Mari Lwyd St Fagans Museum
Meaning ‘Grey Mare’ or ‘Holy Mary’, the Mari Lwyd is a horse figure carried from house to house at Christmas. Its wassailing singers indulge in a round of lampooning and, in a merry conclusion, an exchange of ales and cakes. Try it for yourself every December at the brilliant St Fagans museum.
Standing between two rivers, Beddgelert holds the grave of the hound owned by Llewelyn the Great, the Gwynedd Prince who ruled Wales more than 800 years ago. This sleeping dog lies in a beautiful village – depending on who you listen to, it might even have been named after him.
Lady of the Lake, Carmarthenshire
Peer into Llyn y Fan Fach, in the Black Mountain range, and your fortunes might follow those of a young boy who, idly dreaming, rose the Lady of the Lake from the waters. She became his devoted wife, but his bad behaviour, legend has it, made her return to the lake.
Harlech Castle, Snowdonia
On a spur of rock above the Irish Sea, breathe in and think of Owain Glyndŵr, the medieval ruler and last Welsh Prince of Wales. Harlech Castle was his brief home after a revolt against the English, but fell again in 1409. It remains one of the greatest castles in Europe.
Conwy Castle, Llandudno
Conwy Castle is an incredible complex of eight towers in a medieval fortification reached by bridge, there are endless stories to discover within the walls of this magnificent landmark of myth and legend. Edward I moved monks on to build it, but Owain Glyndŵr cunningly seized it in an early 15th century Welsh uprising.
Twm Sion Cati
Born in Tregaron during the 16th century but immortalised in literature and folklore ever since, Twm Sion Cati is a Welsh Robin Hood, once pardoned by Elizabeth I. See his statue in the square of the town where he once played, then head to the Cambrian Mountains to feel the magic he felt.
The Princes of Gwynedd
You might know the 12th and 13th century lands of North Wales from their immortalisation in the much-loved Princes of Gwynedd stories. Following in their footsteps is easy and evocative, but the ruined castle of Dolwyddelan, once the fortification of Llywelyn the Great, is a must-see on the crags of North Wales.
Guto Nyth Brân
You might not make it round as fast, but you’ll be following Iwan Thomas and Linford Christie to Mountain Ash, a former colliery heartland whose famous local son, Guto Nyth Brân, was a legendary 18th century athlete (his real name was Griffith Morgan). They ran the annual race honouring him in a town where his statue stands.
As you might gather while trying to read any local road signs, a 19th century joker was responsible for naming this town on Anglesey (deep breath) Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. It is, naturally, a record-breaker and the stuff of films, music and books –enjoy the picturesque village, and go landscape for any photos with those signs.