The Pembrokeshire Coast Path in southwestern Wales has been called Britain’s best coastal walk – and in a nation that treasures long treks, that’s saying something. The path, which encompasses Britain’s only coastal National Park, stretches along more than 160 miles of dramatic seacliffs, fishing villages, and sandy beaches. Hotels and B&Bs along the way make it easy to walk in stages, and in spring, wildflowers are everywhere.
If you can’t pass a bookstore by without stopping, you may not see much of Wales beyond Hay-on-Wye. This small “town of books” on the banks of the Wye River along the Welsh-English border is the mecca of second-hand bookstores. More than 30 book dealers, several of them experts in the field, offer something for every bibliophile, from paperback mysteries to rare first editions. And the town itself is a delight, with narrow streets, a couple of antique shops, and a castle (which, naturally enough, has a bookstore of its own).
The Isle of Anglesey, joined to the Welsh mainland by road and rail bridges across the narrow Menai Straits, is (dare we say?) the Welsh answer to the Isle of Wight. Quaint seaside resorts, wonderful sandy beaches (notably Newborough and Red Wharf Bay), tourist attractions (from prehistoric standing stones and ancient castles to a modern aquarium), and bird-watching that would warm the heart of any Roger Tory Peterson fan. In short, a lovely island not too caught up in the modern world. (And if you want to jump back to reality, you can take a ferry from Holyhead, the island’s largest town, to Dublin, in less than 2 hours.)