Beautiful snowdon1Llanrwst. North WalesCardiff Bay (c) Andrew Hazardpanorama walk magnificent viewOld Bridge PontypriddLlandudnoAnglesey lighthouse jettyFlat Calm on Talyllyn

Families will love:

  • Hundreds of castles to explore
  • Snowdonia National Park
  • Plenty of hiking and walking trails

This tiny piece of the United Kingdom, snuggled in on the western shore of Great Britain, has been in the global spotlight in recent years, ever since Prince William was stationed at the Royal Air Force base on the Isle of Anglesey. When Kate Middleton joined him as the Duchess of Cambridge, living a newlywed fairy tale in a simple country house, Wales instantly became ... more
This tiny piece of the United Kingdom, snuggled in on the western shore of Great Britain, has been in the global spotlight in recent years, ever since Prince William was stationed at the Royal Air Force base on the Isle of Anglesey. When Kate Middleton joined him as the Duchess of Cambridge, living a newlywed fairy tale in a simple country house, Wales instantly became one of Europe's hottest destinations.

But long before William, Katie or even Princess Diana drew the world's attention to this little country, Wales was an excellent destination for North American families wanting to experience a bit of Europe, but with the comfort of similar languages and customs.

While English is commonly spoken, the Welsh also have their own language. So road signs, museum exhibits and restaurant menus will be in both languages. Kids will have fun trying to pronounce words that seemingly have no vowels. Like in the U.S., the accent varies greatly from north to south. But the only word you really have to know is one that you will hear often "Croeso," which means welcome.

Wales is just slightly smaller than the state of Vermont, with nearly three million residents and nearly 12 million sheep. Yes, the fuzzy four-legged creatures outnumber people almost 4:1. One of your favorite souvenirs might actually end up being paper and other products created from sheep dung.

You may enjoy a personal encounter with those sheep if you partake in what can only be called the United Kingdom's "national pastime walking." We would call it a hike in the U.S., but Brits of all ages get out and walk through the countryside, along the coast, through the parks and open terrain. Weather never interferes with a good walk. There are hundreds of trails and tour operators to guide you. Even if you do just a few hundred yards or a few miles, it's an intrinsic experience for this part of the world, so you must get out and walk.

A little trivia to challenge your children: Seven signers of the Declaration of Independence were Welsh-Americans. Which ones were they?

Written by Diana Lambdin Meyer less

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