Wales is a land of dragons, magic and tradition all steeped in centuries of history. Here are the best 4 'staycation' ideas to experience all it has to offer this year.
If you're looking for a sophisticated stay by the coast, be sure to visit Aberystwyth. It boasts spectacular coastal paths, a beautiful seafront and a calming marina for you to enjoy. When you include the Castle and University, there's something for everyone. A short drive inland brings you to the Arian Forest, which is a haven for wildlife. Walk and cycle through the wilderness, stopping at the visitor centre to watch a Red Kite feed and talk.
Aberystwyth also has strong railway connections. The cliff railway offers a unique perspective of the town while the Vale of Rheidol steam railway is unmissable when open (currently closed). Travel by rail into the Cambrian Mountains by rail to see the views and hidden waterfalls in comfort.
What else can you do on your 'staycation' in Aberystwyth?
Explore the rugged countryside at your leisure. There are strong rail links and fantastic driving routes connecting Aberystwyth to the rest of Wales. With plenty of rural villages and Welsh traditions to discover in the area, choose Aberystwyth for some escapism this year!
You can also join up with the Cambrian Way, a beautiful expanse of road that's lots of fun to drive. It stretches from Cardiff to Llandudno, cutting through the heart of Wales. No matter how much or how little of it you drive, the beautiful views will never disappoint.
Don't let your car slow your 'staycation' down. Follow our Roadmap out of Lockdown before you travel!
Cardiff is the bustling heart of Wales, so there's plenty to explore. Find your perfect tour and learn about the city from a qualified guide as you go. If you'd prefer to wander alone, make sure you see Cardiff Castle, the Principality Stadium and the Welsh Parliament building during your 'staycation'. Then, visit Cardiff Bay for dinner at a waterside restaurant. You can also lose yourself in the various shops before enjoying the excellent nightlife in Wales' capital.
What else can you do on your 'staycation' in Cardiff?
Fans of 'Gavin and Stacey' must visit nearby Barry Island for a charming day out. To the East, RSPB Newport Wetlands is a nature reserve that is home to some protected Welsh wildlife. Take a day to explore the nature trails and do a bit of birdspotting.
Nearby Cwmbran, Caerphilly and Port Talbort and the various rural villages all have their charms. Take an afternoon to escape the hustle and bustle of inner city life. You might even find your new favourite 'staycation' destination!
This pretty coastal village is an underappreciated gem in North Wales. You can learn about the last thousand years of Welsh history and culture in Porthmadog and easily access nearby tourist hotspots, such as Anglesey. Any train enthusiast should ride the Ffestinigog Steam Railway which passes through Porthmadog. It runs through the same rugged Welsh countryside as it did when it first opened in the 1830s!
What else can you do on your 'staycation' in Porthmadog?
The most appealing local attraction has to be the nearby village of Portmeirion. This 20th Century example of European style architecture was inspired by the Italian Riviera and is best appreciated on a sunny day. Snowdonia National Park, home to Mount Snowdon, the UK's second highest peak, is a close second. What's more, there are plenty of pretty coastal views, walks and beaches a short drive from Porthmadog. If all that wasn't enough, Caenarfon Castle, Wales' most famous castle, stands nearby. It has imposed itself over the nearby landscape since the 13th Century!
Wales' second city is full of tradition and culture. The legacy of Dylan Thomas, a famous 20th Century poet, is evident in his birthplace. What's more, the local Indoor Market is one of the largest in Wales! Try a range of unusual local treats including laverbread (made from seaweed). After that, The Mumbles and The Gower Peninsula are two particular highlights. With over 120 shops, restaurants and pubs, The Mumbles is a must-see seaside village. Sample some of its first-class ice cream and seafood while you're exploring. Stroll along The Gower Peninsula and fall in love with its breath taking beaches. Birdwatchers, walkers, sunbathers and surfers alike will enjoy this stunning natural landscape.
What else can you do on your 'staycation' in Swansea?
If you don't fancy spending your entire 'staycation' in Cardiff, why not take a day trip there? If you're looking to get closer to nature, the Brecon Beacons are around an hour's drive from Swansea. This harsh National Park is a fantastic challenge for experienced hikers. You should always know the weather, prepare correctly and let someone know where you're going before you head into the mountains. For a calmer stroll, head west to the Pembrokshire Coast.