There is plenty to explore in Wales, a small country within Great Britain that is often overlooked because of its more famous neighbours. Famous for Snowdonia National Park, which offers the best hiking trails in Great Britain, a holiday in Wales promises plenty of adventure.
There are several charming villages worth visiting, as well as Welsh cities, including the capital, Cardiff, which serves up an exciting mix of history, culture, sports and entertainment. There’s also Swansea, close to some glorious stretches of beach and the modern port city of Newport. All offer a smattering of tourist attractions, museums to visit, castles to explore and historic sites. Have we given you enough reason to enjoy a trip to Wales? Here are a few more…
Why travel to Wales
- Its landscapes are wild, rich and spectacular.
- Its cheese is as good as anything you’ll savour in France.
- It’s a land of mythical dragons and legends that inspired famous novels like Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.
- Welsh pubs are a great place to visit, with excellent ale and welcoming people.
- It’s home to some glorious beaches, including White Sands Bay in Pembrokeshire and Dinas Dinlle Beach in Gwynedd.
- There are some 600 castles to visit in Wales.
If you enjoy outdoor activities, hearty food, cosy pubs, enchanting traditions and picturesque scenery, you will love a holiday in Wales. With some of the most magnificent beaches in the United Kingdom, and its largest island, Anglesey, being chosen by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as a place to stay, Wales is now on everybody’s radar. Before this best-kept secret is too well-known, why not let Thompsons Holidays arrange a holiday package to Wales for you?
Things to do in Wales
There are so many unique and exciting tourist attractions in Wales, you’ll be spoiled for choice. A holiday here promises exciting outdoor activities, fascinating sights, beautiful beach breaks and charming pub visits. Take time out to discover its magic, and you won’t be disappointed.
Learn about Wales’ captivating history through its ancient monuments and museums, photograph its spectacular scenery and enjoy its excellent restaurants and entertainment. You can hike up Mount Snowdon or on the Brecon Beacons or enjoy a variety of adventure activities including abseiling and ziplining. Go snorkelling and surfing on the Gower Peninsula or step back in time when you visit Conwy Castle.
Things to do in Wales
- Visit Skomer Island to see the puffins.
- Explore the sea cliffs of Anglesey in North Wales.
- Walk along Pembrokeshire’s rugged coastline for incredible views and the chance to see dolphins and seals.
- Visit the St Fagans National Museum of History, an open-air museum in Cardiff showcasing original Welsh buildings.
- Spend a day in the charming old fishing village of Tenby.
- Sunbathe on one of the magnificent beaches in the Gower Peninsula.
- Be enthralled at the Science Exhibition Centre in Cardiff's vibrant waterfront, Mermaid Quay.
- See wild ponies in Brecon Beacons National Park.
- Discover the three overlapping bridges of Devil’s Bridge which span spectacular Rheidol Gorge.
- Take a heritage train to see some of Wales’ famous landmarks.
- Explore some of Wales’ 600 castles, including famous Caernarfon Castle.
- Go underground to discover magical caves.
A trip to Wales will be an exciting adventure, whether you’re travelling on a family holiday, exploring with friends or taking a romantic break. Thompsons Holidays will arrange a tailormade Wales travel package to suit you.
Know before you go...
- The best time to visit Wales is in Spring (April to May) and Autumn (September and October).
- High season is during the summer months, June to August, when it is warmest.
- Winter months are from December to February.
- You will fly from Johannesburg to Cardiff in Wales – this flight typically requires one stopover.
- Alternatively, you can fly direct to London and on to Cardiff from there.
- The flight duration from Johannesburg to Cardiff is 13 hours, 43 minutes with one stopover.
- South African passport holders require a Schengen visa to enter Great Britain.
- Passports should be valid for at least 6 months after travel and have blank pages.
- Wales is the same time as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During the winter months, Wales is 2 hours behind South Africa and in the summer (last Sunday in March to the last Saturday in October) 1 hour behind South Africa.
- The official currency is the Pound Sterling (£).
- Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are prevalent.
- Tipping is an accepted custom. It’s customary to leave 10-15% of the bill when dining out. Restaurants often have a service charge, so check your bill first.
- Food is quite expensive in Wales.
- Welsh has two languages: English and Welsh.
- Wales is a bilingual country. English is the official language, but Welsh is widely spoken. Even the road signs are marked in both English and Welsh.
- Christianity is the main religion. Catholicism is dominant, as well as the Church in Wales, Baptist and Methodist churches.
- Wales has a distinctive Celtic culture.
- It is safe to drink tap water in Wales. Bottled water is also readily available.
- Vaccinations are not currently required but do check with your travel clinic before you go.
What must I pack?
- The weather in Wales is fairly unpredictable, so it's best to pack clothing for any eventuality. A raincoat is a must, as is a pair of sturdy boots. Choose items that can e layered. In winter, be sure to add thermals, hats, gloves and scarves to your packing list.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses for summer holidays.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
- It's easy to get around Wales by train, coach and car. Welsh cities have good transport systems including buses, trains and cars.
- Rural Wales is a popular cycling destination. If you follow the National Cycle Network, you can explore some of Wales’ hidden gems.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Avoid single-use plastic; rather take fabric shopping bags with you and use refillable water bottles (when local drinking water is available).
- Respect each other's cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
- Do not support animal encounters and wildlife activities that are harmful or unethical.
- Always have a map (or app) on hand, especially when travelling at night.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.
What do I do in an emergency?
- If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
Out of season
We’re sorry! The holiday you’re looking for is not in season. Luckily, we have loads of other exciting options. Take a look!