Wales is a captivating part of Britain not to be missed, rich in history and culture, steeped in myth and legend, as much an experience as it is a place. There are hundreds of castles to explore as well as ancient cathedrals, abbeys and mysterious standing stones and some really fantastic scenery, Snowdon Mountain located in the heart of Snowdonia, has the highest point in England and Wales with the most breathtaking scenery. Take a dip in the rapids of Wales’ city living, visit cool Cardiff, friendly Swansea or our gateway city Newport. Or slow it down in St. Davids, the city no bigger than a village. Wales is well known for its sporting passions, especially Rugby, where the national team play at the Millennium Stadium, which has recently hosted the FA Cup Final. Golf, cycling, walking, fishing and adventure are the types of past times you can expect to explore in Wales, whether prestigious international events or local community games.
Area: 20,779 sq km (8,022 sq miles)
Geography: Wales is made up of some of the oldest, hardest rocks in Britain. The most ancient are over 700 million years old, while much of the country is composed of rock over 200 million years old. Complex geological forces created the mountains. But not all of Wales’s high country is the same. In the north, Snowdonia’s landscape is a rugged, volcanic jumble. In contrast, the hills and mountains of Mid and South Wales are softer and more rounded. The last Ice Age, which ended around 10,000 years ago, brought a ’final polish’ as grinding glaciers reshaped the landscape
Language: The official languages in Wales are English and Welsh. English is spoken by almost all people in Wales.
Currency: Pound Sterling (£)
Credit Cards: American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and VISA are widely accepted.
Travelers Checks: Widely accepted
Banking Hours: 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. Some branches of certain banks are open Saturday morning.
Currency Exchange: Widely accepted
Air: The principal national airline is British Airways (BA), Tel 0870 850 4850, www.britishairways.com
Approximate flight times:
New York to London is 7 hours
Chicago to London is 8 hours 35 minutes
Los Angeles to London is 10 hours 30 minutes
Cardiff International Airport Although it doesn’t have a direct connection with the U.S., Wales’ main airport – Cardiff International Airport has international service and handles a number of connecting flights worldwide. Situated in Rhoose, 12 miles west of Cardiff City Centre, the Cardiff International Airport serves from than 1.5 million passengers each year. The airport is served by major airlines including British Airways, KLM, Ryanair, Manx Airlines and Air Wales.
Swansea Airport (www.swanseaairport.com) Swansea Airport is only 30 minutes away from junction 42 of the M4. After reaching Swansea city centre follow A483 and then the A4118 for approx. 20 minutes to reach Swansea Airport.
Heathrow (LHR) (www.baa.com/main/airports/heathrow) Located 24km (15 miles) west of central London.
Gatwick (LGW) (www.baa.com/main/airports/gatwick) Located 45km (27 miles) south of central London. Gatwick Express operates a non-stop service from London Victoria Station at 15 minute intervals throughout the day (journey time 30 mins), seven days a week. Speedlink luxury non-stop service links Gatwick with all four teminals at Heathrow. Services depart every 15 minutes to 1pm, every 30 minutes to 10pm (journey time 1hr 15mins).
Social & Business Customs
With a 750-mile coastline and hundreds of sparkling-clean lakes and rivers, Wales has a superb variety of seafood. Oyster, mussel and scallop beds line the Welsh coast, lobsters have been re-introduced into the Menai Strait, sea trout - aka “sewin” - are plentiful and of course, don’t forget the seaweed! Wales’ famous laverbread is made from the laver seaweed, which is often mixed with oatmeal and served at breakfast with bacon and eggs. Inland, the glory of Welsh cooking lies in their many mountains and valleys. Local lamb and beef are geared to the fine modern palate - lean and naturally free of additives. Wales produces its own milk and butter, too, as well as more than 50 different farmhouse cheeses, with regional variations and a wonderful range of flavors and textures. You can usually buy them from market stalls, local shops, and supermarkets. Traditional baked products such as “Bara Brith” (fruit loaf) or Welshcakes (griddle scones) will always tempt the palate at teatime!
Be sure to try some of our locally made ales and wines. Enjoy an excellent standard brew or something from the garden: elderberry wine.
There’s no Soho in Cardiff, but you can find many interesting places to go after dark. St. David’s Hall is one of Britain’s leading centers of music, offering an extensive program, including visits by international conductors, soloists, and orchestras - top rock and pop artists also appear there. The Welsh Club and it’s competitor, which is a bit more fun on most nights, is Blah Blah’s, 114 St. Mary Street, which stays open later than most places in the center -- that is, until 1am, late by Welsh standards. This is one of the city’s most popular clubs, attracting crowds in the 20-to-35 age range to its split-level floor.
From traditional Welsh weaving and tapestries to Love Spoons, there is an abundance of craft shops for you to purchase mementos of your stay in North Wales. There is an abudance of locally produced Welsh produce to share with your friends.
Typically Monday to Friday 9am-5pm, Thursday 9M-9pm
Tipping is not compulsary and it is up to the individual to pay the 10% service charge often added automatically to bills.
People are generally expected to dress smartly. Appointments should be made and the exchange of business cards is customary.
Wales is a farrago of weather patterns. It’s often said that Wales is green because of the rain. But it’s a mistake to think that Wales is a climatic wet blanket. Many parts of the country have average or below-average rainfall - it even boasts some of the sunniest spots in Britain!