Is Wales the place for a challenging luxury holiday?

That depends on your definition of challenge and luxury. Luxury travel can and should be challenging at times, provided what the destination has to offer is worth it. Overcoming physical or psychological barriers does add a piquant tang to a holiday experience and if nothing else makes you feel like you’ve deserved the luxurious accommodation booked at the end of the day. There are some obvious destinations like Africa that spring to mind if it’s spectacular scenery and natural features you seek to stretch you just a bit, but of all the places in the UK, Wales also seems to tick several boxes when it comes to those seeking luxury with a bit of an edge as well.

Welsh holidays are of course better known for catering to families and those who crave something active or on a budget. But aside from hostels and holiday villages, Wales has plenty of extremely high quality, luxury hotels. North Wales offers the visitor an impressive array of landscapes and experiences including the rugged Isle of Anglesey and the brooding Beaumaris Castle. Snowdonia National Park is the epitome of stunning and rugged natural beauty while history buffs can explore Conwy and Caernarfon Castle. In fact, if it’s castles and history you’re after, then Wales is stuffed full of them! South Wales holidays are typified by the stunning coast and countryside of Carmarthenshire that includes scenic river valleys and parts of the Brecon Beacons National Park while Cardigan Bay is home some of the UK’s best beaches, excellent surfing and body boarding and is a haven for dolphins, seabirds and seals.

For some, the maximum “challenge” in a luxurious holiday consists of pitting of man against nature only in the context of a fairway or in a bunker. Golf is well catered for in Wales with a good collection of world class golf courses as well as a smattering of equally world class golfers. Dai Rees was captain of the last “Britain-only” side that wrested the Ryder Cup from the United States and Ian Woosnam, one of the golden generation of European golfers, started his career at the Llanymynech Golf Club. The Celtic Manor Resort, home to the 2010 Ryder Cup, is a truly spectacular location, even if golf bores you to tears.

Perhaps most challenging though may be trying to fathom out just what exactly the 1960s TV counterculture classic “The Prisoner” was all about. Using the Clough Williams-Ellis inspired architecture of Portmeirion, Patrick McGoohan’s show scaled incredible cultural heights by having blokes arguing in pubs about what it all meant! Williams-Ellis built Portmeirion using fragments of demolished buildings and deliberately fanciful designs that gave “the village” exactly the ambience that McGoohan was after.

Hugh Evans is marketing manager for Inspirational Wales.

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Comments (1)

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  1. Ben Griffin says:

    And dont forget the huge choice of luxury holiday cottages up and down the country too. Luxury in Wales! That was once a curious mix of floral curtains and doilies. Now though though there is so much to pick from. Blissful, isolated log cabins perched high up in the hills…with sky TV and a hot tub! Boutique style houses in town centers even a michelin star restaurant in the form of The Walnut Tree. Great times. Lets hope the weather is kind for us all this year.

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