Wales is a beautiful and vibrant country, with lush greenery, amazing landscapes, covered in fascinating myths of the Celtic culture. Temples and castles, palaces and parks are just a small part of what can be seen here.
What to do in Wales
Fans of medieval and modern architecture will discover countless castles with a rich past here. Ancient narrow streets, authentic villages, basilicas and castles will tell their story to those who wish.
For lovers of nature and outdoor activities, there are several national parks with diverse flora and fauna, scenic hiking trails and waterfalls.
It will be interesting for young people and families with children to visit the museums and theaters of Wales, as well as visit one of the amusement parks or go to the nature reserve.
The greatest castle was the last stronghold created by Edward I in Wales. The fortress was built in a new place, without early buildings. The largest symmetrical fortress is a complex example of medieval military architecture in Britain.
Unfortunately, the ambitious project could not be completed due to lack of funds. Construction ceased by the 1320s. However, the castle is listed as a World Heritage Site. And its ivy-covered walls still inspire artists today.
Caernarfon is recognized as the greatest building of the Middle Ages. The palace-fortress, along with other castles of Edward, is included in the list of World Heritage Sites. The construction project took 47 years and cost a staggering amount of money.
The castle was born as a result of a fierce war, its walls served as a defense. But polygonal towers and multi-colored masonry reveal the architect’s idea. Caernarfon was built as a dream castle, a picturesque fort adorned with weathervanes and turrets. However, the requirements of wartime forced the castle to be made impregnable.
Jewel in the “iron ring” of King Edward’s castles. Harlech is crowned by a sheer cliff, protected on one side by the North Sea, and on the other by a moat of impressive depth. The building was completed in record time. In seven years, two rows of battlements, watchtowers and wrought iron gates were erected.
According to the plan, three or four dozen people on these walls successfully resisted the army of enemies. Today, for the first time in 600 years, the entrance to the castle is open via a pedestrian bridge — as the architect intended.
The medieval structure is still amazing today. And at the end of the XIII century, the masterpiece of military construction had no equal at all. Massive walls of gray stone, corner towers and outbuildings are well protected by water barriers, including water-filled ditches and two lakes.
Caerphilly is unique in its classic castle architecture. Over time, this impregnable stronghold turned into a palace with a hunting park and a large lake.
The majestic dark pink castle is famous not only for its ancient interiors, but also for its picturesque Italian-style garden.
Powys was created in the 1670s. The slopes were terraced for him and a row of yew trees was planted. Thanks to this, from a distance, the castle looks like it is sitting on a giant green pillow. Terraces carved into the rock, hedgerows, moss-covered trees, an apple orchard and a tropical greenhouse are the setting for the medieval structure.
Tourist village of Portmeirion
The Italian style village is located on a peninsula off the coast of Snowdonia. The settlement is surrounded by wild forest, subtropical gardens and pristine bays.
The village was built by Welsh architect Clough Williams-Ellis in 1976. The goal of the architect was a settlement that blends into the environment without the destruction inherent in human settlements. Portmeirion receives up to 200,000 visitors annually.
In 1805, architects Telford and Jessop built the Pontquisillte cast iron aqueduct on 19 pillars 30 meters above the River Dee at the Welsh-English border. Two hundred years later, this landmark became a navigable aqueduct on the Llangollen Canal and became a World Heritage Site. The structure is still the longest aqueduct in the UK.
Natural attractions and parks
The British Garden was founded in 1875 to decorate the grounds of the family residence of Lord Aberconway. In order for the garden to acquire recognizable features, a well-known designer, a student of Joseph Paxton, was hired. Today, Bodnant is included in the list of protected areas.
The upper part of the garden includes 5 terraces, a lily pond and grassy border paths. The lower one is a tangled network of paths, between thickets of exotic plants. With the onset of cold weather, a colorful winter garden opens.
An excellent base from which to explore the picturesque southwest coast of Wales. Most of this area is part of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, founded in 1952 and covering an area of 629 square kilometers.
It is the only coastal national park in the UK. Tourists are attracted by numerous beaches along with secluded bays and islands. Wild animals and rare sea birds live here.
This part of Wales covers over 500 square miles of mountains, forests, lakes, caves and more. The national park includes the largest cave systems in Europe. Most of them are for experienced cavers, but some beginners can access.
