On a recent family trip to Bath, England, my husband, two children and I decided to drive an hour into Wales to take in some of the country’s rich history. Caerphilly Castle and Tintern Abbey, located about 45 minutes from one another in South Wales, provided both a wealth of history for us and exploring opportunities for our young children. When planning a trip to Wales or southwest England, Caerphilly Castle and Tintern Abbey should top the list of attractions travelers won’t want to miss.

Caerphilly Castle

Located in Caerphilly and near the capitol of Cardiff, Caerphilly Castle is a castle ruin surrounded by a moat in the city centre. It’s location in the city makes in ideal for a morning or afternoon trip, topped off by shopping or a cup of tea in town. Parking is located in town, and within easy walking distance of the castle. A defensive castle, Caerphilly Castle has three exterior walls and drawbridges. It is possible for travelers to climb up onto one of the walls and walk around, viewing Caerphilly and the moats below. The highlight of Caerphilly Castle is a leaning tower that travelers can approach and explore. The grounds inside were ideal for my children to walk around and explore, and we were able to spend as much as an hour walking around, reading about the history of this fortress, and taking pictures. Then, it’s convenient location to the town made it possible to pop into town for a walk, shopping, and something to eat.

Tintern Abbey


Tintern Abbey was the second stop on our day trip to South Wales. Located about 45 minutes away, Tintern Abbey was an impressive structure even on the drive down into the valley where it is found. A nearby pub and shop allow travelers to grab a bite to eat, an ice cream cone, or postcards before they depart. Tintern Abbey’s structure rivals other Cistercian Abbey’s such as Fountain’s Abbey in North Yorkshire. Climb the stairs and look out into the courtyard, or stand in the center of the abbey and imagine what the massive windows must have been like when they were filled with stained glass. The columns inside the abbey are amazing, and on a sunny day, the shadows that they make are incredible for photographers to take advantage of. The ruin of Tintern Abbey is definitely one that travelers won’t want to miss. In addition, if you are traveling with children, there is plenty of room inside the abbey for them to run around, as well as some short walls ideal for balancing (holding Mom and Dad’s hands, of course!).

Travelers to southwest England or Wales should definitely consider Tintern Abbey and Caerphilly Castle. The two are conveniently located, making them ideal for a day trip. In addition, both show insight into the rich history that Wales has to offer.

More history about and information on visiting Caerphilly Castle and Tintern Abbey can be found at the CADW website, http://www.cadw.wales.gov.uk .