Holidays in Wales
Wales is a small country in southwest Britain – which makes it a part of the United Kingdom – with a population of just 3 million, smaller than many cities in England. Cardiff is the capital, a lively coastal city overseen by a stunning medieval castle.
Wales offers great holiday opportunities – particularly in the great outdoors – so long as tourists are prepared for extremely changeable, cool weather conditions. ‘There is no such thing as bad weather, there’s only bad clothing’ applies here.
Note that Welsh tourism is very family-friendly so there tend to be kid-oriented facilities and attractions in most popular destinations.
Weather: The least rain falls from March-July but it still averages 80-90 mm per month in mid-summer and a lot more the rest of the year. Highest temperatures are from June-September with a maximum of 19C (66F) and a minimum of 9C (48F).
Things to Do
Caernarfon Castle aerial, Wales. Photo by Kadpot.
Take a look at a few of the dozen magnificent castles that are not only interesting but also beautiful, some of them offering large art installations as well as kids activities. The top four Welsh Castles are: Caernarfon Castle, Harlech Castle, Conwy Castle and Caerphilly Castle.
Conwy Castle. Photo by Traveler100.
Barafundle Beach, Pembrokeshire, Wales. Photo by JKMMX
The 750 mile Welsh coastline embraces at least a dozen excellent sandy beaches, mostly on the south coast around the Gower peninsula and along the Pembrokeshire coast. Tenby is an especially popular and attractive town beach. However! Atlantic waters are chilly of course and the weather unreliable so wetsuits might be a good idea to pack along with the sandwiches!
Sailing on Bala Lake, Wales. Photo by Cymraeg
Coasteering, surfing, kitesurfing, kayaking, sailing and fishing are commonly found along the coast of Wales but kayaking, canoeing and fishing can also take place inland where there is no shortage of lakes and rivers. The River Wye is particularly popular for game fishing. White water rafting is also an option.
Hiking & Biking
The Peregrine Path, a great trail that straddles the Wales/England border, following the River Wye from the historic town of Monmouth in south east Wales to Goodrich in Herefordshire. Photo by Stevage.
The Atlantic Ocean coastlines are ruggedly beautiful, national parks magnificently mountainous and the network of hiking trails in Wales massive, so hiking and mountain biking are favourite activities. There’s even a coastal path covering the whole country! It’s the Wales Coast Path, 870 miles long (1,400 kms).
A slightly shorter path for both bikes and hikes is the Taff Trail, 16 miles from Cardiff (the capital city of Wales) to Pontypridd in the Brecon Beacons, including castles on the way.
If tourists prefer a shorter stretch they can hop a bike-friendly train to get to a starting point and cycle from there. Cycle hire is available at both ends.
Some regions, such as Aberdovey, have organised a hop on/hop off train service with beach walks in between.
Mountain biking in Revolution Bike Park
The Welsh National Cycle Network manages 1,400 miles of tracks in total, most of it traffic-free. Serious mountain bikers can find superb, well-organised singletrack trails and wild backcountry rides for all levels of bikers.
Climbing & Scrambling
Crib Goch in the Snowdonia range. Photo by Diliff.
Having climbed Mount Snowdon too slowly and the wrong way in my youth (leading to a scary after-dark descent with no lighting) I can personally attest to the exciting rock climbing routes in Wales available to those who like adrenalin activities. But of course well-planned climbs don’t have to be life-threatening and simply scrambling up small rock outcrops or more modest inclines is always an option.
High Rope Centres for families
Mojo active high ropes adventure.
‘High Rope Centres’ are a safe, active and entertaining way to spend time with kids. These are basically obstacle courses suspended through, over and around wooded areas, with participants heading up and down ladders, struggling across wire bridges, balancing over beams, swinging by trapezes or rope-swings and of course whistling down zip-wires.
And finally, a couple more fairly obvious things to do in this kind of rural paradise are Horse Riding (including Pony Trekking for kids) and golf for the low-adrenalin sporting folk.