The Clock Tower, Cardiff Castle

Clock towers don’t come much showier than William Burges’ extravagant Gothic masterpiece for the third Marquess of Bute. Situated on the south-west corner of Cardiff Castle, it is over 40m tall and decorated with brightly painted statues that represent the solar system. It caused a real stir when it was completed in 1874 and it's still pretty spectacular today. Inside, a spiral staircase leads to Lord Bute’s lavish apartments and a clock by Edward Dent of London, who also made Big Ben.

Cardiff Castle clock tower with a stone animal in front.
A view of the clock on the tower at Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle, Cardiff, South Wales

Cardiff Castle Summer Room

Cardiff Castle

Landscape of the attractions at Cardiff Bay seen from the water.
Portmeirion Gardens

Portmeirion Village Gardens

Castell Dolbadarn,

The Dog Cemetery, Portmeirion

The entire holiday village of Portmeirion is pretty quirky, with its romantic jumble of Mediterranean-style houses complete with a campanile and a dome. A cemetery for much loved dogs is just one of Portmeirion’s charming eccentricities. Tucked away in Y Gwyllt Woodlands, which covers 70 acres and has 20 miles of woodland paths, the Dog Cemetery was on the site before the village was built. The memorial stones, statues and tributes span well over a century – it's quite the tribute to man's best friends. Elsewhere in the woods, find the Ghost Garden, Tangle Wood and the Chinese Lake.

Giant chess set in Portmeirion garden
A lake surrounded by trees and a red latticed bridge in the foreground.
A wooden signpost pointing to The Dogs' Cemetery, Ghost Garden Dancing Tree.

Portmeirion, North Wales

Gladstone's Library, Hawarden

Founded in 1889 by William Gladstone, the former UK Prime Minister, Gladstone's Library is a Grade I listed building houses over 30,000 hand-annotated books that were once owned by the leader. Now maintained as a residential library for overnight stays as well somewhere you can pop in to visit, the collection has grown to over 250,000 pieces spanning art, theology, literature and history. Best bring your reading glasses.

interior view of library with high ceiling and wooden shelves and people sat at desks on the ground floor
Wooden shelves and ceiling with books (library)

Gladstone's Library, Hawarden, North Wales

Continental Breakfast

Gladstone's Library

Castell Dolbadarn,
Caerphilly Castle

Caerphilly Castle (Cadw)

Landscape of the attractions at Cardiff Bay seen from the water.

Caerphilly Castle

With chunky walls and a wide moat, 13th century Caerphilly Castle seems like a posterboy of military-strength buildings. However, turn to the southeast corner and you'll spot something odd: a tower that leans more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa (yes, really). Wonderfully wonky, the tower defies physics, tilting significantly yet still standing. Like a crooked tooth in a handsome smile, we wouldn’t want it any other way!

Inside Caerphilly Castle showing old brickwork and doorway.
Caerphilly Castle, Südwales.

Caerphilly Castle, South Wales

Paxton’s Tower, Llanarthney

Two centuries before it became home to the National Botanic Garden of Wales, the Middleton Hall estate belonged to an eminent Georgian-era politician, William Paxton. One of his creations, was this slimmed-down castle dedicated to Lord Nelson. With panoramic views of the Tywi Valley, Paxton’s Tower is a folly with a difference. It is triangular in plan, with three doors, three turrets and a hexagonal centre - not to mention a narrow footprint.

A castle tower overlooking a green valley.
An aerial view of a hexagonal tower with three round towers off the sides.

Paxton's Tower, Llanarthney, Carmarthenshire, West Wales

Paxton's Tower

Aerial view of a harbour, two beaches and pastel coloured houses.
The Royal Mint

The Royal Mint Experience

Landscape of the attractions at Cardiff Bay seen from the water.

The Royal Mint Experience, Llantrisant

Did you know that the change in your pocket was made in South Wales? The Royal Mint has been based in Llantrisant since 1968, making all of the UK's coins as well as medals and coins for over 100 other countries in the world. At The Royal Mint Experience, you can go on a tour of the facility, where you'll find out all about the production cycle, get to see coin-making equipment up close and watch new coins being made. You can even make your own legal coin if you want! There's also an exhibition of coins and medals, which is a really fascinating visual history of many countries around the globe, all through the stories told on their coins.

Shaun das Schaf Skulptur am Eingang zur Royal Mint Experience.
A Mini covered in coins at The Royal Mint Experience.

The Royal Mint Experience, Llantrisant, South Wales

The Smallest House in the UK, Conwy

The name doesn't promise anything big, and when you see the building for yourself you'll wonder how on earth anybody could've lived in it. The Smallest House in the UK is a mere 72 inches across, 122 inches high and 120 inches deep. Despite this, there's a bedroom, an open plan living and kitchen area and, as past occupants have proven, enough room for one person or a couple to live fairly comfortably. Visit the house for a small fee and see just how tiny it is.

External view of a tiny red house

The Smallest House in the UK, Conwy, North Wales

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