Written by Laurie Jo Miller Farr
Wales is receiving plenty of much-deserved interest as a vacation destination due it its famous residents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Why not plan a visit packed with plenty of history, adventure and outdoor fun, enhanced with the possibility of spotting the young royals?
Focus on Anglesey
This itinerary focuses on the royal connections in Anglesey, largest of the Welsh islands, its 125 mile coastal path circumnavigating a varying shoreline near the Snowdonia mountain range. Designated as an area of outstanding beauty, this is where Kate and Wills currently make their home in a rented farmhouse cottage by the sea not far from RAF Valley where Prince William is on a three-year assignment as a helicopter search and rescue pilot.
Certainly Wales offers over a dozen recreational activities for the outdoors enthusiast, including horse riding, hiking and walking, bird watching, camping, sailing, surfing and windsurfing, kayaking and canoeing, fishing, cycling, golfing, snow or water skiing or even performance driving at Anglesey Circuit.
First stop: Royal Connections at Beaumaris
Begin in the pretty seaside resort town of Beaumaris, along Menai Strait about 130 miles from Cardiff. Only six miles northeast of the pretty Menai Suspension Bridge, one of two bridges connecting Anglesey to the mainland, this is where the Duchess was seen with her Waitrose grocery trolley just six days after the wedding.
The number one attraction, Edward I's Beaumaris Castle, is considered a technically superb example of a medieval castle, complete with symmetrical concentric walls, a fortress moat and hundreds of arrow-slits. Dating from 1295, it is a World Heritage Site. Perhaps this is a good weekend outing for the Duke and Duchess in May for both the Festival of Heritage, Arts and Crafts and the Ardudwy Knights who joust and display their falcons.
Another History Stop: Penmynydd, Birthplace of Royalty
Visit the 14th century St. Gredifael Church and the stone alabaster effigies at the tomb where Gronw Fychan and his wife are buried to learn this story of the area's early connection to the Tudor dynasty. Don't miss the stained glass window in the chapel alongside, which bears the symbol of the rose and the motto of the Tudor family.
Sit at Kate and Will's Table at The White Eagle Pub
The couple stopped in often at The White Eagle in Rhoscolyn for a light supper in the weeks before the wedding. They further paid tribute to this village as one of the 30 table names chosen for the wedding dinner at Buckingham Palace. One wonders if the press coverage has chased the couple away or if they'll be back in for a burger and chips (his favorite), and some locally sourced fish or a salad (Kate's choice). Watch for the prince's red and white Ducati Diavel Carbon motorcycle.
Kate's Practicing Her Welsh
Visit Trearddur Bay where the lifeboat dedication ceremony was held two months before the royal wedding. Kate christened the boat with champagne and was filmed by BBC cameras singing "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau", the Welsh national anthem. It's a tricky language spoken by an estimated 70 percent of the locals in Anglesey, with Princess Catherine aiming to be one more.
Next Stop: A 58-Character Place
Do visit the village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch for a photo opportunity. The makers of Monopoly have successfully squeezed the full name into a square for a new version of the classic board game. Meaning, "St. Mary's Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio of the red cave," one of the 3,000 townspeople will happily pronounce it for you and point you to their famous sign, the longest one at a UK railway station. The local landmark is a National Trust site called Plas Newydd, a grand 18th century ancestral manor, once home to the Marquess of Anglesey.
Stay on: Welsh Hospitality
Enjoy a bit of the royal treatment for yourself at Tre-Ysgawen Hall, built in 1882, now a country house hotel and spa with fine dining and an outdoor wedding pavilion. A short drive inland from the coast in Capel Coch, or better yet, helicopter service is available to and from Manchester Airport.
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