Visit Southern Wales

Visit Southern Wales Blog

Newport 360

Roman CaerleonStanding on the banks of the River Usk, the city of Newport and the surrounding area is packed with things to see and do.

And now to help you find your way about, a new tourism guide has been launched.  Called Newport 360, the guide hears from local people about what visitors can expect to find on a visit to the city and the wider region.

Amongst the highlights you can expect to find on a visit is the iconic Transporter Bridge.  It is one of only eight such bridges remaining in the world.  Built in 1906, the elaborate design was needed in order to allow tall ships to pass up the river to Newport Docks.  Today visitors can cross the river on the suspended gondola or the brave can climb the stairs and cross the high level walkway, a mere 177 feet above the ground.  Enjoy the view.

From the top of the Transporter Bridge, you should be able to spot Tredegar House on the outskirts of the city.  Standing in 90 acres of glorious parkland, the estate was once the home of the aristocratic and somewhat eccentric Morgan family.  Visitors can explore this National Trust property and discover how both the masters and their servants lived and worked.

Newport's history goes back even further.  All the way back to Roman times in fact.  The small town of Caerleon to the north of the city was once the furthest outpost of the Roman Empire and home to hundreds of soldiers.  Today, visitors can explore the remains of the legion's amphitheatre, barracks and baths whilst the National Roman Legion Museum tells the town's story.

Head from Roman times up to the 21st century, and 2010 in particular.  The  eyes of the sporting world focused on Newport when Golf's Ryder Cup was staged at the Celtic Manor Resort.  The tournament put this world class resort firmly in the spotlight and it now boasts 3 world class golf courses including the famous 2010 course which saw Europe triumph in dramatic circumstances.

It's not only the golf that makes a visit to the Celtic Manor worthwhile.  The resort boasts a luxurious 400 room hotel together with fine dining restaurants and spa facilities. 

There's plenty of other accommodation available in the area with high quality accommodation available from the like of Hilton and Holiday Inn whilst for something a little bit different you can stay in a lighthouse overlooking the Severn Estuary.

To download your copy of the Newport 360 visitor guide, please click here

Extreme Sailing Comes to Cardiff

Event - Extreme Sailing & Harbour Festival
Location - Cardiff Bay
Date - 22-25 August 2014
For more information please visit the website
Extreme sailing returns to Cardiff Bay as part of the annual Harbour Festival.

The confines of the bay provide a natural viewing platform for the public to watch the sporting entertainment unfold.  With the boats hitting high speeds, crashes, capsizes and near misses are all common place and add to the excitement of the day.

Back on dry land, the annual Cardiff Bay Harbour Festival will be in full swing. The Cardiff Bay beach will be open as will the ever popular continental market.  There'll also be plenty of live music and fun and games for all the family.

Take a look at the video to see what happened at last year's event.

Marvellous Melee

Cardiff Castle JoustEvent - Grand Medieval Melee
Location - Cardiff Castle

Date - 16th & 17th August 2014

For more information please visit the website
Cardiff Castle is transported back in time as it becomes a medieval village for the weekend.  The bloodthirsty knights will be taking part in brutal brawls and ferocious fights in a series of re-enactments.

As well as battles, there'll be the sights, sounds (and smells!!) of medieval times with plenty of demonstrations and entertainment to keep the whole family happy.

Tickle Your Taste Buds

Cardiff Bay International Food FestivalEvent - Cardiff International Food and Drink Festival
Location - Cardiff Bay

Date - 11th to 13th July 2014
For more information please visit the website

Taking over the Roald Dahl Plass in the centre of Cardiff Bay, the Cardiff International Food and Drink Festival brings a taste of the world to the city.

Stalls, demonstrations, and exhibitions pack in to the plass and surrounding waterfront ready to tempt your taste buds.There will be cheeses, chocolates, liqueurs and much more for you to enjoy. 

Added to that is a full range of entertainment and live music, which all means that the Cardiff International Food and Drink Festival is a great family day out.

