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Travel to Wales: The UK’s Lesser Explored Country

by margaret 27. July 2011 10:40

When heading across the pond to the United Kingdom, many will make plenty of time for England and Ireland; some even may head north to Scotland. But outside of people within the UK, you don’t often hear about people visiting Wales, the tiny country west of England. Wales has a lot to offer, from beaches to inland resorts, famous castles and can easily be traveled to through cheap domestic flights within Europe and the UK. When starting your trip in the North of Wales, there are several can’t miss spots. 

Llandudno: The Welsh Resort Town 

For many Englanders, a popular local holiday is heading to the beaches of Wales, something the country has quite a bit of. The north is no exception with the beautiful beach town of Llandudno. Llandudno is Wales’ largest resort town. While home to many modern attractions for tourists to enjoy, boardwalk included, one of the first things you’ll notice are the Victorian style Bed and Breakfasts and hotels that line the beach area. Many locals and tourists will start frequenting the beaches as early as April, and enjoy them through the fall.

Among the gorgeous views of the area lies the Great Orme, which can be accessed by car, cabin lift or a tram system that was built in 1902. The Great Orme features picturesque views from the top and is one of two artificial ski slopes in Wales. One of the best ways to experience it is by driving along the coast, leading all the way up to the Great Orme Summit complex. Once at the summit, on a clear day, you can get views of the Isle of Man and the Lake District in Northern England.

 

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The popular beach resort town of Llandudno from the Boardwalk

 

Conwy Castle 

Only a quick five minute drive from Llandudno is Conwy, where the famous Conwy Castle lies. Conwy is a walled town, with the primary focus being the can’t miss Conwy Castle, built in only six years between 1283 and 1289, and constructed by Edward I. Visiting Conwy Castle is definitely an experience, as is visiting and walking through any ancient castle in Europe. While a lot of it has deteriorated over the years, guides will tell you where everything was and how it looked as you walk around the Castle grounds. A trek all the way to the top of each tower (a narrow walk by the way!) will give you a magnificent view of the whole town, castle and the railway bridge built to the castle in the 19th century.

Outside of the castle, Conwy is a small town that does offer tourists pubs, restaurants and other little tourist attractions. Head towards the water and you’ll find the smallest house in Great Britain. Measuring in at 10 ft x 6 ft, it was once actually inhabited by a family and most recently by a fisherman who was too tall to even stand up in the house! Today visitors can take a peek inside, for a small fee of course.

  

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A view of the famous Conwy Castle from one of the towers

 

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The Smallest House in Great Britain 

 

Betws-y-Coed

Heading south of Conwy, you’ll run into Wales most popular inland resort town, Betws-y-Coed. The small village, population just 534, is the main village of the famous Snowdonia National Park. The exceptionally beautiful and peaceful area is where the River Conwy meets the River Llugwy and River Lledr. While there isn’t much more than a few café’s and tourist shops, the village shouldn’t be missed on your trip to Northern Wales, even if you’re just stopping by to get a view of the scenery.

 

 

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The famous lush scenery of Betws-y-Coed  

 

Hiking Snowdonia 

If you’re into hiking and spending time in the great outdoors, stick around the Snowdonia National Park area after leaving Betws-y-Coed. Here you’ll find trails to hike through, with most people focusing on the popular Snowdon Mountain, though there are several mountains surrounding it that are less busy. There is of course a way of getting to the top if you’re not a fan of hiking or just want to get there quicker. The Snowdon Mountain Railway is available for visitors to get them to the top of Snowdon, the highest peak in England and Wales.  

   

A Name You Won’t Forget, But Can’t Remember

Another quick stop on your tour in Northern Wales is the longest named town in Europe (and only one of in the world!). That would be Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Go ahead, try pronouncing it! Llanfair PG, as it’s commonly shortened to, is village on the island of Anglesey in Wales. Many tourists only stop by on their way through Wales to get a picture of the town sign. Wondering what on earth the translation is? The name of the town means “St Mary's church in the hollow of the white hazel near the rapid whirlpool of Llantysilio of the red cave.” Easy to remember, right!?   

 

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A sign by the train station in town shows the English translation of the long Welsh name 

 

With everything in such close distance, it’s easy to spend a full day exploring all that North Wales has to offer. Wales is easy to get to through England. You can find cheap flights to London or cheap flights to Europe and make your way over there from a smaller, local airport on one of the many cheap domestic flights. While often forgotten by many, Wales is a wonderful country to explore, through the north and beyond. 

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Tags: cheap flights, europe, great britain, united kingdom, wales

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