The hot ticket: legendary experiences in Wales
Wales is a place where the familiar meets the unfamiliar. Classic castles, passionate sporting legends and momentous occasions like NATO and the Ryder Cup punctuated with glorious grassroots festivals like Festival Number 6, The Good Life Experience and ‘Man vs Horse.’
We’ve perfected the art of surprise and adventure, from adrenaline-fuelled zip lines in old disused mines to a surf mecca in an inland industrial site. Reinvention is our game…and we encourage you to create your own legends in Wales, whether fuelled by food, festivals or high adventure.
1.) The UEFA Champions League
UEFA Champions League Final trophies
2017 will be a historic year for sport in Wales as the country hosts the UEFA Champions League Final for the first time. It’s the world’s most watched annual sporting event and will be the biggest sporting event ever to have been staged in Wales. If the city centre fan zones and crowds aren’t your thing though, a pub trail around the city centre at any time is always legendary.
2.) Redbull Hardline
Extreme Mountain Biking
This is the hardest downhill mountain bike race in the world, designed to stretch the boundaries of what’s possible on two wheels. In this small but hair-raising event, the world’s best riders attempt to ‘tame the beast’, a hellish descent in the heavenly surroundings of Dinas Mawddwy, in the south-east corner of the beautiful Snowdonia National Park. Gnarly!
3.) Zip World
Zip World Titan, Blaenau Ffestiniog
The world’s fastest zip wire soars at 100 mph (160 kph) over the giant Penrhyn Quarry. It takes a certain person to look at an old slate mine and think ‘Hmmm…what if?’, but Ex-Royal Marine Commando Sean Taylor and his team have created 11 adventures in three wonderful locations in North Wales. A veritable adventure playground.
4.) Fforest Gather
Fforest Gather by Fforest Gather
Does the thought of a loud festival with lots of people bring you out in hives? Then may we suggest Fforest Gather: a smaller and more intimate vibe for the thinking family’s enjoyment. Hosted in the beautiful surroundings of the Fforest farm, this two-week event is capped at 300 people a week, and focuses entirely on the great outdoors, with activities for the mind, body, and soul. You can also look forward to excellent food and music. Pure bliss.
5.) Surf Snowdonia
Surf Snowdonia by Surf Snowdonia
It takes a giant leap of imagination to turn a scruffy old aluminium factory into a surfer’s paradise, but that’s just what Surf Snowdonia have done, creating a dream wave on a man-made lagoon in the middle of the countryside. The waves peel perfectly for 492 ft (150 metres) along the valley floor. It’s a thing of beauty.
6.) Festival Number 6
Festival No. 6, Portmeirion
Spectacularly located, Festival No. 6 takes place in the delightful Portmeirion Village, North Wales. As well as big name music acts there’s entertainment of all kinds, from carnivals to comedians. Ditch any ideas of a greasy hot dog and a warm beer, as the food is top notch too. Not a camping fan? There’s a plush hotel in the village, so you don’t have to assemble your festival outfit in a tent!
7.) The Good Life Experience
The Good Life Experience by Nenad Obradovic
Founded by Cerys Matthews in 2014 along with three of her friends, the Good Life Experience aims to provide adults and children with ‘great food, axe throwing, campfire cooking, mass sing-a-longs, comedy, beer served by experts, talks by explorers, raucous music, abseiling, a 1930s fairground, butchery displays, poetry, literature and endless How To… talks. This is a fantastic opportunity to experience first class music, eat food cooked by top chefs and enjoy the great outdoors in the grounds of the beautiful Hawarden Estate in Flintshire, North Wales.
8.) Bounce Below
Bounce Below in Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales by Charles Williams
You too can unleash your inner gymnast / warrior, because in a cathedral-sized slate cavern in Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales, three layers of bouncy cargo nets are connected by slides and ladders for you to hop, wiggle and roll your way around. It’s a magical experience, no matter what your age is.
9.) Hay Festival
Hay Festival, Hay on Wye
It started around a kitchen table and became one of the world’s best-known literary festivals. Hay Festival brings together writers, politicians, comedians and musicians from around the world for debate, storytelling and entertainment. The festival takes place in charming Hay-on-Wye in the Welsh Borders, dubbed ‘second-hand book capital of the world’. Tickets are sold for each event individually, while many are free, so you can dip in and out of the festival as you please.