Wales’ rich history leaves a landscape dotted with architectural gems that survive to this day, and its rugged landscape makes it a favourite destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
You can visit the many castles in northern Wales. Caernarfon Castle became witness to a long history of conflict, sacked several times during the Welsh rebellions against the English. Caernarfon Castle was also the site of the investiture of Prince Charles, who currently holds the title of Prince of Wales.
Caernarfon Castle is grouped with Conwy Castle, Harlech Castle, and Beaumaris Castle as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has two towered gates and seven octagonal towers, each tower connected by a curtain wall.
Cardiff Castle is situated within beautiful parkland and was originally a Roman fort, expanded by rulers through the centuries.
You can see the Gower Peninsula, designated as the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty back in 1956, and remains breathtaking to this day.
Head to Llanelli, once the world’s centre of tinplate production, home to the Llanelly Steel Works (later Duport), established in 1898 and which closed its doors in 1981 following nationalisation and changing owners. It is now part of a nature reserve and the starting point of the incredible Millennium Coastal Path that cuts through the Millennium Coastal Park.
Within the park is Pembrey Forest, a fascinating combination of predominantly Corsican pine forest and sand dunes. You might also stumble upon bunkers, as the area used to be an ordnance factory (a factory that makes military weapons and ammunition). It is home to many wildlife, including several species of butterfly. You can spot flora and fauna, go on a picnic, or head back into the sun. As this forest is by the sea, you’re also never too far from the beach!
More than half (52%) of Wales’ Snowdonia National Park or Eryri (“highlands”) in the western coast is covered by mountain ranges. In total, the park covers more than 2,000 square kilometres of diverse landscapes and beautiful scenery, perfect for those seeking an idyllic escape.
The oldest and largest of the three national parks in Wales, Snowdonia is home to Mt Snowdon, the highest peak in the British Isles outside of Scotland, standing at 1,085 metres; Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake, “Lake of Serenity”), the largest natural lake in Wales; as well as tens of thousands of residents who live within the park in beautiful villages.
Snowdon’s summit can be reached by riding the Snowdon Mountain Railway from the station in Llanberis. Travellers have been going to Llanberis since 1896 to experience this railway journey. A return ticket allows you 30 minutes at the summit to enjoy the views. Trains run to the summit beginning in May; between mid-March and May, the train would only take you as far as Clogwyn. From Clogwyn, it is an hour’s walk to the top.