It seems a shame that so many families choose to go abroad for their summer holidays when there are lots of marvellous places to see on our doorstep.
Wales is one such place – English and Scottish families don’t even need to cross water to get there and for Northern Irish families it is just a short ferry ride away. I was born and brought up in England and have Irish and Scottish blood in me but I have to say that I think Wales is the most beautiful country in the British Isles. Here are four wonderful Welsh places which are well-worth visiting.
I lived and studied in Aberystwyth in 1996 and am so glad I did. First-time visitors should head straight to the promenade where they can stroll along Aberystwyth’s pretty beach. The crystal-clear waters look even better when you catch the cliff railway to the summit of Constitution Hill to visit the unique Camera Obscura.
After wandering around the green hills which line the coastline you can return to the town’s pier for some well-earned refreshments. Still staying on the coast you can visit the ruins of Aberystwyth Castle – a place which must have looked a little like Camelot back in the 13thcentury. Inland, there are winding streets, cosy pubs and quaint tea-rooms. Aberystwyth truly is a very family-friendly place and is if you visit the town you really should try and catch some Welsh folk music in one of the pubs – such beautiful music helps the Welsh language survive and thrive in this area.
I first visited Brecon in the depths of winter when this bustling Mid-Wales market town was decked out in Christmas lights as the townsfolk readied themselves for Yuletide celebrations. Last summer I saw the other side of Brecon as I visited it during the summer before attending the Green Man music festival at Glanusk Park.
Brecon’s spectacular mountains, streams and rivers provide a dramatic backdrop for the festival. The Green Man is held in late August and attracts grown-ups’ favourite bands, authors and comedians while never neglecting to entertain the many children who camp there. I would thoroughly recommend Brecon, and the Green Man Festival, to families who love the countryside.
Portmeirion, which is located on the Snowdonia coastline in North Wales, is another place which hosts a popular music festival (Festival Number Six).
Portmeirion is a village – or should I say it is ‘The Village’; the mysterious setting for the cult 1960s television show The Prisoner.
Children don’t need to be fans of obscure television programmes to appreciate the beauty of Portmeirion. It was designed and built between 1925 and 1975 in the style of an Italian village; hence the exotic wild plants and flamboyantly-colourful architecture you can find there. Anyone imprisoned in Portmeirion would surely never want to leave!
Barry Island is another Welsh place associated with a television show – it features heavily in the BBC comedy show Gavin & Stacey. Looking at the delights of this South Welsh seaside resort – its sandy beach, gardens and promenade – you can see why Stacey became so homesick for her home town.
Adult visitors to Barry will enjoy going to places of interest to Gavin & Staceyfans like Marco’s Café (where Stacey works) and Caesar’s Palace (the dropping-off point for Dave Coaches’ coach) before taking their kids to the town’s pleasure park.
Barry Island – like so much of Wales – really does offer fun for all the family!