With breathtaking scenery and magnificent castles, vibrant cities and exhilarating outdoor activities, beautiful beaches and pretty seaside towns, there’s so much to do on a magical short break in Wales
The great outdoors
Boasting five designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, stunning mountain ranges and a gorgeous coastline, Wales is a fabulous destination for lovers of the great outdoors.
It is a walker’s paradise. The Wales Coast Path offers 870 miles of uninterrupted coastal walking and is packed full of gems just waiting to be discovered, while the Offa’s Dyke Path is a spectacular coast-to-coast route along the former Welsh-English border, with ever changing views across both England and Wales.
Cyclists will love the 1,400 miles of cycle networks. From scenic routes on smooth tarmac to purpose-built mountain biking tracks, you’ll find something to suit riders of all ages and abilities.
The wonderful coastline offers endless opportunities for surfing, kayaking, coasteering and kitesurfing, while inland watersports enthusiasts can experience the thrill of whitewater rafting.
Wales is a perfect destination for equine lovers who can enjoy coastal riding on the beaches of Pembrokeshire or trekking through the mountains in Snowdonia. Increasingly popular outdoor activities include guided food foraging trips and wilderness survival courses. The Bear Grylls Survival Academy offers a chance to unleash your inner caveman (or woman!) and survive a night in the wild. And if high-ropes are your thing, then head for one of the many family-friendly climbing centres, while the more adventurous can try their hand at abseiling and caving.
The seaside towns scattered along the coastline are among the best places to visit in Wales. The pretty town of Tenby is one of Wales’ most popular resorts and has three beaches, a small harbour, quaint cobbled streets and lots of pubs, shops and restaurants.
Aberystwyth is flanked by wonderful coastal paths and offers stunning views over Cardigan Bay. The buzzing university town has plenty of pubs, bars and restaurants and is home to the Aberystwyth Arts Centre (Wales’ largest arts centre), the picturesque Vale of Rheidol Railway, and Britain’s longest funicular railway.
St Davids is Britain’s smallest city and lies on the magnificent Pembrokeshire coast. You’ll find many adventure activities available locally, including coasteering, sea kayaking and climbing. Boats sail from St Davids to the islands of Grassholm, Ramsey, Skomer and Skokholm. The islands are famous for their colonies of gannets, puffins and other seabirds.
Wales has hundreds of fabulous beaches dotted along its coast and the changing tides reveal some fascinating landscapes. At low tide, the remains of a 4,000-year-old forest can be seen on the beautiful Borth Sands, while at Rhossili Bay, the seas roll back to reveal the spectacular Worm’s Head. Rhossili Bay’s multi-award winning beach has three miles of golden sands and is a playground for walkers, water sports enthusiasts and sandcastle builders alike.
A rich heritage
You’re never far from a castle in Wales – the country boasts 600 of them and there are some magnificent examples to discover. Step back in time at Caerphilly Castle, the largest in Wales – it’s a stunning fortress surrounded by moats and watery islands. Beaumaris Castle is considered to be one of the most technically accomplished castles in the British Isles, and the awesome Caernarfon Castle is a World Heritage Site.
Wales’ proud industrial heritage is celebrated at the Big Pit National Coal Museum and Blaenavon Ironworks, part of the Blaenavon World Heritage Site. Head underground with a hard hat for a miner’s tour. It’s also hard-hat time at the Llechwedd Slate Caverns in Snowdonia, where you can explore vast underground caverns and learn about the life of Victorian slate miners.
There are many places to go in Wales where you can discover more about its history. The country’s many wonderful museums include St Fagans National History Museum – one of Europe’s top open-air museums – which exhibits more than 40 original buildings from different time periods. You can also marvel at dinosaur skeletons and superb Impressionist paintings at the National Museum Cardiff, and explore 300 years of Welsh industry and innovation at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea.
In the cities
Cardiff, Wales’ capital city, is full of surprises, boasting unique attractions from its gothic fantasy castle to national museums and art galleries. For a great shopping experience, Cardiff is a must – it’s been voted one of Britain’s top ten shopping destinations. You’ll also be spoilt for choice when it comes to entertainment, with events, performances and concerts at the Millennium Centre, Chapter Arts Centre and the Principality Stadium – the spiritual home of Welsh rugby. For some of the city’s finest bars and eateries, head to Cardiff’s vibrant waterfront.
Just along the coast, you can enjoy miles of award-winning beaches on the edge of the thriving city of Swansea. The city is home to top-notch museums, galleries and attractions – visit the Dylan Thomas Centre to find out about this literary icon. Swansea is also a great shopping destination; it has hundreds of independent shops and high-street brands and boasts the largest indoor market in Wales. For entertainment, there’s the Swansea Grand Theatre and for sport, the Liberty Stadium, home to top-flight rugby and Premiership football.
Food and drink
Wales really is a food lover’s paradise with restaurants, cafes and delis across the country using the best of its fabulous local ingredients. You’ll find salt marsh lamb, Welsh black beef, Carmarthen ham, Caerphilly cheese and lavabread (a seaweed), and traditional Welsh classics such as Welsh cakes, bara brith, cawl and Glamorgan sausages on menus all over the country.
Why not check out our hotels in Cardiff and see what this beautiful country has to offer.