Wonderful Things to Do in Wales
Take a look at these things to do in Wales that will knock your socks off
The land of our fathers is a truly beautiful place to visit. Although it’s a mere two hours from London by train, it is emphatically its own country and has a very strong identity, with its own language, customs, foods and traditions - not to mention some of the most spectacular scenery in the British isles. Read our pick of the best things to do in Wales. Awn ni! (That’s ‘let’s go’ for those of you who aren’t lucky enough to speak Welsh). See, here at Plum Guide we even learn other languages to give you the best advice possible... you don't get that with other travel experts.
When you combine 1,000 square miles of unspoilt beauty, the tallest mountain in all of the UK, and many birds of prey, what do you get? Snowdonia National Park, of course. This really can’t be missed when you’re looking for things to do in Wales. One of the oldest national parks in the country, spending some time here is the perfect way to get away from it all and bask in some of the most unforgettable landscapes you’ll see anywhere in the world. Definitely make time to get to the top of Mount Snowdon, either a 1,085m upwards hike or a mountain railway ride away (let’s be real - we all know you’re going to pick the railway option). The views from the summit are incredible (as long as it’s not cloudy and raining, which we admit is a distinct possibility). When you’re following the hiking trails make sure to keep an eye out for red kites, native to the park. There’s even a special breeding centre nearby to help raise chicks.
When you get to Portmeirion, you’ll do a double take. There’s almost no more unexpected sight than this faux-Italian village nestled in the hills of the Welsh countryside. One of the most unique places to visit in Wales, it’s the brainchild of Sir Clough William-Ellis, who bought the property in 1925 when it was a neglected wilderness. He spent the rest of his life designing, building and perfecting the tiny, incredibly detailed Italian-inspired village you see there today.
While the large variety of building styles can be slightly overwhelming (ranging from Baroque to Arts and Crafts to Classical, as well as ruins and the salvaged parts of other buildings incorporated in), Portmeirion is an entertaining and beautiful day out. As well as the pastel-coloured houses, reflecting ponds and ornamental lawns, there are also innumerable follies, sculptures and other architectural curiosities. Take your camera and get some inspiration for your next home extension. If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember that the village was made famous thanks to its appearance on the 1960s British cult classic TV show The Prisoner (don’t worry...even if you remember that, you’re still not THAT old) and holds a ‘Prisoner’ weekend annually. There’s a restaurant on site, so you can extend your experience into an evening out at dinner if you’re too fascinated by Portmeirion to leave.
Go book shopping in Hay-on-Wye
This gorgeously crumbling market town on the River Wye is the location of the biggest event in the literati calendar: the Hay Festival of Literature. Filled with all the glamour the literary world can sweep up - which is a lot - it’s a conglomeration of readings, talks, signings and dinners. Attending the festival is definitely a must-do when it comes to things to do in Wales, but if you don’t have a ticket, Hay-on-Wye has a lot to offer all year round.
The first bookshop was opened here in the 1960s, and there are now too many of them to count. For bibliophiles, this is heaven. Spend the day going from fabulous bookshop to fabulous bookshop, ranging from a bookshop in a restored cinema, to Rose’s Books, specialising in out-of-print and rare children’s fiction, to Murder and Mayhem, the horror and crime bookshop. In addition to the books, the food market here is second-to-none and the Welsh produce draws people from miles around. The whole town has a vaguely scruffy, anarchic air that no amount of gentrification can snuff out - you might just find it too charming to leave.