Wales – Britain’s Hidden Gem
by Susan Pearson – Broad Escapes- Tours for Women
Did you know that Wales has more castles than any other country in Europe? With over 500 castles, Wales is Britain’s Hidden Gem. There are so many great things about this little country. With its stunning landscapes, great mountain ranges, lush valleys, charming villages, ancient castles, and luxury hotels, Wales was voted: Rough Guides’ Best Place in the World to Visit 2014.
World-famous poets were inspired by this beautiful country. It has been the setting for many a fairytale. Wales is literally (pun intended) a hotspot for children’s literature: Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland spent her summer vacations in the seaside town of Llandudno, Rupert Bear’s adventures were set in spectacular Snowdonia, and Beatrix Potter The Complete Tales (Peter Rabbit) created her Peter Rabbit story after spending a holiday in the medieval walled town of Tenby.
Good for the soul
Without a doubt the serenity and natural beauty of Wales is ‘good for the soul’. Throughout our trip I was constantly amazed by the natural diversity of this fantastic country. During a morning stroll in Llandudno, I admired some of the most elegant seaside architecture in Britain, and later that same day I had ‘my head in the clouds’ on top of Mount Snowdon!
I am proud to say I received an official certificate for reaching the top of Snowdon although I have to admit our tour group took the easy way up on the Snowdon Mountain Railway, a scenic narrow gauge railway that takes you to the top in about 30 minutes from Llanberis. If you’re feeling adventuresome, you can walk up and down or take the train up and walk down from the summit.
An Illustrated History of the Snowdon Mountain Railway (Illustrated Histories)
Whether you hike or ride the train, reaching the top of Snowdon is truly an incredible experience. As the highest mountain in England and Wales it stands 1085 meters high and is considered by some to be the last resting place of King Arthur. It can be climbed by a variety of routes, but a popular one is the main path from Llanberis, if only because of the tea rooms just outside Llanberis, halfway up and again at the summit. Imagine High Tea at the top of Snowdon! From the Hafod Eryri Visitor Centre (roughly translated from Welsh as “summer residence in Snowdonia”) we enjoyed lunch at the summit and took in some of the best views in Britain. We were blessed with a clear day giving us the opportunity to see Ireland, Scotland, and Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport!
From art to beaches to castles, Wales has been attracting British ‘holiday-makers’ for generations. *Blessed with some of the UK’s most beautiful scenery, Wales was named as ‘the happiest place in Britain’ in a survey by the Daily Mail.
To be sure, Wales gets my vote. For twelve amazing days it was one wonderful surprise after another. Wales is Britain’s hidden gem. I can hardly wait for my next visit.
If you’d like to experience the beauty of Wales with a group of women who love to travel and live life to the fullest, have a peek at Broad Escapes website for:
Women – only Wales June 9-18, 2014
Complete tour itineraries can be viewed at: http://www.broadescapes.com/
Travel pictures: Courtesy of Susan Pearson