This very pleasant seaside
town is known as the intellectual centre of the principality housing as it does
not only the University College of Wales but also the National Library.
This is the largest resort on Cardigan Bay and combines a popular seaside
attraction with a history that goes back to the Iron Age. The hill fort of
Pen Dinas overlooks the south of the town and one of Edward I many castles in
Wales is situated on a headland South of the pier.
The city nestles in an
ancient river valley which runs parallel to the Menai Straits. In the 6th
Century a monastery was established on the site of the present day Cathedral.
It's founder was St Deiniol who was consecrated bishop. The city grew up
around the Cathedral, therefore derives its existence from this monastic
establishment. Recorded history however extends even further back with
monuments found in the area relating to the Bronze age “Cromlechs” proving human
occupation was taking place in the area some 2,000 years B.C. The city
today is a thriving commercial centre for the region and home to television
studios and the University College of North Wales.
The Cathedral is
built on one of the oldest Christian sites in Britain. Founded by St
Deiniol in 525AD, compared with Canterbury in 595AD. A long and somewhat
troubled history has found the Cathedral sacked by the Vikngs, destroyed by King
John in 1210 when he burnt Bangor to the ground and ravaged by the uprising of
Owen Glyndwr in 1402. The present building is thought to date from the mid
13th Century although not completed until the erection of the West
tower in 1512. A
number of restorations have taken place since then.
The tomb of
Owain Gwynedd (this area of Wales is in the province of Gwynedd) one of Wales's
foremost Princes is to be found here. Although not amongst the largest of
British Cathedrals, it does retain a charm and atmosphere all of its own.
Bangor Old Pier Originally built in 1896 and renovated in the 1980s this pier built during the height of Victorian splendour is 1,500 feet in length as it stretches out over the Menai Straight.
English feel to this small town stems from Medieval times when Edward I evicted
the native inhabitants and created a garrison town. Now a resort and
sailing centre with a rich variety of well preserved buildings dating back to
the 13th Century. Chosen as the site of the last of eight
castles built by Edward in North Wales. Work started in 1295, the castle
was a stronghold created using an elaborate system of concentric defences set in
a new style. Unfortunately the building was never completed through lack
of funds. A short distance from the castle is the quaint little court
house built in 1614 also the former Grammar school circa 1603. Vistoria
terraces limestone facade looks out across the green to the mountains of
Snowdonia. Castle Street has many timber framed buildings including the
Tudor Rose, George & Dragon, Bulkeley Arms Hotel (whose architect was Joseph
Hansom designer of the Hamsom cab) The parish church of St Mary & St Nicholas is
14th Century and was built to serve what was called the new town
which grew up around the castle. One interesting item in the porch is the
stone coffin of Princess Joan who was the daughter of King John of England and
eventually became the wife of Llywelyn the Great she died in 1237. It is
reported that for many years the coffin was used as a drinking trough for
horses. The town
gaol is situated in Steeple Lane and is recognised by its grim steep walls,
prisoners where held here from 1829-1878. now open to the public.
Beddgelert The dramatic beauty of Beddgelert`s setting is equalled by few British villages. It stands where three valleys meet and looks South towards the pass of Aberglaslyn, while Snowdon rises to the North. The village of course is famous for the legend of Gelert the dog owned by Llywelyn the Great in the 13th Century. According to legend he left the dog to guard his son, on returning he found the dog covered in blood and no sign of a body. Thinking the dog had killed his son he had the dog killed, a little while later his son was found alive with a dead wolf nearby. Gelert had in fact killed the wolf to save the son, Llywelyn was so upset he arranged for a grave to be dug for the dog in the village.
Betws - y - Coed
village is beautifully set among conifer clad crags rising steeply above the
Llugwy`s confluence with the Conwy. It has been a gateway to Snowdonia
ever since Thomas Telford`s road to Holyhead was driven through North Wales in
the 19th Century.
Bishops Palace St
Situated adjacent to the Cathedral at St. Davids the ruins of this magnificent
palace bear testament to the influence and wealth created by the church in
mediaeval times. Most of the construction was overseen by Bishop Henry De
Gower in the mid 14th Century. He spared no expense on creating
this lavish residence. Originally built with two sets of state rooms set
around a courtyard. He used one set for private business and the other for
the ceremonial entertaining. The palace fell into disrepair in the 16th
Century. It is said the then bishop stripped the lead from the roof to pay
for his five daughters dowries.
