With its own living language and long tradition of poetry and storytelling, Wales has a diverse and fascinating culture. You will hear the Welsh language spoken in any of the market towns and villages around the region – perhaps try a few words yourself – and tales of history and legend, myth and fantasy are everywhere.
Music, song and the spoken word play a huge part, whether in church and chapel choirs or the uniquely Welsh eisteddfodau – festivals of literature, music and art that are part performance, part competition. Perhaps the best-know of these, the Llangollen International Eisteddfod, brings the town alive each July with the sounds and colour of hundreds of performers from around the globe, playing not only to audiences in the iconic Pavilion but also giving impromptu street concerts.
Welsh culture proved to be a powerful counterpoint to the hard labour and harsh regimes of a new industrial landscape. It was here in North Wales that the first stirrings of the Industrial Revolution developed, led by the pioneering ‘Iron Mad’ John Wilkinson. Mining produced slate that roofed the world and coal that powered ships, factories and mills, and armies of navvies constructed Thomas Telford’s canals, roads and railways. Many of these extraordinary feats of engineering are still here to be discovered, some even forming the backdrop to a host of leisure and pleasure activities for all to enjoy.