A visit to Wales offers a cultural experience very different to other United Kingdom countries. Although almost everyone speaks English too, Wales has its own language, culture, legends and folklore and your clients can immerse themselves in the creativity and celebration of song and poetry in both languages as part of a visit, right across Wales.
Welsh is one of the oldest languages in Europe and Britain’s oldest language.
It is now used daily all over the country. The Welsh language has had a huge influence in the country’s culture and history. In fact, according to a recent survey, approximately 30% of the population of Wales can speak Welsh and this is increasing thanks to Welsh being compulsory in schools to age 16. The Welsh language can be seen alongside English on road signs and heard in pubs, shops and cafes.
Welsh place names are very descriptive, so once some of the language is understood, it’s possible to work out what the place name means. For example, two iconic mountains in Snowdonia famed for their rocky summits are Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr. This translates to small pile/heap (of rocks) and big pile/heap (of rocks).
The most famous example of a descriptive place name is perhaps, the village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch - yes that is all one word. The village station sign is a must visit for a great photo opportunity as it is one of the longest place names in the world.
It translates to Saint Mary's Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio of the red cave.
A great tongue-twister for your clients to try and the sign is spelt out phonetically.
LLAN - FAIR - PWLL - GWYN - GYLL - GO - GER - YCH - WYRN - DROB - WLL - LLAN - TY - SILIO - GO - GO - GOCH
Easy Welsh phrases
Hello is the easily remembered ‘helo’
Bore da (pronounced: Boh-reh dah): Good morning
Prynhawn da (Prin-houn dah): Good afternoon
Nos da (nohs dah): Good night
Croeso i Gymru (Croesoh ee Gum-reeh): Welcome to Wales
Iechyd da! (Yeh-chid dah): Good health! (Cheers!)
Tafarn (Tav-arn): Pub
Diolch (Dee-olch): Thanks
Plis (Please): Please
Shw mae? (Shoe-mi): How are you?
Da iawn (Dah ee-aw-n): Very good
Na (Nah): No
Nant Gwrtheyrn, a National Welsh Language and Heritage Centre offers Welsh residential and virtual language courses in a restored Victorian quarrying village on the Llŷn Peninsula in North Wales. The free exhibition in the Heritage Centre interprets the development of the site and the history of the Welsh language. Your clients can visit a Quarryman’s Cottage and discover how a quarryman and his family lived in 1910. It’s the perfect place to learn about the oldest language in Europe. They can also offer introductory short and fun Welsh sessions for groups on request. A café, restaurant and accommodation for up to 120 guests is available on-site.
To hear more Welsh language your clients can go to Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff, a Welsh language music bar who have regular performances of live music on the club's stages.
Find out about Welsh language courses, full-day to weekly and residential or on-line at all levels.
The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth
The National Library of Wales is the biggest library in Wales and home to over 6.5 million books and periodicals with the largest collection of archives, portraits, maps and photographic images in Wales. They cater for groups and offer free tours.
The National Library of Wales keeps many rare and important manuscripts, including the earliest surviving manuscript entirely in Welsh Black Book of Carmarthen the earliest text (in Latin) of native Welsh law Laws of Hywel Dda (c. 1300–1350), and also holds the first Welsh translation of the complete Bible.
Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales
The National Museum Wales has seven sites around Wales, each with a different story to tell and have world-class collections celebrating Welsh history and culture as well as artefacts from around the globe. Each of the museums focuses on a different aspect of Welsh heritage and all are free to enter. The museums include:
Big Pit National Coal Museum, Blaenavon - this award-winning museum is a coal mine with tours 91 metres (300 ft) underground with real miners. Visitors can also explore the mining galleries, the pithead baths and colliery buildings.
National Museum Cardiff - offers a range of displays on natural history, science and art including one of Europe’s best collections of Impressionist paintings.
National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon - today at the Roman Legionary Museum Caerleon, your clients can learn what made the Romans a formidable force and how life wouldn't be the same without them.
National Slate Museum, Llanberis - the story of slate is told within the Victorian workshops where most of the machinery and plant is preserved in its original condition and skilled craftsmen demonstrate traditional skills of splitting and dressing slate.
National Waterfront Museum, Swansea - celebrates Welsh history, culture and achievement and tells the story of Wales' industrial and maritime heritage and its role in shaping today's economy and society.
National Wool Museum, Drefach Felindre – you clients will discover why Drefach Felindre was once the centre of a thriving woollen industry in Wales.
