World through my eyes
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is situated to the west of England and for a small country, has a varied and dramatic landscape. It covers just over 20,720 km² – that’s about half the size of Kerala. Wales is both beautiful and accessible being only a couple of hours drive from London or cities such as Birmingham and Manchester. The population is three million, with 300,000 people in Cardiff, our capital city. Four universities (of the ten in Wales) and a vibrant population fuel a cosmopolitan city atmosphere. Cardiff Castle stands at the heart of downtown and Edwardian shopping arcades (Britain’s first malls) house charming one-of-a-kind shops. Wales is home to 641 castles, more than any other country in Europe. You are encouraged to visit them: climb towers, walk ancient walls and explore dungeons. It’s rare to find three national parks in a country the size of Massachusetts. But in the Snowdonia, Pembrokeshire Coast and Brecon Beacons national parks you’ll discover unique landscapes and a world of outdoor adventure. Wales is home to HRH Prince William of Wales. Royal connections abound and everyone can be spoiled by staying in hotels formerly owned by kings and queens.
Visitors to the Wales Coast Path are in for a feast of festivals, as well as scenery, this season as they make their way along the country’s spectacular coastline. Visitors can take a break to sample everything from, among others, a multicultural celebration to a festival devoted entirely to mackerel and a seriously fishy festival in Milford Haven. If ever proof was needed of just how much is packed into Wales as a small country, the sheer variety of events to be enjoyed around the coast in the coming months offers huge choice no matter what your interests. Food, drink, music and family activities are everywhere. Wales’ traditional Eisteddfodau are complemented by food and music from different cultures around the world. The water itself plays a key role in things to do over the summer too, with, among other things on offer, a wakeboard competition, coracles racing in the River Teifi and extreme sailing competitions.
And a range of intriguing and more relaxing ways of passing the time are there to be experienced around the coast too, including dipping into the world of ceramics or getting the bug for Beetles – of the VW kind. It’s all accessible from the Wales Coast Path. Stretching from the Welsh border in North Wales to Chepstow in the south, it’s the world’s longest continuous coast path around a country. Lonely Planet, the world travel guide, thinks it’s extraordinary, choosing the path as the world’s greatest region in its 2012 best-in-travel guide, ahead of attractions like the Ruta Maya in Central America, and Canada’s Maritime Provinces.
A great mix of festival fun and all within walking distance of the Wales Coast Path.
Events and Festivals around the Wales Coast Path:
Criccieth Festival, 15 June to 23 June. A week of music from choirs to jazz
Wakestock, 12-14 July. A wakeboard competition – with a music festival attached -in Abersoch on the Llyn Peninsula
Spring Kite Fly & Barmouth Kite Festival, 13 July to 14 July. Kites of all shapes & sizes flying from 10-5 each day opposite the lifeboat station
Prestatyn Carnival, 20 July. Traditional carnival parade down the high street
Gwyl Caernarfon Festival, 20 July to 27 July. Free daytime events, kids’ entertainment, live music in the open air. Evening music concerts, theatre events, town trails and much more at various venues in Caernarfon
Conwy River Festival, 20-28 July. A celebration week offering an array of water-based activities plus shoreside entertainment for all the family
North Wales Boat Show, 24 July to 28 July. A festival of water-based activities drawing participants not just from all of North Wales but also the North West, Isle of Man and Ireland
Holyhead Sailing Festival, 26 July to 28 July. A major sailing event centred around the Marina and Holyhead Sailing Club. Racing and shoreside activities
The National Eisteddfod of Wales, 2-10 August. One of the world’s greatest cultural festivals, held this year in Denbigh – just a short trip from the Coast Path
Conwy River Festival, 21 August to 28 August. A nine day festival of watersport and sailing with loads of on-shore activities too
DoveyFest, 24 Aug 2013 to 26 Aug. Free entertainment in Aberdovey with an event every Sunday (and 3 days over Bank Holiday)
International Ceramics Festival, 28-30 June. The world of ceramics brought to Aberystwyth, with guest artists from the USA, Korea, China, Spain, Poland, and New Zealand
Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival, 7 July. Join the festivities on Aberaeron Harbour and test some of the best local seafood, fish and other produce
Aberystwyth Town Carnival, 27 July. Prizes, Parade, Music, Zumba, Stalls, Face Painting – the lot
New Quay Music Festival 2013, 2 to 4 August. Bands in the marquee, buskers in the pubs and cafes and a free concert of bands live on the sea front
Aberaeron 2nd Beer and Cider Festival, 10 August. It must have gone well last year, because it’s back again. Welsh ciders/perries and real ales available, BBQ and live music as well
Cardigan Bay Regatta. 13-15 August. A three-day annual event in New Quay combining sailing races with shore based swimming races, sandcastle building competitions and family fun events
Cilgerran Festival Week. 16-25 August. In the shadow of the Cilgerran’s ruined castle, local fishermen show off their salmon and sea-trout fishing skills from traditional coracles in the River Teifi for the annual race meeting of these ancient craft
MOMA Festival. 18-25 August. Machynlleth plays host to this eclectic 27th celebration of the arts, taking in jazz, male voice choirs, congregational hymn singing and four days of inspiring classical concerts
Cardigan Quays Festival, 24 August. Celebrating Cardigan’s rich cultural and maritime heritage and featuring live music, mermaids rowing race and a firework display at 9pm
Pembrokeshire Fish Week, 22-30 June. Embrace the fact that this is a seriously fishy festival centered on Milford Haven with events throughout the county. Fantastic fish and shellfish, wonderful coastal activities, and plenty of family fun
St David’s Folk Festival, 27 July. Bring your own picnic with rugs or camping chairs for this friendly family folk fest in St David’s Bishop’s Palace, Pembrokeshire
Gwyl Ifan, 21 to 23 June. The Welsh Folk Dance Festival which will flood Cardiff city centre with folk-dancing from Wales, Brittany, France and the Netherlands
Lower Machen Festival, 26 June. Crispian Steele-Perkins – one of the world’s best known trumpet soloists – brings his Masterclass to this festival in the heart of Newport
Cardiff Multicultural Mela, 30 June. With Asian cultures at its root the Mela showcases a wide diversity of cultures, music, dance, arts, fashion and food
Caerleon Arts Festival 2013, 5 to 14 Jul. Shakespeare in the Roman amphitheatre, music and singing – folk, rock, pop, classical, jazz and choir, exotic dancing, art and craft exhibitions, and art created by local school children
Cardiff International Food and Drink Festival, 12 to 14 July. 100 specialist food and drink producers of everything from farmhouse cheese and handmade chocolates to specialist liqueurs, a beautiful waterfront venue and free entertainment. It doesn’t get much better
Dubs at the Castle, 20 to 21 July. Get the bug for beetles at this VW show at Caldicot Castle, Chepstow, a three-day family camping event, with live bands and entertainment
Green Gathering, 1 to 4 August. Powered by the wind, sun and people, the Green Gathering combines the best of music of all genres together with workshops, sustainable lifestyles and future technologies at this festival near Chepstow Race Course
Cardiff Harbour Festival, 24 to 26 August. The established festive returns with Extreme Sailing! International sailing professionals competing up close as they whizz past close to the crowds, plus a host of free activities, Tall Ships, a continental market and top fishmongers competing in a series of precision skills tests.