Days Out in Wales

Country Information

Wales is a country in southwest Great Britain known for its rugged coastline, mountainous national parks, distinctive Welsh language and Celtic culture. Cardiff, the capital, is a refined coastal city with a nightlife scene and a medieval castle with ornate Gothic Revival interiors. In the north west of Wales, Snowdonia National Park has lakes, glacial landforms, hiking trails and a railway up to the peak of Snowdon.

Wales is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It has a population of roughly three million and covers,779 km2 (8,023 sq mi). Wales has over 1,680 miles (2,700 km) of coastline and is largely mountainous, with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), its highest summit. The country lies within the north temperate zone and has a changeable, maritime climate.

Cardiff is the capital and largest city in Wales and the eleventh-largest city in the United Kingdom. The city is the country’s chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for Wales. The unitary authority area’s mid-2011 population was estimated to be 346,100, while the population of the Larger Urban Zone was estimated at 861,400 in 2009. The Cardiff metropolitan area makes up over a third of the total population of Wales, with a mid-2011 population estimate of about 1,100,000 people. Cardiff is a significant tourist centre and the most popular visitor destination in Wales with 18.3 million visitors in 2010.In 2011, Cardiff was ranked sixth in the world in National Geographic’s alternative tourist destinations. Cardiff is also one of Wales’s six settlements with official city status, also including Bangor, Newport, St David’s, St Asaph and Swansea.