Wales – A Historical Goldmine

As a Welsh girl, born in the country’s capital, Cardiff, but now living in Portugal, the saying ‘You can take the girl out of Wales, but you can’t take Wales out of the girl’ is such a true statement. It’s incredibly rich history is firmly woven into its glorious tapestry of rolling hills, magnificent castles, impressive museums and architecture – and the very heart of any Welsh man or woman.

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Wales has always enjoyed playing host to its diverse visitors, and as such has established a wide selection of accommodation for all budgets – from camping to glamping, basic hostels to five star hotels, and unique bed and breakfasts to small luxury boutique hotels.

For luxury holiday rentals, entire mansions, country residences and even castles, are available should you want to live like royalty during your visit.

So, as an insider, here are some of my favourite places to visit, whether you are planning a long weekend getaway, or looking for vacation ideas in or around the nation’s capital.

Castell Coch – The Red Castle

This stunning building – known locally as ‘the fairytale castle’, is a 19th century gothic castle, rebuilt for the local 3rd Marquess of Bute. Its stunning interior has become the backdrop to many screen appearances, as well as being a highly desirable wedding venue. For me, it has some of the most romantic examples of architecture and interior design in Wales. I get lost in its beautiful ceilings every time.

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Image Courtesy: Collis

St Fagans Natural History Museum – also known as ‘The Welsh Folk Museum’

This fascinating site is a living museum where you can walk through history, throw pots in its pottery, watch bread being made, animals being farmed and more. Its success, I believe is because it has managed to avoid becoming ‘touristy’. You can enjoy open-air theatres during the summer, and impromptu poetry recitals or music being played. My favourite part is a row of tiny cottages which are designed for various historical stages. The first cottage has a garden filled with vegetables, chickens and more, while the cottage has no electricity, bare floors and basic furniture. As you wander through each cottage you can see how tastes and requirements change inside the house and garden through the decades. There are plenty more historical things to do and see, but I don’t want to spoil the experience.

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The Big Pit National Coal Museum

This museum is dedicated to coal mining – the true Welsh gold of its era. It provides an interesting insight into the lives of miners, the conditions they worked under, and the importance of this industry throughout the world.



Brecon Beacons National Park

The Brecon Beacons National Park, is over 500 miles of stunning mountains, waterfalls, lakes and woodlands, peppered with thriving market towns, sleepy villages and historical sites. This beautiful region attracts visitors from all over the world keen to enjoy the outdoor life and activities that are on offer. Having lived on its doorstep for most of my life, it is hardly surprising that I have a particularly soft spot for this region, yet am ashamed to say even I have not been able to do everything that is on offer. If you choose to visit the Brecon Beacons, I do recommend taking one of the steam train trips along the Brecon Beacons Railway – the perfect way to take in some of the breath-taking views, without the exertion.

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The Gower Peninsula

The Gower is over 70 miles of glorious coastline. It was also the first place in the UK to be designated an area of outstanding natural beauty and with good reason.  The beaches are one of its top attractions, and are stunning whatever time of the year you choose to visit. For the full experience, having a large bag of fish, chips and mushy peas with plenty of salt and vinegar is a must. If that doesn’t appeal, there are plenty of quality restaurants to sit and watch the beach world go by.

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Victoria Thomas

Victoriais a regular contributor on, a luxury travel blog curating hotels, spas, restaurants, boutiques, products as well as once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences.