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Southwestern United Kingdom with castles and plenty of coastline. The country is almost entirely encompassed by the Cambrian Mountains and includes the highest point of the island outside of Scotland. But, fear not, these are closer to hills, not mountains. 

If you want to visit here, it is very easy to get to.  Cardiff is just a 3 hour drive west of London. Or, you can take the train in about 2 1/2 hours from Paddington Station.

Enjoy prehistoric British Celts to the Roman Era from the 1st to the 5th century. Then, 5 more centuries of Celtic rule until being united under the Norman rule in the 11th century. 



Capital and largest city with over 1 million in the metro area. (1/3 of the entire nation).  Known for its castles, there are a half dozen of them within a few miles of the city.

Welsh Countryside

Beautiful country in the 3 national parks of Wales...Snowdonia, Pembrokeshire Coast and Brecon Beacons.  You will get a lot of rolling hills, but not any true mountains.  The highest point in Wales is Mount Snowden at 3560 feet (1085 meters)


Getting around Wales

As much as I prefer to use public transportation when in Europe, Wales is a place where I like to have a car. But, that is simply because I love to be in the countryside when in Wales.  But, if you want to just visit the big cities like Cardiff or Swansea, trains are just fine.  It is quite easy to get there, as there is a train from London to Cardiff that takes only 2 hours. And, Swansea is just 1 more hour west of Cardiff. 

Once you are in Cardiff, there are plenty of options. You can catch a waterbus between the city center and Cardiff Bay, ride on the hop on - hop off Sightseeing bus, use Cardiff Bus throughout the city (with contactless payment), or use the trains from Transport for Wales.  

In Swansea, you have Swansea Bay and West Wales Metro. This gives you bus and rail options throughout the area.  

A tip for visitors from England, if you want to rent a car for a Wales visit. Don't necessarily get a car in London. It can be cheaper to take the train out to Wales, then rent a car there.  The last time I visited northern Wales, I took the train to Birmingham, and rented a car there for the remainder of the trip. It saved me half the cost.

On the other hand, if you get a car in London, that gives you the option of stopping by Windsor Castle or Stonehenge in Salisbury along the way.  


The highlights of Cardiff are definitely Cardiff castle, the Victorian Shopping Arcades, and The National Museum.

Of course, if you want to hang out in a pub on the Bay, or catch a match in Principality Stadium, that is here also.

Finally, day trips to castles such as Castell Coch or Caerphilly Castle since Wales has the largest concentration of castles in the UK.

The Romans built a fort here in the 1st century, but the city didn't actually start developing until the 11th century under the Normans.  

By the early 20th century, Cardiff was the leading exporting port for coal in the world. But, it didnt last long as exports stopped in the 1960's. 

Cardiff Castle

Right in the center of town, overlooking the River Taff and Bute Park.

History here begins 2000 years ago in the 1st century when Romans built the first in a series of forts. In the 11th century, the Normans constructed the Keep that still dominates the Castle Green today. The medieval Lords of Glamorgan began work on the House during the 15th century.

In the 19th century, the Bute family transformed the House into the opulent Victorian Gothic home it is today

Caerphilly Castle

Located just 8 miles for Cardiff center. It takes around 30 minutes to drive, but can also be reached by connecting buses. 

The increasing power of the Prince of Wales persuaded Marcher lord Gilbert de Clare that he needed his own protection.

Therefore, starting in 1268 de Clare constructed the biggest castle in Wales — second only to Windsor in the whole of Britain. The walls, towers and gatehouses were combined with sprawling water defenses and covered fully 30 acres. 

Castell Coch

The baby of the castles that was rebuilt in the 19th century.  this castles is surrounded by woods, and was built in gothic revival style. Castell Coch has been a luxury of the rich and powerful for over 700 years. Neither Gilbert de Clare nor the Marquess of Bute spent much time here, but they spent large fortunes maintaining this hunting lodge.

Cardiff Wales
Cardiff Wales
Cardiff Wales
Cardiff Wales


In the north of Wales; this is a walled city on the banks of the River Conwy, built by Edward I of England between 1283 and 1289.   With a population today of nearly 15,000; it is a cute little town to visit, and also serves a great gateway to Snowdonia National Park. I was fortunate to find an Airbnb on my last visit that was 10 minutes south of town allowing me great local hikes, access to town, and also close enough to Mount Snowden. 

The Smallest House In Great Britain
Minuscule former fisherman's residence, 1.8 meters wide and just 2 rooms. This is obviously a very quick attraction to see. And, it is only open during the high season, April to October. Apparently, "Tiny homes" are not a new thing! 

Conwy Castle
13th-century  fortress with scenic battlement on the river. Built by King Edward I from 1283 to 1287, very fast for its day!.  The spiral staircases have been restored, so you can walk among much of the castle today, from top to bottom.  Access the entrance on Llanrwst Rd just up from the roundabout.

Conwy Town Walls
Over 1.2 km (1400 yards) of intact medieval stone walls surround the town, with towers and battlements. Join this walk with the castle, and you will be impressed by the work that went into it, and enjoy the views of the town and water. 

Plas Mawr
16th-century residence offering visits and audio tours. Billed as the "finest surviving Elizabethan town house anywhere in Britain." Robert Wynn bought this house in Conwy for £200 and between 1576 and 1585 transformed it into a demonstration of his life and wealth. Over the centuries it was used as a courthouse, a school and even an art gallery. Today, you can get a tour around 17 rooms to appreciate the original glory.

Conwy Castle Wales
Plas Mawr Conwy Wales
St Mary's Church Conwy Wales
Conwy Castle Wales
Conwy Wales smallest house in Great Britain
Conwy Wales

Snowdonia National Park

At 823 square miles; it is Wales' largest of its 3 national parks.  The park features peaks up to 3560 feet, numerous lakes and rivers, and extensive coastline along St George's Channel (between Great Britain and Ireland).

It also is the home to the wettest place in Great Britain receiving an average of 176 inches per year at Crib Goch. There are more hikes here than one could do in any trip, and at every level you want. But, if you have the legs, hike up Mount Snowden. And, prepare for crowds! It is as popular as it is beautiful. 

Snowdonia National Park Wales UK
Snowdonia National Park Wales UK
Snowdonia National Park Wales UK
Snowdonia National Park Wales UK
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