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    UK City Break - Visit Snowdonia

    Swallow FallsIn part three of our UK City Break selection, we are visiting Wales, or as my Welsh friend calls it, The Valley. Wales is full of beautiful hills, countryside and scenic routes and the best way to explore it is with your car hire so you can enjoy many small towns and villages along your drive. This week we are going to visit Snowdonia.Snowdonia is actually a rather large National Park within Wales. Consisting to 838 square miles (2,170km2), with 37 miles (60kms) of coastline, it was the first designated National Park in Wales. Snowdon (Eryri in Welsh) is the highest mountain range in Wales, standing at 1,085 metres (3,560ft). Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa in Welsh) means tomb or monument and legend has it that the tomb of Rhita Gawr, an ogre who killed kings and made cloaks out of their beards until King Arthur climbed to the top of the mountain and killed him where he is buried. In history Snowdon was very popular for mining copper which can be seen all over the mountains. As the most visited National Park in Wales, Snowdonia attracts over 6 million visitors a year. Having been to Snowdonia myself it is absolutely stunning. I took my first picture of a waterfall there and these natural wonders have mesmerised me since.

    Waterfalls: There are many Waterfalls to see in Snowdonia and each one has it's own unique beauty. Ceunant Mawr Waterfall is one of the most impressive as it plunges over a hundred feet into a gorge. Pistyll Cain is within the Coed y Brenin Forest (known as the Forest of the Kings) and falls over a terraced series of rocks and there is an iron bridge directly in front of the falls which will give you a good view point. Swallow Falls are the highest continuous waterfall in Wales. It can be reached via the A5 car park and is one of the most visited within Snowdonia. Torrent Walk will take you along one of the best riverside walks in Britain and passes a series of waterfalls on the way. A great way to see nature too! Rhaeadr Du or the Black Falls are two fast flowing waterfalls in the heart of the forests gold prospecting area and it is the oldest and most extensive forest in Wales. There are a few more waterfalls within Snowdonia, but those I'll leave for you to enjoy and find!

    The Ugly House: This is a famous attraction within Snowdonia, and the name has nothing to do with how it looks as it is rather beautiful. The origins of this house are uncertain legend says it was built in the 15th century by two outlaw brothers. The house was built overnight and under the ancient law, 'he who built a house between sunset and sunrise, with walls, roof and smoking chimney, could claim freehold.' The house is built with boulders weighing several tonnes and is surrounded by charming gardens.

    Conway Castle: This castle was built between 1283 - 1289 by King Edward I and had the most money spent on it's building materials £15,000 (£162million today!) The walls are 15 feet (4.6 metres) thick and have a deep rock gully with each ward protected by four towers. The castle was captured during War of Roses in 1461 and by the 17th century mostly unused. Today, it stands as a World Heritage site over looking the town of Conwy and is a must see as it still stands in near perfect condition.As Snowdonia is such a large National Park there are plenty of other things to do here such as Butterfly watching in Conwy which is reputed to having one of the most spectacular displays of tropical butterflies in the country, or taking a long walking trail to admire some spectacular landscapes as well as many other castles within the park. You can also take your hire car and visit Aberystwyth, a beautiful old historic market town which has great quirky features.Have you been to Snowdonia? Which part did you get the privilege of enjoying? Did you find any secret discoveries? Let us know what you thought of your visit.(Thank you to Andyrob on Flickr for the use of this photo)

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