Top Towns in Wales
Wales has a rich and vibrant history and is surrounded by spectacular scenery and has landscapes dotted with handsome towns. There is an abundance of interesting and beautiful places to visit. So, where do you start? We’ve listed what we feel are the most interesting and beautiful places to visit, which will allow you to soak up the rich and diverse life of Wales both past and present.
Some might say Portmeirion is a slightly odd place. It certainly caters for the visitor, being situated on the River Dwyryd and made famous by the renowned architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. It was his vision to bring a little of the Mediterranean to Wales. Yes…the Mediterranean! It’s an odd pairing but a huge tourist attraction with its light-hearted, romantic and eminently picturesque pleasure gardens and piazzas with domed buildings with brightly coloured facades, it’s well worth a visit if you’re passing through this part of Wales.
Pembroke, steeped in history with Pembroke castle standing proud, towering down over the town, overlooking the Pembroke river. Found on the southwestern tip of Wales, it’s considered to be amongst the most historic of towns of Wales. The castle is used as a film location for Shakespeare’s works and often holds regular music events throughout the year. Not just rich in history, but also in wildlife with otters and kingfishers found along its riverbanks. With its magnificent Norman castle and abundant wildlife, the town of Pembroke is definitely worth a visit.
A small town, Crickhowell sits on the River Usk and within the Brecon Beacons National Park, with Abergavenny and Brecon nearby. It’s the perfect base for hill walking and even perhaps a spot of fishing for the keen anglers out there. Built in the 18th century, the picturesque bridge, with its 13 arches is the focal point of the town. Wonder through the local countryside and stop for some light refreshment in the small beer garden positioned alongside the river to relax and take in the sights. A lovely characterful town to visit.
Another picturesque Welsh coastal town, with its ruined castle on the headland, with views over Cardigan Bay to the Llyn Peninsular and onto the Snowdonia Mountains in the distance. Criccieth Castle, dates back to the 13th century, a period before the English conquests and was once reigned by Llewelyn the Great, ruler at one time over much of Wales.
The castle also takes centre stage in one of the great landscape painters work, William Turner, who captured the beauty of Criccieth castle in the 1830s.
Criccieth is locally known as the ‘Pearl of Wales on the Shores of Snowdonia’, now an attractive Victorian seaside resort and popular with tourists for its rich history, fantastic beaches and a town full of welsh charm.
Positioned on the border of England, Chepstow is a town that exudes a relaxed arts and crafts feel with its small independent shops, numerous eateries and public houses.
Again home to another Norman castle, sitting at the foot of the town overlooking the Lower Wye. Just a step away from England, entered by walking over the curved iron regency road bridge. Chepstow is also home to a vibrant and active racecourse, where you can enjoy a day at the races often followed by a live music event. A relaxed town to with plenty going on.
The smallest city in the UK and a charming small town, full of local independent shops and galleries, St David’s is a great place to visit. Situated deep in Pembrokeshire, it’s also a lovely place to walk the coastal path and if you love history, a trip to the town would not be complete without a trip to the 12th century Cathedral.
Formally a monastery in the 6th century, founded by the patron saint of Wales, later transformed to the Cathedral which now stands as a proud landmark of Wales. It became a major pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages, bringing visits from kings and paupers to see the relics of the patron saint who was buried there.
A town built around the farming community and named as one of the happiest towns to live in the UK. Situated in Powys and within the historic boundaries of Radnorshire. It was developed as a spa town in the 19th century, which attracted visitors to the local spring waters that had ‘healing qualities’. Due to the large influx of visitors during the 18th century, the town experienced an economic boom, resulting in the building of many splendid buildings, with many still present today. The town was also a centre of local government during the late 20th century. The town has maintained an important profile in the world of motoring and motor sport as it’s served as the base for many International motorcycle events such as the International Six Days Trail starting in 1933 and which is still a popular event today. A happy and architecturally rich town to visit.
Situated in the Dyfi Valley next to the imposing Cambrian Mountains and surrounded by rolling green countryside, this small town has a great deal to offer. There is a good selection of places to eat which cater for all tastes from a Michelin-starred restaurant to local pub grub.
If you are seeking a laugh, a comedy festival takes place every year, attracting many top names and it is home to Europe’s leading eco-hub which is educating many from children to engineers about the importance of protecting the planet. If you are looking for culture the Moma Art centre will keep you happily entertained. It’s safe to say Machynlleth is a town that has something for everyone.
Conwy is amongst the most popular destinations within the whole of Wales, unsurprisingly, the castle, scenery and historical interest are stated as some of the main reasons to visit. It is not only home to the famous suspension bridge built and designed by Thomas Telford to fit in with the style of the castle, but also the smallest house in Britain, measuring just 3.02m x 1.8m found in the Conwy quayside overlooking the river.
It’s a great base for the adventurous who’d like to climb Snowdon, or if you’d prefer a gentle ramble, the coastal path. The town itself is home to museums, and art galleries and many independent shops, all to be enjoyed during your visit.