Coach Holidays to Wales – Wales is a land where tales of King Arthur and medieval warlords, early Christian saints and heroic princes seem to ring true amidst a landscape of ravishing natural beauty. Its coastlines are a mixture of quiet bays and bustling harbours, such as Fishguard, whilst the interior is dominated by Snowdonia National Park and its towering mountains.
Landscape of Wales is so diverse that you can climb a mountain, wander through peaceful valleys, stretch out on a beach and picnic beside crystal clear rivers and lakes all in one day! North Wales has a rugged coastline with its principal resort, Llandudno, nestled between the hills of Great and Little Orme. Mid Wales has a much gentler topography with pretty villages, such as Llandrindod Wells, an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding historical and natural beauty spots.
Its coastal towns, such as Saundersfoot and Tenby, are characterised by pastel buildings, narrow cobbled streets and shimmering bays that evoke a relaxed atmosphere more reminiscent of the Mediterrean than the Irish Sea. In contrast, the central part of Wales is dominated by Snowdonia with its mountainous, sometimes inhospitable terrain and breathtaking views down into the Welsh valleys.
History of Wales is expansive, romantic and often tragic. The Celts settled in the south and are identified as architects of the Bronze Age mines and stone circles found in the counties of Powys and Dyfed. King Arthur is alleged to have held his Round Table in Pembrokeshire, close to Bristol, whilst Roman roads may be traced across the country. Welsh history is full of heroic princes, but the magnificient ring of medieval castles found along the North Wales coastline is evocative evidence of the violent domination of the Welsh under Edward 1 and his successors.
Meanwhile, numerous mining museums are fine examples of the Welshman’s more modern subjugation. Journey deep under the earth at the coalface or in the slate mines and be confronted by the oppressive conditions workers had to endure in the nation’s recent industrial past.
Culture of the Welsh is distinctive from its English neighbours. Celtic roots are still important to many Welshmen and tend to shine through in the nation’s passion for music, poetry and the arts. The lyrical Welsh language can be heard throughout the Principality, especially towards the west and is celebrated in a competition called the ‘Eisteddfod’. Competitions take place around the country and are designed to promote Welsh speaking and lyricism.
Towns and Cities
Cardiff Tourist Information Tel:029 2022 7281
The rejuventated Welsh capital city has the best shopping, restaurants and nightlife in the country. The city boasts a fascinating museum and is home to the Millennium Stadium, which stages some of the biggest sporting and cultural events in Britain.
Criccieth, situated on the Llyn Peninsula, is well known for its sunny aspect and beautiful beaches. The town is dominated by Criccieth Castle. There are some outstanding golf courses in the region, as well as sailing and fishing opportunities.
St Davids Tourist Information Tel:01437 7203
The smallest city in Great Britain, St David’s is home to a magnificent cathedral. Visitors can also see the ruins of the Bishop’s Palace and St Mary’s College, which was first built in the 13th Century.
Laugharne Tourist Information Tel:01550 720693
Pronounced “Larne”, this is the former hometown of the poet Dylan Thomas. There are remanants of an ancient town, a Welsh castle and quaint winding streets, immortalised in Thomas’s “Under Milk Wood“.
Beddgelert nestles in the heart of Snowdonia National Park. Numerous attractions are within easy access of the village, including the Sygun Copper Mine and the picturesque Snowdon Mountain Railway.www.beddgelerttourism.com
Porthcawl lies roughly half way between Swansea and Cardiff, overlooking the Bristol Channel. The former iron and steel port now boasts many of the amenities associated with a busy holiday resort, including a theatre, amusement park and several world-class golf courses.
Pick of the Attractions
Great Orme Tramway Tel:01492 575275
Running up the picturesque hill of Great Orme, the tramway is Britain’s only cable-hauled, public road tramway that still uses the original Victorian carriages.
Caernarfon Castle is one of the most impressive of all of the castles in Wales. It has stood as a symbol of English dominance over the subdued Welsh and important past events include the coronation of Edward VII.www.caernarfon-castle.co.uk
Anglesey Tourist Information Tel:01248 713177
Home to the longest place name in the British Isles, commonly referred to as Llanfair PG, the island offers beaches, wildlife and history as well as a flavour of the unique modern Welsh culture and language.
Manorbier Castle Tel:01834 871394
Described as “the pleasantest spot in Wales” by Gerald of Wales and the scene of Shakespearian plays during the summer months.
Caldey Island Tel:01834 844453
Three miles across the Caldey Sound, Caldey island is home to a fascinating monastic settlement of the Reformed Cistercian order as well as seals and puffins. There are cruises available from Tenby’s beaches.