The smallest of mainland Britain’s component countries, Wales offers many wonderful reasons to visit. The south includes cosmopolitan Cardiff, a good base from which to begin exploring the rest of the country. With its splendid castle, arcades, and historic buildings, it’s a city with plenty of places to visit and things to do. When you’re ready to venture further afield, you’ll find an abundance of attractions, including more than 400 castles and fortifications, gardens, breathtaking scenery, and heritage railways. However you decide to spend your time in Wales, rest assured you’re in good hands; the Welsh are some of the most interesting, easygoing people you’ll find anywhere.
Think of Wales, and you’ll likely think of Snowdonia, the beautiful range of mountains and hills located in the county of Gwynedd. Consisting of 14 majestic peaks over 3,000 feet high , the summit of which is accessible by train – Snowdonia can be seen as far away as Porthmadog on the west coast. When you’re here, it’s easy to see why the area has featured so heavily in local legends, including those based around King Arthur, who locals will insist was Welsh. Snowdonia National Park is also one of the most popular hiking and climbing destinations in Britain, and extends from the coast all the way to Bala Lake.
Located 12 miles from the seaside town of Aberystwyth, Devil’s Bridge is actually three bridges spectacularly stacked atop each other, with the oldest dating from the 11th century and the newest built in 1901. They span the Rheidol Gorge, where the River Mynach plunges 300 feet into the valley far below. Follow the Falls Nature Trail to the bottom. It’s a bit of a climb back up – especially those steep, slippery steps of Jacob’s Ladder, the segment leading to the oldest bridge – but the views are incredible.
Built by King Edward I in the 13th century as a seat for the first Prince of Wales, Caernarfon Castle is one of the largest castles in the country. With its 13 towers and two gates, this massive castle is recognized as one of the most impressive and best-preserved medieval fortresses in Europe. Occupying the site of an even older Norman castle, Caernarfon Castle dominates the waters of the River Seiont and the Menai Strait on one side and is protected by a moat on the other.
Its royal heritage continues to this day, and in 1969, it was the scene of Prince Charles’s investiture as Prince of Wales.
A typically traditional Welsh breakfast consists of bacon, eggs, laverbread and cockles. Welsh tea, traditionally a late afternoon ritual, would consist of bara brith, ‘speckled bread’, a sweet fruit bread and Welsh cakes. Welsh rarebit is a luscious traditional supper.