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Wales Top 12

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Wales Top 12

 

 
  • Castles and Historic Houses
    How do you like your history? With over 600 castles and historic houses in Wales, we’re certain we have something that’ll appeal to every interest. For a castle with added bite, try Beaumaris. Its defences include entrances protected by murder holes, from which defenders would be able to rain down hot oil onto any would-be attackers. If you’re more of a lover than a fighter, then perhaps Carreg Cennen will be for you. It’s been named in a shortlist of 10 castles vying for the UK’s most romantic ruin. www.cadw.wales.gov.uk
     
  • Museums and Heritage
    Welsh history is written all over the landscape, from Neolithic burial chambers to hands-on science discovery centres. There are museums for every passion: from the origins of Wales to Doctor Who. We’ve got 7 national museums that help tell Wales’s story through art, history and the natural environment. At Big Pit: National Coal Museum) you can go 300ft (90m) underground with a real miner to discover what life was like at the coal face. A great day out guaranteed and even better, all seven museums are free to visit. www.museumwales.ac.uk
     
  • National Parks
    There are three National Parks in Wales. Snowdonia is the largest, with the highest mountain in Wales (Snowdon) and largest natural lake (Llyn Tegid). Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is Britain’s only truly coastal national park, with spectacular landscapes. For a small country, there’s a breathtaking remoteness to the Brecon Beacons, but there are also sheltered woodlands, reservoirs, waterfalls and caves.

    Snowdonia National Park -  www.eryri-npa.gov.uk
    Pembrokeshire Coast National Park - www.pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk
    Brecon Beacons National Park - www.breconbeacons.org
  • Go Coastal
    With 750 miles (1,200 km) of coastline, Wales has plenty of seaside resorts. In Victorian resorts like Llandudno, you can indulge in seaside traditions like strolling along the prom. There are harbour towns, like New Quay, from which you can take a boat-ride to look for some more unusual local inhabitants – dolphins, seals and porpoises. Then there are villages where the sand and sea are the focal points – like Llangennith, the (unofficial) surf capital of Wales, with its laid-back vibe. Our coastline also has more than its fair share of Blue Flags: 34 in 2014 with 31 being given Green Coast Awards.
     
  • Gardens
    Wales is full of gardens. Our location on the Western edge of Britain, combined with the warming effects of the Gulf Stream, means things grow bigger and better here. Which might explain why Bodnant Garden is home to the UK’s tallest California Redwood. Or why Portmeirion has a giant herbaceous flowering plant native to the Brazilian forests. Even our greenhouses come bigger – The Great Glasshouse at the National Botanic Garden of Wales is the largest single-span glasshouse in the world, protecting and conserving some of the planet’s most endangered plants.
     
  • Great Little Trains of Wales
    Built at a time when the pace of life was slower, Wales’s narrow gauge steam railways are a charming way of taking in the scenery, some having a history of well over 100 years.  On The Welsh Highland Railway, passengers are able to ride the complete route from Caernarfon to Porthmadog, where they can jump aboard the world-famous Ffestiniog Railway. A total trip of 40 miles (64 km) – a great railway journey for anyone with a soft-spot for steam travel. www.greatlittletrainsofwales.com
     
  • Galleries/Venues
    In 2011, the National Museum Cardiff completed the development of a National Museum of Art for Wales, exhibiting works by Renoir and Van Gogh alongside collections by distinguished Welsh artists. Ffotogallery in Cardiff hosts exhibitions, workshops and courses of all kinds; Oriel y Parc in St Davids is an innovative architectural home to many of the finest pieces of landscape art in Wales. The Wales Millennium Centre is a striking addition to the Cardiff landscape and home to several of Wales premier performing arts companies.
     
 
 
  • Inspired by Wales
    Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, voted the UK’s favourite rock song, had its genesis at Bron-yr-Aur, a cottage in southern Snowdonia. The Pembrokeshire coastline inspired the makers of the latest Harry Potter movie to build Shell Cottage, set in fictional Tinworth, on Freshwater West beach. Charles Darwin – yes, the one who ‘invented’ evolution – actually trained as a geologist and honed his skills observing the natural world during field trips across North Wales. And you can’t talk about people inspired by Wales without mentioning Dylan Thomas, who wrote many of his finest works, including Under Milk Wood, from his writing shed overlooking the Tâf Estuary
     
  • Adventure
    If you’ve a passion for adventure you can choose the challenge in Wales. Have a go at coasteering. First, kit yourself out in a wetsuit, helmet and buoyancy aid. Then, do everything your mum told you not to: climb, swim, slip, slide and scramble your way along the rugged coastline before throwing yourself off the cliffs into the swirling waves below. If that doesn’t appeal there’s always rock climbing, white water rafting, canyoning, caving, scrambling or paragliding. Our Visit Wales websites will point you in the right direction. So what are you waiting for? Go play. www.visitwales.com/things-to-do/activities 
     
  • Golf
    Wales was proud to host The Ryder Cup in October 2010. And what a thrilling Ryder Cup it turned out to be, with Europe clinching victory over the US right at the death. But that was just the start. There’s a whole nation of golf to explore – over 200 courses – from outstanding links courses like Royal Porthcawl and Royal St David’s, or laid back courses like clifftop Cardigan or Cradoc, and nine-hole hilly delights at St Davids City and Priskilly Forest. Golf in Wales has it all – whether you’re looking for a challenging 18-hole course, just want to ‘pay and play’ or practise your swing at the driving range. www.visitwales.com/things-to-do/activities/golf 
  • Walking
    Wales is a strong contender for the best walking country in Europe, maybe even the world. It’s not just the 500 miles (805 km) of National Trails, the five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the treasure trove of Welsh history or the astonishingly ancient landscape. It’s the sheer variety packed into such a relatively small space. The Wales Coast Path, which celebrated its' 2nd Anniversary in May 2014 provides walkers, cyclists and horse riders a continuous 870 mile (1,400 km) path running right around the coastline. National Geographic recently voted Pembrokeshire the second best coastal destination in the world! So that’s what you should do get out there and take a walk! www.walking.visitwales.com 
     
  • Cardiff
    Cardiff or Caerdydd as we say in Welsh, the capital city of Wales. A truly modern and cosmopolitan city with an event calendar to rival any other European capital. In the Cardiff Bay area, you’ll find some stunning showpiece buildings; the Millennium Centre, a fantastic arts and cultural venue, the spanking new slate and glass Welsh Parliament Building and in the city centre, the Millennium Stadium with its ‘Thunderbirds are go’ sliding roof. But despite all that forward thinking, it’s a city that has not forgotten its past. The Civic Centre and National Museum are one of the finest in Europe and Cardiff Castle an unexpected city centre surprise. www.visitcardiff.com
     
 

 

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