Wales: How To Get There
AIR: Wales' international airport is Cardiff International Airport (CWL). Airport information: (01446) 711 111. Facilities include buffets, snack bar, two bars, two bureaux de change (one in arrivals, one in departures), ATMs, duty- and tax-free shops, numerous other shops, travel agency, children's play area, executive lounge and facilities for the disabled. Train: Local buses link the airport with Cardiff Central station, which is 19km (12 miles) away. The station is served by the Intercity network and regional lines, including a fast service to London Paddington. Coach: Regular coach services operate to Cardiff Central Bus Station from London Victoria and other major destinations with connections to the rest of the country. Local bus: Bus no. X91 runs from Cardiff bus station to the airport on an hourly basis (Mon-Sat). Service X45 from The Hayes, Cardiff, operates Mon-Sat hourly. Service X5 runs from Cardiff bus station every 2 hours on a Sunday. Taxi: Available through local operator Cardiff Airport Taxis (tel: (01446) 710 693). Car hire: Europcar has an office at the airport (tel: (01446) 711 924); Hertz (tel: (01446) 711 722) also provides a service. Private car: Cardiff is reached on the M4 from London, exiting at Junction 33 and following the signs. Car-parking facilities are available at the airport for short- and long-term stays.
SEA: The main ports are Fishguard and Holyhead (Anglesey), both of which have ferry connections to the Republic of Ireland.
RAIL: There are two main-line routes into Wales. One runs from London Paddington to Fishguard along the south Wales coast (branching at Whitland to serve Haverford West and Milford Haven), while the other links Holyhead with Chester and northwest England. In addition, the line from Cardiff to Chester (via Newport, Hereford and Shrewsbury) links the south Wales cities with Abergavenny in Gwent and Wrexham in Clwyd. There are also two smaller cross-country lines: these run from Shrewsbury to Welshpool, Barmouth, Harlech, Porthmadog and Pwllheli; from Shrewsbury via Welshpool to Aberystwyth; and from Craven Arms (on the Shrewsbury-Ludlow line) through Llandrindod Wells and Llandovery down to Swansea.
There are also a large number of local steam railways, rescued by railway enthusiasts during the Beeching era, known collectively as The Great Little Trains of Wales. The most famous of these is the one at Ffestiniog at Porthmadog in Snowdonia, which has lovingly restored locomotives and carriages from the last century. Others include the Welshpool and Llanfair Railway (in north Powys), the Fairbourne and Talyllyn Railways (both near Barmouth in Cardigan Bay) and the Bala Lake Railway. Wanderers' Tickets are available, giving access to all the railways for a specific period. For further information, contact The Great Little Trains of Wales, c/o Talyllyn Railway, Wharf Station, Tywyn, Gwynedd, LL36 9EY (tel: (01654) 710 472; fax: (01654) 711 755; e-mail: email@example.com; website: www.talyllyn.co.uk).
ROAD: The best road approach to Wales from southern England is via the M4 motorway, which runs from west London to Newport, Cardiff and Swansea, almost to Carmarthen. The A5 links London and the Midlands with the ferry port of Holyhead, and the A55 links Holyhead with Chester. The best cross-country road is probably the A44/A470 from Oxford to Aberystwyth. Many of the smaller roads are slow, and in upland areas may become impassable during bad weather. The bilingual Mantais Cymru information line, operated on behalf of the National Assembly for Wales (NAW) offers primary access to the very latest traffic and road user information for travel to, from and within Wales (info line tel: 0845 602 6020; e-mail: m4ntais.wsatkins.co.uk; website: www.traffic-wales.com).
Distances: From London to Cardiff is 249km (155 miles), to Fishguard is 425km (264 miles), to Holyhead is 476km (296 miles) and to Aberystwyth is 394km (245 miles).
URBAN: All the main cities have local bus services. There is a good network of local train services radiating from Cardiff.