Five great reasons to explore Wales by car
January 28, 2016 at 10:43 AM
If you're looking for a magnificent coastline, breath-taking mountain scenery, intriguing history and unique culture in one easily planned car journey, Wales is very hard to beat!
Quite simply, it has something to please everyone in the family, from dynamic towns, peaceful coves and clean beaches, to historic buildings and castles telling the story of its rich past. It's hard to believe that, by car, this tranquil and timeless beauty is so accessible from major population centres.
This diversity makes Wales a gem of a country, so let's begin with one of the most beautiful and unusual facets of this jewel. Portmeirion nestles in a secluded site on the north west coast beneath the magnificent mountains of Snowdonia. The creation of the brilliant architect Clough Williams-Ellis, Portmeirion is a perfect example of how buildings can complement their setting, rather than intrude on it. Best known for providing the location for the TV series "The Prisoner", Portmeirion still charms the visitor with its ever-fascinating beauty.
Whether snow-capped in winter, brooding under cloud or welcoming in the sunshine, the Snowdonia Mountains are always a place of natural beauty, drawing walkers, photographers, cyclists and climbers. The Snowdonia National Park web site boasts 150 activities of all kinds. Choose from boat trips, white water rafting, zip-wires, or wildlife watching, or learn about the mining and industrial history of Wales - it's all here in this World Heritage Site, just a short drive from Portmeirion.
The North Wales coastal route reveals many lesser known landscape treasures. Conwy is home not only to its evocative castle, but to Plas Mawr, a richly ornamented Elizabethan town house built by wealthy merchant Robert Wynn. It's widely held to be the best example of a magnificent town house from this period that remains anywhere in the UK.
Castles along the coast
Driving south along the coast of Wales provides a treat for the eye. Not only is the coastal scenery superb and varied, with its wooded stretches contrasting with swooping cliff top drives and sea views, but also it provides the opportunity to see some of the most magnificent medieval strongholds in Wales, taking in Carnarfon, Harlech and Laugharne en route before finally arriving at unforgettable Carmarthen Castle on the River Towy. Take your time and enjoy the drive!
The magical heartland of Wales
And after all this, there's still mid Wales to explore. Driving from the romantic Brecon Beacons National Park to the rugged Cambrian Mountains offers a visual experience to compare with that of Snowdonia. This is the Wales of song and story, myth and mystery. Linger for a while on the shores of Lake Vyrnwy recalling that this location has been compared to Switzerland for its beauty and that the lake is, astonishingly, a relatively modern feature in the landscape.
For further information and ideas, be sure to visit visitwales.com.