Despite only being a small country (roughly – and fittingly – equivalent in size to 2 million rugby pitches) Wales packs a lot into a small area, including picturesque mountain ranges, lush valleys and rugged coastline.
The country is home to a wealth of natural attractions, including Mt Snowdon - the tallest summit in the United Kingdom outside of the Scottish Highlands - located within the picturesque Snowdonia National Park in North Wales, and the mountainous Brecon Beacons National Park, another popular stop on many Wales tours.
The country is also home to fantastic sandy beaches. Near Swansea is the Gower Peninsula, an idyllic, coastal stretch of land that was designated the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1956. To the west of the Gower is the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, an impressive, unspoiled stretch of coastline that is the third of Wales’ three national parks.
Although rightly famous for its outstanding natural beauty, a Wales vacation offers a lot more to visitors, including compelling culture and medieval castles. In fact, there are over 600 castles in Wales, more per square mile than any other country in the world! From coastal paths to ancient history, our Wales holidays are perfect for those wanting to enjoy the natural wonders close to home.
With so much on offer in Wales, how do you decide what to see? Here's where to begin.
Things to see and places to visit on your escorted tour of Wales
From boat rides cutting through verdant green landscapes and trails past ancient castles, Wales is full of promise.
Wales is home to a rich, traditional spread of dishes, many of which involve lamb. One of the most popular lamb dishes is Cawl: a hearty slow-cooked broth made with root vegetables and either lamb or bacon. But the country's most famous dish is the Welsh rarebit. While the name ‘rarebit’ derives from rabbit, the dish is in fact a deluxe iteration of cheese on toast: a rich, cheesy roux with mustard is poured over hot bread. You can't go wrong.
Vegetarian visitors will be happy to know that one of Wales' most popular dishes - the Glamorgan sausage - is actually meat free. It is made from cheese, breadcrumbs and one of the country's favourite ingredients, leeks.
Be inspired to travel solo. Newmarket Holidays welcomes solo travellers on all our group tours. In fact, many of our customers choose to join our tours on their own. And the best part is: you won’t really be alone. With a group of like-minded travellers and a friendly, informative tour manager (as well as incredible locals all over the world!), you will love your holiday experience. Joining a tour as a solo traveller is also a guaranteed way to feel safe and confident when travelling alone. While you can join any of our regular tours on your own, we also have a range of tours designed exclusively for solo travellers.
First holiday in Wales? Here are a few questions you might have.
Wales isn't famous for its sunny climate, and tends to experience more than its fair share of rainfall. The driest time of the year to visit is between April and August, but just don’t expect glorious sunshine! Go in spring to see the flowers – including the iconic daffodil – in colourful bloom.
Wales is famous for its outstanding natural beauty. Some of the country's most visited natural sites include the Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia National Park, the Gower Peninsula, and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
There are more than 600 castles in Wales - more per square mile than any other country on earth! In the north, there are a series of castles and fortifications that were built as part of Edward I's campaign to conquer Wales in the 13th and 14th centuries, including the castles at Conwy, Beaumaris and Caernarfon.
Capital city Cardiff is home to perhaps the country's most recognisable castle, an 11th-century Gothic Revival masterpiece that looms over the city centre.
There are plenty of coastal and inland paths and footpaths, making Wales very popular with walkers and hikers of all ages and abilities.
Wales is officially listed as a bilingual country. Practically everyone speaks English though, whilst around 25% of the population speak Welsh, a survivor of the ancient Celtic languages: road signs contain both Welsh and the English translation.
Perhaps the most famous Welsh dish is the Welsh rarebit. The name ‘rarebit’ derives from rabbit, and is a little misleading as the dish does not contain any rabbit. Welsh rarebit is in fact a deluxe iteration of cheese on toast: a rich, cheesy roux with mustard is poured over hot bread – delicious!
Lamb is also very popular in Wales, especially in the form of lamb cawl, which is a slow-cooked broth made with leek and lamb. Leeks are also enjoyed in many forms throughout the country, including quiche and soup.
Generally speaking, Wales is slightly cheaper to visit than England or Scotland, although prices do vary throughout the country.
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