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Wales

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Table of contents

Things to do and see in Wales

Cardiff


This capital of Wales, known in the native tongue as Caerdydd, has enjoyed a rebirth since its days as the world's leading coal-exporting port. Revitalization has enabled the city to become one of Britain's most appealing destinations and has a population of just over 300,000. It has a new inviting waterfront, which is set along the Cardiff Bay.

Cardiff is a beautiful city and its built around a ruined castle with plenty of greenery right into the centre. The city is blessed with a rich history dating back 2,000 years. Its famous castle, built in Roman times, was "recreated" as a medieval-styled showpiece in the nineteenth century by Lord Bute. The main shopping areas of Queen Street and St David's Centre are always busy.

Also, Cardiff is home to over 25,000 students, so there is a vibrant nightlife with several places around the city centre and Cardiff Bay. Cardiff also stakes its claim as the true home of rugby and recently built the Millennium Stadium, which is one of the best in the world. For more information on Cardiff go to www.visitcardiff.com

 


Millennium Stadium

This huge 72,500 – capacity stadium is home to the Welsh Rugby Union team and was recently home to the FA Cup final, till they move it back to Wembley Stadium. There are organized tours of this stadium and I would definitely recommend doing it if you are in Cardiff. For more information on the Millenium Stadium go to www.millenniumstadium.com or www.millenniumstadium.co.uk

 


St. David's Hall

The spectacular and modern St. David's Hall is Wales's premier concert hall. The 2000 seat hall in Cardiff hosts world-class symphony orchestras, Welsh choirs, and rock bands.

 


The Museum of Welsh Life St. Fagans

A large museum, that talks about Welsh history over the past 500 years.  It’s a good interactive museum that is good if you are looking for some insight into the welsh history.

 


Cardiff Castle

Located in the heart of the capital city is Cardiff Castle, which is truly remarkable and its history span over 2000 years. It's a medieval castle that was transformed from a Roman fort into a castle in 1091. There were three successive Roman forts on the site of Cardiff Castle, most notably a late 3rd century structure, which some of the walls can be seen today.  It was founded in Roman times and developed into a stronghold by the Normans; the ruins of the Norman keep remain.  Admission is £6, but that is subject to change. For more information on Cardiff Castle go to www.cardiffcastle.com or www.castell-caerdydd.com

 


Caerphilly Castle

This Castle lays a little north of Cardiff and was built during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. It is one of Europe's greatest surviving examples of medieval military architecture. The castle, which is the largest castle in England and Wales after Windsor, has a leaning tower that out-leans Pisa's. It has an inner and outer curtain wall surrounded by water defenses. For more information on Caerphilly Castle go to www.caerphillycastle.com

 


Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre

Cardiff Bay Visitor's Centre is an excellent place to start your tour of the city.  Here known locally as the Tube this major attraction has panoramic views across the Bay and provides visitors with information on other things to do in Cardiff.

 


Cardiff Blues

Wales's national sport is rugby football, but football is a close second.  With the recent performance of the Cardiff Blues, one of the three football teams playing in the English League, there fans have something to cheer about again.  I would definitely recommend going to a game, but be aware that The Blues ‘Firm’ has a reputation as one of the toughest in the UK. For more information on the Cardiff Blues go to www.cardiffblues.com

 


Atlantic Wharf Leisure Village


This is an entertainment center that has a movie theatre and bar inside, which is very popular with many people from Cardiff.

 

 

 

 

 

Caernarfon


Caernarfon, situated between the picturesque Menai Straits and Mount Snowdon and its a busy Welsh market town and a major tourist centre. Renowned for the World Heritage Site of Caernarfon Castle, the most famous of Wales' castles and the investiture in 1969 of Prince Charles as the present Prince of Wales.

The town is dominated by the 13th century castle and town walls that were built by King Edward I, as part of the iron ring of Castle’s to secure his English foothold.  Surprisingly today, that the town and castle walls are still intact. 

Today, this busy town attracts tourists from all over the UK and the world. It's beautiful city centre with its coble stones and history, is one of the most remarkable cities in the UK and is a must for any traveler.

 


Caernarfon Castle

This is one of the most famous castles in all of the UK and definitely the most famous in Wales.  It’s an attractive castle that was built in 1284 and the setting for the investiture of HRH Prince Charles as Prince of Wales in 1969.

The castle was intended not only as a miltary stronglhold but also as a seat of government and a royal palace. At the start it was meant to be built as a symbol of English dominance to try and subdue the Welsh by King Edward I.  The castle's symbolic status was emphasized when Edward made sure that his son, the first English Prince of Wales, was born here in 1284, even though Prince Edward II never returned to its walls once he was born.  The Castle continued to be maintained and garrisoned, and successfully withstood sieges by the forces of Owain Glyndwr in 1403 and 1404. During the Civil War, Caernarfon finally surrendered to Parliamentary forces in 1646.

