Wales Travel Guides
With breathtaking scenery, distinctive culture, and a fascinating history, Wales is a fantastic place for a holiday in the UK. From the ancient mountains of Snowdonia, to the coastal cliffs of Pembrokeshire, to the museums of Cardiff, this small but exciting country really offers something for everyone to enjoy.
Header image credit: Blazing Minds
Overview, Traditions, and History
Wales has maintained its distinctive character as one of the Celtic nations of Europe, with a long history of defying and thwarting invasion and control by more powerful neighbours. It shares a border with England in the east, while the long and diverse coastline runs from the Irish Sea to the Bristol Channel. Welsh and English are both official languages, and the country is also famous as a land of music and singing.
Not to be outdone by England, Wales is officially one of the wettest countries in Europe! Thought don't be put off by this, as it does experience plenty of sunshine and warm weather in the summer, and the winters are generally mild.
Like much of the UK, the climate is very changeable, so always prepare for any weather.
Why Visit Wales?
Wales offers a wealth of attractions and exciting destinations for holidaymakers, drawing visitors with its beautiful landscapes and unique history. It is home to castles, mining towns, ancient sites, industrial heritage and more. Once ruled over by the Romans, and holding out against the Normans long after England was conquered, Wales has built its cultural identity over the centuries, and maintained its own way of doing things.
From the ancient Celtic inhabitants to the medieval Welsh princes, Wales's history has left its mark on the land. In the north is Edward I's series of mighty stone castles, built to control the Welsh, though now they’ve become symbols of Wales themselves. There are also ancient Neolithic tombs to be found, and the physical boundaries of the old kingdom of Mercia that once covered a large area of Britain.
Mountains and Valleys
Wales is rightly known for its landscapes, with green valleys, dramatic coastline, and rugged mountains. In the south are the famous Welsh Valleys, each with its own character and identity, with the remnants of the local coal mining industry and the towns that built up around it. There's also the Brecon Beacons National Park, a region of breathtaking natural beauty with mountains, waterfalls, and glacial features.
Also in the south is the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, with rugged cliffs and stunning rock formations, along with Neolithic burial structures and nature conservation areas. Here you'll also find the smallest city in Britain, St Davids, a picture-perfect town with a historic cathedral that's also the final resting place of St David himself, the patron saint of Wales.
The last of Wales's three National Parks is Snowdonia in the north, home to the tallest mountain in England and Wales, Snowdon, or Yr Wyddfa in Welsh. This stunning landscape features many beautiful mountain peaks and glacial valleys, as well as the remains of the Welsh slate industry, with working railways, museums, and more.
Mining Towns and Seaside Resorts
Cardiff is the capital of Wales, and offers a wealth of culture, history, and entertainment. The city is home to the government of Wales and the Welsh Assembly, which you can see in Cardiff Bay along with other historic buildings and new landmarks such as the Wales Millennium Centre arts complex. In south Wales you'll also find the cities of Swansea and Newport, offering seaside fun, museums, and historic sites.
North Wales offers some fantastic historic seaside resorts and towns set against the stunning backdrop of Snowdonia. Llandudno retains its charming Victorian character, with a sweeping sea front and pier, and is a great base for exploring the surrounding countryside. Not far away you'll find the historic town of Conwy, still within its medieval walls with its imposing castle rising up above the wide River Conwy.
Further along the coast is Caernarfon, home to another mighty castle, and Bangor with its university and pier, near to Menai Bridge, one of the oldest suspension bridges in the world. You could also visit the village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch on the island of Anglesey, if you're brave enough to ask for directions!
Want to find out more about some of Wales’s top cities and destinations? Take a look at our individual travel guide pages for more information:
WE'RE AWARD WINNING
It’s always a proud moment when you’re recognised for your good work, we’re honoured to have been named as Europe's and the World’s Leading Ferry Operator in the 2015 World Travel Awards. We've won these awards for 5 years running.