We spent a week in Wales in Sept 2016. I can’t tell you enough how much I loved it. This was 1 week out of our 5 week trip to the UK and the Baltics. Wales was definitely a high point of the trip and I loved it all! Here are 5 things I especially loved:
- Cardiff: It has such a lovely old town section. We were not in Cardiff for very long and spent the whole time in the Old Town, so I can’t comment on the rest of the city. The Old Town is so wonderful, it is hard to get it across how wonderful. There are ancient buildings, Cardiff Castle, bars and restaurants and lots of shops. There are really little cobblestoned alleyways all lined with little shops housed in old stone buildings that are so cute, I can’t stand it. So much character and history. At one side there is a modern shopping mall, if shopping is your thing. I preferred browsing through all the little quaint shops in the old section and down the quirky little alleyways. There are pubs with outside seating which was really nice to have a beverage and a meal while enjoying the ambiance of the Old Town. It was a great start to our week in Wales.
- The Food: We found the food in Wales to be very good. There is nothing fancy about it, it is just good. As my husband is a celiac, we are always looking for gluten free options. We had no problem with this in Wales. Even in the pubs. In Canada or the US, pubs are not usually a great choice for celiac’s. But in Wales it was great everywhere we went. Staff were all very up on gluten free choices and knew exactly what we needed. I had one of the best meals of our whole 5 week holiday in Wales. A traditional beef and yorkshire pudding meal. Just awesome. There are always lots of fish options there and locally grown veg. Great little farmers markets to go to. Even in little villages, my husband always found things he could have and they were always good. In Wales as in the rest of the UK, they love their tea shops. And there is always cake. The best Victoria sponge cake ever! Greg always found a GF cake too. It didn’t take us long to get into the afternoon tea break routine in a lovely little tea shop somewhere.
- The Vibe: The vibe in Wales (everywhere outside of Cardiff) is like you have somehow transported yourself back in time about 100 years. And if you are talking about buildings and architecture, back even further than that. But the lifestyle in the small towns and villages, yes about 100 years. They still live the same way they did back then. The main street of the small villages have the same wee tiny shops. The people shop the same way picking up their meat and veg each day. The people are super friendly. Our host at our little cottage near St Davids was a farmer who had lived on the property his whole life. He was a fountain of information about Wales and was full of questions for us about where we come from. He knew a lot about Canada which surprised me for some reason. It is just such a relaxed atmosphere there especially if you get out of the touristy parts and into the villages. One day when we went to a visit a castle in a rural area, they were having a fair on the grounds. It was just like something you would see on Masterpiece Theatre!
- Scenery: To die for! There is nothing ugly about this place. It is cute everywhere you look. The coastal paths provide the best views I think I have ever seen. It even rivals the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton. That is how good it is. The rolling hills all covered in sheep and remains of old stone buildings, sigh! Can I go back now?
- The Castles: I loved, loved the castles! They are everywhere in Wales. Each one is different in some way. Some are ruins and some are maintained and restored. I could not get enough. There are also other smaller houses that are restored and really show how the people lived centuries ago.
I know Wales isn’t on everyone’s bucket list of trips to go on, but it was on mine and I loved it. If you are looking for a vacation by the beach or the pool, this isn’t it. We went the last week of August and into the first week of Sept. The weather was good, a bit of rain here and there but nothing bad. It is cool which I loved. Great for lots of walking and exploring. We rented a car and even though driving in Wales has its challenges to say the least, I am glad we did it. We could get out into the rural areas and villages and really see Wales. Go do it!