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Wales - Conwy and the Llyn Peninsula

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Conwy and the Llyn Peninsula

1. Portmeirion

Perhaps best known as 'The Village' in the 1960's cult British TV series The Prisoner, Portmeirion was the brainchild of eccentric architect Clough William Ellis. The result is certainly theatrical; a stage set with a lucky dip of buildings arranged to distort perspectives and reveal tantalizing glimpses of the seascape behind. Endangered structures from all over Britain and abroad were brought here and incorporated into buildings painted in pastel shades of turquoise, ochre and buff yellow.

2. Caernarfon Castle

Mighty Caernarfon is possibly the most famous of Wales's castles - the ultimate symbol of Anglo-Norman military might. Its sheer scale and commanding presence easily set it apart from the rest, and to this day, still trumpet in no uncertain terms the intention of its builder Edward I. Begun in 1283 as the definitive chapter in his conquest of Wales, Caernarfon was constructed not only as a military stronghold but also as a seat of government and royal palace.

3. Penrhyn Castle

Penrhyn Castle is 19th-century fantasy castle with spectacular contents and grounds and magnificent views over Snowdonia. There is a dolls museum, extensive Victorian kitchens, a railway museum and an adventure playground. Penryn also contains a unique furniture collection and what is probably the best private art collection in Wales. The large gardens and grounds with their formal Victorian walled garden, also feature an an extensive exotic tree and shrub collection.

4. Conwy Castle

Conwy Castle has the rare ability to evoke an authentic medieval atmosphere. The first time that visitors catch sight of the castle, commanding a rock above the Conwy Estuary and demanding as much attention as the dramatic Snowdonia skyline behind it, they know they are in the presence of a historic site which still casts a powerful spell. Conwy was constructed by the English monarch Edward I between 1283 and 1289 as one of the key fortresses in his 'iron ring' of castles to contain the Welsh.

5. Bodnant Garden, Conwy

Bodnant Garden spans some 80 acres, and is situated above the River Conwy on ground sloping towards the west and looking across a valley towards Snowdonia. The upper garden consists of terraced grounds and informal lawns shaded by trees. The lower portion is formed by the valley of the River Hiraethlyn and contains the Wild Garden. Bodnant grows a wide range of plants from all over the world, particularly China, North America, Europe and Japan that are suited to the Welsh climate and soil.

6. Bardsey Island Boat Trips

Bardsey Island lies two miles off the tip of the Llŷn Peninsula in North Wales. The island is 1.5 miles in length and, at its widest point, just over half a mile across. Enlli Charters sail from Pwllheli and Porth Meudwy, taking in some of the most stunning scenery the UK has to offer. The voyage from Pwllheli to Bardsey takes in the southern extremity of the Llŷn Peninsula on the way to Bardsey, with its Abbey ruins, Bird Observatory and wide variety of flora and fauna.

7. Plas Mawr, Conwy

Plas Mawr is one of the best preserved Elizabethan town houses in Britain, famous for the quality and quantity of its ornamental decoration. Built by Robert Wynn between 1576 and 1585, it dominates the town with its gatehouse, stepped gables and lookout tower. The interior with its elaborately decorated plaster ceilings and fine wooden screens, reflecting the wealth and influence of the Tudor gentry in Wales, has been entirely restored to its former glory.

8. Abersoch

The small seaside village of Abersoch is situated on the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales. It's a popular resort, with great beaches, internationally recognised sailing waters, a pleasant climate and beautiful scenery. Although quiet and relatively old fashioned, it's the kind of place where you can truly relax and enjoy a tradional bucket and spade type holiday. There's a jazz festival in June, a wakeboarding and music festival in July, an annual regatta and a surfing competition.

9. Great Orme Copper Mines, Llandudno

Uncovered in 1987 during a scheme to landscape an area of the the Great Orme, the copper mines discovered below the ground represent one of the most astounding archaeological discoveries of recent time. Dating back 4,000 years to the Bronze Age they change our views about the ancient people of Britain and their civilized and structured society 2,000 years before the Roman invasion.

10. Alice in Wonderland Visitor Centre, Llandudno

Children will enjoy experiencing Alice's Adventures in the Rabbit Hole, where a narrated story comes to life in a warren of life-size scenes. This is an indoor walk through Wonderland with life-size animated displays of some of the most colourful and well-known scenes from the Alice story such as the White Rabbit and the Queen of Hearts. Visitors are provided with a personal stereo and professionally recorded narration with sound effects.
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