• John Oyston


Wales has excellent links by both road and rail and has lots to see and do.

From Chepstow in the south to Queensferry in the north, Wales has 870 miles of stunning coastline with large resorts, secluded bays, Blue Flag beaches and cliff top walks. Inland castles, steam trains, market towns and mountains combine to give Wales its unique character.

Many museums, and other attractions, offer free admission to all.

If you like open spaces Wales is the place for you. As well as over 800 miles of coastline, there are 3 National Parks and the UK's first officially recognised Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty offer plenty of opportunities to escape from city life.

Each region of Wales has a charm of its own.

North West Wales contains the counties of Anglesey and Gwynedd.

The Island of Anglesey is easily reached by road. The A55, North Wales Coast Road, links the island with the motorway network near Chester in about 1 hour 30 minutes. Access to the island is by the Britannia Bridge across the Menai Straits taking visitors to Beaumaris Castle and the beaches at Trearddur Bay and Red Wharf Bay.

Gwynedd stretches from the seaside resort of Llandudno and the Conwy estuary dominated by the magnificent Conwy Castle to the Cambrian Coast and Llyn Peninsula.

The Snowdonia National Park has stunning scenery that can be explored on foot, by car or bike or on a narrow gauge steam trains. The summit of Snowdon (the highest mountain in Wales) can be reached by 6 walking routes of varying difficulty or by the Snowdon Mountain Railway from Llanberis.

Castles have played a huge part in the turbulent history of Wales. At one time there were over 400 castles spread across the country. Now just over 100 remain. Caernarfon, Harlech and Criccieth are three fine examples dating back to Edward I.

North East Wales is the county of Clwyd, stretching from the English border, near Chester to the Conwy Estuary. The resorts of Abergele, Prestatyn, Rhyl and Colwyn Bay are all popular day trip destinations, being about an hour's drive from both Manchester and Liverpool.

Inland, Erddig Hall near Wrexham, Ruthin Gaol and the Eisteddfod town of Llangollen are well worth a visit.

Mid Wales stretches from the English border to Cardigan Bay. The region is mainly rural with stunning scenery, including The Black Mountains and parts of The Brecon Beacons National Part and small market towns like Welshpool, Newtown and Llandrindod Wells. Along the coast, the seaside towns of Cardigan, Aberystwyth and Barmouth are popular resorts.

South East Wales is an intriguing mix of stunning countryside, castles, industrial heritage, sandy beaches and modern cities.

The capital city of Cardiff and the transformed Cardiff Bay offer modern shopping, excellent bars and restaurants and a vibrant nightlife. All in the shadow of historic Cardiff Castle and the modern Principality Stadium.

A short drive from Cardiff if the seaside resort of Barry (of Gavin and Stacey fame). This is the gateway to the Glamorgan Heritage Coast stretching from Barry to the resort of Porthcawl.

One of the most scenic parts of South East Wales is The Wye Valley as it crosses the Welsh Border in Herefordshire and flows towards the Severn Estuary at Chepstow. As well as the stunning scenery that attracted artists like JMW Turner, the bookworm's mecca of Hay-on-Wye, Tintern Abbey and Chepstow Castle are well worth a visit.

This corner of Wales has a long tradition of coal mining and whilst the pits may be long gone, and the landscape in the valleys, improved there are attractions to remember the area's industrial past like the Big Pit Museum at Blaenavon.

Going west from Porthcawl, the area of South West Wales is packed with places of interest. Swansea, Wales's second city, was described by its most famous son, Dylan Thomas, as "a lovely ugly town". It has a seaside location offering wonderful views over Swansea Bay and is a short drive from the fishing village of Mumbles and the award winning beaches of the Gower Peninsula.

Heading further west the historic counties of Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire have lots to offer. A coastline that passes through the resort of Tenby and The Pembrokeshire National Park has some of the most sensational views on The Wales Coast Path (and it has plenty of competition!). There are also great family days out at Oakwood Theme Park and Folly Farm and St David's Cathedral is the centrepiece of the smallest city in the UK.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Llangollen Image John Oyston under a Creative Commons License

Llandudno from Great Orme Cable Car Image John Oyston under a Creative Commons License

Conwy Castle Public Domain

Llangrannog Beach, Ceridigion Image Public Domain

Tintern Abbey Image John Oyston under a Creative Commons License

Rhossili Bay Image John Oyston under a Creative Commons License

Aberdulais Falls Image John Oyston under a Creative Commons License

Dylan Thomas's Boathouse Laugharne Image Public Domain


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