Croeso i Gymru. For a small country, Wales packs in a great deal of punch. There’s the Welsh language for a start – even if you never manage to twist your tongue around all those consonants. Wales comes with jagged mountains, olde-time seaside towns and castles dating back to the 12th century. There’s Rugby Union, male voice choirs, steep-sided valleys and over 750 miles of coastline.

From the snowy peaks of Snowdonia to happening Cardiff Bay, there’s something here for everyone. Admire the valleys aboard a steam train, bunker down in a cosy pub or try any number of rugged adventure sports.

Whether you hanker after a stay in a mountainside hotel in scenic North Wales or an intimate inn in Pembrokeshire, there are heaps of wonderful places to stay. Just plan a getaway in the Land of My Fathers.


For seclusion and jaw-dropping scenery, North Wales is a stunner. The Snowdonia National Park is laced with over 100 lakes and almost as many peaks, not to mention spectacular car-free mountain trails and more waterfalls than you could count. Just take the narrow-gauge Snowdon railway for the easy way up.

The impressive castles of Conwy, Caernarfon and Harlech guard a coastline dotted with Victorian resorts like Barmouth, Rhyl and Llandudno, and the sweeping beaches of Tywyn and Porthor. There’s Italianate Portmeirion – showpiece village of architect Clough Williams Ellis – the watersports mecca of Isle of Anglesey, and the cultural capital Llangollen, whose yearly Musical Eisteddfod celebrates everything Welsh. Other must-sees include beautiful Bodnant Gardens and the Swallow Falls at Betwys-y-Coed.


For cosy inns and year-round outdoor activities, head to mountainous Mid Wales. With the Brecon Beacons on one side and the Berwyn Mountains on the other, there’s plenty of Wow factor here. Have a picnic on the banks of Lake Vyrnwy, marvel at the spring bluebells of Irfon Valley and admire the views from the Brecon Beacons’ highest point at Pen-y-fan. Alternatively head to the Beacons’ southern rim whose craggy hills are ribboned with waterfalls.

If books are your thing, a trip to Hay-on-Wye should be on the cards: you can spend hours leafing through labyrinthine bookshops in the UK’s book capital. Wax lyrical to your darling at the Hay Festival of Literature or reduce him or her to helpless giggles by wading into the World Bog Snorkelling Championship at Llanwrtyd Wells in July.


South Wales has long since thrown off its old coal-and-collieries image and now preens in bright new feathers.

Vibrant Cardiff Bay has seen a transformation of the city’s old docks into trendy waterfront shops and restaurants, set off by the iconic Wales Millennium Centre.
After a morning’s shopping  in town, get a free pedi-cab to whizz you down to the Bay. See how many Doctor Who and Torchwood sets you can spot: both TV shows are filmed here.

Get away from it all with a picnic and a rowing boat at Roath park, or gawp at the gold-leaf interiors of Cardiff Castle. Try and catch a rugby international at the Millennium Stadium (match days in Cardiff are festivals in their own right) or head a few miles west to see the fairytale turrets of Castell Coch. Eat icecreams on the breezy promenade at Penarth or cosy up in a pretty pub in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Head west and you’re on course for the Gower Peninsula, where the Worm’s Head peninsula brags the world’s eighth most photographed sunset. This is the place for watersports, secluded cove picnics and clifftop sunsets. Linger in Laugharne to visit Welsh bard Dylan Thomas’s boathouse, or mooch around seaside Mumbles.  

Find time to visit Abergavenny (pick up bag of Welsh cakes from the town’s market), wander around Monmouth and wind your way along the lovely Wye Valley with its ruins of Tintern Abbey. 


The rugged coast of west Wales has the best of all worlds: wonderful clean beaches, ribboning coastal paths and technicolour sunsets. For appetite-building cliffside walks, head off on the Pembrokeshire coast national park trails – if the going gets tough, you can just hail one of the regular coastal buses to ferry you back to base.

Go kayaking or kite surfing on over 50 pristine beaches, or seal and dolphin spotting around the waters of Caldey Island, home to an order of Cistercian monks.  Tenby has everything you could want of a lively resort town – wiggly small streets, plenty of pubs and an expanse of golden sand. St David’s has its atmospheric cathedral while Pembroke has its medieval walls and castle.

If you’d rather climb a mountain on somebody else’s steam get a seat on the narrow-gauge Rheidol Valley railway, chugging through 11 scenic miles of mountain and coast  between Aberystwyth and Devil’s Bridge.  Call into Cardigan, with its old-fashioned shopfronts and market, or explore the little Georgian port of Aberaeron, where a tug-of-war takes place across the harbour each summer (the losers get wet).  


•    Love spoons
•    Welsh gold
•    Daffodils
•    A cuddly Welsh dragon
    Patriotic rugby shirt


•    Read: Dylan Thomas, Under Milk Wood
•    Listen: Tom Jones, Dame Shirley Bassey, Manic Street Preachers, Stereophonics.
    Watch: Twin Town, Doctor Who, Torchwood.


    Bara brith (fruit bread)
•    Welsh cakes
•    Laverbread (aka Welsh seaweed)
•    Lamb
•    Welsh rarebit (aka cheese on toast)
    Brains Beer
    Joe’s ice-cream


The Saundersfoot Plunge – Pembrokeshire
Take a deep breath and join the locals for a very chilly swim.

Six Nations Championship
Rugby matches are passion distilled in Wales: if there’s a match on while you’re here,
get tickets. 

St David’s Day
Daffodils, leeks, costume dress and dancing – all in honour of Wales’ patron saint.

Cleddau Waterway Festival – Pembrokeshire
Live it up on the Milford Haven waterway with sea shanty evenings and carnival.

The Guardian Hay Festival
Rub shoulders with musicians, comedians, authors, politicians and bookworms at the famous Hay Festival.

Swansea Bay Summer Festival
The festival season starts in May with music, art and heritage events.

Pembrokeshire Fish Week
Feed each other oysters by the harbour at this shamelessly fishy festival.

Cardiff Festival
For fairgrounds, food and drink and celebrations around the Bay, this event has it all.

World Bog Snorkelling Championship – Llanwrtyd Wells
Laugh at the loons up to their ears in mud.

The Big Cheese - Caerphilly
Head to the shadows of one of Europe’s largest castles for minstrels, dancing, fire eating, a funfair and more.

National Eisteddfod
Watch music, recitals and dancing at this big, famously Welsh-speaking festival.

Grocers, Gurus and Gourmets - Abergavenny
Nibble your way through Welsh specialities at this delicious food festival.

Llangollen food festival
Benefit from local produce and expertise at this North Wales food festival.

Dylan Thomas Festival
Celebrate everything about Swansea’s favourite son with plays and poetry staged between his birth and death dates.

Winter Wonderland - Cardiff
Skate hand in hand on the open-air ice rink and finish off with some mulled wine.


•    Watch the sun set over the Gower’s Worm’s Head
•    Admire snow-topped peaks from the top of Snowdonia
    Have a picnic in a secluded south Pembrokeshire cove
    Gallop off into the sunset in Ceredigion
•    Watch dolphins bounce through the water in Pembrokeshire
    Row on Cardiff’s Roath Park then melt under a tree with an ice-cream
    Get rings made of rare Welsh gold.


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