Situated above the River Conwy, with stunning views across Snowdonia. Over 80
acres of cultivated land on a slight slope. Combining 5 Italian style terraces
and formal gardens while below a stream runs through the secluded wild garden.
200year old redwoods are to be seen, and in the summer months the terrace
gardens are extremely colourful with displays of roses, hydrangeas, herbacious
borders, water lilies and clematis. Bodnant is described by many as one of the
finest gardens in Europe
Situated at the
confluence of the Rivers Usk & Honddu in a pastoral vale dominated by the peaks
of the Brecon Beacons. One of the oldest Welsh towns, granted its first
charter in 1246 and in 1366 another charter gave it the right to hold a fair.
The town centre is a mix of Medieval, Georgian, Jacobean and Tudor architecture
with narrow streets and alleyways leading in all directions from the central
square which is overlooked by the 16th Century St Mary`s Church.
On the Western bank of the Usk is Christ College founded in 1541 it incorporates
the remains of a 12th Century friary and its chapel being one of the
oldest places of worship still in use in Wales. The priory church of St
John dating from the 13/14th Centuries was designated a Cathedral in
1923. Although small, only 250 ft long, it does give the impression of a
stark and fortress like strength with its simple lines and massive tower.
Brynkir Woolen Mill A genuine working Welsh mill. Originally a corn mill it was converted about 150 years ago. A superb chance to see the machinery used such as Tenterhook Willey, carders, spinning mules, doubling and hanking machines, cheese and bobbin winder, warping mill and the looms. Items made from the wool woven here include, bedspreads, blankets, rugs, tweeds flannels, coats, skirts socks, knitting wools, etc. A good chance to buy a genuine welsh produced woollen garment.
Walls dating from the
same period as the castle surround the town, which is a grid iron pattern of
narrow streets. The castle has stood
guard over this busy
little town situated on the Menai Strait for 700 years. The towns earliest
days are recalled as Segontium, a Roman fort on the road to Beddgelert.
The town is apparently built on the site of the Roman fort. In Welsh- y
gaer ar fon- means the fort or stronghold on the land opposite to Anglesey, or
Mon as it is known. Therefore the words gradually became Caer-nar fon.
Begun in 1283 by Edward I,
this magnificent fortress took 40 years to build. Its walls, with the
coloured bands of stone, are said to copy those of Constantinople. It was
the chief stronghold of the English invaders against the proud and warlike
Welsh, but was completely destroyed by their attempts. Today its towers and
walls still present an impressive sight. It was here in 1969 that Prince
Charles was invested as Prince of Wales and presented to the Welsh people from
the balcony overlooking the square.
The capital city of
Wales boasts a castle with 1,900 years of history first built by the Romans,
some of the 10ft thick walls still remain. The Normans came and built
their castle which has been in continuous occupation ever since. Some of
the area surrounding the castle is now occupied by a superb modern shopping
centre. Hundreds of acres of parkland situated right in the city centre,
museums, the civic centre, University of Wales. St Davids Hall, a 2,000 seat
concert and conference centre. To take the city into the millennium the
new Cardiff Bay project, a redevelopment of the old Cardiff docks area.
Carmarthen The town nestles on the banks of the River Towy, eight miles inland. It was this position that inspired the Romans to make it their regional capital some 2,000 years ago. Legend has it that Merlin the magician and councillor to King Arthur was born here. In fact the Welsh name for Carmarthen translates into Merlins town. Carmarthens streets are full of character and the market is held on Wednesdays and Fridays. The town is surrounded by a backcloth of lush green hillsides flecked with sheep.
of the very first stone castles in Britain. Built by the Normans soon
after the Battle of Hastings,
it was started by William Fitzosbern in 1067. It was never attacked in the
Middle ages but was besieged twice in the Civil War when being held by the King.
The castle belongs to that
group of castles built to maintain the peace along the Welsh border.
Constructed by Roger Mortimer for Edward I in the 13th Century. It is the
only English castle in Wales to have been occupied continuously since it was
built. Elegant state rooms with Adam style furniture, tapestries and
Clynnog Fawr (St. Beuno's Church)
The church of St Beuno,
15/16th Century with its connected chapel of St Beuno. It was here he
founded a monastery and died in 630A.D. According to legend he brought his
niece St Winefride back to life after she was decapitated by a frustrated
suitor. The church is linked by a passageway to the chapel where the
saints tomb survived until the end of the 18th Century. Sick pilgrims were
said to have been cured of all ills after sleeping on the grave's stone slab.
