If you love hearty food, a distinct culture, the great outdoors and breath-taking scenery then a trip to Wales should be on your list. The green rolling hills and atmospheric scenery of Wales have inspired many. There are pristine lakes and rivers, mountains to climb (such as Snowdon) world-class beaches and pristine coastal paths. Wales is home to the first place in Britain to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
For most of us, when we think of Wales we think of Snowdonia. Consisting of 14 majestic peaks over 3,000 feet high, the most famous being Snowdon the summit of which is accessible by train. 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.
Recommendations: Located just outside Snowdonia National Park, you will find the wondrous Portmeirion village which is a hotel resort and visitor attraction. It looks like something from a fairy-tale, the architect Clough Williams-Ellis acquired the wilderness site in 1925 and dedicated his life to building an Italianate village, drawing heavily on the colored facades of Portofino for inspiration.
The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is Britain's only coastal national park. Hidden away in the far south-west corner of Wales, Pembrokeshire has rugged beauty, secluded coves, long sandy beaches, prolific bird life and a rich history. Bird watchers and nature lovers will be thrilled by Skomer Island, the largest colony of seabirds in southern Britain is home to puffins, kittiwakes, fulmars and 100,000 pairs of shearwaters.
Recommendations: The only way to truly experience the incredible scenery of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path is on foot. During your week of walking, you will wander through flower-filled fields, enjoy warm hospitality in quaint fishing villages and stride along high Atlantic cliffs.
The Gower Penninsula was voted as the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty back in 1956, and wonderfully it hasn’t changed much since! It’s on the doorstep of Swansea yet you will feel a million miles away from the city's hustle and bustle. This area is known for its rich and varied environment, from wild moors and limestones cliffs to turquoise waters and golden sand. The peninsula has the best surfing in Wales outside Pembrokeshire.
Recommendations: Walk the Gower Peninsula If you love walking by the sea and through areas of great natural beauty.
On the north coast of Wales, a short distance from Manchester, Conwy offers something for everyone. You can explore its medieval architecture, stunning castles and shop til you drop! The National Trust’s Aberconwy House is Conwy’s only surviving 14th-century merchants house and one of the first buildings constructed inside the town walls. Other interesting sights are the Elizabethan Plas Mawrand the smallest house in Great Britain.
Recommendations: Pay a visit to Bodnant Gardens, one of Wales’ best gardens and a great place to relax and unwind. Explore its expansive lawns and intimate corners, grand ponds,and impressive terraces and well as a remarkable plant collection from all over the world.
The Wye valley offers dramatic landscapes and nature trails, its known as “an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”. The Wye river crisscrosses the Welsh and English borders as it winds its way through the scenic and tranquil countryside. The author George Barrow once described it as “the most lovely river, probably, the world can boast of”. As a border river, it has an intriguing history with Iron Age Hillforts and a string of castles defending its boundaries. Today, it’s a place where grapes ripen, salmon leap, markets bustle and culture thrives.