Wales is a great place for family holidays, full of activities and adventures.
As soon as you reach the Welsh border and see the sign “Croeso I Gymru” you realise you are entering another country. Wales is an old land, a place of legends and dragons, of castles and princes. The countryside is full of mystery and surprise, while its cities are modern, cosmopolitan centres, brimming with entertainment.
No matter what type of holiday experience you are looking for it’s guaranteed Wales can provide it. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the wide open spaces, surfing in West Wales, hang gliding in the Brecon Beacons or mountaineering in Snowdonia. The torrential white water canoe runs in North Wales and underground exploration at the Dan y Ogof caves near Swansea.
For historic sites Wales excels, there are more castles per capita than any other country in Europe, with the largest Norman Keep at Caerphilly, the beautiful fairy tale folly, Castle Coch outside Cardiff and the grand majesty of Caernarfon Castle. The ancient roots of the country are also preserved with the largest Roman amphitheatre outside Italy to be found at Caerleon and the recreated hill fort of Henllys in Pembrokeshire. Many old examples of Welsh domestic life are wonderfully presented in the St Fagan’s Museum in Cardiff, while little treasures like the coracle museum at Cenarth Falls and the narrow gauge railway at Blaenau Festiniog are definitely worth a visit.
Cardiff and Swansea are both entertainment hubs, packed with bars, pubs and world cuisine, from Dirty Dots Chip Bar in Cardiff’s Caroline Street to the gastronomic delights of the Walnut Tree in Abergavenny. Welsh dishes are also widely available. Rarebit, lava bread, bara brith and a pint of Brains SA all there to temp your taste buds. Those whose tastes extend to the exotic can sample Thai, Japanese, Mexican and French along with some excellent examples of the ubiquitous Italian, Indian and Chinese establishments.
If you want nothing more than peace and quiet, take a gentle boat cruise along the Monmouthshire canal. Travel through the now tranquil landscape that gave birth to the Industrial Revolution, Big Pit Museum and the World Heritage site at Blaenavon. There are the remains of the watermill at Aberdulais Falls, painted by Turner and the spectacular Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Clwyd.
Wales’ religious sites are also well represented; with St David’s Monastery, Tintern Abbey and Strata Florida fine examples of secular tourism. From the austere tabernacles of the Valleys Baptists to the historic cathedrals around the country and the perfect calm of the Bardsey Island monks, where Wales spiritual well being is kept in tact.
The cultural events of the Eisteddfod at Llangollen, Brecon Jazz festival and the Cardiff Singer of the World competition are well known internationally, as is Ross-on-Wye, the little market town in Mid Wales famous for its bookshops and literary festival. Sporting aficionados cannot help but be moved by the power and passion of a rugby match when watched in the Millennium Stadium or the pageantry at the crowning of the Bard at the Urdd arts and culture festival.
Wales isn’t a place that time forgot; it is magnificently preserved and remembered, packaged beautifully in rolling hills, craggy mountains and verdant forests. Perfectly left for you to discover and enjoy.