DESTINATION GUIDE TO WALES
Wales is a small country with a big personality. Invaded and inhabited by England throughout history, Wales has kept a firm hold of its national identity.Traditionally Wales is renowned for stunning natural landscapes, medieval fortresses and an ancient celtic language, however, with the emergence of Cardiff as "Europe's youngest capital" this small and traditional country nowoffers a contemporary twist. One thing is for sure, with the vast majority of its visitors coming from within the UK, as a destination Wales remains an undiscovered treasure for the overseas visitor.
An ancient language of celtic origin, Welsh is, in parts, still widely spoken today. When speaking English, it is usually with a distinct melodic lilt instantly recognisable to other Brits. Known as the "Land of Song" it is little wonder that Wales is passionate about music; indeed Wales' world-famous male-voice choirs and hypnotising harpists (the harp being the national instrument), can be heard at the cultural "Eisteddfod" festivals where music is celebrated nationally.
Certainly Wales provides a disproportionate number of singers to the world stage including icons such as Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey. Loud and Proud is how the welsh sing their national anthem at rugby matches; rugby is considered the national sport and is supported fiercely across the nation. In fact, the Welsh are unashamedly nationalistic and proud of their heritage and thus are enduringly welcoming to visitors to their small country; you will experience no greater hospitality, than in Wales.
PLACES TO EXPLORE
- Cardiff, one of Europe's youngest capitals
- Snowdonia National Park
- St David's, namesake of the Welsh Patron Saint
- Brecon Beacons National Park
- A vast array of castles and medieval fortresses
- Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
Natural beauty pervades all areas of this tiny country with vast areas protected as National Parks. Two thirds of Wales' modest population (of 3 million) live in the South, whilst the north remains largely untouched and there is no finer example of this than on the Llyn Peninsula, with its far-reaching sandy bays and lush green fields, more than 80% of the land here is considered to be of outstanding natural beauty. Also in the north is the tallest mountain in England and Wales, Snowdonia offers a glorious combination of barren peaks, deep river valleys and thick forests. Mid-Wales offers less dramatic but equally enigmatic landscapes in the sweeping moorlands of the Brecon Beacons National Park, whilst in the south the deepValleys of Glamorgan offer lush grazing lands for the sheep which reputedly outnumber humans 10 to 1 in Wales. Providing some of Britain's most spectacular coastline, the south West of Wales is home to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Renowned for its hundreds of miles of dramatic cliffs and coves, Pembrokeshire is a tranquil haven for those who appreciate the great outdoors.
Cardiff Castle, Cardiff, Wales
As a small nation, Wales has relatively few centres of population. Europe's youngest capital city (since just 1955) Cardiff is undoubtedly the hub of contemporary Welsh culture, commerce and politics. However its modern reputation belies a long history and a cityscape dappled with historic architecture making it an absolute "must" for any visitor to Wales. Wales' other 4 cities include, Newport (home of 2010's Ryder Cup) and Swansea both in the south whilst in the north you'll find just one city; historic Bangor where roughly half the population are still welsh speaking. Not to mention St Davids, namesake of the Welsh Patron Saint, this tiny village in Pembrokeshire was granted city status by Queen Elizabeth II due to its glorious cathedral. Beyond Wales' cities lies a host of lesser known gems; medieval market towns, remote rural communities, tiny fishing villages, glorious seaside resorts, monastic ruins and Britain's most exquisite surviving historic castles.
To hear the sing-song of the Welsh language, to uncover an ancient celtic culture, to travel from the peaks of Snowdonia to the Cliffs of Pembroke to the galleries of Cardiff, touring Wales is the ultimate journey of discovery.
Our guides to the places and regions of Wales.
The north of Wales reaches from the city of Chester in the East to the tip of the Llyn Peninsula in the West. With unbridled natural beauty, and a feast of historic and cultural landmarks, north of Wales is an ideal destination for an authentic Wales vacation experience.
With traditional Welsh townships, some of the nation's cultural highlights and tranquil natural beauty, mid Wales is more than a stop-over between the north and south on any Wales tour. Culturally, this region remains true to Wales with more than half of the population still speaking the Welsh mother-tongue.
South East Wales
To experience a true taste of what has shaped Welsh culture throughout history, the South East of Wales is an integral part of any Wales tour. The South East of Wales is a cultural pallet made up of the spectacular contrasting colours of Welsh heritage where ancient sites and industrial heritage rub shoulders.
South West Wales
A tour of Wales is incomplete without discovering the untouched coastlines of Pembrokeshire and hidden gems of the South West of this tiny nation. The South West of Wales comes alive in the summer season and is home to a host of hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
Effortlessly combining old and new and with a fiercely patriotic people, Cardiff makes a proud and fitting capital city for the ancient land of Wales. This Victorian glory period of the city has left some marvelous and intriguing souvenirs of Cardiff's industrial heritage and the vast wealth that came with it.
For a unique Welsh experience, don't miss a visit to Cardiff Castle during your stay in the Welsh capital. As one of Wales' most popular visitor attractions, Cardiff Castle is the centre-piece of the Welsh capital city, home to Roman and Norman heritage not to mention a gloriously opulent mock Tudor mansion.
Comprising the nations of England, Scotland and Wales, Great Britain is a land of rich history, diverse cultures and glorious vistas just waiting to be discovered. Together these three countries and their peoples combine to create an unforgettable visitor destination which should be experienced at least once in a lifetime.
Whether it's iconic sites and historic landmarks, the pomp and pageantry of English tradition, the modern world of politics, culture and sport or simply to soak up the sights and sounds of a city with a life of its own, to experience London is to experience every aspect of English life and will make a highlight for any trip to England.
tours of Wales
tours of Wales
tours of Wales
tours of Wales
Still not sure? Our Tour Finder can help you out.