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Our favourite things to do in Wales
You're spoilt for choice in Wales. Home to seven fantastic Haven parks and a whole host of attractions, you’ll never be stuck for things to do here.
Attractions set neatly within a constant natural oasis, with lush greenery, rolling hills and coastal hideaways served up time and time again. A special set of museums and castles give you an insight into the country’s incredible history. Today’s towns and the places to visit within them create a home from home, showing why Wales is a magnet for tourists far and wide in what challenges destinations that are far more shouted about. Have a look at our favourite things to do in the north and south and start planning your trip to Wales with us.
Caldey Island sits neatly off the south Pembrokeshire coast. Accessible via a regular boat service from Tenby, the island is also visible from Penally’s coastal quarters. With three Haven parks in the vicinity, this a fantastic option for a day out within reaching distance. Just a handful of people call the island home, making this historic strip of land as untouched as it gets.
People have always been present here, with archaeologists being able to prove settlement existed as far back as the Ice Age. You’ll find a monastery for monks and two churches on the island. The Abbey and St. David’s both offer a different charm and insight into the roots of religion on Caldey. Before you take the boat back, grab some chocolate from the island’s factory shop, a site that has been making treats on site for years.
Established by Edward I in 1283 and built by 1289, Conwy Castle was used a jewel on the mantelpiece. It was founded to illustrate the king’s conquest of Welsh territory in this period. In modern times, UNESCO have added it to their prestigious list of World Heritage Sites as an example of stunning 13th-century architecture. It continued to play a key part in famous conflicts across several centuries, most notably in the English Civil War.
You’ll see the strategy behind the build on a visit today, with the imposing structure positioned close to where the River Conwy becomes the Irish Sea. Accessible via the 19th-century Conwy Suspension Bridge, the castle sits on the banks of the river and looks over the town of the same name. A walk around here is one of our favourite things to do in Wales. Head for what’s known as The Smallest House in Great Britain, a place that doubles as a great vantage point for the castle.
Freshwater West Beach
Freshwater West is a coastal oasis of epic proportions. Looking out to the Irish Sea, the beach is at western extremity of South Wales. One of Britain’s closest points to Ireland, the sand is closer to our neighbour than it is to England. The relatively long journey that most people take on to get here is made worth it and more by the stunning sights it provides. Basking in glory as one of the unique selling points of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, the wide and expansive dunes are great for a relaxing picnic and a stroll come winter or summer.
You’ll often see hardy swimmers and surfers taking advantage of the amazing conditions here. Something else may look familiar to you. The beach has been used numerous times in films over the years, most notably in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as house elf Dobby’s burial site. Indeed, the beach has been known to attract the odd Potter fan for a movie-inspired pilgrimage.
Snowdonia National Park
We simply had to find a spot for this northern masterpiece on the list of our favourite things to do in Wales. The peak dominates the skyline from both near and far, with Snowdonia within commutable distance from our parks in North Wales. You’ll always spot it in the distance, confirming its place as one of the UK’s greatest natural landscapes. It’s no wonder it’s been given National Park status.
Betws-y-Coed is a village within the sphere of England and Wales’ highest peak, with its charming shops, cafes and restaurants ideal for a refresh before or after you decide to head for the mountain. The town’s architecture is to be admired, so be sure to remember that all-important camera.
Tenby’s charm is the reason we have three parks in its vicinity. You’ll love it from the first minute. The remnants of the town’s defensive walls live on to this day, with the old structure widely regarded as one of the most secure of any nationwide that were built in the medieval period. Take a walk through the imposing five arches gate to gain a snapshot into the atmosphere of centuries ago in the town.
A coastal collection of beaches is yours to explore here, with Castle Beach our favourite. The recipient of much attention over the years, it gives visitors a great view of Pembrokeshire’s coast with the town’s terrific castle hanging over its dunes. Top off your day with a bite to eat at one of Tenby’s fantastic establishments and grab some delicious seafood to take back with you. A walk around here is one of our favourite things to do in Wales.
Welsh Highland Heritage Railway
A ride along the UK’s longest heritage railway couldn’t be left out of our favourite things to do in Wales. Stretching for an impressive 25 miles, the route takes you around Snowdonia, starting in Caernarfon. Trains delightfully depart from beneath the castle’s walls, heading down foothills to Beddgelert and onto Porthmadog. Look out for the incredible Aberglaslyn Pass along the way.
Steam locomotives take you through the Welsh countryside and are known to railway enthusiasts as some of the most powerful machines of their size in the world. A charming passenger car plays host to you, with generously sized windows meaning you won’t miss a thing along the way. This is another one for the photo album.