Visit Wales TV advert – Behind the scenes

Here’s our latest TV advert, part of our ‘Have you packed for Wales?’ campaign. It focuses on couples and short breaks in Cardiff and Abersoch.

Here's the locations we filmed

In this advert we really want to show you the best of Cardiff, vibrant city shopping, heritage attractions and all within a stone's throw from each other.
 
Our first glimpse of Cardiff shows you one of its biggest heritage attractions, Cardiff Castle. It's slap bang in the middle of the city centre and within walking distance are other cultural attractions like the free National Museum of Cardiff, with one of Europe's finest art collections and Bute Park.
 
These wonderful city centre attractions are just minutes from Cardiff’s main modern shopping areas too - it’s so easy to explore.
 
With Cardiff’s vibrant shopping scene we opt to show our thirty-something couple visiting Castle Arcade, just one of Cardiff’s many Victorian and Edwardian Arcades. We wanted to capture the spirit of these beautiful bustling old arcades, which are full of independent boutiques and jewellers, coffee shops and delis.
 
To do this we focus on Science Cream, an incredible independent ice cream parlour with a difference. Swirling clouds of dry ice from liquid nitrogen freezes your ice cream before your very eyes. It’s quite a theatrical sight! Their menu features new and interesting flavours such as salted caramel and white chocolate but be quick, the menu changes every two weeks.

Abersoch  

Maybe your short break takes you outdoors? We focus on the seaside village Abersoch on the Llŷn Peninsula. Famous for its local fresh food, it’s the perfect location to purchase freshly caught seafood from the harbour-side.
 
Abersoch’s beach is lined by brightly-coloured beach huts, perfect for a romantic evening on the beach. Light up a barbecue, pop on your fresh seafood and pour a glass of something refreshing - holiday bliss.

Cardiff's street food 

Cardiff’s pop up street food scene has exploded over the past year so our filming ends at a super cool, pop-up, street food event. Twinkling fairy lights fill the air and gourmet food vans, wood-fired pizza ovens, smoking BBQ’s and bars create an underground atmosphere any foodie would adore. It’s definitely a cool event to tell friends you’ve been too.
 
Pop-up street food events are planned for the whole year, if you fancy getting in on the action take a look at our guide to Cardiff’s street food

Filming over the past year

We’ve spent eight days filming over the past year. We wanted to show a Wales that’s both close enough and far enough away, a country that can make you feel at home and yet in a totally different country at the same time.
 
We wanted to appeal to our senses, conjuring up the taste, smell, sound and feel of a place and capture the feeling of being in the landscape, rather than just admiring it from afar.

We wanted to show a Wales that’s both close enough and far enough away, a country that can make you feel at home and yet in a totally different country at the same time. We wanted to appeal to our senses, conjuring up the taste, smell, sound and feel of a place and capture the feeling of being in the landscape, rather than just admiring it from afar.

Here’s what happened.

Day 1 - Bike Park Wales at Gethin Woodland

Film crew filming mountain bikers at BikePark Wales near Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales Valleys as part of the Visit Wales TV campaign

Film crew filming Mountain Bikers at Bike Park Wales, South Wales Valleys

We have plenty of world-class mountain biking in Wales. Classic Coed y Brenin in Snowdonia, the mighty Afan Forest, the astonishing moonscapes of Antur Stiniog.

We opt for Bike Park Wales in the South Wales Valleys, an incredible network of trails for riders of all abilities, with swooping, bermed runs, tight gnarly rock sections, jump trails, drop offs and a family-friendly loop. Bike Park Wales’ Director Anna Walters, stars in the sequence along with her friends on the ‘Die Hard’ run. 

We capture the misty morning mood on their ride as well as their banter in a forest that is warm and nest-like. We capture a painterly scene of a biking pit-stop with a 180 degree panoramic view of the valley beyond. We’re away.

Day 2 – Wales Coast Path and Bishop’s Palace St David’s

Bishops Palace, St Davids in Pembrokeshire

Bishop's Palace, Pembrokeshire
The Wales Coast Path runs for 870 miles around our entire coastline. Steve, our walker, is a contemplative pilgrim: stick in hand, linen rucksack on back, dog on lead (she’s called Tilly, by the way).

The sun is beaming - a good start. We head to Porthclais, a tiny harbour built in the 12th century. Today the light is flat, the enemy of filming. It’s an impatient business, this. Onwards, regardless, to the tiny cathedral town of St David’s, followed by the Bishop’s Palace, where the sun at last shines as it does on the righteous. The ancient stones sing out and the architecture looks positively Mediterranean.

Day 3 – Cardigan Estuary, Bay and Island

Bay to Remember RIB boat the

A Bay to Remember dolphin spotting trip off the coast of Ceredigion
A day of expectation. Cardigan Bay is home to the UK’s biggest resident pod of bottlenose dolphins, who’ll (hopefully!) star in our ad. Two boats, care of A Bay to Remember, set off at speed. There’s a buoyant mood, particularly amongst the younger cast members.

We speed by Cardigan Island and then northwards towards Mwnt. Engines cut, a seal pops up to say hello. We move on towards Aberporth, hoping for a glimpse of our bottle-nosed friends.

It’s quiet and still. Then, someone leaps up, shrieking with excitement. A pod is spotted in the distance. Within minutes, these magical creatures are circling our boats. It takes a lot of camera concentration to get the perfect shot, but what a gift!

Day 4 – Abersoch by day and night

Film crew and director on location at Abersoch beach, filming Visit Wales TV Advert

Abersoch beach, Llŷn Peninsula
Onwards and upwards to the Llŷn Peninsula. We arrive at Abersoch with our forty-something couple, but only the vaguest idea of what to film. It’s a lovely seaside village resort, with a harbour and lovely scenery, all set in the Welsh-speaking heartland. Something good will come, we’re sure. 

The film crew are a tight-knit team and before long two fishing boats and a catch of lobster and crabs are procured. At the beach, a stylist creates a sanctuary at one of the shabby-chic beach huts. A barbeque is lit and the light changes from light to dark. Lights twinkle, a barbecue blazes, romantic glances are exchanged. Warm and cwtchy. Exactly the stuff that holidays are made of.

Day 5 – Carreg-y-Defaid and Porth Neigwl Beaches

Man kitesurfing on the Llyn Peninsula

Kitesurfing on the Llŷn Peninsula
The Llŷn Peninsula has two faces: the wild northern coast, and the south-facing inner side, a watersports playground. The ones that play hardest are the kite-surfers: this adrenalin sport has gripped the imagination of the intrepid.

At a windy and moody Carreg-y-Defaid, near Pwllheli, our kite-surfer Johnnie rigs up and sets off. His board rises and falls with the rhythm of the sea. We then decamp to Porth Neigwl, another surfing hotspot.

We shoot texture: the kite sail and ropes, the pebbles underfoot and Johnnie looking suitably weather and water beaten. An intimate scene captures Johnnie close-up and his face moves from an expression of exhaustion to satisfaction.

Day 6 – Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle, Snowdonia
Sun again! Caernarfon Castle is probably the grandest of Edward I’s ‘ring of steel’ powerhouses. The iconic castle is captured as the light rises and a vintage VW campervan potters along outside the castle wall.

We head into the vast bulk of the castle itself, the mountains of Snowdonia framing the background. The story focuses in on a father and his son, their conversations and their discovery. Imaginations ponder the dark, thin castle corridors, and - spoiler alert – artful squirts of talcum powder create a fairy-like veil of light. The last day of a fabulous week ends on the castle’s parapet. The set was struck. The team disbanded. It was a wrap.