A region that has got enough for everyone

The mini jacuzzi at the Celtic Manor Resort's Forum spa.
The mini jacuzzi at the Celtic Manor Resort's Forum spa.
The Black Swan Hotel

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Wales is arguably best known for place names that are almost impossible to pronounce, rugby and that annoying chap from the Go Compare adverts.

But a quick trip up the A34 and the M4 from Portsmouth brings a wealth of riches perfect for a long weekend getaway.

Yes, it’s true you have to pay to get in (£6.70 for a car), but it’s well worth the entry fee.

Once over the Severn Bridge the next stop is Newport and its plush Celtic Manor Resort.

It hosted the 2010 Ryder Cup and its golf courses are award-winning, attracting the likes of celebrity golfers such as Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas to try out the fairways.

It’s also a hugely popular venue for weddings and conferences, and the hotel itself is five-star accommodation.

But one of the best things about it is the resort’s two spas – the Ocius spa, near the resort’s lodge, and the Forum, which is within the hotel itself.

The Forum Spa won a clutch of awards in 2013 for excellence and it is easy to see how.

Staff there are polite, helpful and knowledgeable.

Everything is designed for relaxation from the moment you swap your outdoor clothes for a spa robe.

Each changing room has its own mini-spa with steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi and plunge pool, and then there is a larger communal spa area.

The treatment waiting room has views overlooking the Usk valley, which is spectacular even on a grey January day and when the sun shines it is almost impossible not to bask in the rays streaming through the windows while reclining on the loungers under a fluffy blanket.

My companion and I had two treatments, either side of lunch. First we had the Forum Signature Massage, a deeply relaxing Swedish massage, personalised to target particular areas of tension.

Then we were treated to the Elemis Modern Skin Facial, which was one of the best I’ve had, and includes a scalp massage and tailored products for the client.

Cardiff, the Welsh capital, is only 20 minutes further on down the M4.

It has a vibrant nightlife and regularly attracts big name bands and comedians to venues including the Motorpoint Arena and the Millennium Stadium.

Investment has been heavy during the past decade, not least at the plush St David’s Two shopping centre, making it ideal as a shopping destination plus entertainment hub.

As well as there being a good chance of bumping into Doctor Who (which is filmed in Cardiff), the city is also full of museums and galleries.

Highlights include the National History Museum. Wherever there was a historically important building in Wales, whether a working men’s club, church, chapel or even a row of terraced houses, they would be painstakingly taken down, brick by brick, and then rebuilt on land at St Fagans, to the north and west of the city.

It’s free to go to, and hugely impressive not just because of the range of buildings, but the painstaking care taken in preserving them.

South Wales is a treasure trove of views, walks and climbs and there is something for everyone to experience during a long weekend there, regardless of age and fitness.

To find out exactly what’s available, go to see visitwales.com

Spa breaks at the Celtic Manor Resort start from £99 per person, which includes a two-course buffet dinner, Welsh breakfast, use of the Forum health club and spa, and one night’s accommodation.

A Forum signature massage costs from £55 for 50 minutes of relaxation, and an Elemis Modern Skin Facial costs from £52 per person.

For more information about the resort, prices, and the range of spa experience breaks on offer, see celtic-manor.com