Wales is located on a peninsula in central-west Great Britain. Wales is bordered by England to the east and by sea in the other three directions: the Bristol Channel to the south, St George’s Channel to the west, and the Irish Sea to the north.
Wales has over 965 km (600 miles) of coastline. The coastline is much varied with beaches, secluded coves, headlands and estuaries occupying most of it.
Much of the Welsh coast is rich in natural beauty and wildlife with large stretches being owned by the National Trust.
There are several islands off the Welsh mainland, the largest being Anglesey in the northwest.
The capital and largest city of Wales is Cardiff, (nearly 20% of the population speak the Welsh language, as well as English.) and the other two major cities are Swansea and Newport.
Much of Wales’s diverse landscape is mountainous, particularly in the north and central regions. The highest mountains in Wales are in Snowdonia, Snowdon being the highest mountain. Perfect for all outdoor types.
The Brecon Beacons are in the south and are joined by the Cambrian Mountains in mid-Wales.
Wales has an ancient landscape with a Celtic heritage that dates back over 2,500 years. It has Europe’s highest concentration of castles and fortified sites at just over 400 including Caerphilly Castle one of the largest medieval fortresses in Britain; the castle also has a “leaning tower” which actually out-leans the Tower of Pisa! Other mighty showpiece fortresses`s are Caernarfon, Conwy, Harlech and Beaumaris, which make up 4 of Wales’ 5 World Heritage Sites.
Like Castles? You’ll love Wales.
Snowdonia National Park, – named after Wales’ highest peak, is the country’s finest.
Mount Snowdon is sure to provide a challenge as it is the highest mountain in Wales standing at 3,560 feet. However, for those who prefer to save their energy for the golf course, there is a
mountain railway which travels to the top of the mountain.
Brecon Beacons National Park in the east of the country.
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Britain’s only coastal National Park.
The city’s capital Cardiff has an elegant city centre packed with a host of museums, many of which are free, while Swansea, Wales’ second largest city, a dockland city.
The rugged coastline of the Gower Peninsula.
How to get there
There are no regular scheduled intercontinental flights direct into Wales. The best way is to fly into one of the UK’s larger airports and get a bus/rail transfer to Cardiff from there. Otherwise, if you are
traveling there from Europe you can fly to direct to Cardiff International Airport which has direct links with Dublin, Amsterdam, Prague, London, Edinburgh and other European destinations.
Traveling on the M4 Motorway from London to Cardiff, the journey takes approximately 2-3 hours by car.
There are 2 main lines that provide a fast service from London to Cardiff. The first of these is the South Wales line between London Paddington-Swansea and the second is the North Wales line between Bangor and Holyhead.
From any other cities in England & Scotland you need to change at Bristol or Bath for South Wales, and Crewe for North Wales. Mid Wales can be reached via Birmingham or Shrewsbury.
A comprehensive network of buses covers most of Wales, the main companies are – Arriva Cymru, Stagecoach First Cymru and National Express.
Over 40 food festivals are taking place throughout the year,
These include the Welsh Cider Festival held in Abergavenny (Monmouthshire), usually at the end of May, which showcases and sells various types of Welsh cider and the Cardiff International Food & Drink. This Festival which takes place annually in the middle of July and showcases the best of Welsh produce. There are numerous singing Festivals. The Welsch people are famous for their magnificent voices especially choirs.
Eating Dining Shopping
There are many restaurants in Wales which serve a range of international food.
Traditional afternoon tea can be served with Bara Brith (fruit bread) or Welsh cakes.
The traditional meat for dinner in the evening is Welsh Lamb or for a snack Welsh Rarebit
Cardiff, Wales’ capital city, has an excellent shopping centre that has delightful canopied Victorian and Edwardian arcades lined with specialty shops. Craftware, including ceramics, glass, textiles and jewellery are some of the most popular gifts and items associated with Wales.
Up to and during the Roman occupation of Britain, Wales was not a separate country, but all inhabitants of Britain and Ireland spoke Celtic languages. The Romans occupied the whole of Wales, where they built roads and forts, mined gold and conducted commerce, but their interest in it was limited, because of the difficult geography and shortage of flat agricultural land.
When the Roman garrison of Britain was withdrawn in 410, the various states within Wales were left self-governing. One of the reasons for the Roman withdrawal was the pressure put upon the empire’s military resources by the incursion of barbarian tribes from the east. These tribes, including the Angles and Saxons, were unable to make inroads into Wales, but they gradually conquered the whole of England, leaving Wales cut off from her Celtic relations in Scotland, Cornwall and Cumbria. Wales became Christian, and the “age of the saints” (approximately 500–700) was marked by the establishment of monastic settlements throughout the country, by religious leaders such as Saint David, Illtud and Teilo. Wales was divided into a number of separate territories, and for a single man to rule the whole country at this period was rare, the first to do so being Rhodri Mawr, during the 9th century. Rhodri’s grandson, Hywel Dda, succeeded in drawing up a standard legal system and brought peace to the country, but, on his death, his territories were once again divided.
After passing the Statute of Rhuddlan which restricted Welsh laws, King Edward’s ring of impressive stone castles assisted the domination of Wales, and he crowned his conquest by giving the title Prince of Wales to his son and heir in 1301.
Wales became, effectively, part of the United Kingdom (UK), even though its people spoke a different language and had a different culture.
In later centuries, parts of Wales became heavily industrialized, and the social effects of industrialization led to bitter social conflict between the Welsh workers and the English factory owners. During the 1830s there were two armed uprisings, leading to the country becoming a hotbed of socialism, accompanied by the increasing politicization of religious Nonconformism. Wales was officially de-annexed from England within the United Kingdom in 1955, with the term “England” being replaced with “England and Wales”.
Useful telephone numbers
Emergency Number 999
Airport Information (Cardiff international airport) 01446 711111
Train station: (National Rail) 08457 48 48 50
Tourist Office 🙁 Cardiff) Tel: 029 20227281
Holiday rents online:
National Transport Line