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Exploring Wales

Spanning the length of the country, our universities offer a diverse range of locations and learning experiences from vibrant, world-class cities to breath-taking mountains and seaside locations.

Outdoor Activities

Renowned for its spectacular beauty, our landscape is varied from beautiful seascapes to deep valleys and high mountain peaks – Snowdon (or ‘Y Wyddfa’) being our highest peak at 1085 metres.

With sea surrounding the country on three sides, Wales is the only country in the world to have a complete coastal path that stretches for 870 miles. Together, the three Welsh National Parks – Snowdonia, Pembrokeshire Coast and Brecon Beacons – protect an impressive 20% of Wales, including precious landscapes, habitats, villages and heritage sites.

The landscape is perfect for all sorts of activities, from walking and climbing, surfing, kayaking, sailing, and coasteering, to cycling. Every town and city in Wales has abundant opportunities for individual and team sports, from tennis, football, netball, boxing, badminton, bowling, and of course, the nation’s pride and joy – rugby.

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History

Awe-inspiring landmarks also make the landscape of Wales very special, and with over 600 castles (there are more here per square mile than anywhere else in the world!) and six UNESCO world heritage sites, you are always within striking distance of Wales’s rich cultural and industrial heritage.

The earliest evidence of human beings in Wales dates from about 225,000 BC and prehistoric monuments are still accessible to tourists across Wales. The most remarkable of the Neolithic chambered tombs in Wales is perhaps Barclodiad y Gawres (‘the apronful of the giantess’) on the Isle of Anglesey. Several stones within it are decorated with spirals, chevrons and lozenges, the earliest examples of art in Wales.

Wales’ history has left a landscape scattered with Iron Age hill forts, Roman ruins and castles from Medieval Welsh Princes and English Kings. Offa’s Dyke, Britain’s longest ancient monument, was erected along the entire Welsh border by King Offa of Mercia in the 8th century – and is walkable! Hike the lot and you’ll cover 177 miles, pass through eight counties and three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (the Wye Valley, Shropshire Hills and Clwydian Hills).

Culture

Wales prides itself on its strong sense of cultural identity, from its Celtic roots and medieval castles to the Welsh language, which is spoken by about 20% of the population today.

Wales is noted for its fine musical tradition, and is often referred to as ‘the land of song’, with internationally renowned singers crossing all genres from the big voices of Dame Shirley Bassey and Sir Tom Jones to international opera star, Bryn Terfel. With globally acclaimed BBC National Orchestra for Wales and the Welsh National Opera housed in Cardiff’s iconic Wales Millennium Centre, the Llangollen International Music Festival drawing performers from over 50 countries worldwide, the Brecon Jazz Festival and the more alternative Green Man Festival, there are music events to suit all tastes across Wales.

The Welsh are also known for their love of the written and spoken word and 2014 saw the nation celebrating the centenary of the birth of one of Wales and the world’s greatest poets, Dylan Thomas. Wales’ arts scene is very vibrant with the National Eisteddfod of Wales – a week celebrating traditional and modern Welsh arts and culture, and the Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors to Wales annually.

All of this cultural richness feeds into a hugely successful creative industry, making Wales a destination for TV programme makers, such as Dr Who, Torchwood and Hinterland, animators, artists (Wales hosts the Artes Mundi prize), musicians, sculptors, and designers all jockeying for position with home grown talent.

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