St Fagans National Museum of History – one of Europe’s largest open-air museums which celebrates how people lived, worked and spent their leisure time in Wales.
Wales was the first country in the world to become an industrialised nation. Welsh coal, slate and iron were shipped all over the world. These industries have impacted the culture of those areas which can still be experienced by your clients today.
Our fact sheets give a great insight on places and attractions your clients can visit to learn about industrial heritage in Wales:
The Welsh wool industry is important to Wales. Welsh wool has been exported for centuries and Welsh blankets are renowned as luxury products.
This great heritage has been recorded at a number of textile-focused museums, including Newtown Textile Museum and the National Wool Museum, home to some impressive historic machinery and where the traditional methods of making Welsh cloth can be seen.
Traditional techniques can be experienced first-hand at:
Melin Tregwynt, a woollen mill in Pembrokeshire producing Welsh blankets, bags, cushions and throws which get sold all over the world as well as in the on-site shop. Your clients can see the mill working Monday to Friday between 10:00 and 16:00. A café is available.
Trefriw Woollen Mills in Snowdonia National Park manufacture Welsh double weave tapestry, bedspreads and tweeds from raw wool and generate their own electricity using water turbines. Their products can be purchased in their on-site shop and on-line. Weaving takes place at specific times Monday to Friday from mid February to mid December.
Jen Jones Welsh Quilt Centre in Lampeter's Town Hall celebrates Welsh quilts and offers exhibitions, workshops and a gallery shop, showcasing a collection of both vintage and new textiles from Jen's gift shop in Llanybydder. A wide range of gifts are available including quilts, blankets, books, jewellery, scarves and cushions. There is also a Café Deli available which is run by Jen’s daughter and son-in-law.
Visit to a Welsh cathedral, church or chapel
Wales has beautiful cathedrals, chapels and ancient houses of worship from isolated medieval rural churches to more modern protestant chapels that sprouted up in industrial towns following the Methodist Revivalist movements.
St David is the patron saint of Wales and your clients can visit St Davids Cathedral, where his bones are reputed to be buried. A sacred place of pilgrimage and worship set on the spectacular Pembrokeshire coast upon the site of an earlier 6th century monastery built by St David. Wales celebrates St David’s Day on 1 March every year.
The Cathedral was granted a privilege from Pope Calixtus II stating that two pilgrimages to St Davids was equal to one to Rome, and that three were as significant as a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. At this point in its history the Shrine dedicated to St David was installed. You can now visit this restored shrine with its icons depicting Saints David, Patrick, Andrew, Non and Justinian.
Find out more about the special places of faith across Wales in our Celtic Wales and early Christianity fact sheet.
Contact email@example.com for a more detailed faith tourism fact sheet.
Experience international rugby in Cardiff
Rugby weekends in Cardiff are something very special, either by going to the Principality Stadium to watch a match or by enjoying the atmosphere in the streets of the capital. Either way, listening to the Welsh supporters singing Welsh hymns and the Welsh national anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land of My Fathers), is spine-tingling.
The Six Nations matches normally take place in February and March, with international matches played in October and November. See the Visit Wales consumer website for more information about Rugby in Wales.
Welsh food and drink
Your clients can sample locally produced food and drink at traditional pubs, cafes and restaurants. Try a Welsh cake, Welsh rarebit, salt marsh lamb or Welsh black beef along with a Welsh beer, cider, wine or one of a variety of soft drinks. Check out the food and drink factsheets on our website for ideas for your itineraries:
Enjoy a festival or event
Wales is known as the land of song and with a calendar full of events, it’s a great way to experience it for yourself. See Visit Wales' guide to the biggest Welsh music and culture festivals.
Attend the National Eisteddfod of Wales, a celebration of the culture and language in Wales. Held annually during the first week of August, rotating north to south, there are stands, stalls and shops, food, music, arts and crafts, design and architecture. Your clients can head to the Maes D (the Welsh learners tent) for an opportunity to listen and learn to practice speaking Welsh.
Visit the Royal Welsh Show, the biggest and most prestigious agricultural show in Europe, which celebrates farming industry and rural communities over the four days. Held the third week in July annually at the showground in Buith Wells, it attracts over 200,000 visitors. There are livestock competitions, as well as forestry, horticultural and craft displays. Visitors can experience a daily 12 hour programme of entertainment, attractions and displays in the main ring.