Its Celtic heritage, stunning landscapes, vivid coastal towns and fascinating castles make Wales an exciting and memorable place to visit.
The beautiful Welsh coastline is mostly mountainous, with its highest peaks located in the North and Central areas. Getting to the summit of Wales’ largest peak, Mount Snowdon has a high payoff, with spectacular views from every angle.
Soaking up the wonderful Welsh scenery is not complete until a visit has been paid to Snowdonia National Park, the third largest in Great Britain. The park is home to rare mammals such as otters, polecats, goats and birds including ravens, merlin, and the red kite.
Unforgettable hikes in the Brecon Beacons National Park, as well as hill walking, gorge-walking, climbing, caving, mountain biking and horse riding are all great ways of exploring Wales’ green mountainous coastlines.
Just a short distance from Swansea is The Gower Peninsula, an area famed for its immense natural beauty – so much so that it was the first area in the UK to be designated a protected area back in 1956. The Gower Peninsula is a varied landscape that includes wild moors, towering cliffs, and sandy beaches.
Moving away from nature and into urban environments, Conwy, a walled market town is home to an imposing Welsh castle that dates back to the early 13th century. The quaint town is featured in the Guinness Book of Records for having the smallest house in Great Britain, with dimensions of 3.05 metres x 1.8 metres.
Cardiff, Wales’ lively capital city is home to renowned attractions such as the Millennium Stadium and the regenerated Cardiff Bay, a metropolitan area filled with restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops.
To enjoy the main Welsh sites and luscious landscape you can stay in a choice of traditional mid-class hotels. Those located in big cities have modern décor and facilities; whereas those found in rural areas tend to be smaller and more traditional in style, with a charming and friendly feel.
Conway Castle served as a medieval fortification from its construction at the end of the 1200s, and played a major role in several wars – even serving as a temporary haven for King Richard II. Visitors can wander through the atmospheric roofless shell of the castle, and view the breathtaking Snowdonia Mountains from atop the battlements.
Visitors can walk along the lofty castle walls and climb to the top of the towers where they can gaze across the sea. Below the twin-towered gatehouse is an exhibition detailing the history of the castle. Famously, the Investiture of the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VIII took place at the castle in 1911, and more recently in 1969 for the current Prince of Wales, Prince Charles. In addition, the Regimental Museum of the Royal Welch Fusiliers is housed within the castle for visitors wishing to find out about Wales’ oldest regiment.
Visitors can journey on the Snowdon Mountain Railway to the peak of Mount Snowdon, known as the rooftop of Wales, which at 1085m high dominates the landscape of Snowdonia National Park and provides thrilling views of the landscape below. The 74 seat locomotives take 1 hour to reach the summit.
Apart from being known as the smallest town in Great Britain, St David’s is also known for the fact that a church has stood at the site of St David’s Cathedral since the 6th Century, making it a hugely popular pilgrimage destination. The Cathedral honours the founder of the monastic community, Saint David, Abbot of Menevia, who died in 589. Visitors can explore the main cathedral, as well as The Treasury, which tells the story of Christian worship.
Named after the village where it is located, St Fagans National History Museum is an open air museum, which chronicles the history, lifestyle, and culture of the Welsh people. The museum was set up in 1946 and with the exception of its name remains remarkably unchanged.
The National Museum of Wales was founded in 1905 and granted a royal charter in 1907. The Museum houses art, geology, and natural history collections. Notable works on display include 20th and 21st Century paintings by L.S. Lowry, Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon and Jacob Epstein.
The largest castle in Britain was built between 1268 - 1290 by Gilbert de Clare as part of his plan to conquer Glamorgan. Famed for being the first castle in Britain to introduce concentric castle defences, Caerphilly was built on a central island surrounded by several artificial lakes and moats.
The castle originally formed the medieval heart of Cardiff, and still does today from its location in the city centre. Visitors can go on 50-minute expert-led tours around the castle’s most opulent rooms which include The Roof Top Garden, Lord Bute’s Bedroom and the Winter Smoking Room.
Built in 1295 as part of King Edward I’s chain of fortresses across the north of Wales, the castle was owned by the Myddelton family from 1593 to 2004. Today, visitors can explore the Myddelton’s elegant family home and wander round the 5.5 acre garden and parklands beyond.
Now a museum, Plas Newydd was once the home of the ‘Ladies of Llangollen’, Lady Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby. The two upper-class Irish women left their family homes and moved to Plas Newydd in Wales, where they remained happily for 50 years. At the time their relationship scandalised the nation and created much fanfare around the world.
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