The mighty castle and
complete town walls on the river bank make Conwy a picturesque and richly
historic centre. It is probably one of the finest and most complete walled
towns in Europe. The walls themselves are over three quarters of a mile in
length with 22 towers and three original gateways. Conwy`s setting on the
edge of the Snowdonia National Park and the Western bank of the River Conwy is
unrivalled, as is its colourful history. The Romans arrived in the area
during the First Century A.D. and many invading kings from the East endured
great hardship trying to cross the river to subdue the Welsh Princes on the
Western bank. When Edward I did eventually seize the bank, he built a
castle to strengthen his position. The population now spreads beyond the
town walls to nearby Deganwy and Llandudno. Along the quay in the shelter
of these ancient walls is an old world full of interest. Together with a
house reputed to be the smallest in Britain and furnished as a mid Victorian
The castle was
built by Edward I between 1283 and 1289. He made it his headquarters for
the struggle against the Welsh Prince Llywelyn. Edward was himself
besieged there by a large Welsh force from the hills in 1290. The castle`s
shape is actually dictated by the very rock on which it stands. It has
barbicans at either end and eight massive towers. First impressions are of
tremendous strength, a dominating position and yet with a compactness of design
which renders it one of the most picturesque Welsh castles.
Isle of Anglesey
For centuries Anglesey`s
pastures and cornfields helped feed the peoples of Northern Wales and Snowdonia.
It earned the island the name “Mam Cymre” “mother of Wales” it is mostly flat
compared to its neighbour, the mainland of North Wales, but its coastline is
made up of fine sandy beaches, wide bays littered with rugged rocky headlands
teeming with wildlife. It is thought the first settlers came around
8,000B.C. and many prehistoric sites remain such as the stone age “Brycelli Ddu”
burial chambers and the Iron age hill forts at Caer y Twr & Din Sylwy.
Whoever held Anglesey (the granary) it is said controlled North Wales. The
Romans came in 78A.D. and all but wiped out the Druids priesthood. From
the 7th Century the Princes of Gwynedd ruled this area. Then in
1282 Edward I arrived building his castles to subdue the local inhabitants.
Anglesey also has another claim to fame; the village of Penmynydd was for many
hundreds of years the family home of the Tudors. Eventually merging with
the English royal family in 1422 when Owen Tudor married Henry V's widow.
Their grandson of course becoming Henry Tudor taking the English throne in 1485.
Today the island is linked to the mainland by two bridges, the original Telford
Menai suspension bridge 1,265 ft long, built in 1826 and the more recent
Brittania rail bridge which was damaged by fire in 1970 and rebuilt. In
1979 an upper road deck was added giving additional access to the island.
People have lived in the area of Llanberis since the Iron
age. Celts, Romans, St Padarn an early Christian Saint, and the Welsh
Princes of Gwynedd. The area abounds with ancient Welsh legends and
Wales`s premier seaside
resort, unspoilt with its carefully preserved Victorian architecture and superb
natural setting. Fine shops, cafes, restaurants and local attractions.
Set in a crescent shaped bay, the promenade adjoins the wide 2 mile long sandy
beach guarded by cliffs at both ends.
"lets have a concert and
invite the whole world" with these words the first international Eisteddfod was
launched in this small Welsh town in the years after the Second World War.
Now 55 years later over 1,500 overseas competitors travel to this corner of
Wales every July to sing and dance their way into the hearts of the people.
Its an endearing little town with a population of only 3,000 ringed by mountains
with the River Dee flowing alongside the main street. Crossed by the 14th
Century Trevor bridge built by Bishop Trevor one of Owain Glyndwr`s chief
Llanwrtyd Wells The Victorian and Edwardian houses are reminders of the towns heyday as a Spa town when visitors in their thousands arrived to sip the waters. The 19th Century pump rooms and buildings in the wooded parkland have now all been restored to former glories and once again the waters can be sipped or maybe Todays visitors would rather partake of a cup of tea in the Victorian surroundings.
Llechwedd Slate Mine
Pass of Llanberis
The road down the pass
descends some 1,200ft and is described by many as one of the most spectacular in
Britain as it is squeezed between the flanks of Glyder Fawr (3,279ft) on the
right and Snowdon (3,560ft) on the left. The road snakes down between
vertical cliffs which tower above, punctured by boulders some as big as houses.
years the only access to Anglesey was by the famous Thomas Telford Menai Bridge
opened on the 30th January 1826. It is 1,000ft long, 579ft from pier to
pier and 100ft above the water. When crossing the straits remember those other
invaders who came 2,000 years ago. The Romans. Who also crossed
these swirling waters to put the Druid Priests and their flower maidens to the
sword in the 1st Century AD. Their action broke the mystique of ritual and
sacrifice that flourished at that time in the oak groves of the isle. The
isle of Anglesey is a bastion to the Welsh Language.
