5 Reasons Wales Shouldn’t Be the Forgotten Gem of the British Isles

reasons to visit Wales

Wales can often feel like the neglected middle child of the UK. Constantly being overshadowed by its overachieving older sister (England) or rebellious younger brother (Scotland). Therefore, its time we give Wales the love and admiration it deserves! Being underestimated can work in Wales’ favour, however; as a great of deal of the country’s best bits are often in uncharted territories. There’s more to Wales than sheep and miners, you just have to dig a little deeper…

1. CAT – Centre for Alternative Technology

CAT is an eco centre located slap bang in the middle of Wales, which tends to be synonymous with being slap bang in the middle of nowhere! Its isolated location is required for the nature of the work; which focuses on teaching and practising sustainable development on a 7 acre, former slate quarry. This multifaceted centre is not only alluring for its visitors, it also offers Master’s programmes where the students live on site and become the eco warriors they were born to be. The attractions for visitors include interactive visuals and learning how to live and be more sustainable with short courses on organic farming, sustainable architecture and more information on solar, wind and hydropower. The centre is extremely ahead of its time – having been open since the 1970’s – and even if sustainable living isn’t up you’re street, it is worth a visit for the interesting architecture alone!

Rhossili Bay wales

2. Beaches

For most of us Swansea doesn’t conjure up images of long stretches of beautiful sandy beaches – and we’d be right assuming so. However, just under 20 miles away from the Welsh city is the beautifully stunning Rhossili Bay. Don’t just take our word for it; at one point the beach was ranked 9th in Trip Advisor’s best beaches to visit in the world – a list devised entirely from public votes. For something a little more private, a visit to the small island of Anglesea will not disappoint. Anglesea has one of the highest proportions of Welsh speakers in the country – with 56% of the population speaking the dulcet tones and on top of that it is also full of great little beaches and bays. While in Anglesea you can also check out our future monarchs’, Will and Kate, ‘quaint’ former residence and it won’t take you long to appreciate why they chose this small island as their first home. Be sure to visit the infamous village of ‘Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwrrndrobwllllantysliogogogoch’ and see how you fare with the pronunciation of the longest place name in Europe!


3. Welsh Cultural Festivals

Wales is home to some of the oldest traditions in the UK, predominantly associated with the Welsh language and thus has multiple festivals annually to celebrate this. One of the most famous of these being the National Eisteddfod which dates back to the 12th century. The festival celebrates music, poetry and theatre – all with a Welsh twist! For a slightly more unorthodox views of Welsh culture look no further than The Big Cheese, which is an annual 3 day affair that originates from the small town of Caerphilly and is a celebration of all things cheese! Activities on offer include street and musical performances, street food, historical re-enactments, funfair rides and the pièce de résistance: The Cheese Run (yes, it’s exactly what you’d think it is).

4. Cardiff

Cardiff is the largest and most populous city in Wales and is a perfect hybrid of traditional charm and contemporary allure. The biggest attraction in the city is most definitely Cardiff Castle which was built in 1082 and is still standing today. Castles are an unavoidable part of the Welsh landscape, however Cardiff Castle is both the most aesthetically impressive and well preserved. Cardiff is also a thriving student town with an abundance of bars and nightclubs all in close proximity! A source of great Welsh pride is the Millennium Stadium, not least because of the successes of the national rugby team but also for being one of the biggest sport stadiums in the world!

snowdonia national park wales

5. National Parks

Wales is home to 3 national parks, which, given its small size, means that they make up a very high proportion of the country’s land mass. The biggest of the three is Snowdonia which basically covers the entirety of North West Wales and is home to the highest mountain in all the of the British Isle outside of the Scottish Highlands: Mount Snowdon. Climb the 1000 metre mountain and be rewarded with spectacular views and a great sense of satisfaction. Alternatively, there is a railway that take you all the way to the top of summit with a hot beverage at the cafe waiting for you! The Brecon Beacons and Pembrokeshire are the two remaining national parks and are located in the south of Wales, both have a rustic, wild appeal unlike what you might find across the border!