ideal base for exploring South Wales. After checking in, you're at leisure to start exploring before dinner with the rest of your group this evening.

Just a short walk from your hotel, in the city centre you'll find a lively atmosphere mixed with historic charm. You could head to the popular Indoor Market, which has over 100 stalls, to sample a variety of local delicacies. Or you could simply wander through the range of shops, cafes, and restaurants that line the bustling streets.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 – The stunning Brecon Mountain Railway and ancient traditions in St Fagans

This morning, your group is introduced to the beautiful countryside of South Wales on the Brecon Mountain Railway. A coach drops you off in the village of Pant to board the heritage railway for a round trip. On the journey through dramatic landscapes, the vintage steam locomotive winds through leafy countryside and alongside the Taf Fechan Reservoir. It continues, climbing to the summit of the original line, Torpantau, high in the Brecon Beacons, where you can admire the wild vistas from the observation carriages.

Back in Pant, your group boards the coach to St Fagans National Museum of History. The museum stands on the grounds of the magnificent St Fagans Castle and Gardens, a late 16th-century manor house donated to the people of Wales by the Earl of Plymouth in 1948. With time at leisure, you can explore over 2,000 years of Welsh history on display, and see craftspeople demonstrating their skills in this remarkable living museum. There's time for you to get some lunch before the coach takes your group back to the hotel ahead of dinner this evening.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 – Discovering glorious Swansea

Today you can discover Swansea at your own pace. You could gain an insight into the city's rich cultural history at the fascinating Swansea Museum, or step back to the 1800s at the National Waterfront Museum which celebrates the industrial and maritime history of Wales. If you're a poetry fan, you could visit the Dylan Thomas Centre which is dedicated to the life and works of the literary giant. Nearby these attractions, the Swansea Bay waterfront has many shops and cafes where you could enjoy lunch and try a traditional Welsh dish like rarebit or laverbread.

Alternatively, you could adventure beyond the city centre. The enchanting Clyne Gardens offers a quiet and relaxing day amidst beautiful flora. A collection of magnificent parks, the gardens are blooming with rare and exotic plants - the perfect escape from the bustling city. This evening enjoy dinner at the hotel with your group.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 – The picturesque Gwili Steam Railway and renowned Mumbles

After breakfast, the coach takes your group to Abergwili Junction this morning for a journey on the Gwili Steam Railway. This preserved heritage line harks back to a time when life moved at a slower pace, taking you on a round trip alongside the River Gwili, past rocky outcrops and the Gwili Falls. Your group is treated to a 'Welsh Elevenses', enjoying tea or coffee accompanied by traditional Welsh cakes.

You then rejoin the coach and head to the Gower Peninsula's stunning coastline. This beautiful headland juts into the Bristol Channel, creating a stretch of rugged cliffs, topped by woodlands and fringed by sandy beaches. The area was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1956 - the first place in the UK to receive the title.

Along the coast lies Mumbles, a pretty little seaside town with a delightful name. This beloved area has a range of attractions you can explore at leisure. Marvel at the 18th-century Lighthouse, stroll along the Victorian Pier, or visit Oystermouth Castle which sits on a hilltop with fabulous views overlooking the sea. For lunch you could indulge in some 'fresh off the boat' seafood, followed by an ice cream from one of the Welsh-Italian ice cream parlours. The coach takes your group back to your hotel with plenty of time to relax before dinner this evening.

Trains are steam-hauled where possible, however due to timetable changes or weather conditions, heritage diesel locomotives may be running instead.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 – Idyllic St Davids and historic Tenby

This morning takes you to the tiny city of St David's. Named after the patron saint of Wales, this is Britain's smallest city and has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries. Your group visits the city's iconic 12th-century cathedral, built from pale purple sandstone and set in a wild and beautiful part of St David's - the site of a church since the 6th century.

This afternoon, the coach drives your group to the charismatic seaside town of Tenby where there's time to explore at leisure. Surrounded by 13th-century walls and known for its sandy shores, pastel-hued houses, and winding cobbled streets, the town is steeped in history. You could sample some delicious local fish and chips for lunch, the perfect accompaniment to a day spent exploring the magnificent Welsh coast. Later this afternoon, the coach takes your group back to the hotel in time for dinner this evening.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 – Homeward bound

Your holiday comes to an end this morning. After breakfast, say goodbye to new friends and once you've checked out, you can make your way home or continue exploring more of wonderful Wales on your own.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

On many of our UK & Ireland tours, you may check in at the first hotel on your itinerary anytime after 14:00; your Tour Manager will be available between 16:00 and 18:00. However, if you are arriving later, you can meet your Tour Manager before dinner from 19:00.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotel

Grand Hotel, Swansea

Grand Hotel, Swansea

View hotel

Trains

Brecon Mountain Railway
Gwili Steam Railway

Enhance your holiday

Upgrades

UK rail connections

Reviews

3.9 stars3.9 / 5 · 108 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (32)
  2. 4 stars
    (45)
  3. 3 stars
    (26)
  4. 2 stars
    (3)
  5. 1 star
    (2)

Derek S.

4 stars

Submitted 22/Jun

A varied and interesting itinerary at a reasonable pace, as described in the brochure, with a helpful tour manager (Andy). The hotel was conveniently situated close to the railway station but did not meet the standard that we had enjoyed on our two previous rail holidays in Wales. The quality of the evening meals was a little disappointing and the choice of menu was limited. There was no lounge area for guests, just a bar area which was quite noisy at times. It would be useful if Rail Discoveries could liaise with the local tourist office to suggest activities for the day at leisure.

Collected by Trustpilot

John

3 stars

Submitted 18/Jun

Disappointing compared to previous Rail Discovery holidays we’ve been on to Yorkshire and the Highlands of Scotland, which were excellent. Andy, our tour manager, was good and helpful so no reflection on him. The hotel was very average and in a location that seemed very run-down. Rooms lacked space and cupboards to store things. The only lounge is a Sports bar which got very busy and noisy. Rooms facing the station suffered with those exiting the public bar, taxi doors slamming, noise from those leaving the hotel’s functions up until 1am and noisy deliveries to Tescos or the station from 4am. The hotel staff were friendly and helpful and the breakfasts were good but apart from the Wednesday evening meal, the other four evening meals were poor. The brochure’s description of Swansea does not match reality.

Collected by Trustpilot

J Thomas

5 stars

Submitted 17/Jun

My sister & l very much enjoyed our holiday, it ticked ALL the boxes

Collected by Trustpilot

J Walpole

4 stars

Submitted 15/Jun

Tour was very good. Hotel location was excellent with excellent breakfasts. Hotel staff excellent. However, quality of evening meals need to be improved.

Collected by Trustpilot

Helen Brodie

5 stars

Submitted 15/Jun

Great trip with interesting visits and amazing steam trains. The hotel was central and very comfortable, the staff there were excellent. Our tour guide was knowledgeable and approachable.

Collected by Trustpilot

T Hutchinson

4 stars

Submitted 15/Jun

Arrangements before very good. Excursions excellent. Tour manager o.k. Hotel satisfactory, though bathroom had to be deep cleaned, and meals, particularly breakfast rather chaotic at times - what was ordered didn't necessarily appear.

Collected by Trustpilot

Show 6 more reviews
European Escorted Holidays by Rail 2024

European Escorted Holidays by Rail 2024

The definitive guide to Europe 2024 rail holidays.

Download brochure
Related inspiration from our journey blog