Fresh air and wide open spaces spring to mind when we think of a holiday in Wales. There are certainly excellent opportunities for holidaying in Wales as this country has three National Parks: the Brecon Beacons National Park, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and Snowdonia National Park, each with its own distinctive character and special features. These areas are protected sites and certainly enhance the pleasure of holidays or short breaks.
Welsh National Park
Lying to the North of Cardiff and Swansea lies the Brecon Beacons National Park which covers a vast area of rural countryside and mountains. From its remote wilderness, contrasting with sheltered ancient woodlands, reservoirs, breathtaking waterfalls, caves and windswept uplands, there is something for everyone here.
The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park on the far West coast of Wales is the smallest of the National Parks and consists mainly of protected coastline, small islands, wildlife, coves, historic castles and sandy beaches. This peninsula is an unspoiled area of breathtaking beauty and the visitor can choose to stay in one of the small fishing villages along the coastline. Off the shore of Pembrokeshire lie the islands of Skomer and Skokholm, internationally famous for their bird life such as puffins which nest here. Venture into the Preseli Hills North of the market town of Haverfordwest and you are almost sure to hear the Welsh language spoken by the people who live there.
The Snowdonia National Park in North Wales is the second largest National Park in the United Kingdom. Mount Snowdon is the largest peak in the area and popular with experienced walkers. For those not brave enough to scale the heights, there is a train to take you to the top and a restaurant to provide a welcome cup of tea!
Portmeirion village in Gwynedd is unique and interesting. It was built in the Italianate style on the coast of Snowdonia and has served as a location for films and television shows. There are quirky shops many of which sell the famous Portmeirion pottery.
The Isle of Anglesey just off the North coast has 125 miles of coastline and contains a wealth of historical sites which date back to 4000 BC. The Menai Strait separates it from the mainland. The Strait is spanned by two charming bridges, the Menai Bridge and the Britannia Bridge.
The Gower Peninsula in South Wales is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and was the first place to be assigned this title in the UK. There are probably not many other places where so many natural features can be seen squeezed into such a small area and, as a result, the Gower Peninsula attracts a large number of holidaymakers every year. They come from all over the world for walking holidays, fine beaches and also fabulous water sports.
Hobbies and interests are well catered for in Wales and fishing is very popular as the rivers are clean and well stocked. There are designated fishing lakes too and, after a day spent in the fresh air, you will feel invigorated and ready for a hearty meal.
For the energetic, Wales is the perfect cycling destination offering world class mountain bike trails like the Llandegla MTB trail, quiet forest roads, traffic free cycleways, coastal paths or riverbank rides. You can bring your own bike although plenty of companies hire bikes out.
If you enjoy city life, Cardiff offers everything you could wish for. This cosmopolitan city has seen some urban regeneration in recent years and has a stunning waterfront and excellent, world class shopping. It is home to rugby’s Millennium Stadium which hosts rugby and other major events such as concerts.
Caravanning is a popular activity in Wales and the whole country is served by modern, clean sites. Static vans offer a great base for cycling holidays.
The Great Little Trains of Wales offer a very special way of seeing some of the best scenery in Britain. All trains are narrow gauge steam and some have a history covering over 100 years. All of them have the charm of old-fashioned steam trains with polished paintwork and brass. There are about ten “Little Trains” each offering its own unique and special journey. There is a website from which information about times and places can be found.
All of these places offer wonderful holiday opportunities from which to visit other locations in Wales and to gain an insight into aspects of Welsh culture, history and attractions. Wales is not a large country but is packed with interesting sights and wonderful experiences.
Accommodation in Wales ranges from small self-catering cottages and farmhouse accommodation to grand hotels so there is something to suit every taste and budget.