Animal Wall Cardiff
If you're walking along Castle Street late at night and glimpse a hyena, bear or giant anteater out of the corner of your eye, don't be alarmed. They're just a rather eccentric series of Victorian animal sculptures by William Burges, who also designed Castell Coch. They perch on the wall of Bute Park, as if making a hasty escape from Cardiff Castle.
Chepstow Port Wall and Town Gate
Much of Chepstow’s medieval Port Wall remains intact. Originally, the only way through it was to pay a toll at the Town Gate, which could be blocked with a portcullis. After several rebuildings and restorations, the arch still stands and is just wide enough to drive a bus through.
Dylan Thomas Boathouse
The simple house where Dylan Thomas spent the last four years of his life is now an atmospheric museum. The little town of Laugharne and the tidal waters of the Tâf Estuary, which the house overlooks, had a profound influence on Thomas. The shed he used as a writing retreat has been immaculately preserved.
Norwegian Church Cardiff Bay
This pretty, black and white, iron-clad church was built by Cardiff’s Norwegian seafaring community in the 1860s. Roald Dahl, who was born in Cardiff in 1916 to Norwegian parents, was christened here and attended services with his parents and sisters. It fell into disrepair in the 1970s but was saved and is now an arts centre.
A bit like a theme park without the rides, Portmeirion is an intriguing architectural fantasy. Created by the Welsh architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between the 1920s and 1970s, it’s a clutch of colourful, Italianate gardens, cottages and villas, some of which are available as guest accommodation. Day visitors are welcome, too.
Llanfair PG Station
The village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyll is called Llanfair PG or LPG for short. But as every schoolboy knows, the name of its late Victorian railway station is a little bit longer. Helpfully, the famous tongue twister – Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch – is spelt out phonetically on the station sign.
The Skirrid Inn
This country pub near Abergavenny has a convincing claim to being the oldest in Wales – records confirm that it was founded in 1110. It was used as a courtroom in the 1600s and many hangings took place here, so it’s said to be haunted. Nonetheless it’s popular with walkers, with its roaring fires, an impressive oak interior and guest rooms with four posters.
The Smallest House in Great Britain
Quay House in Conwy would challenge the most skilful of cat-swingers – it’s only 3 metres deep, 1.8 metres wide and 3 metres tall, with a ladder leading to an upstairs bedroom. Paradoxically enough, one former resident, a fisherman named Robert Jones, was six foot and three inches tall. He moved out in 1900; the house is still owned by his descendants.
Ty Mawr Wybrnant
This traditional, 16th century stone farmhouse near Betws-y-Coed was the birthplace of Bishop William Morgan (1545-1604), who translated the Bible into Welsh for the first time. Now a modest museum, the interior has been restored to the way it might have looked when Morgan lived there and there are ancient Welsh Bibles on display.