With St. David’s Day approaching, why not celebrate all things Welsh and take a trip to the Principality? There are loads of adventures to be had and things to see and do in Wales; check out our top ten to help inspire you to visit this fascinating country.
1. Experience the great outdoors
Wales is home to three of the UK’s national parks and in Snowdonia and Brecon Beacons or on the Pembrokeshire Coast you’ll find plenty of scenic walks, dramatic landscapes and opportunities for outdoor pursuits such as mountain biking and pony trekking. If you’re looking for a challenge, try walking the 177 mile route along Offa’s Dyke on the English/Welsh border.
2. Delve into history
Some of the UK’s finest castles are in north Wales with Beaumaris, Conwy and Harlech among the best examples. The highlight though is surely Caernarfon. This imposing fortress was built by Edward I as part of his “ring of stone” to subjugate the rebellious Welsh. Its towering walls dominate the town and it is one of the outstanding examples of castle building anywhere in the world.
3. Take a walk on the wild side
Discover some fascinating native wildlife among more exotic animals at Wales’ zoos and aquariums. From rare Sumatran Tigers and chimpanzees at the Welsh Mountain Zoo to British marine life at Anglesey Sea Zoo; you’re sure to find some weird and wonderful creatures. If you’re visiting Beaumaris on the Isle of Anglesey, take a boat trip to Puffin Island to see these beautiful sea birds in their natural habitat.
4. Get active
The Bethesda quarry in Snowdonia is home to Europe’s longest zip wire. Hurtle across the quarry lake at over 100mph, taking in spectacular views as you go, if you can keep your eyes open of course! Alternatively you can go underground at Zip World Caverns and explore the former slate mine via rope bridges and wires (think Go Ape underground in the dark). If this is a bit daunting then try out Bounce Below where you can boing around the caverns via nets, tunnels and slides.
5. Relax on the beach
Maybe not in March but as the weather gets warmer, head to the Welsh coast for some of the UK’s best beach breaks. Rhossili Bay on the Gower Peninsula has just been named among Britain’s top beaches by TripAdvisor and is great for surfing as well as taking it easy in the sun. The north coast is dotted with beach resorts such as Llandudno, Rhyl and Prestayn while Tenby in the south features miles of sandy beaches and several offshore islands.
6. Discover myths and legends
Even today the wildernesses of Wales are places full of mystery and Wales is a land of legends, myths and tall-tales. Take a ferry from Porth Meudwy or Pwllheli to Bardesy, the “Island of 20,000 Saints” and a historic place of pilgrimage as well as one of the many supposed burial places of King Arthur. St Winefride’s Well in Flintshire is known as “the Lourdes of Wales” and its healing waters have been visited by pilgrims since the 7th century. Famous visitors down the years include Richard the Lionheart, King Henry V and Queen Victoria!
7. Take in a top sporting event
If you were inspired by Wales’ success in last years Euros then why not take in a match yourself? Most of the national side’s home games are played in Cardiff or Swansea, usually at the Principality Stadium. This year Cardiff is hosting the showpiece event in European club football, the Champions League Final. If you can get a ticket you’re sure to see two of Europe’s heavyweights competing for the “Big Cup”. The football hipsters among you may wish to try a Welsh Premier League fixture. Visit Park Hall in Oswestry, home of current champions The New Saints (who were once memorably known as Total Network Solutions!) A sporting trip to Wales wouldn’t be complete without a rugby game though. The Wales national side also play home fixtures in Cardiff but to get a real taste of Welsh rugby, visit the heartlands of south Wales like Llannelli, Pontypridd and Neath.
8. Sample some great food and drink
Make sure you try some of Wales’ amazing cuisine such as Welsh rarebit, Welsh lamb or the national symbol, the leek! Bara Brith is a tasty fruit loaf, the best is to be found on Anglesey. While you’re there, visit Menai Oysters for shellfish grown on beds in the Menai Straits between Anglesey and the mainland. South Caernarfon Creameries mature their cheese deep underground in the Llechwedd Slate Caverns adding unique flavours and textures. The Rhymney Brewery has just opened a visitor centre at the Bleanavon UNESCO World Heritage Site in south Wales, well worth a visit to try some of their unique real ales.
9. Enjoy an exciting city break
The large cities of south Wales like Cardiff and Swansea are perfect locations for active city breaks. Take in a theatre show at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff, enjoy great shopping or explore vibrant bars and restaurants. There’s a great collection of museums and galleries as well as castles, historic sites, parks and sporting venues. Plenty to keep you occupied on a short break.
10. Visit St Davids
In honour of Wales’ patron saint, pay a visit to the smallest city in the UK and it’s historic cathedral. St David’s Cathedral sits on the site of the monastic community founded by Wales’ patron saint in the 6th century and is one of Wales most venerated sites, attracting pilgrims from all over the world. St Davids itself is a quaint city with several galleries, hotels and traditional pubs.
Are you planning a St David’s Day celebration or a trip to Wales this year? Let us know your plans in the comments section below…..