5 Reasons You Must Visit Wales for a Staycation
In American lore, cinema, and history—the road always heads west. To wild frontiers, of desert and rock. There’s something romantic about hopping in the car and driving towards the horizon, where beyond, adventure awaits.
So, what’s our version of “out west”? There’s only one true candidate, Wales. The mysterious land west of England, with ancient castles, storm lashed coast, deep green valleys, and white tipped mountains. The realm of dragons and sword wielding knights.
Wales can be quaint and pastoral, whilst at the same time taking your breath away with its hard beauty. A place for picnics by the river and intense expeditions. A place for rich stories, and rich food. Wales should already be at the top of your staycation list, but if you need some gentle reminding as to why you should visit—here are five reasons to visit Wales any time of year.
Highest density of castles in the world
From a few weathered stone walls in a field to grand monuments, and some that have been continuously inhabited for a thousand years. Wales does castles with abandon and has 600 of them. This means there’s more castles per square mile than anywhere in the world.
It’s thought the oldest castle is at Chepstow – where construction started in 1067. It is the oldest post-roman stone fortification in Britain, originally commissioned by William the Conqueror, and strategically placed overlooking the River Wye near the English border.
The largest is Caerphilly Castle, which occupies around 30 acres. Surrounded entirely by intricate artificial lakes, it is renowned for the elaborateness of its water defences. It even has a draw bridge. The epitome of a castle. In recent years it has found extra fame as a filming location for Doctor Who.
A wealth of myths & legends
Wales is steeped archaic stories and legendary claims to fame. The most significant of which, is its association with King Arthur. Many still argue whether he existed, but the consensus is he was a Romano-British warrior chief, who fought viciously against Saxon invaders in the 5th Century. This heroism lead to stories, which lead to his popularity skyrocketing and so followed King Arthur with his Knights of the round table.
But no legend is complete without imaginary flair. With Arthur came his wizard advisor Merlin, a secret council of Camelot, a magical sword named Excalibur, and a mysterious Lady of the Lake. So where does Wales fit in? The first written accounts of King Arthur were in the Brythonic language, the precursor to modern Welsh. This has raised speculation he was Welsh (or the 5th Century equivalent). Expanding on this, it’s thought that the location of Camelot could be the roman fortress at Caerleon and that one of three lakes in Snowdonia may contain Excalibur—Llydaw, Dinas, or Ogwen. Fancy a dive? What would it fetch on antiques roadshow?
For a literary fix
If you’re a fan of literature and poetry, you’ll have heard of Dylan Thomas. Even if you’re not, you’ll have heard of Dylan Thomas. Thomas is the most renowned Welsh poet and one of the greats of the 20th Century. His writings perfectly captured themes like a loss of innocence, nostalgia, and mortality. Tragically Thomas died at the young age of 39 whilst touring America, though his poetry lives on.
His writing is rooted in the history, people, and countryside of Wales—a mirror to Wales’ soul some might say—whilst also reflecting the disillusionment of wartime Britain. Of course, visiting Dylan Thomas’ home turf is the perfect way to connect with the spirit of his work. The Dylan Thomas Trail in Ceredigion is a walking route that encompasses some of the scenery and settlements that helped inspire his most loved creations, including Under Milk Wood.
Exceptional food & drink
Some of the tastiest, most luxurious, and wholesome food is found in Wales. It’s all in the produce. Wales is abundant in lush pastureland, perfect for grazing. This has helped Wales become world famous for its succulent lamb and in the production of award-winning cheeses—for example Caws Teifi, the most awarded artisan cheese maker in Britain.
Though Wales isn’t all hooves. The coast of mainland Wales if extruded would stretch for over 1000 miles. With all that coast, fresh seafood isn’t hard to come by. Wales is known for its mussel farms, oysters, and lavabread—but also has a glut of fish, crab, and lobster. The bounty the sea gives in Wales is amongst the best in the world, and right now there’s a seafood renaissance taking place.
Wales is a respected producer of craft beer and cider, but did you know there are more than 20 vineyards? Welsh wine is on the up and up, with the quality turning heads in the industry. Watch this space, as they say.
Sublime landscapes & countryside
The diversity of Welsh landscapes is something to behold. Dappled riversides and pristine waterfalls, vast windswept swathes of open moorland, rolling hills of the greenest grass, pine cloaked valleys and skyward mountains, and tumultuous coast hewn raggedly from the land. Wales has it all. Whether you fancy gentle countryside or the romantic sublime.
You could be strolling along a golden beach in the morning and watching the sky flush salmon behind a silhouetted mountain forest at dusk. Just remember to take a camera, because Wales has a habit of being utterly beautiful, and over every hill is another photo opportunity.
A Staycation in Mid Wales
At the Lake Country House we’re lucky to be in the heart of Wales, close to the Brecon Beacons National Park, where the Black Mountains rise. We’re also in reachable distance of Snowdonia National Park. Come and find calm in the serene welsh valleys, with blissful spa treatments, and pretty walks. Indulge too, with award-winning cuisine and four-star luxury. Check out our special offers page for more.