Coastlines Castles and Countryside
Wales is known for its legends, poetry and many miles of green, lush countryside peppered with magnificent castles and churches. A smallish country with a big character, it has everything from cosmopolitan cities and towns, to rural hamlets surrounded by scenic views.
A Place of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Just a few hours drive from Cardiff, is the magnificent Gower Peninsula the first place in Britain to be awarded as a “Place Of Outstanding Beauty”, and when you visit you can easily see why, it really is exceptionally beautiful. Surrounded by the Bristol Sea and Atlantic Ocean, the countryside also benefits from a range of wildlife which often draws the “spotters” to enjoy photo opportunities with visiting or indigenous bird life. Alternatively, try The National Wetland Centre in Llanelli – one of the best UK sites for bird watchers. If you visit in spring, you will see thousands of daffodils, the national flower of Wales, growing in every nook and cranny. If you decide book into one of the cottages in Wales, try and make sure it has a garden, or views – nothing can beat the site of these flowers after winter.
Wales has a colourful history, so there are lots of castles and medieval churches to explore and some of them are massive. Edward I built fortress like castle to suppress uprisings in the north of the country and it was said that one castle in Wales could hold all the castles in Scotland. Chepstow Castle is built on the River Wye – and is the first stone built Castle, built on the border of England. Laugharne Castle was loved by the poet, Dylan Thomas.
Mount Herman Church in Crofty dates back to the 1800’s where it was used an essential landmark for sailors of the many ships sailing in. The local area used to be well known for its locals not taking religion seriously enough and so the church was built specifically on an area where some of the local children used to spend their days playing and hiding from going to Church! The building is showing its age now but is well worth a visit due to the amazing views and atmospheric cemetery.
You might like to visit the Museum of Welsh Life, showing all aspects of what life was like in previous ages in Wales. It shows a people who are resilient and imaginative. Coal mining was central to life in Wales, so there are many exhibits which reflect a by gone way of life, including displays of national dress. Welsh women once protected the coast in Wales – by dressing in national costume. In the 1700’s France was attempting and invasion by sea, and with their men already in the army, the women were unprotected – so they put on their red and black costumes and marched to the coast. From the sea, the womens vivid red skirts and tall black hats resembled the uniform of the British Army – and the French turned back.
There’s also a number of cave systems in Gower. You can explore the cave routes with the a fully trained guide and you’ll be supplied with all the appropriate caving and safety equipment.
Beaches With Attitude
Gower Peninsula has some great beaches, ranging from rocky coves through to long, wide, pale gold, sandy beaches. In the summer months the beaches do get busy, but if you’re prepared to walk away from the busy areas nearest to the car park, you can often find a quiet area to yourself. Most of the beaches have a Blue Flag award for being safe and clean so are perfect for young children. There are a number of great surf breaks to be found so if you love the water, why not invest in a couple of days surf tuition and head out in the water? St. Brides Bay run excursions where you can go and watch the dolphins swimming, or try your skills at kite surfing.
Bed And Breakfast properties are popular with visitors, but there are plenty of other accommodation types, such as holiday cottages in Wales. Great value when shared with a few friend or family members! Wales is a wonderful country to visit – the food, the landscape, the history and culture make for a brilliant visit.