Crossing the border from England into Wales, you soon notice that you are in another, more rugged, country with its own language and culture. Wales, with around 2.8 million inhabitants, is home to almost five percent of Britain’s population, the majority living in the industrialised south-east.
As you travel further west the population thins and the scenery grows more spectacular.
Along the North Wales coastal strip are the seaside resorts of Rhyl, Prestatyn, Colwyn Bay and Llandudno, while inland in the east are the mediaeval market towns of Mold, Ruthin and Denbigh. Llangollen is set in a beautiful vale and surrounded by wooded hills through which pass the Shropshire Union canal, the River Dee and the steam railway.
You can take a day trip across the Irish Sea to Dublin from the Anglesey port of Holyhead. To the south of Caernarfon lies the Llyn Peninsula, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, stretching out into the Irish Sea with its gentle mountains and quiet seaside resorts. North-West Wales enjoys a mild climate, warmed by the Gulf Stream. Summers are often cooler than in England but winter is generally milder, making it an ideal destination for all seasons. The weather can vary drastically from day to day, hot and sunny one day, cold and wet the next but there are indoor alternatives if it rains.
During your visit you will experience Cymraeg, the ancient Celtic language of Wales, one of the oldest living languages in Europe. Welsh place names can explain a lot about the towns, villages and landscape. The names are based on local physical or geographical features, such as rivers, hills, bridges or woodlands.
Aber, for example, means ‘mouth of’, so Abersoch = ‘mouth of the river Soch’.