Apr 5, 2017
With stunning coastline and beautiful scenery, Wales is a country that really does offer fantastic value for money when it comes to travel. The fact that England, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland are all also very close by offers longer term visitors a whole host of potential places to visit. The question is where to prioritise.
Wales is a country with a long and colourful history. Travelling through the countryside this becomes evident. Castles of varying ages and styles adorn the landscape and reveal insights into the evolution of both the locality as well as its culture. For anyone with an interest in history or a love of earlier architecture the sheer variety of old buildings and residences available to visit provides a wonderful attraction. The fact that they are also located in relative close proximity to one another is an additional bonus.
Of course getting around has to be carefully considered. Distances may seem reasonably short, but travel time can extend quite considerably longer than anticipated, due to the nature of the roads and the speed limits on them. Reaching cities such as Cardiff and Swansea is easily done via the motorways in the south, but bridging the north – south divide is where the time adds up.
Cardiff, the capital, is one obvious stop off point. With its Millennium Stadium, one event to try and squeeze in if possible is a rugby match. Having produced incredibly exciting sides in the 1970s today the current team is still capable of playing some excellent rugby. Recent achievements of the past decade are also testament to just how good the team is. With other attractions on offer, such as Cardiff Castle and a Dr. Who experience, and with the city having undergone urban regeneration in recent decades, this is a very easy city in which to base oneself.
Having the Brecon Beacons nearby, with its waterfalls and forests, is also a sublime feature, and with Swansea an hour’s drive away, with its beaches and Premiership football team for sporting enthusiasts, there are options available both for viewing and participating. Further northward outdoors enthusiasts can relish one stand out site: Mount Snowdon. For anyone with a love of mountaineering or hiking, having a place which is both easily accessible and not too arduous to climb is a plus.
As mentioned at the beginning, an additional appeal of the whole locality is that England is always only a short drive or train ride away and Scotland equally accessible from the north of the country. The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are accessible by ferry from either Fishguard for the former or Liverpool if the desired destination is the latter.
As a former student of Swansea University one of the things I should have done more of while I was based in Wales was explore the country. I didn’t at the time. It wasn’t until years later, when I revisited with my family, that I eventually uncovered some of its attractions and, having done so, I certainly hope to explore more of them before too long.
About the Column
Gareth Morris is a university language teacher. He is also a part-time doctoral student. Gareth first moved to China in 2005 and, after spending a couple of years back in the UK studying for his PGCE and Masters, has now returned to the city he calls home. During his time in China Gareth has travelled extensively. His travels have taken him from Beijing and Xian to Kunming and Haikou. He has also spent time in Hong Kong and Macao. In addition to this, Gareth has lived in a number of countries across Europe, North and Central America and Asia. Closer to home, Gareth has enjoyed visiting numerous localities within Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui. His Livingsu column will explore local places of interest found within walking distance of Metro line 1.