Welcome to Wales
If you haven’t already guessed, I’m from Wales. For those of you that aren’t 100% sure Wales is part of the United Kingdom, not part of England! Believe me when I say that if you ask a Welsh person if they’re from England you will get a ‘look’. Most people who visit the UK tend to head for London and Scotland. That’s fine, but I still feel like Wales is cruelly overlooked. So in this article I’m going to give you some of my reasons why everyone should make sure they include Wales in their itinerary.
1. The Language
Let’s start with the Welsh language. Both Scotland and Ireland both have their own native language, Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic. But Welsh, is something else, and it’s still very widely spoken in many parts of Wales.
The Welsh language is also absolutely crazy. For example let me show you the longest place name in Wales.
Welsh is the official language of Wales and if you visit Wales, particularly small villages you are very likely to hear it spoken between locals. Don’t worry though, pretty much everyone also speaks English. You can also have great fun trying to read welsh road signs, all of which are shown in both Welsh and English!
2. Beautiful Coastline & Beaches
I’m extremely lucky to have been brought up on a small island in North Wales, the Isle of Anglesey. The island boasts over 4o beaches and has a 200km long coastal path that goes all the way round the island. One of the best views of the coast is at South Stack Lighthouse on Anglesey.
The weather may rarely behave but when it does you can’t beat a day out on one of Anglesey’s beaches. Whether you want to relax with an ice cream, kayak round the coast or try surfing or paddle boarding at Rhosneigr beach.
3. Rich History & Folk Legends
Welsh culture and history has a massive grounding in folk stories and legends. On a visit to Wales you will often come across such stories attached to historical places of interest like churches and castles. In fact we have an abundance of castles all over the country.
Llanddwyn island on the coast of Anglesey is the setting for one such legend about the welsh patron saint of lovers, Santes Dwynwen. You can walk all the way up to island, providing that the tide is out. Be careful if the tide comes in fast you can actually get stuck here!
4. Adventure Activities Galore
Wales is one of the best places to go to experience the best of outdoor activities. Snowdonia alone is home to climbing, kayaking, bouldering, hiking, high ropes courses and it even has the longest zip line in Europe. This huge zip line stretches over an old quarry and can reach speeds of 100km/h!
If you don’t quite fancy that much adrenaline they still have other activities for the whole family. Including Bounce Below, a trampoline complex inside a huge cavern.
5. National Parks & Mountains
There are currently 3 national parks in Wales. Snowdonia in the North, the Brecon Beacons, and Pembrokeshire Coast.
Snowdonia is one of the most popular for walkers and outdoor enthusiasts. It has the highest mountain in Wales, Snowdon, and is probably the busiest mountain in Britain with thousands of tourists visiting to hike to the peak. If you’re not super into walking they also operate a mountain railway from Llanberis which takes you up near the summit.
6. A Lively Capital
Cardiff may only be the 11th biggest city in the UK but it still has loads going for it. It has great shopping areas, theatres, galleries and a beautiful bay area with great restaurants.
One of the craziest times to visit Cardiff is definitely during the 6 Nations Rugby Tournament that takes place during February and March. The Welsh are passionate about Rugby and on game day the city of Cardiff is packed with supporters. It might seem a bit intimidating for outsiders but the Welsh are friendly and Rugby is a friendlier game than football with supporters of opposite sides sitting all mixed up together in the stadium.
So there were my 6 reasons for visiting Wales. If you’re convinced and want more information feel free to comment and I’ll point you in the right direction. Stay tuned for more detailed posts about my homeland, there are plenty to come.