(BBC)
Gavin and Stacey‘s Nessa (Ruth Jones) has a tattoo of the Welsh dragon. (BBC)

If you’ve hit the road with Welsh comedian Rob Brydon, hung out with Gavin and Stacey at Barry Island, or traveled to Cardiff with The Doctor, then you may have picked up on bits and pieces of Wales. There’s a lot of fun stuff going on right next door to England, starting at the top of a mountain, down to the coast, and everything else in between. Here are 10 reasons to make a visit to Wales:

1. Snowdonia National Park, in North Wales, is home to the longest and fastest zip-line in Europe. Adventure seekers can find the line on Snowdon mountain, the highest mountain in Wales and England. For a complete list of the highest mountains in Wales, go here.

2. Rhossili Bay on the Gower Peninsula in Swansea, a coastal town, is a great spot for surfing. If you’re keen on the idea but haven’t been on a board yet, you can sign up for lessons at Gower Surfing.

3. Lauriston Court Hotel, in Llandudno, won the title of “World’s Best Hotel for Service” by TripAdvisor’s 2013 Travelers’ Choice Hotel Awards.

(Lauriston Court)
The hotel is a renovated town house with a seafront location. (Lauriston Court)

4. The All Wales Coast Path stretches the length of the Welsh coastline, 870 miles. We suggest breaking the walk up into bits, rather than trying to tackle the long distance all at once.

5. Hennighan’s Top Shop in Machynlleth, a town in Powys, Mid Wales, was named the 2014 Wales’ best fish and chips shop in the regional category hosted by The National Fish & Chips Awards. You may have to climb a mountain or two to get there, but it is the best.

(Hennighan's)
The above translates to: “Happy New Year.”(Hennighan’s)

6. Barry Island is a resort town located in South Wales, with an amusement park kitty corner to the beach. If you need a break from the sun, you can pop into one of the many restaurants or pubs.

7. Rhyl, in North Wales, is basically a mini Vegas with its lively nightlife. What happens in Rhyl, stays in Rhyl.

8. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is the longest name for a village in Britain. Yes, that really is the name. It’s worth going to the island of Anglesey, where the village is located, just to get the souvenir shirt that says, “My friend went to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch and all I got was this shirt,” and gift it to an unsuspecting pal.

9. For the most part, everyone in Wales speaks English, but the Welsh language is still alive and happening with 19% of the population (approximately 500,000 people) speaking the native language called Cymraeg. While you may not be bumping into Welsh speakers left and right, you will pick up on its influences in road signs, names of shops and towns. Umm, did you see the name of the village above? You have the best of both worlds: the ease of getting around being able to speak the language—and that “foreign” feel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qU3lcFv74sw

10. The capital of Wales, Cardiff, is not only home to Doctor Who, but also Cardiff Castle. Wales has been referred to as the “Land of Castles,” because it has over 600 castles, which you can find out more about here. And where there are castles, there are gardens. Wales has 10 National Trust Gardens.

Cardiff Castle is 2000 years old, with construction beginning in the 11th century. (Wiki)
Cardiff Castle has 2000 years of history behind it. (Wiki)

For more suggestions go to VisitWales here.

Have you been to Wales before? If so, tell us about it!

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By Brigid Brown