5 offbeat tourist attractions in Wales

Tuesday 11 April 2017

If traditional tourist attractions aren’t your cup of tea, or you’re looking to add a bit of whimsy into your travel itinerary, you’re in luck! From underground cheese vaults to artificial wave gardens, Wales is teeming with offbeat adventures sure to satisfy every type of traveler. Check out our favorites below.

For history buffs

For an eye-opening look into Wales’s rich mining heritage, head to the Big Pit National Coal Museum and venture 300 feet underground wearing a hard hat and headlamp to see what life was like for the thousands of men who worked at the coal face. Located in South Wales, the museum is part of the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spend an hour walking through the dark tunnels and taking in the vibrant history before venturing up to the surface for a nibble—of cheese! The old mine shaft at Big Pit also doubles as a cheese vault for the Blaenavon Cheddar Company—and the deliciously tasty Pwll Mawr matures cheddar right at the bottom, where the atmospheric pressure and temperature are ideal. You can even pick up a wedge from the gift shop to take home for later.

For fashion devotees

Looking for some new duds that will separate you from the crowd? Skip the chain stores and head to Cardiff’s Victorian arcades, brimming with independent fashion boutiques and quirky storefronts like Spillers Records—the oldest record shop in the world. Spend an afternoon stocking up on local goodies and one-of-a-kind treasures—there’s even a store that sells nothing but buttons—before breaking for a freshly-baked Welsh cake and mug of tea. Good to know: there are more Victorian arcades in Cardiff than in any other city in Britain, so be sure to allow plenty of time to browse them all.

For adventure seekers

Whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned pro, you’re guaranteed to catch the perfect wave at Surf Snowdonia in North Wales. Featuring an awesome 300-meter surf lagoon, which generates perfectly formed waves at the push of a button, it’s a surfer’s dream come true. Best of all, no sharks! If you’d rather get your thrills sans surfboard, there’s also a Crash & Splash lagoon perfect for bodyboarding and smooth water for Stand Up Paddleboarding.

For families

For a trampoline experience like no other, check out Zip World – Bounce Below, located within a huge network of caverns deep below the earth’s surface. Billed as the world’s first subterranean playground, you’ll play, slide, roll, jump and bounce from net to net in a cavern the size of a cathedral. Atmospheric colored lighting adds to the surreal experience and lets you appreciate the beauty and grandeur of the cave, which served as a working slate mine almost 200 years ago!

For budding photographers​​​​​​​

Outfitted with pastel-coloured villas, bustling piazzas, and swaying cypress trees, everything about the Italianate village of Portmeirion begs to be uploaded to Instagram. Spend a day wandering around the picturesque village admiring the Mediterranean-style houses and family-owned shops, before stopping off at one of the town’s most beloved eccentricities: the dog cemetery. Established in the late 1800’s by a local woman who reportedly read sermons to her four-legged friends, the canine memorial stones remain tucked away in the Gwyllt woodland garden to this day, with tributes that now span well over a century.

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