Wales things to see and do

Tourist offices

Visit Wales / Croeso Cymru

QED Centre Main Avenue, Trefforest Industrial Estate, Trefforest, Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Wales, CF37 5YR, United Kingdom
Tel: 0870 830 0306.
www.visitwales.com

Things to see and do

Anglesey

Cross the Menai Strait to the island of Anglesey, notable for the remarkable Menai Bridge, and the UK's longest place name: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (commonly called Llanfair PG).

Brecon Beacons

Breathe in the fresh air and green environs of south Wales' biggest inland draw: Brecon Beacons National Park (www.breconbeacons.org). Popular bases within the park are lively Brecon and market town of Abergavenny; the narrow-gauge Brecon Mountain Railway runs through the hills from Merthyr Tydfil.

Cardiff Bay

Investigate this area with a boat trip from Mermaid Quay to the impressive Barrage - a barrier which cuts off the bay from the sea and so creates a freshwater lake. As well as watery activities, the area offers many onshore leisure activities including children's entertainment at the Techniquest Science Discovery Centre (www.techniquest.org), which is great for the kids.

Cardiff Castle (Castell Caerdydd)

Originally home to a Roman garrison, the site of Cardiff Castle was later developed as a stronghold by the Normans. The ruins of the Norman keep can still be visited, but the present castle owes its appeal to the Victorian eccentricities of the third Marquis of Bute. Under his direction, architect William Burges created a gothic fantasy of towers, swirls and ornate interiors with murals, stained glass windows and decorative carving. The apartments can only be visited as part of a tour but the knowledgeable guides bring the history of the castle to life.

Chepstow Castle

Located in the Wye Valley, in picturesque South Wales, the construction of Chepstow Castle began in 1066 just after the Battle of Hastings for William the Conqueror, and was the first castle in Britain to be built entirely of stone. The castle opened its doors to tourists for the first time in 1953 and today welcomes guests with life-size models of its former inhabitants and rulers. The award-winning Chepstow Museum is in the 18th-century Town House located opposite the castle car park and tells the long history of the region.

Conquer Snowdon

Drink in some spectacular views and hike up Mount Snowdon, Wales' highest mountain, situated in the Snowdonia National Park. At 1,085 metres (3,560 ft) Snowdon is the UK's highest peak outside the Scottish Highlands.

Conwy Castle

Constructed between 1283 and 1289, the fortress of Conwy Castle was one of a number of castles built in North Wales to subdue the Welsh Princes after a hard fought campaign lasting years and costing thousands of pounds. Dominating the town, it sits high on a rocky plateau above the Conwy Estuary surrounded by the dramatic scenery of Snowdonia National Park. Visitors can ascend the battlements which offer stunning views of the surrounding area. The town itself is protected by a circuit of walls and 22 towers that add to the medieval feel of this incredible castle.

Get active

Wales' rocky landscape and tumbling waters are the ideal setting for high-thrill outdoor activities such as white-water rafting, abseiling and caving. The latest attraction is Zip World (www.zipworld.co.uk) in Penrhyn quarry near Bangor. Reaching speeds of up to 75mph, it's definitely one for the thrillseekers. For something a lot muddier try bog snorkelling, a unique event where participants race each other as they snorkel through swamps (www.bogsnorkelling.com).

Gower Peninsula

This breathtaking stretch of land is one of Wales' most prominent natural treasures. Stretching out next to less-than-pretty Swansea, the Gower Peninsula is a bevy of pretty coves, crashing waves and jagged cliffs. Head to enchanting Rhossili beach for a vast sandy stretch, glistening waters, and surfing lessons.

Harlech Castle

Venture to the northern tip of Cardigan Bay to Harlech, famous for both its castle that overlooks the peaks of Snowdonia, and for the stirring song, Men of Harlech, referring to the 15th-century defence of the castle.

Llandudno

Enjoy this popular seaside resort's 19th century charms, with a huge sweeping bay looking out over the Irish Sea, while Great Orme and Little Orme rise in the background.

Machynlleth

Learn Celtic heritage at Celtica in Machynlleth. This interesting town also boasts the Centre for Alternative Technology (www.cat.org.uk), which highlights environmental issues and sustainable energy use, and Senedd-Dy Owain Glyndwr (the 15th-century Welsh parliament building).

National History Museum

Get to grips with the roots of Welsh culture at St Fagans' popular open-air National History Museum (www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/stfagans).

Pit Mines

See Wales' days as an industrial powerhouse in the former coal-producing valleys inland from Cardiff. Blaenafon (a UNESCO World Heritage site) offers industrial heritage attractions in the shape of Big Pit Mining Museum and the Ironworks (www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/bigpit).

Wales by train

Ride on a narrow-gauge steam railway (www.greatlittletrainsofwales.co.uk). The Ffestiniog Railway passes through glorious scenery in the Snowdonia National Park, while the Welshpool and Llanfair Railway passes through gentler countryside close to the English border. Another, the Snowdon Mountain Railway (www.snowdonrailway.co.uk), climbs to the summit of Wales' highest peak.

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