2019 is the Year of Discovery

2019 is the Year of Discovery

2019 is the Year of Discovery

Wales is celebrating the Year of Discovery and inviting visitors to explore everything that makes us uniquely Wales: the places, people, landscapes and adventures that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

Outdoor lover, thrill seeker, festivalgoer or heritage buff - or just wanting to discover a new passion? The world’s only continuous coastal path, Europe’s longest zip line and the chance to explore over 600 castles, what are you waiting for? 

No trip is complete without great food and drink. Wales’ offer has never been so exciting.

What’s new for 2019?

Adventure Parc Snowdonia

This multi-million-pound project will see the world’s first inland surf hub expand to include a thrilling artificial caving adventure experience, an off-road pump track, a mountain bike trail, bouldering, adventure playground, and other instructor-led activities, all on the doorstep of the immensely beautiful Snowdonia National Park. ‘Adventure Parc Snowdonia,’ formerly known as Surf Snowdonia, will open to visitors in summer 2019. 

For more information: www.surfsnowdonia.com

Spiritual Journeys on Wheels with SpiritCymru 

The team behind fforest, known for its sustainable breaks that help families get close to nature, is continuing its mission to provide unique journeys in Wales with a brand new project, due to launch later this year. ‘SpiritCymru’ will connect chapels and churches in West Wales through unique cycle tours, with overnight stays in remote historic church and chapel buildings. Bookings are being taken from the autumn.

For more information: www.coldatnight.co.uk   

SkyDome at Bluestone National Park Resort

Pembrokeshire is preparing for a UK-first at Bluestone National Park Resort this summer. A gleaming transparent canopy stretching over 7,000 square metres, the ‘SkyDome’ will house cafes, shops, activities, and a 600-seat amphitheater, allowing guests to appreciate the great outdoors without the risk of rain and getting wet. The resort, an impressive 500 acres and set in the UK’s only coastal National Park, offers luxury lodges and more than 100 indoor and outdoor activities for guests.

For more information:www.bluestonewales.com     

Cool Containers at Ty Cwch

Preparing for its first ever spring/summer season, Ty Cwch in Cwmtydu is the first accommodation in Wales made entirely from refashioned shipping containers. Nestled along the dramatic Wales Coast Path between Llangrannog and New Quay, the bunkhouse includes separate ‘pods’ for cooking, entertainment, cleaning and sleeping. For the Year of Discovery, stays at Ty Cwch will have an added sense of adventure with bespoke outdoor activity packages on offer from spring. 

For more information: www.tycwch.wales   

Glamping at Slate Mountain Lodge

Llechwedd Slate Caverns is rebranding its iconic multi-adventure visitor attraction – one of the pioneers of North Wales’s reinvention as the adventure capital of Europe – to Slate Mountain / Mynydd Llechi. The new brand follows a recent £1.65m investment into luxury glamping lodges and a new hotel at the site, making Slate Mountain the first adventure attraction in North Wales to combine adventure, heritage and accommodation all in one place.

For more information: www.slatemountain.co.uk/glamping/glamping-at-the-caverns

Hidden treasure in Carmarthenshire

The National Botanic Garden of Wales in Carmarthenshire has been chosen to host the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow Tour this July. To celebrate, the picturesque county has launched a new Antiques and Brocante Treasure Trail, designed to showcase its unique auctioneers, fairs, galleries, and antique shops. Discover some of Wales’ hidden treasure as you explore; from vintage Welsh furniture to guitars.

For more information: www.discovercarmarthenshire.com/explore/antiques-brocante-trail

Tree trail in Portmeirion 

Portmeirion has launched its new tree trail; a guide to 80 trees in the Portmeirion woodlands including 57 Champion Trees with three coloured routes, ranging from an easy access one hour trail to the more challenging three-hour trail. Portmeirion is surrounded by 70 acres of exotic woodlands with 19 miles of pathways which cut through forests, secret spaces, and coastal coves.  

For more information: www.portmeirion.wales

Join our celebrations 

There’s much more happening in Wales than we have room for, but here are a few key dates for your diary. 

For the natural explorers: Wales Coast Path Walking Festival, 4-10 May 

This brand new walking festival launches in 2019 to celebrate seven years of Wales’ 870 mile, uninterrupted coast path. It will host a selection of walks across Wales’ seven coastal regions, designed to suit all walking abilities, from short, family-friendly jaunts to more challenging options. The theme of ‘discovery’ will be prominent throughout, with an array of opportunities for all ages and abilities to discover the path along the way. The festival will work in collaboration with Keep Wales Tidy and local authorities in order to promote the path’s environmental ethos.

For information:  www.walescoastpath.gov.uk

For the literature lovers: Hay Festival, 23 May–2 June

These days, the event famously described by President Bill Clinton as ‘the Woodstock of the mind’ needs little introduction, but it wasn’t always that way. Dreamt up around a kitchen table in the town known as the ‘second-hand book capital of the world’, Hay-on-Wye, is now a globally recognised arts and literature extravaganza featuring hundreds of leading writers, thinkers and performers.

For more information: www.hayfestival.com

For those happiest on two wheels: Wales 360 21–28 July

 New for 2019, this gruelling cross-country mountain bike event is one of the biggest challenges in cycling. This six-day ride loops through the rugged Mid and North Wales countryside, taking in locations including the seaside town of Aberystwyth, adventure hotspot Betws-y-Coed, and historic Welshpool.  It’s packed with thigh-burning climbs and breathless descents, so saddle up, if you think you have the stamina and determination to make it through. 

For more information:www.wales360.com 

For the culture vultures: National Eisteddfod, 2-10 August

The travelling celebration of Welsh music, language and culture lands at historic Llanwrst in Conwy County, bringing with it thousands of competitors from across the country. They’ll be taking part in Welsh language contests of poetry, song, and art and there’s also delicious food, musical performances of all kinds and plenty of activities to keep the children entertained. Everyone’s invited, so don’t be put off if you aren’t a Welsh speaker, though you can to take part in an onsite Welsh language lesson once you’re there. 

For more information: www.eisteddfod.wales/2019-eisteddfod

For the live music fans: Green Man Festival, 15–18 August

Once a tiny folk event attended by just a few hundred people, Green Man has grown to be one of the can’t-miss fixtures of the summer festival season. Now welcoming 20,000 festival-goers to its unique location in the stunning Brecon Beacons, the line-up reflects the attendees’ varied tastes, and there’s an endless variety of spoken word, walkabouts, stage performances and secret art installations to enjoy. Whether you’re a fan of twinkly indie, traditional folk, pulsating garage rock or ear-melting electronica, there’s something on the bill for you. 

For more information: www.greenman.net 

For the foodies:Abergavenny Food Festival,  21–22 September

No foodie worth their salt should miss this celebration of top nosh. The South Wales market town of Abergavenny, called the ‘Gateway to Wales’ and known for its blend of old and new, plays host to this highlight of the UK food calendar, serving up a rich menu of masterclasses by leading chefs, tastings galore and stalls selling everything from cider to cheese, garnished with lots of street entertainment. 

For more information: www.abergavennyfoodfestival.com

Poppy Watt