Newcastle Upon Tyne to South Wales | A Seven Day Itinerary & Ideas

At the beginning of the summer holidays, we planned a 7 day holiday to South Wales. Part of our trip was funded by Visit Swansea Bay, we were gifted tickets to the Doctor Who Experience and we paid for around half of the trip ourselves.

I adore Wales and really would recommend that everyone takes their children at some point. It is a long drive though and if you're travelling from North East England I would recommend planning a trip of at least 7 days. Your SatNav may trick you into thinking you can drive there within 7 hours but by the time you consider traffic and stops, it seems to take closer to 9 hours. We have actually driven home from Cardiff all in one go when the children were smaller. It is do-able but I would recommend booking a stop-off if you can as it definitely breaks the journey up. Here's how we organised our trip:

Day One - Travelling to Nottingham

We left North East England on Sunday at around 3pm. We travelled for around 3.5 hours to our first destination - Nottingham Castle Marina Premier Inn. I picked this hotel as it had free parking, was fairly close to the motorway, was within walking distance of a couple of restaurants, had a pub attached and was across the road from a large supermarket and petrol station. The hotel was super convenient for a stop-off and I'd certainly recommend. The only downside is that our rooms were fairly hot and we couldn't open our windows as we were facing a busy road so it was fairly noisy. Check out our video from Day One below:

Day Two - Wollaton Park and checking into The King's Head Pub, Gower

We started our day with a Premier Inn breakfast in the Beefeater pub next door. This was our favourite Premier Inn breakfast from the trip and the staff were so lovely. Two kids eat free per paying adult so it cost us £18 for the 5 of us. This included unlimited cooked items, pastries, cereal, fruit, juices and costa coffee. The staff asked if we wanted to take any croissants or pastries away with us as they were tidying up which was a thoughtful touch. After we'd filled our boots we headed to Wollaton Park and Hall which was around a 15 minute drive from the hotel. Parking cost £4 for the day and entry was free. This really is a fab place to stretch your legs. There's a deer park, play area for kids, cafe, beautiful walks and more. I'd definitely recommend as a stop off. You can see more in day two's video here: 

We left Wollaton Hall at around 1:30pm and continued our journey to South Wales and the King's Head pub in Gower where we were staying. We were amazed to spot wild horses on the roads as we approached our destination! We received a super warm welcome at The King's Head and were very happy with out family room. The sun was shining so we enjoyed an al fresco meal in the pub's beer garden before heading up to bed for the evening.

Day Three - The Gower Heritage Centre, Rhossili Beach & The King Arthur Pub

We started our day with a trip to The Gower Heritage Centre. This place is so sweet and we enjoyed a duck race, meeting the farm animals (the chickens are hilarious) and the kids really loved the bouncy castles and park. The centre is also home to Wales' smallest cinema where we managed to catch a random episode of Sponge Bob Square Pants. Don't visit here expecting an all singing, all dancing attraction but do expect lots of traditional family fun. You can see more in day three's video below:

The sun was shining in the afternoon and one of Swansea Bay's stunning beaches was calling our name! We decided to visit Rhossili Bay which is award winning and I can definitely see why. It's stunning! It's a LONG walk down but worth it. The beach seems never ending and it's home to a ship wreck too! There are loos, a shop, an ice cream van and a couple of pubs at the top of the cliff and you could easily spend a day here. The beach is dog-friendly too.

After our climb up to the top, we were ready for a hearty dinner so headed to The King Arthur Pub which did not disappoint. I recommend their local lamb dishes. 

Day Four - Oystermouth Castle, Mumbles and Welcome to Town

We woke up to rain on day four but decided not to cancel our plans and we visited the gorgeous coastal town of Mumbles. Mumbles is home to lots of boutiques and independent retailers and the people here are all so lovely. The bay would be perfect for rock pooling if the weather was right. We spend around 90 minutes exploring Oystermouth Castle which overlooks the town. It's inexpensive to enter and the views from the castle turretts alone are worth paying for. We mooched around the town and then enjoyed probably our best meal of the trip at Bistrot Pierre overlooking the bay. The food here is superb and they are great with kids too. You can see more in day four's video below:

We had planned to take a walk along the coast but poor Jack was still suffering from an unfortunate case of food poisoning. He'd be fine one minute but then really poorly the next. He really wanted an afternoon of chilling out so we raided the charity shops in Mumbles and bought a few games to take back to the King's Head with us. We spent a lovely afternoon playing board games before ending our day with an evening meal at Welcome to Town which is a quirky pub serving honest food. Their pizzas and ribs were SO filling! 

