Explore Wales this summertime

Two young children, a boy and girl sat with sunhats on, in the sunshine eating ice creams

If you want to climb a peak or surf a wave, immerse yourself in nature and history, spend fun time with the family or me time with binoculars and back-pack, there are #SpecialPlaces in Wales for you.

Wales is home to fine buildings, from dramatic castles and grand stately homes to quirky cottages, each with a story to tell about our land’s fascinating past. The medieval fortress of Chirk Castle near Wrexham, overlooking miles of Marches borderlands, is as imposing now as it was when it was built by Edward 1 – complete with dungeons, weaponry and stocks.

Delve into 500 years of aristocratic history (and intrigue) at the 17th century Tredegar House near Newport, which was home to one of our greatest Welsh families, the Morgans. Or get a taste of life as a servant at Erddig near Wrexham - Wales’ very own Downton Abbey where the below-stairs story is as rich as that of its owners.

Great treasures and little gems

Discover little gems of places such asTy Mawr, set in the heart of the beautiful Conwy Valley. This stone cottage was the birthplace of Bishop William Morgan who first translated the Bible into Welsh. Or visit the Georgian round house of Kymin, in Monmouthshire, which once hosted famous lovers Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton - romantics among you can get married there, if the fancy takes you!

Take a tour through horticultural history at our gardens: Powis Castle near Welshpool, with its formal, Baroque hillside terraces; the rolling Capability Brown designed landscape at Dinefwr Park in Carmarthenshire; the dramatic Bodnant Garden near Conwy, a masterpiece of Victorian and Edwardian design; and Dyffryn Gardens near Cardiff, which is being restored to its 1920s heyday.

Species rich hay meadow in front of the Llanerchaeron villa
Species rich hay meadow in front of the Llanerchaeron villa, Ceredigion Wales
Species rich hay meadow in front of the Llanerchaeron villa

We love our wildlife too. See conservation in action at Colby Woodland Garden in Pembrokeshire, a former coalfield which has returned to nature, its woods, meadows and waterways now a haven for birds, butterflies and even otters. Llanerchaeron in Ceredigion is a working estate and SSSI where farm, garden and wildlife go hand in hand and you can see traditional skills being used, even have go yourself. And it would be rude not to mention our Red Squirrels at Plas Newydd on Anglesey, where we're lending a hand to the growing, resident population with nest boxes and feeding stations.

Wales boasts some of the best beaches and National Trust Wales looks after 157 miles of them, all offering great views, abundant wildlife and a host of outdoor activities. Pick your spot – enjoy a wildlife experience of dolphins, seals, birds and marine life, an action-packed holiday of kayaking and paddle boarding, or a good old-fashioned day of sandcastles and beach combing.

Walkers’ paradise

With such a varied landscape Wales also has it all for walkers, from the breath-taking peaks of Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia to miles of South Wales coastal pathways. We have routes for all abilities, from gentle strolls to more challenging rambles - check out our guides for route maps and full details of paths, gates, terrain and accessibility for pushchairs, wheelchairs and dogs.

Of course Wales also has a proud industrial past and you can get a taste of it in an underground tour of Dolaucothi Gold Mines, in Carmarthenshire, or at Aberdulais Tin Works and Waterfall near Neath - days out with a difference! If you want to stay a little longer and make a holiday of it, there are many places to stay, from holiday cottages to bunk houses and camp sites across Wales.

This year we’re celebrating a 2016 Year of Adventure in Wales - why not embark on your own Welsh adventure this summer?