Wales is one of those funny places that people tend to forget exists. The lost child of three other ‘siblings’ that make up the United Kingdom. I mean, you have Queen Elizabeth in London, the leprechauns in Ireland and magical castles up north in Scotland (not forgetting those blood sausages!). Why would anyone ever bother to visit this place called Wales?
If you aren’t convinced, read on for some of our top reasons for avoiding Wales!
Photo By Chris McKenna (Thryduulf)
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is an actual Welsh word and refers to a tiny town on the island of Anglesey in north Wales. A mega 58 letter word that is roughly translated to mean “St Mary's Church in the Hollow of the White Hazel near a Rapid Whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio near the Red Cave”.
Wales is definitely one place to visit if you want to return home and wow your friends by declaring that you spent the summer at Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. The only small blessing is that the Welsh capital is known as Cardiff. Far more pronounceable in comparison!
And really, ludicrous names such as Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch say a lot about a country, don’t they?! And how embarrassing would it be if you can’t even tell your cab driver where you want to go?
Image by Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
Speaking of Cardiff, the Welsh capital has the pleasure of being known as the greenest capital city in the whole of Europe.
A mere 2 hours from London, Cardiff is a compact city with over two thousand acres of park, making it so easy to walk and explore that it might actually be boring. For instance, the popular 89 km Taff trail goes along the river from the Cardiff Bay down to Brecon. It takes a whopping 8 hours to complete by foot, assuming you can even complete the exhausting trail!
Alternatively, you can go cycling. You will see the old railway paths, forest paths and canals that make up the Taff trail. Typical countryside view really, with lots of greens.
If you were looking for smog, dreary congestion and miserable commuters huddled along pee-stained alleyways, then you have come to the wrong place. Turn back. It’s not too late.
Image By Unofficial England Rugby's photos
You know there is something wrong with a country when it is gripped with sports mania. In the case of the Welsh, that sport is rugby.
Rugby is so essential, it is a part of the Welsh national identity. When the national rugby team plays, the entire country comes to a standstill. Pint glasses in hand, Welsh fans will stand shoulder-to-shoulder in packed pubs all across the nation, drunk and singing when their team wins, and drunk and singing when their team loses. No distinction necessary.
And if you are so unfortunate as to be in Cardiff on a rugby day, it will seem as though the entire population of Wales has descended. They will clog the streets in identical red dragon jerseys with yellow daffodils spray painted onto their cheeks in support. They can’t be avoided. Not when the city is geared towards sports and has its sports stadiums, like the famous Millennium Stadium, placed in the city centre.
If you are wary of crowds, avoid Wales when a rugby match is on (which is almost always!).
Image by Tobias Jakobs
Myths and legends are so important to the Welsh, they have a literal red dragon painted on their national flag!
Welsh legends are pervasive on a more global scale than you might realise. The Welsh language inspired J.R.R. Tolkien in the creation of the Elvish language in the Lord of the Rings. Merlin is said to originate from the Welsh wizard Myrddin Wyllt, and you can even visit his statute on the Merlin Walk in Carmarthen (which is said to be his birthplace).
Magic and mysticism cling to Wales like a second skin. Visiting Wales will make you feel like a character out of ancient legends and that anything is possible. You’re no child anymore, are you? It’s time to leave these fairy tales behind.
Image by Cadw, Welsh Government
Fun Fact: If you pop by the Caerphilly Castle, you might just get to meet a family of dragons!
Image by Adventure North Wales
Now we are all for a little risk and adventure, but the Welsh really know how to step it up.
There is a never-ending list of crazy things to do. Whitewater rafting, ziplining, rally driving, surfing and mountain biking to name just a few. But the ultimate sports is that of “coasteering”, which is a combination of “mountaineering” and “coast”.
If you go coasteering, you can expect to scale coastal rocks, cliff dive, squeeze through rock tunnels, swim into canyons, bodysurf the breakers, traverse rock pools and learn about Welsh’s geology. All in a flimsy wetsuit, helmet and buoyancy aid.
If the thought of all that high-adrenaline activity excites you, then make sure you go with a certified guide. You can even look out for family packages that set the bar at a less extreme level, though we don’t see why you would want to try coasteering in the first place. Stay at home with a book and a nice cup of tea. Doesn’t that sound so much more ideal?
Not only do the Welsh believe in fairytales, but they also live in fairytale villages too, with a great many of them dotted throughout Wales in the most random of places.
There is Tenby, with its medieval stone wall, bright fishing harbour and quaint churches. St Hilary, with its labyrinth of narrow alleyways and dreamy homes. And Tintern, which was the site of a 6th century royal battle and a 12th-century abbey - one of Great Britain’s most incredible monastic ruins. And we have barely started on the list of Welsh villages to explore.
Every village is unique and beautiful in its own way. Once you start, you might not want to leave. We daresay you will never make it out of Wales once you get sucked into the charm of these Welsh villages!
Image by the Evening Standard
Did you know that Wales is known as the “castle capital of the world”?
With over 600 castles within its territory, that makes Wales the country with the most castles per square mile in the whole of Europe! While most of the castles are now in ruins, the remaining 100 castles are open for exploration. And some of the castles have even been renovated to take in overnight guests. Roch Castle for example, which is a 12th century Norman castle, is now a hotel overlooking St Brides Bay and Preseli Hills.
I mean, it’s not like you want to experience what it was like to live as a laird or lady back in ancient times, right?
If we still haven’t convinced you to not visit Wales, then there is no hope left for you. You might as well book a flight now to experience all that Welsh magic.
Check out the best travel deals at https://www.mayflower.com.my/ and don’t forget to keep an eye out for those dragons! You don’t want to get eaten. Follow Mayflower Facebook Page for the latest travel deals.
A faith-driven Sarawakian lawyer who believes that it is never too late to start crafting a socially impactful legacy. When not grappling with warranties and liabilities, she loves pursuing adrenaline-fueled adventures, improving her Español and playing the violin. You can find her at @vidadeliya or https://www.vidadeliya.com