Built in your dreams,
Hollywood could not have built a better example of a Norman castle.
Started in 1189 the inner ward consisted of walls and a massive round keep 75ft
high and 50ft in diameter. Five floors beneath a stone dome, the walls at
the base being over 19ft thick. Thought to have been built by William
Marshal Earl of Pembroke in about 1200. The walls of the outer ward date
back to the 13th Century. A castle with a tremendous history
and a major claim to fame. The Birthplace of the Tudor dynasty. You
need no reminder of Henry VIII or Elizabeth I. The Henry VII tower is
believed to house the room where a baby was born in 1456 to a young 15yr old
girl Margaret Beaufort wife of Edmund Earl of Richmond, older brother of Jasper
Tewdwr Earl of Pembroke. This young infant became Henry Tewdwr (Tudor)
went on to become Earl of Richmond after his father died, then defeated Richard
III at Bosworth Field and by right of battle rather than right of descent became
King Henry VII of England first sovereign of the Tudor dynasty. His son
eventually became Henry VIII and his granddaughter Elizabeth I.
Penmachno Woolen Mill
Penmachno is situated at
the head of the River Machno and set in a beautiful wooded valley near
Betws-Y-Coed. In the peaceful village, stone cottages, a chapel and a
church are linked across the river by a an old bridge.
Pont Cysyllte Aqueduct
"dont look down" well that
is what the locals say. A very big bridge built by Thomas Telford, it
carries a canal 127 feet high and 1,000 feet across the lovely vale of
Llangollen. Sir Walter Scott called it the greatest work of engineering
art he had ever seen. Once seen never forgotten, once crossed never
forgotten. It was one of the most impressive engineering feats of the
Pontypridd Situated apProx 15 miles North of Cardiff in the valleys. Better known for its industrial heritage the town also has a wonderful and long tradition of music. Two statues in the town celebrate the song writing of team of Evan & James who where responsible for composing the Welsh National Anthem “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau” .two famous opera stars where also born in nearby Clifynydd Sir Geraint Evans & Stewart Burrows. Tom Jones the famous singer of the last few decades was also born in the town.
It took Sir Clough
Williams-Ellis from 1925 to 1972 to build this piece of magic on the Peninsula.
It is all things to all people, he often said that he wanted to build a
beautiful place somewhere without defiling the surroundings, even enhancing
them. The village is surrounded by the Gwylit wild gardens containing many
rare Himalayan flowering trees introduced by Caton Haigh at the turn of the
century. The village was used as the location for the 1970's cult
television series "The Prisoner".
Snowdon Mountain Railway
The narrow gauge railway
was opened in 1896 and the steam powered locomotives climb to within yards of
the summit. The track runs parallel to one of Snowdons most popular
footpaths. The mountain is 3,560 ft above sea level.
Snowdonia national park.
840 square miles of varied countryside-mountains, lakes, forests, estuaries and
25 miles of coastline. It is not just a park but a working landscape,
looked after by the park committee.
St. Asaph No larger than a small village yet technically speaking it is a City due to playing host to the smallest Cathedral in Britain. The Cathedral was founded by St Kentigern (St Mungo patron saint of Glasgow) in 560A.D. although the present building dates from much later circa 13th Century. Not large by Cathedral standards, in fact smaller then the average parish church, it is never the less very dignified and impressive. Inside is kept a copy of the first Welsh bible translated by Bishop Morgan of St Asaph (bishop between 1601 & 1604) the bible was first published in 1588. It was to this place that St Kernigan (Mungo in Scotland, Cynderyn in Welsh) came in about the year 560. He set about building a Monestery, a perfect situation on a small hill overlooking a river crossing. Asaph, it would seem joined this small community of monks and when Kentigern was invited back to Scotland it was to Asaph the community turned to for their Abbott. He is described as a calm man with grace and holiness of heart. When the Normans came they rebuilt the earlier Celtic church on the site into the small but fine Cathedral we see today. They called it after the popular local Saint Asaph. The Welsh however still call it by its local name Llanelwy (meaning enclosure by the River Elwy).
