Places for great photos in South Wales?
April 26, 2011 2:48 AM   Subscribe

Places in South Wales for photo-hungry tourists?

My partner and I will be spending a couple of days in Cardiff. We have a car, and are both photo nerds, and so we are interested in finding some amazing places to feed our lenses. We don't mind travelling for up to an hour or so, but would prefer to stay within Wales.

Suggestions please? Both landscape and architectural suggestions are equally welcome.
posted by Mwongozi to Travel & Transportation around Wales (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Ystradfellte waterfalls
Big Pit
Hawking Centre in Barry
Red Kite centre in the Beacons
St Fagans

I don't live in Wales any more (sob!) but have a very helpful photographer father who can help with specifics, feel free to send a memail.
posted by humph at 3:06 AM on April 26, 2011

Best answer: Caerphilly has a fun castle to walk around, and you'll have loads of opportunities to take pictures. For lunch, you could picnic by the castle, having some of the local cheese with Branston pickle and a loaf of crusty bread.

If it's not too chilly, you could take a drive up to Brecon. There are several trails around the Brecon Beacons, including one up Pen y Fan, the highest mountain in South Wales. It's about a 2-3 hour walk to the top, but on a clear day the pictures you'll take from the peak will be memorable.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:07 AM on April 26, 2011

St Fagans is a national heritage park. Historic buildings from various parts of Wales have either been moved to the park or had copies built using the appropriate materials and technologies. So they have everything from an Iron Age village and a (pre-Cromwell, therefore colourfully decorated) Normal style church, with various other buildings or settlements covering Welsh history up to the 1980s or thereabouts. Have a look at the website to see what days the blacksmith, cooper, flint knappers, etc. will be working. Some nice woods and a few styles of landscaped garden to wander around in too. You'll spend most of your time outdoors so it needs good weather, but there's a great range of architecture and scenery to play with.

If you do go to St Fagans, consider popping up the road to Pentyrch, to see St Catwg's Church. Nothing too special on the inside, but it's a pretty church in a nice setting. The spire was designed by the architect who later designed a lot of the current structure of Llandaf Cathedral, and is recognisably the same style and quality. (Llandaf Cathedral is pretty good too, but its surroundings aren't great and if you've been in Anglican cathedrals before then the inside is nothing particularly special).

Cardiff Bay has some nice architecture that might be worth a look. The Millennium Centre (opera house), national assembly building and Norwegian Church are particularly good, and all free entry IIRC.

Castell Coch is small but pretty spectacular. It looks good from a distance too, poking out of the tree line on the side of the hill. It was built as a spectacle rather than a working castle, so there's not a great deal of history there. I agree with Blazecock Pileon that Caerphilly castle is well worth visiting if you want to see a "real" one.

Caerleon is a bit of a trek, but fantastic for Roman history if you're interested. The ampitheatre has survived quite well. The local roman history museum is excellent, and occasionally hold events in the ampitheatre over the summer.

Cosmeston Lakes is a large nature reserve (actually a SSSI), which is worth a visit. The area immediately around the lakes gets pretty busy on non-school days when the weather is good, but if you wonder deeper into the park -- into the woodland or over the marsh -- you can get away pretty easily. Next to the main park there's another rebuilt iron age village. It's good but expensive to get in, so if you're going to St Fagans I wouldn't bother with this one.

Nearby, the sea front at Porthcawl can be quite dramatic if the tide is in and the wind is getting up. I think it's a nice looking town but from your profile I assume you're British so it's nothing you haven't seen before.

Some of the clifftop paths running along the coast are pretty good, giving some good cliffs and nice views over the water. Gileston to Llantwit Major to St Donats is a nice one. If you're feeling energetic, keep going to the beach at Ogmore, which is a huge, flat sandy beach that could make for some nice photos.
posted by metaBugs at 3:48 AM on April 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

Snowdonia National Park!!! It is full of beautiful mountains, changing clouds that cast shadows on the mountains, and beautiful views. You can take a bus tour for one euro. It is where they train the rescue dogs in Wales and is a gorgeous place.
posted by shortyJBot at 4:33 AM on April 26, 2011

This page has some suggestions of places to visit in the South Wales valleys under the heading of 'industrial heritage'. One in particular that could make for some striking pictures is the 'Guardian' memorial at Six Bells.
posted by misteraitch at 4:45 AM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Gower Peninsula outside of Swansea. Especially Three Cliffs Bay.
posted by nestor_makhno at 4:53 AM on April 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

It is well-touristed, but Tintern Abbey (and surrounding area) are undeniably beautiful.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:33 AM on April 26, 2011

Pembrokeshire Coast
posted by adamvasco at 8:23 AM on April 26, 2011

Get thee to the Gower. Cardiff to Swansea is your hour's drive: Neath Abbey and Oystermouth Castle in the Mumbles provide some mediaeval architecture; misteraich's link is great for the industrial heritage, which is no less photogenic.
posted by holgate at 9:58 AM on April 26, 2011

Someone I know goes to Wales and takes the most amazing photos of RAF planes from above as they fly nap-of-the-earth through the moutain passes. I will try to figure out where he stays.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:52 PM on April 26, 2011

Response by poster: I best-ed the places we actually went, but I want to thank everyone for their advice!
posted by Mwongozi at 2:19 PM on April 30, 2011

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