Rivers, canals pass through the park, there is a reservoir and the largest natural lake in Wales. Tourists rent boats, go cycling, bird watching or have a picnic in a lakeside meadow full of butterflies and wildflowers.
snowdonia national park
Named after the 1085-meter Mount Snowdon, this park attracts 6 million visitors every year. The peaks of Snowdonia are interspersed with lush green valleys, mountain lakes and thundering waterfalls.
Trail along Vala Offa
A 285 km long hiking trail conditionally separates England and Wales. It is named after the king who ordered its construction. This was probably done to separate Mercia from rival kingdoms, including Wales.
The route is a circular walk from Offa’s Dyke and includes visits to Skenfrith, White and Grosmont castles. The trail runs through the picturesque Welsh landscapes. It takes an average of 11 days to overcome it, and if you carefully examine the sights, it is better to allocate a full two weeks.
Land of Waterfalls
For lovers of hiking and extreme sports — this is what you need. The walk will take a full day and will require all the energy. It is difficult to get lost here — the rocky path leads in succession to four waterfalls.
The first on the way is Sogwood Klun-Gwin. To continue the journey, return to the bridge and along the shore reach the second waterfall — Sogvid-i-Bedol (its second name is “Horseshoe”). Further on, a rocky path winds through a wooded gorge and leads to the Snow Falls.
Churches and cathedrals
St. David’s Cathedral
Hidden from prying eyes in the valley and hidden behind the walls, it is as beautiful as centuries ago. The building dates back to the 12th century, but the architectural appearance underwent changes until the 19th century. The western part, with four pointed towers made of purple stone, belongs precisely to the last period.
The oldest here are the massive purplish-gray columns that have leaned over as a result of the building’s subsidence. The carved oak ceiling dates back to the 16th century. Between the choir and the main altar is an object of religious pilgrimage: a shrine with the bones of Saints David and Justinian.
Cathedral of Peter and Paul
The cathedral is located in the ancient city of Llandaff, part of which has become a conservation area. Surrounded by bustling streets, it remains a surprisingly quiet place. The cathedral dates back to 1107, but acquired its present appearance in the 19th century. At this time, he had a southwestern tower and a spire.
After the war, the cathedral had to be restored. This was done by George Pace, who at the same time tried to return the temple to its former image, but to add a little more space.
Church of Saint Margaret
An eye-catching 19th-century structure with an unusual tower that is unrivaled in Britain is known as the “Marble Church”. All because of the 13 types of marble that were used to create a decorative interior.
In 1852, Lady Margaret decided to build a new church in honor of her husband. She chose John Gibson as the architect. He designed the building with a tower 62 meters high, which seems disproportionately high for a small building.
The abbey was founded in 1131 by Cistercian monks and was originally a wooden building. A century later, they began building a new abbey church and did not stop until they had created a masterpiece of British Gothic architecture.
A huge building, high arches, majestic columns, patterns of stained-glass windows, and under your feet — a carpet of grass and wild flowers. It’s still breathtaking. Yes, the majestic centuries-old abbey has been destroyed, but its ruins rise in a picturesque natural setting.
National Museum Cardiff
It houses world-class art, as well as collections of natural history and geology. The Art collection includes European Impressionist paintings, as well as canvases, drawings, sculptures, silverware and ceramics from Wales. Here are the works of Monet, Renoir, Rodin, Cezanne.
The natural history galleries display animals, birds and insects from all over the world, including the world’s largest tortoise, a huge basking shark and the skeleton of a humpback whale.
This park is ideal for families. On the territory of about a hectare are thematic gardens and exhibitions of sculptures. Here you can see wooden and stone sculptures by ancient masters, as well as works by British sculptors.
The local workshop regularly holds classes teaching visitors this art. There is a tea shop, where cakes are served for a modest fee. This garden was created by the spouses Terry and Rose, who, having opened a workshop, did not even think that it would gain such popularity.
St. Fagans National Historic Site
St. Fagans is an interesting open-air museum and the most visited attraction in Wales. Here is a chronology of culture and architecture.
The museum occupies the estate of the end of the 16th century and includes more than 40 buildings representing the architecture of Wales from different historical periods. The museum also houses exhibits of traditional crafts, a working forge, a pottery workshop and a mill.