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Adventure Activities in Wales


Wales is a part of the United Kingdom (along with England, Scotland and Northern Ireland), and is regarded as one of the modern Celtic nations. It shares a close social and political history with the rest of Great Britain. Even though a large part of the population speaks English, Wales has a distinct cultural identity and is officially bilingual – over 560,000 Welsh-language speakers live in Wales.
At international sporting events, such as the FIFA World Cup, Rugby World Cup and Commonwealth Games, Wales is represented by national teams, although at the Olympic Games, Welsh athletes compete as part of the Great Britain team. Rugby Union is seen as a symbol of Welsh identity, and an expression of national consciousness.
Besides rugby union and stunning panoramas, Wales is also famous for its castles – more than 600 of them exist today (it is sometimes known as the “castle capital of the world”). Among the more famous include Caernarvon, Cardiff, Conwy, Harlech, Pembroke and Powis.
Today, there is a renewed pride in Welshness and the Welsh heritage, a pride that dates back to the setting up of the National Assembly of Wales in 1999. Architectural achievements like the Millennium Stadium, the Wales Millennium Centre and the Senedd, and sporting landmarks – hosting of a cricket test match (2009) and golf’s Ryder Cup (2010) for the first time in Wales, as well as the rugby XV’s much-celebrated feat of winning the Six Nations Grand Slam twice (2005 and 2008) – have only reinforced that pride. This is a “nation” reborn.


After the Romans withdrew from Britain in the 5th century, a Welsh national identity emerged among the Celtic Britons (the others of this group being the Irish and the Scots). The English words “Wales” and “Welsh” derive from the same Germanic root (which itself originates from the name of the Celtic tribe known to the Romans as Volcae), and which came, indiscriminately, to refer to all Celts, and later to all inhabitants of the Roman Empire.
Wales has been inhabited by modern humans for at least 29,000 years. Continuous human habitation dates from the end of the last Ice Age, between 12000 and 10000 years before the present day, when Mesolithic hunter-gatherers and people from central Europe began to migrate to what today is Great Britain. The Roman conquest of Wales began in AD 48 and took 30 years to complete; Roman rule in the British Isles lasted over 300 years.
Territorially, Wales’ history can be traced back to AD 784, when King Offa of Mercia built a dyke that extended from the south of Wales to the north. Offa’s Dyke was the first recorded boundary between Wales and England. Seven centuries on, Owain Glyndŵr moved to make the Welsh independent from the English by revolting against Henry IV (1400). Glyndŵr managed to establish control and set up a parliament, in the process crowning himself Prince of Wales. But under relentless pressure from the English, aggressively keen to have Wales back under their control, his hold diminished; Glyndŵr was forced from Welsh territory but was never captured. His last years remain a mystery but his legend lives on amongst the Welsh people.
In 1536, Glyndŵr’s dream of a free Wales was finally ended by the passing of the Act of Union, which led to the Welsh uniting with the English. Wales had to wait till 1999 to have its own parliament again, after the Welsh public voted for a National Assembly in 1997.
Mention too must be made of the mining industry, which has played an important part in Welsh history and folklore. Indeed, the coal and slate mines of Wales were indelibly linked to local communities and their economic wellbeing. But, as has been the case with many other communities around Great Britain, whose survival and prosperity depended on the mines, the heyday of mining has long since passed. Today, Wales’ coal and slate traditions have been preserved as proud reminders of the past.


Wales is mostly mountainous, and is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, St George’s Channel and the Celtic Sea to the southwest, and the Bristol Channel to the south.
The mountains in Wales were shaped by the last Ice Age. The highest mountains in Wales are in Snowdonia, of which five are over 1000m. The tallest of these is Snowdon (1085m). The 15 Welsh mountains over 3000 feet are collectively known as the “Welsh 3000s”, and are located in a small area in the northwest. Geographically, they fall within three ranges, and it is possible to reach all 15 summits within 24 hours.
Wales has three national parks – Snowdonia, Brecon Beacons and the Pembrokeshire Coast. It has five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. These areas include Anglesey, the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley, the Gower Peninsula, the Llŷn Peninsula and the Wye Valley. The Gower Peninsula was the first area in the United Kingdom to be designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in 1956.


Wales lies within the north-temperate zone and has a changeable maritime climate. It is one of the wettest countries in Europe; the weather is often cloudy, wet and windy, with warm summers and mild winters. Average maximum temperatures range between 19C and 22C. Winters tend to be reasonably wet, but rainfall is seldom excessive. Temperatures in winters usually stay above freezing, while in spring and autumn they stay above 14C. The sunniest time of the year is between May and August.

How to reach

Wales can be reached via bus, train or car from England, and by air from other countries. It’s a journey of three-four hours in bus/train from London.
There are direct flights to Cardiff airport from Paris, Düsseldorf (Germany), Dublin, Amsterdam and many cities in Spain.

Getting Around

Wales is well connected by a network of narrow-gauge steam trains. One could also explore the country on bus or by renting a car.

Where to go

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