All eyes on London, but take a look at Wales

Not Far from the Action of the Olympics

The Welsh are proud of their heritage and passionate about preserving their Celtic language and historical sites. On the west coast of Britain, still a part of the United Kingdom, Wales feels and looks like Ireland with an English flavor. If you have a yearning for medieval times and castle romping, then the green rolling hills of Wales, where 400 castles freckle the landscape is for you.

The network of castles found in this farmland of 12 million sheep, and only 3 million people, is extremely underrated; but that’s good for you as a visitor to this enchanting land with small crowds.

With so many castles to attack, you might wonder where to start. Consider arranging a driver and guide. A Blue Badge Guide can do both and may be the best way to go. They know all the ins and outs and can make the experience unforgettable.

The Castles Await

Start your campaign of exploration in the north of Wales around Snowdonia and concentrate on a grouping of castles, called the Iron Ring. It was built by King Edward I to put down the Welsh rebels.

Caernarfon Castle has been the focal point of the area for hundreds of years and was the site of Prince Charles’ investiture in 1969. History buffs may do the blah, blah, blah stuff, but take time to explore and check out the murder holes, arrow loops and spy holes around the castle; they were such gruesome times. Some of the castles have suits of armor and old brutal weapons on display; they make guns look humane.

Don’t Forget

Castles are usually built on high ground, so wear good walking or hiking shoes. Wales can be misty, so take an umbrella or rain poncho. Consider the poncho, as it’s usually less expensive and easier to pack. Also, remember your camera to take plenty of photographs. Enjoy the moments of discovery, and sometimes chilling, as you meander the inner walls of the castle and marvel at her architecture. Pause to wonder what it was really like to live in the castle’s heyday. Besides weathering the cold drafts of spooky castles, the Welsh nights are cool as well, so remember to take a sweater or light-jacket.

In addition to Caernarfon Castle, visit the castles of Conwy and Beaumaris in the north and Caerphilly and Cardiff in the south. But you don’t have stop there with 400 to choose from, you could spend a lifetime investigating them all.

If You Go …

Blue Badge Guide

www.turnstone-tours.co.uk

Castles of Wales

www.CastleWales.com

General Tourist Information

www.VisitWales.com

Michael Dwyer is a freelance writer and travel columnist. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at [email protected]ia.com

About Michael Dwyer

Michael Dwyer is a freelance content provider. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at [email protected].

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