Visit Wales and you cannot help but be endlessly surprised by its physical beauty.
For those who like to get out and about, a Welsh holiday could pack in sublime mountain ranges, lush green valleys, ragged coastline walks, delightful old-fashioned market towns and plenty of romantic ruins and evocative castles.
The Welsh capital, Cardiff, is a shopper’s delight. Architectural fans will love the National Assembly, which sits prettily amidst the massively successful regeneration projects of Cardiff Bay.
The city is also home to some excellent museums, including the time-travelling Dr Who Experience, and the impressive Millennium Stadium, which serves equally well as the home of thrilling sporting events and glamorous gigs.
Heritage and History
Much of the appeal of Wales, however, lies outside its thoroughly modern capital.
History is a living presence in the Welsh towns, villages and countryside. Castles literally litter the lush hills and valleys: there is everything from the minimal stone keeps that the early Welsh royalty built to the splendid 13th century fortifications of the English usurpers that can still be found at Conwy, Beaumaris, Caernarfon and Harlech.
Many such defensive piles were later converted into stately piles and now stand as testament to an age of unabashed luxury. Other castles, however, slipped into romantic ruin and now sit isolated on rocky outcrops ravaged by the attention of their ever-encroaching natural surroundings.
The echoes of Welsh history resound back deep in time: prehistoric communities have left their mark in the passage graves and stone circles that can be visited. These bear witness to an age when the priestly Druids held temporal and spiritual sway over the Welsh Celts.
Natural beauty provides the perfect backdrop to your Welsh holiday, but it is a backdrop that constantly changes as the infinite variety of Welsh landscapes unfold as you travel.
Wales offers you everything from the lush greens of the lowland meadows and the serene beauty of the river valleys to the rather more austere and foreboding landscapes of the moors and mountains.
In the midst of it all the Cambrian Mountains culminate in the epic, soaring peaks of Snowdonia: a walker’s challenge if ever there was one. The peaks and troughs of the Brecon Beacons also provide the Sunday stroller, reluctant rambler and hard core hiker with plenty to enjoy too.
If coastal views are your thing then Pembrokeshire’s golden beaches are dramatically separated by rocky bluffs and close to offshore bird colonies. Indeed, the Welsh coast is still wonderfully unspoilt and surprisingly uncrowded. It is not unusual to find yourself alone on a long sweep of sand, although, should you need the company, there are also plenty of traditional British seaside resorts with all the fun of the fair to enjoy.
Castles, stately homes, beaches, mountains, hiking, outdoor sports, rugby: Wales cries out to be explored.
Where will you start your exploration?