Located in the western part of Great Britain, Wales is a mountainous, Celtic nation of the United Kingdom. It has about 1,700 miles of coastline, with total area of just over 8,000 square miles, the smallest of the United Kingdom. As an agricultural society and one of the smallest countries of the UK, it has grown tremendously in recent history.
The country is historically a Celtic nation, with strong cultural ties to Ireland, Cornwall, and Devon. It came under English control after the Norman invasion and has since been fully incorporated into the United Kingdom. It became incorporated into English law systems by Henry VII. For much of Wales’ history the nation was largely based on local agriculture and trade.
Wales saw a large economic shift during the industrial revolution, becoming a center for coal mining and steel production, which boosted its commercial centers and infrastructure. Currently, the coal mining is greatly reduced and tourism is one of the largest industries. The economic growth has expanded from the sparsely populated to having many cities and towns.
Cardiff is the capital and largest city of Wales, with over 850,000 people in the greater urban area. Historically an industrial city, Cardiff has developed into a growing UK destination. It is one of the greenest cities of the UK, with many parks and green spaces, as well as several walkable attractions in the city centre. Cardiff has become a lively capital, and is known for its shopping and large festivals.
Wales culture is distinct from that of England, and is considered “British”, but should not be confused with “English”.
It is known as “the land of song”, with a strong music culture, harpists, voice choirs, and solo artists. Rock is currently on of the most popular genres in Wales, though traditional folk music and dance is alive and strong. Wale’s national sport is rugby, and football are golf are historically popular as well.
Wales is bordered by England to the east and the Irish Sea, St George’s Channel, the Celtic Sea, and the Bristol Channel to the north, west, and south, respectively. There are 14 Welsh mountains, which are characteristic of Welsh geography, as well as lower peaks, below 3,000 feet, known as the Welsh 3000s. The great geographical “wonders” of Wales are primarily in the north, the most mountainous zone, as chronicled in an 18th century verse publication, also the region of one of Wales national parks.
As part of the United Kingdom, Wales uses the British pound sterling. It is easily accessible by car, with the southern coast highway as a primary artery, by train and plane.
The country enjoys warm, sunny summers in the lowlands.
There is a temperate climate, and it rarely becomes very hot or freezing. Temperatures are moderate, with wet, but not excessive rainfall, weather in the winters. Wales is home a diverse population of wildlife, especially seabirds, with over 200 bird species. It is also home to many small mammals, bats, and small rodents.
Visitors experience spectacular nature and unique history in Wales. Wales boasts some of the UK’s best surfing and scuba-diving, spectacular protected nature areas and large mountains. Snowdon is one of the most notable as it is the largest mountain, and is considered the most poetic of Britain.
Wales has many significant landmarks, including historic castles and impressive museums. There is so much to offer; Wales is a wonderful destination for hiking, sports, festivals, shopping and heritage tours.