The Big One

Big CheeseEvent - The Big Cheese
Location - Caerphilly Castle, Caerphilly
Date - 25th to 27th July 2014
For more information please visit the website

Now, if there's two things that Caerphilly is famous for, it's cheese and the castle.  It is fitting then that their Big Cheese Festival takes place in the fields surrounding the giant fort.

An extravaganza of family entertainment, the Big Cheese is one of Wales' must see attractions which attracts up to 80,000 people from all over the country.

Where else can you hear the whack of sword on shield, see birds of prey soar majestically in the sky and smell and taste the finest local produce?  There's also a packed entertainment programme including musical entertainment, craft stalls, activity marquee and a traditional funfair.

And the best bit...it's free

Speedway Comes to Town

SpeedwayEvent - FIM British Speedway GP 2014
Location - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Date -12th July 2014
Millennium Stadium Website
Speedway Grand Prix Website

For the 14th year in succession, the Millennium Stadium will come alive to the roar of motorbike engines as the FIM British Speedway GP races into the capital city.

The world's top riders will fight it out to be number one in this exciting, adrenaline fuelled event for the whole family.

For those that have never been to speedway the rules are simple. Four riders keep turning left over four laps of an oval track with each race lasting less than a minute.

Seems simple enough. Except that the riders race 500cc, single geared machines with no breaks!

Hold on tight

Pedal Power

Event - Cycling, National Road Race Championships
Location - Abergavenny

Date - 26 - 29 June 2014

Website for further details


This week saw British Cycling unveil the race routes of the 2014 National Road Race and Time Trial Championships.  The event will be based in Abergavenny but the routes of the various races will take in most of the Monmouthshire countryside.

The elite Men's Road Race will see household names battle it out over a tough 183km course.  Sprinter Mark Cavendish will be the defending champion, but the route might be a bit too hilly for him.  Amongst the favourites will be Tour de France champion Chris Froome and Cardiff's Geraint Thomas.

The women's road race will be held over shorter 71km course, but promises to be just as tough.  Olympic silver medallist Lizzie Armitstead will be the clear favourite.

The time trial course, based at Newport's Celtic Manor, is 40km long and is sure to feature 2012 Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins as he goes head to head with the winner of one of the 2013 Giro d'Italia time trial stages, Alex Dowsett. 

The 20km long women's time trial coast will see defending champion Joanna Rowsell attempt to defend her title against the likes of Elinor Barker and Joanna Trott.

The Mash Up

Event - Bridgend Mash Up 2014
Location - Bridgend Town Centre

Date - 17 May 2014
Further Details - www.thebridgendmash.com

The Mash Up essentially mixes (or "mashes") traditional athletics in the streets with contemporary urban street culture.  There are some things that you would expect in a town centre (such as skateboarding, parkour, street dance and even BMX) and there are other things that you would not - pole vaulting, high jump competitions, street sprinting.

'The Mash' is a collision between the contemporary and the traditional, between watching and doing. It's urban, it's sporty and different.

Take a look at what happened in previous a Mash Up


Jazz on the Sands

jazz_poster_s3Event: Jazz on the Sands
Location: Porthcawl
Date: 11-13 April 2014
Website

Brecon Jazz Festival is probably the best known Jazz Festival in Wales but did you know that the seaside town of Porthcawl has a festival of it's own, and it's coming up next month.

The Porthcawl Jazz Festival takes place from 11-13 April and features some well known names from the world of jazz including the Big Chris Barber Band, Davide Logiri and digby Fairweather

It all kicks off on the Friday night with a performance from the Rhondda Symphony Pops Orchestra at the town's Grand Pavilion.  Numerous events will take place at a variety of locations throughout the weekend as well as the headline acts at the Pavilion every evening.

Where better to be than by the seaside relaxing and enjoying some top quality Jazz.

Have you Packed for Wales

Here it is.  The new Visit Wales TV advert. 

Asking "Have you Packed for Wales", the advert features Caernarfon Castle, the new Mountain Biking centre near Merthyr Tydfil and the Wales Coast Path amongst other places.

The full advert and campaign will be launched this Saturday - St David's Day. 

In the meantime, take a look at the advert and let us know what you think.