June 21st, 2013

7 Must See Welsh Wonders

by Don

Visiting Wales gives you a chance to take in some distinctive sights and places; particularly notable Welsh wonders to explore include Snowdon, Cardiff Castle, the stately home Plas Rhianfa, the waterfall Pistyll Rhaeaddr, St. Winefrede’s Well, and Llangollen Bridge. In addition, it’s worth seeing the National Museum of Wales’ giant leatherback turtle, the largest of its kind discovered. It’s possible to tick off a large amount of these sights in the space of a few days if you get the chance, and particularly if you start off in Cardiff. Why, then, are they so special?

1 – Snowdon

The highest mountain in Wales at 3,560 metres, Snowdon is located in the county of Gwynedd, and is the main feature of Snowdonia National Park. The mountain itself can be climbed through a range of different routes, with the summit also reachable by using the Snowdon Mountain Railway. Nature reserves, pools, and rock climbing spots are also located all around the main mountain peak, which tends to attract thousands of visitors every year.

2 – Cardiff Castle

If you’re visiting the capital of Wales for the first time, then a trip to Cardiff Castle should be top of your list. Some form of battlements have existed on Cardiff Castle’s site since at least the Roman invasion of Britain, with subsequent centuries seeing a motte and bailey structure expanded into a full scale castle during the 19th century. Today, Cardiff Castle offers guided tours and the chance to enjoy festivals and concerts on its grounds and in the nearby Bute Park.

3 – The Turtle of the National Museum of Wales

A more unusual, but no less impressive marvel, the leatherback turtle preserved and exhibited at Cardiff’s National Museum of Wales was found washed up on a Welsh beach in 1988. The turtle was over 100 years old when it died, and measured 3 metres, with a weight of 2,000 pounds. Over the years, the turtle has become a favourite at the museum, and is believed to be the largest of its kind ever discovered.

4 – Plas Rhianfa

There are several stately homes with significant historical importance around Wales, but Plas Rhianfa in Anglesey is one of the best and most notable; it was built in the 19th century from French architectural influences, and with its Pavillion and Tea Room, as well as its Polish monarchy inspired gardens, is a fascinating historical relic. Visitors can now stay in Plas Rhianfa since its conversion to a 5 star luxury hotel.

5 – Pistyll Rhaeadr

The tallest waterfall in Wales can be found by the Afon Disgynfa river, and close to the Berwyn Mountains. The name ‘pistyll rhaeadr’ translates from the Welsh as the ‘spring of the waterfall’, and at 75m high, the waterfall is a great spot for taking photographs from. A cafe is located nearby if you’re tired out after climbing to the top of the falls.

6 – St. Winefride’s Well

One of the oldest pilgrimage sites in the UK, St. Winefride’s Well is located in the town of Holywell in Flintshire. The well was traditionally believed to have mystical healing properties, and was mentioned in the classic poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; over time, the well became a favourite spot for Royal visits.

7 – Llangollen Bridge

Built over the River Dee in 1345 by the Bishop of St. Asaph, the original stone Llangollen Bridge was an engineering marvel for the time, and crucial for creating what became a significant market town in Llangollen. Constructions, renovations, and widening schemes were carried out in subsequent centuries, although the main part of the bridge itself still stands.

Author Bio

Kevin Maddox is a writer and historian with a long connection to Wales. He particularly recommends that visitors consider looking at www.plasrhianfa.com if they want to stay a night at the stately home.

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