Day Five - Soft Play, Water Parks, Wales' Tallest Restaurant & Cardiff Bay Travelodge

This was the morning that the kids were looking forward to the most - the LC in Swansea. The LC is a large leisure centre with a water park, climbing wall, soft play, surf simulator and more. Jack had not been sick for 48 hours but I didn't think swimming would be the best idea so he enjoyed soft play while Steve took the older two swimming. They honestly had a blast and loved it. If you're staying in South Wales, definitely check the LC out. The run some fab offers too. After an action packed morning we walked along the harbour to Grape & Olive which is Wales' tallest restaurant. There was a real sense of excitement as we travelled in the lift to floor 27. The views from this restaurant are stunning and their lunch menu offers superb value. We visited during graduation week though and everyone else was dressed to the nines and we looked like we'd just been dragged through a hedge backwards after a morning of soft play and swimming and did feel out of place. Check out the views in our video from Day Five below:

It was time to say goodbye to Swansea Bay and I was surprised when our SatNav said it was going to take an hour to get to Cardiff. I thought they were closer than this! Perhaps it was the traffic though. We had booked Cardiff City South Premier Inn. Again because rooms were cheap, there is free car parking and there's a pub on site. It's also just a short walk or drive to Cardiff Bay attractions. That evening we headed to The Red Dragon Centre which was around a 3 minute drive from the hotel. Parking is free if you validate your ticket with a purchase from the centre. We booked tickets to watch Spiderman Homecoming and I was so shocked at how cheap they were - £22.50 for the 5 of us on a Thursday evening! What a deal! We enjoyed a drink in one of the eateries on-site and enjoyed a good night's sleep at our hotel that evening. 

Day Six - The Doctor Who Experience, Cardiff Bay & City Centre

We decided on another Premier Inn breakfast (they are far too convenient) before heading to The Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff Bay. We managed to grab an on-street parking spot right by the experience for £5 for the whole day. The Doctor Who Experience is sooooo good and must-visit for any Whovians out there. It does close in September though so you need to be quick if you'd like to visit. You can see more from inside (and our day) with our video from day six below: 

After the Doctor Who Experience, we walked along the bay which is a nice little walk with lots to see and do. There are loads of activities for families in the surrounding area to enjoy including your chance to Escape Reality in Cardiff, take a Dr Who walking tour or perhaps take a boat trip around the bay. We enjoyed time at the Roald Dahl Plaza where kids can enjoy the free city beach or a few fairground rides and stopped at a nearby pub for a drink before deciding what to do next.

We'd never actually visited Cardiff City Centre before so decided to walk the mile and a half to the city centre from Cardiff Bay. I have to say I was really impressed with Cardiff. We spent some time shopping and I will definitely return for another shopping trip. The kids were entertained by street performers and street art and there were lots of restaurants to try too. After an afternoon walking around the city, the kids were moaning that they were too tired to walk back so we decided to catch a bus. I was a little shocked at the price - £5.50 for us to travel 1.5 miles. To make matters worse, the driver claimed he had no change and we only had £10 so yep we ended up paying £10 to travel less than 2 miles. It would have been cheaper in a taxi I'm sure. The things you do for your kids eh!

We left Cardiff late afternoon and travelled to our final destination - Travelodge Leicester Markfield. Steve had specified a hotel that was right by the motorway which this one was. It also offered free parking. This was the cheapest of all of our accommodation and probably offered the nicest rooms if I'm honest. The staff were lovely and there were nice touches such as complimentary water at reception. I normally hate service stations but Steve and Harry were craving KFC so we ended up stopping at Hopwood Park Services just off the M42 for dinner. It was manic at 6pm on a Friday night but as far as service stations go, it was one of the better ones we've been to. The kids' meals from Harry Ramsden's were lovely and there's a play area too. Plus a KFC for Steve and Harry! We stocked up on treats from Waitrose and a bought croissants and juice for the next morning too. 

Day Seven - Our Journey Home

I didn't vlog our journey home as there wasn't much to see. One thing I love about staying in Premier Inns and Travelodges is that you don't need to check out until 12noon so we enjoyed a well-earned lie in before leaving for home. The journey between Leicester and Newcastle took around 3.5 hours and we were home mid-afternoon. When I was originally planning our itinerary, I did think about planning something on the Saturday too - maybe the Space Centre or the Media Museum near Bradford. Both are on my list! I'm really pleased I didn't though as by this point we were exhausted after a full-on week and more than ready for home. 

Phew! What a week! We really enjoyed our time exploring South Wales. There is honestly so much to do and see. I really hope I've inspired you to visit. If you've enjoyed our videos, please subscribe to our YouTube channel here. 


  1. It sounds like you had an action packed week. I have never been to Wales before, I have always wanted to visit but I think the journey is too long for the little two at the moment xx

    1. You definitely need to visit when they're a little older. If you break the drive up it's really not too bad.


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