St Davids Church Builth Wells The church stands near to the River Irfon on the road to Abergwesyn. It is widely believed that the church was founded nearly 1,500 years ago by St David himself. The original building being of just wood and wattle. The church was sited here close to a river crossing. In helping passing strangers to cross the river the monks where in the ideal place to talk about Christianity and maybe make a conversion. The present architecture is a mix of Norman and late Medieval. However a Celtic Cross near the font probably dates back to the founding of the church. A simple church, its biggest asset, the ambience of quite, tranquillity and the still, associated with such a wonderful location.
This tiny City (Britain’s
smallest) grew up around the religious settlement founded by St David, (patron
saint of Wales ) in the 6th Century. It is situated on St Davids
peninsula, a Celtic place of pilgrimage and peace, a granite ledge of land
jutting out into the Atlantic ocean. A truly magical place of inspiring
beauty with golden beaches, stunning coastline, nature and wildlife in
abundance. Over the centuries, an important place situated as it is en
route to Ireland. Many are said to have passed this way, King Arthur
landed on St Davids shores, Black Bart, creator of the Jolly Roger embarked on
piracy from nearby Solva Harbour and pilgrims in their thousands have trodden
the ancient roads.
St Mary`s Church Beddgelert The Parish Church had its origin in a Celtic Christian community established on the present site in the 6th Century. It eventually became an Augustinian Priory Chapel in the 13th Century. Little remains of the original chapel except the two fine 12th Century arches in the North wall, the doorway to the vestry and the East wall with its beautiful triple lancet window.
There is evidence of a
settlement here as early as 2000BC. In Viking times, around 12th Century,
there was a wooden stronghold called "Swaynesse" believed to originate from the
name of a Viking King Sweyne Forkbeard. The Welsh name for the City is
Abertawe (pronounced "Abba Toway") meaning mouth of the river Tawe.
Large impressive Cistercian
Abbey in beautiful riverside location in the Wye valley. It has been the
subject of a poem by Wordsworth and a painting by Turner. The order was
founded in 1131 by Walter de Clare. Little is left of the original
building, it was built here deliberately, in keeping with the strictness and
austerity of the order. The abbey was completely rebuilt in the 13th
Century and in 1326 Edward II stayed here for 2 nights. The Abbey
continued to be active and generally undisturbed until the dissolution in 1536.
From then on the Abbey became neglected and fell into disrepair. Greatly
regarded by the romantic movement in the late 18th Century for its peace and
Trefriw Woollen Mill
Originally opened in 1829 it was bought by Thomas Williams in 1859 and has
remained in the family ever since. The mill stands on the banks of the
River Crafnant and the soft mountain water is used to wash the wool and power
the water wheel. Today the water is used to generate electricity which
allows the mill to continue the manufacture of bed spreads and lovely tweeds
from the pure raw welsh wool. All the traditional processes of blending,
willowing, carding, spinning, dyeing, warping and weaving are continued as they
have been for nearly 200 years.
Welsh Folk Museum Wales through the centuries at this remarkable museum, an experience around every corner. From a Celtic village of 2,000 years ago to a miners cottage of the 1980s. A Welsh Victorian school, farm, bakers, grocery store. original buildings brought back to life. Formal gardens and landscaped grounds, wooded walks, pools and ponds giving a special insight into the daily life of the people of Wales, how they lived, worked and spent their leisure time
The Welsh Valleys
Historically the Coal Mining, Iron Ore and Steel producing area of South
Wales. In 1920 there were 256,000 people working in the 620 coal mines of
the Valleys, producing a third of the worlds coal. After WWII these
industries entered a steep decline with cheaper imports and then following the
miners strikes of the 1980's the government forced the closer of the remaining
pits as they were not economical to run and by 1994 only one coal mine remained
open. The Valleys, as the name implies are an area
of deep sided glacial valleys running from the Brecon Beacons 30 miles from the
cost, these valleys flow like fingers towards the sea. With few roads
leading between the valleys over the mountains the main links are at the heads
of the valleys or down in the lowlands near the coast. This is great
walking and and adventure sports country and the Military use the area
extensively for training. One of the things
the Welsh Valleys are famous for are their Male Voice Choirs, known through out
the world the deep voices are said to come from the coal dust that historically
filled the air of the valleys.
Welshpool A small market town founded in the mid 13th Century by the Prince of Powys Gruffudd Ap Gwenwynwyn. It was granted a weekly market and by 1292 there were 106 taxpayers. With many half timbered buildings and those dating from the Georgian period the layout of the town is typical of Medieval times. The surrounding countryside helps to make Welshpool a very attractive place to visit and live.