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Archive for wales

Britain’s Longest Ancient Monument

By Linda Tancs

Offa of Mercia was one of the most remarkable kings to have ruled much of Anglo-Saxon England. At his command, an earthwork covering a distance of more than 80 miles was built along the border between England and Wales in the eighth century to separate his kingdom from rivals in present-day Wales. This earth ditch-and-bank is reportedly the longest ancient monument in Britain. A long distance trail covering 177 miles, Offa’s Dyke Path, follows much of the ancient course. The trail links Sedbury Cliffs near Chepstow on the banks of the Severn estuary with the coastal town of Prestatyn on the shores of the Irish sea and crosses the border between England and Wales over 20 times. You’ll encounter stunning landscapes boasting castles, country churches, hillforts, riverside meadows and rolling hills. Similar to Camino de Santiago, you can purchase a trail passport (or download it from the site) and get it stamped along your journey to enter the path’s Hall of Fame. Expect it to take up to two weeks to complete the whole trail.


Little Big Town in Wales

By Linda Tancs

Hay-on-Wye is a Welsh market town nestled along the English border. It’s little in size (you can walk it in around 20 minutes) but big on books—really big, considering there are more than 30 bookstores, many specializing in out of print or hard to locate titles. No wonder, then, why it’s called the Town of Books. Today marks the start of one of the signature events of the year, Hay Festival. Running through June 3, the extravaganza comprises over 600 events featuring writers, artists, academics, thinkers and performers selected by the program committee. Special festival bus service linking Hay with trains and coaches at Hereford’s train and bus stations and Worcester Crowngate Bus Station runs for the duration of the event.

The Rooftop of Wales

By Linda Tancs

At 3,559 feet, Snowdon Mountain dominates the landscape of Snowdonia National Park in North Wales. The land of fairies, giants and kings, legend has it that the mountain hosts the burial place of the giant ogre Rhita, vanquished by King Arthur. The views from Wales’ highest peak are spectacular, and what better way to see it than on a scenic railway ride from Llanberis to the summit. Operating from March to October, Snowdon Mountain Railway operates diesel and steam-powered locomotives that push vintage viewing cars on a journey through the clouds experienced by 12 million intrepid travelers since 1896. A round-trip ticket includes a 30-minute stop at the summit from May to October, weather permitting. Between mid-March and May, the trains will normally run to Clogwyn, where the summit is about an hour’s walk away.

A Good Walk in Wales

By Linda Tancs

The town of Crickhowell, Wales, offers a nine-day walking festival every year—a chance to put your best foot forward, as the saying goes. Offering dozens of guided walks, there is an activity level to match every taste, from trekking all day across the tops of the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons to keeping to paths and the lower slopes. All walks start at CRiC Centre on Beaufort Street. The weather may prove challenging this time of year, but don’t let that stop you. This year’s festival runs from February 24 to March 4.

Best Ice Cream in Britain

By Linda Tancs

Birthplace of poet Dylan Thomas and the second largest city in Wales, Swansea is a vibrant coastal city offering sweeping views of Swansea Bay. On the bay’s west side is the seaside village of Mumbles, the source of seafood that ultimately finds its way to chic dining establishments in London and beyond. It’s also the source of premier ice cream parlors, hailed by some as the best ice cream in Britain. Why not enjoy some atop Oystermouth Castle and its spectacular view over the bay!

The Island of 20,000 Saints

By Linda Tancs

Just a short boat ride west of the Llŷn Peninsula in North Wales is a place of pilgrimage since the early years of Christianity. That’s Bardsey Island, a wisp of a place that became a focal point for the Celtic Christian Church. Its moniker, Island of 20,000 Saints, dates from the early Middle Ages, when three pilgrimages to Bardsey were said to equal one to Rome. Although day trips are limited to around 3 ½ hours, visitors who want to stay longer can choose from nine self-catering houses managed by the island’s trust. The renting week is from Saturday to Saturday, April to October. The island is designated a National Nature Reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is in the Llŷn Peninsula Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Most Haunted in Wales

By Linda Tancs

A mysterious lady floating in the gallery.  Shadowy figures drifting down corridors.  Spooky sounds.  These are just a few of the unexplained phenomena at Bodelwyddan Castle, one of the most haunted buildings in Wales.  Are you ready to explore what goes bump in the night?  Just in time for Halloween, tomorrow’s events include a public ghost walk ending in an eerie visit to the cellars and an overnight ghost hunt around the halls, rooms and bedrooms where you can try your hand at operating paranormal equipment like dowsing rods, crystal pendulums, and motion sensors.  Happy hunting!

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