Snowdonia National Park
Snowdonia National Park © Richard0
Snowdonia is Britain's second-biggest national park, after the Lake District, and the biggest in Wales, boasting rugged mountain trails through some of the tallest peaks south of the Scottish Highlands. The tallest peak is Mount Snowdon at 3,560 feet (1,068m), which is visited by half a million people each year, many climbing or walking while the less adventurous ride the magnificently scenic Snowdon Mountain Railway to the top. Mount Snowden was written about by William Wordsworth, and has retained an aura of profound romance for many fans of the poet ever since. There is plenty more to explore, including lakes, waterfalls, and glacial valleys, as well as Roman forts, Stone Age burial chambers, railways, and the crumbling remains of the country's mining heritage. Other nearby destinations not to be missed include the beautiful Victorian resort of Betws-y-Coed, whose former copper mines are open to the public, and Blaenau Ffestiniog, which also offers tours through its cavernous slate mines. About 26,000 people live in the Snowdonia National Park, and more than half of the population chooses to speak Welsh rather than English, which goes some way to demonstrating the traditional and authentic nature of the region.