Wales

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WALES – WHY GO?

For a small country, Wales packs a great deal of punch. 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.

MUST SEE, MUST DO

North Wales
Snowdonia National Park, laced with over 100 lakes and almost as many peaks, is simply stunning. 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. There’s also Italianate Portmeirion, the Isle of Anglesey, and the cultural capital Llangollen.

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 and admire the views from the Brecon Beacons’ highest point at Pen-y-fan. If it's rainy, head to the UK’s book capital Hay-on-Wye to spend hours leafing through labyrinthine bookshops.

South and East Wales
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. 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. Head west for the Gower Peninsula, linger in Laugharne to visit Welsh bard Dylan Thomas’s boathouse, or mooch around seaside Mumbles.  

West Wales
Come to the rugged coast of west Wales for wonderful clean beaches, ribboning coastal paths and technicolour sunsets. Head off on the Pembrokeshire coast national park trails, go kayaking or kite surfing on over 50 pristine beaches, or seal and dolphin spotting around the waters of Caldey Island. Explore Tenby’s wiggly small streets and expanse of golden sand. St David’s also has its atmospheric cathedral.

MAKE A DATE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WALES ROMANCE

Buy your sweetheart a traditional Welsh wooden love spoon and watch the sun set over the Gower’s Worm’s Head.

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