Living most of my life right at the cusp of its award-winning Victorian seaside, I have had first-hand experience of beautiful attributes this diverse nation has to offer. Whether it’s adventure you’re after, or simply a peaceful retreat, you’ll find it all within minutes of stepping foot on to Welsh soil.
Minding the coast
Wales may seem vast, with its endless mountains, homely villages and busy seaside owns, but in comparison to the rest of the UK, the country is relatively small, meaning
you could touch both ends of the North and South coast in just one day. The stretching coastline offers some of the most spectacular views in the whole of Great Britain, and on a clear day, Wales’ highest mountain tops, such as Snowdonia, are visible from the shore line - making for breathtaking views. But it’s not just impressive views on offer, the Welsh coastline is also a hotspot for a diverse scene of wildlife like seals, porpoises, rare birds and even dolphins - don’t forget to pack some binoculars for an up-close view. If you’re feeling adventurous, and if the weather is warm, there are a whole variety of water sports to get stuck into - sailing, wake-boarding and surfing are all common activities on the Welsh sea front, and one-to-one lessons are available throughout the summertime at affordable prices.
For the historians among us, Wales is home to some of the finest and purest examples of fortified medieval architecture, encapsulating entire towns and villages. Take a trip to the village of Conwy in the North for a unique historical experience - the unspoiled architecture of Conwy Castle and its original walls, which still border the quaint town today, along with the winding cobbled streets and tiny terraced houses, might make you think you’ve stepped inside a time machine. Guided tours of the castle and its history are also available for a small fee, and you can take a walk around the castle walls and towers completely free of charge. If you’re feeling daring, at nightfall you can take a guided tour with a twist - the ghost tour ! Led around the walls by candlelight, you can listen to some haunting tales and maybe even witness some supernatural sights. The village is also home to an array of boutiques and cafés, serving traditional dishes like cream tea and scones, all year round.
If you want to take a break from the serene countryside and beaches, then Cardiff is your calling. The Welsh capital may have begun life as a Roman fort, but today it’s home to a lively city centre full of quirky bars, modern hotels, state of the art shopping centres, and a growing music scene. Since the 11th century, Cardiff Castle has taken place of the fort, and remains a central focal point in the city today. Similar to the team spirit of India’s IPL, Wales takes great pride in the Six Nations annual rugby tournament, if you’re visiting during the spring, you might get to witness some live rugby at the Millennium Stadium. The huge arena is the home of Wales’ national rugby team, hosting an electric atmosphere. After a match, the barlined streets come alive, the friendly atmosphere and endless choice of music make Cardiff one of the best nights out in the UK.
Top 5 things to do
1. Take in the snowy cliff tops of Snowdonia, the highest mountains in Wales and England, surrounded by spectacular scenery
2. Embrace the outdoors with a ride on the Northern Hemisphere’s longest zipline,
travelling at speeds of up to 100 mph - not for the fainthearte!
3. Grab a famous ‘99’ ice cream at the pier head of the North Shore
4. Visit the Welsh Mountain Zoo for the daily penguin parade
5. Shop till you drop at Cardiff’s famous shopping centre and hip boutiques