I’ve been in England for several months now, and of all the places that I have been so far (Liverpool, Lancaster, Leeds) Wales was definitely the best. From the quiet costal towns and rolling farmland to the towering mountains of Snowdonia National Park -Wales has some of the most impressive natural features I have seen. Altogether, I spent two days and one night in Wales as part of a tour group for the website Don’t be a Tourist. I generally don’t like the idea of guided tours, however I am extremely happy with my decision to go with Don’t be a Tourist. They had an impressive knowledge of local businesses and attractions, and they showed me parts of Wales that you would have to be a local to even know about, let alone find.
For the rest of the trip, check out: Tour of Wales Day 2
The tour bus picked myself and my Australian friend Hayley up just outside our University and proceeded to take us to our first stop – Conwy castle in the small costal town of Conwy in Northern Wales. Constructed between 1283 and 1289, this castle is certainly one of the oldest standing structures that I have ever seen. Admittedly, as far as English and Welsh history goes, its not exactly ancient, but from the perspective of an American it was certainly very impressive.
As we arrived in the town of Conwy, our tour guides Ben and David gave us a brief overview of the attractions and foot establishments and left us to our own devices. Hayley and I spent about 45 minutes walking around the castle, and for the very reasonable entry fee of 4 pounds, it was definitely worth the time and money. After the castle, we walked around on top of the original wall that enclosed the town and explored some of the local attractions that the town had to offer. While exploring we stumbled on local bakery. I ordered a Cornish pasty and a mince pie, both of which had been highly recommended to me. The minced pie was ok, but the pasty was absolutely delicious. If you are ever in south-west England or Wales, try a Cornish (from Cornwall, England) pasty – you won’t be disappointed.
After our short tour of Conwy, we continued on to the town of Llandudno which is situated just north of Conwy. Llandudno is a fairly large resort town (the largest in Wales) located between two mountains called the Great and Little Ormes. We were first taken to our Hostel, and then proceeded to take a small tour of the town, including a sweet shop which was a favourite of our tour guide Ben. After that we started heading towards the base of the Great Orme and eventually all the way to the top.
Once at the top, we were greeted by an amazing view overlooking Llandudno and Snowdonia National Park in the distance.
I’ve always loved climbing mountains, and this moment stands out among some of my favourite summits. At the top, Ben gave us a geographical overview of our current location in wales and explained that we were currently standing on what is supposed to be one the best places in England to see UFO activity. Apparently the messages that people had made with rocks on a nearby hillside were meant to be messages to the supposed alien lifeforms.
After the hike we all retired to a local pub for an ice cold Guiness with fish and chips.
For the rest of the trip, check out: Tour of Wales Day 2.