While there is an agglomeration of things to do in the capital and largest city of Wales (Cardiff) itself, we comprehend that your notion of a holiday may not be occupying hours in a bustling cricket stadium during the ICC Cricket World Cup only to come out and be received by a city that is equally thronged and teeming (imagine jostling for elbow room on public transport or a city square post 6-8 hours of sitting, exposed in the elements). Especially when you find yourself in a country that is bestowed with an abundance of natural beauty, playing home to more than 400 fortifications and castles, heritage railways and is steeped in rich history.
Whilst located in the south, cosmopolitan Cardiff still acts as a good base from which you can begin exploring the rest of the country, with the Welsh considered as some of the most easygoing people on the planet, rest assured you will find yourself among good company!
Synonymous with natural beauty, the resplendent mountain ranges of Snowdonia are located in the county of Gwynedd, Wales and house 14 heavenly peaks! The highest being the 3,546-foot Snowdon. These constitute the highest peaks in United Kingdom, outside of Scotland and what’s more, sluggish nature lovers will be over the moon knowing you could simply ply the train that goes straight to the summit of Snowdon. Therefore, if climbing, hiking and being in nature in general are your cup of tea then the 823 square mile (2,130 km2 ) Snowdonia National Park is where you will rediscover yourself!
How to get there: If you plan to make the journey by road, you could look to take the A470 or A479 and cover the 111 miles (179 km) in about 2 hours 40 mins, depending upon traffic. If trains are your mode of transport then the North Wales Coast Line will connect you to the north-western edge of the park or the Cambrian Line sweeps along the southern edge of the park along the coast.
Not only an exceedingly delightful spot for a picnic but also backed by genuine heritage, the reservoir located in Powys, Wales was constructed in 1880 with an objective to supply Liverpool with fresh water. An internationally significant nature reserve for wildlife, Lake Vyrnwy is one of the rare few places where you can observe moorland, farmland and woodland all at one place.
One could easily spend an entire day here, with options such as renting a bike and cycling the 12 miles around the lake, to taking a stroll along one of the 6 woodland walks available to taking to the waters by renting kayak’s or canoe’s available there - all while taking in the sights of the expansive waters and remote mountains. Also, if you happen to take a bit of a shining to the place and decide to stay until nightfall, stargazers prepare to be mesmerized due to the negligible light pollution that results in astounding visibility.
How to get there: Setting off from Cardiff, it will take you roughly 3 hours 20 mins to cover the 123 mile (198 km) journey by road. If you plan to commute by train, the closest train station will be Shrewsbury railway station from which point you will either need to take a cab or a bus to a further stop.
A truly mesmerising sight, one that you won’t get to witness in any other corner of the globe, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a navigable aqueduct (the longest aqueduct in Great Britain and the highest canal aqueduct in the world might I add) that carries the Llangollen Canal across the River Dee in the Vale of Llangollen, Wales. After a ten year design and construction period, the 18-arched cast iron and stone structure was erected in 1805! Mindboggling to think how ahead of it times it must have been, right?
A listed World Heritage Site and a certified Grade I registered building, the ancient structure is meant for use by narrowboats. So once there, some of the questions you may face asking yourself are – do I cross it? If yes, do I do it without looking down? do I walk across the Pontcysyllte or save my legs and take a leisurely boat ride across?
How to get there: A straightforward car journey along the A49 would bring you to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct inabout 3 hours 10 mins from Cardiff. Whereas, the nearest train station to the aqueduct would be Chirk railway station (3.3 miles away from Pontcysyllte).
Hence, if you do have a day to spare on your world cup trails, a visit to either of the abovementioned shall be an adventure, the likes of which no city anywhere could deliver.