Today its been listed as a World Heritage Site, which puts it in a league with the Taj Mahal and the Pyramids.  It is open to the public year-round, so if you are in Caernarfon you have to do a tour of this fantasic castle. Admission is £4.95, but these prices are subject to change. For more information on Caernarfon Castle go to www.caernarfon.com

 

 

Castle Square

This huge square is in the heart of the Royal Borough.  This square bustles every Saturday, as it has been market day here since the 14th century. Throughout history this square has been an important setting for many events in Welsh history.

 


Eastgate Street (Stryd y Porth Mawr)

Port Mawr used to be one of the main enterances to the old town.  In Medieval times there was a curfew on the town’s inhabitants and those that were not inside the town walls before 8pm would be locked out as the drawbridge would close in Porth Mawr.  There used to be a Medieval tax office and town hall, but today what you mainly see is what is from the Victorian era. It’s a very interesting walk and it’s definatley worth doing.

 


Hole-in-the-Wall Street (Stryd Twil-yn-y-Wal)

A walk along the street you will come to a gate in the wall.  This is known as Green Gate, a postern gate which led from the walled town to the Castle Green. If you look along the lower part of the wall you will can see the line of the original ground level.  As you emerge out of Hole in the Wall Street you come to the only gap in the town walls, which was demolished in 1770 to make room for a road.  When you are in Caernarfon go have a look.

 


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Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (commonly called Llanfair PG) boasts as the town with the UK’s longest name. It’s located a few miles from Caernarfon going to towards the ferry to Ireland. Go have a look and get a picture of the street sign.

 


Welsh Highland Railway


This short scenic railroad in Snowdonia National Park is being expanded to Porthmadog and Caernarfon. For more information on the Welsh Highland Railway go to www.whr.co.uk

 


The Harbor


This is an excellent place to go for a walk and see some amazing scenery.  After walking around the harbor take a stroll through the town’s narrow streets.

 

 

 

 

 

Snowdonia


Snowdonia National Park

This National Park, the largest in Wales covering around 840 square miles (2,175 sq km), was founded over 50 years ago. Within its boundaries you will find mountains, rocky peaks and green hills, wooded valleys and sublimely beautiful estuaries. The Snowdonia Mountains offer all kinds of leisure activities for its visitors. For more information on Snowdonia National Park go to www.snowdonia-wales.net

 


Mount Snowdon

At 3,560ft / 1,085m this is the highest mountain in Wales (higher than any in England). Its slopes, with volcanic rocks and cliffs rising to razor-edged summits, have attracted walkers and climbers since the earliest days of the Great Outdoors.

 

 

Snowdon Mountain Railway

Located in Snowdonia national Park this scenic train ride will take you to the top of Mount Snowdon from Llanberis.

 


Conwy

This enclosed walled town is a World Heritage Site and is guarded by 22 towers. The towns imposing castle was built by English monarch Edward I in the 1280’s. One other attraction is that this town has Britain’s smallest house.  If you are a little more adventurous go see the 19th century Conwy Suspension Bridge.

 


Dolwyddelan Castle

A dramatic castle dating from 12th century and also built by Edward I. The most dramatic thing about this castle is how high is located.

 


Harlech Castle


One of the many castles’s built by Edward I in the 12th century. It is a World Heritage Site.

 


Sygun Copper Mine

Take a tour of what used to be Wales’s biggest industry, which was mining. This copper mine will give you an insight into the whole mining process.

 


Fairy Glen

Located in Betws-y-Coed, this deep gorge is surrounded by an endless expanse of scenic beauty.

 


Swallow Falls

These waterfalls add to the rustic beauty of Betws-y-Coed's. These waterfalls are definitely worth a look.

 


Welsh Highland Railway

This short scenic railroad in Snowdonia National Park is being expanded to Porthmadog and Caernarfon as work is currently under way on a 40km (25-mile) extension to the narrow-gauge Welsh Highland Railway.

 

 

 

 

 

The Rest of Wales


Cambrian Mountains


The Cambrian Mountains are a mountain range in the heart of Wales, linking Snowdonia in the northwest and the Black Mountains in the south. This is the main source of the Severn, Twyi, and Wye rivers. The highest peak is Aran Fawddwy (905m/ 2,950 ft) in the Berwyn Mountains in the centre. This area is barren and sparsely populated wilderness is known as the Desert of Wales.

 


Shell Island


Near Harlech in Wales, it’s most popular for its sandy beaches, rock pools, and over 200 varieties of shells.

 

 

 

 



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