Fun Facts From Globus Tours
- Wales is known as the land of songs.
- The world’s first wireless transmission took place in Wales.
- The Prince of Wales is not Welsh.
Wild, wonderful, enchanting Wales… was this the true land of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table? Some scholars think so, and many dreamers believe so.
Wales was conquered by England over 700 years ago. During the Victorian era, it was the industrial heartland of the British Empire. The valleys of the south were pitted with coal mines and steelworks. The mountains of the north were stripped for their slate as Wales roofed the world. But the scars of industry have long since healed. The valleys are green again, forests of oak and birch skirt the wild moors of mid-Wales, and the mountains of Snowdonia are among the most majestic in the British Isles. Much of the land has remained remote and wild— secret even—with hidden valleys, tumbling streams, and waterfalls; it has been defended through the ages by natural battlements of rolling hills and rugged mountains, where dragons once roared and eagles still fly.
The last stronghold of the ancient Britons and Europe’s oldest language (Welsh) still remain in Wales. Welsh, also known as Cymraeg, is spoken by a quarter of the population. Despite being England’s closest neighbor, a strong sense of independence and national pride exists, which separates the people of Wales from the traditions of England. For centuries, Welsh folk culture has been celebrated annually at the National Eisteddfod, a great festival of poetry, prose, music, song, and dance. Since 1947, the beautiful little town of Llangollen has played host to cultures of the world at the International Eisteddfod, a Welsh festival of literature, music, and performance. Music is never far away in this land of song. Chapels once resounded with hymn singing, and choral traditions live on through the male-voice choirs. Sir Geraint Evans, Bryn Terfel, Charlotte Church, and Katherine Jenkins have graced the opera houses of the world, while Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, the Stereophonics, and Manic Street Preachers have achieved stardom in the pop charts. Ancient bards wrote in Welsh of lovers, heroes, and the sorrows of a vanquished people long before Chaucer raised his quill. But it is Dylan Thomas who is the best-known Welsh writer with his magical use of the English language, inspired by his native landscape. Great actors have come from Wales too, including Richard Burton, Sir Anthony Hopkins, and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
In 2015, Cardiff celebrated sixty years as the capital city of Wales. Cardiff is vibrant and modern, yet famous for its splendid Victorian Gothic architecture. This is a young capital in a land of great antiquity.
National dishes of Wales are roast lamb, and cawl (a broth of meat, leeks, and vegetables). Home baking is still popular, especially bara brith (currant bread) and Welsh cakes. Gourmands seek out the seaweed specialty bara lawr.
VISAS, PASSPORTS, AND OTHER ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
Visas to Wales are not required for US citizens. If you hold a passport from another country, please check with your local consulate about requirements for travel to Wales. All passengers traveling internationally are required to have a passport. Please carry proper identification (your passport) on you and do not leave it in your suitcase or hotel room.genvisa.com/globus
It is advisable to carry your passport with you at all times.
The country code for Wales is 44. When calling to Wales from overseas, dial your international access code (011 from the US/Canada), followed by the country code, area code, and phone number. Phone numbers in Wales are 10 digits in length. Dialing from the US/Canada: 011 44+### ####.
Throughout Britain the currency is the Pound Sterling or also known as the British Pound (GBP).
Bank hours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Some branches are open Saturday mornings.
1 POUND (£) STERLING = 100 Pence (p)
- Banknote denominations: £5, £10, £20, £50
- Coin denominations: 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1, £2
For the most current exchange rates, please go to our website at Globusjourneys.com/Currency.
Credit cards are widely accepted (mostly Visa and MasterCard), and you should have no issues using them in larger shops and restaurants. Smaller shops may ask you to pay in cash or have a minimum amount required to use a credit card.
BUDGETING AND SHOPPING
The following budget guidelines are just approximate values or starting values for meals and are per person. Actual prices will vary widely by restaurant and city within a country but below are some averages as provided by our experienced personnel.
- The approximate cost of a soft drink/mineral water/coffee is £2.50.
- An average lunch consisting of a salad or sandwich and a soda or water starts at approximately £8.
- Dinner at a mid-range restaurant with dessert and a non-alcoholic beverage starts at approximately £25.
Shopping specialties: items handcrafted from coal and slate, carved wooden love spoons, Welsh gold jewelry, Celtic-design pottery.
Counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available; be aware that under local law transactions involving such products may be illegal, and bringing them home may result in confiscation and fines.
Sales tax or VAT (value added tax) is included on price tags. To obtain VAT refunds (which may take up to three months to process) special forms usually have to be stamped by Customs; please ask for a tax-free shopping form with each purchase and follow the instructions for completion. Customs import charges on items shipped home are not included in purchase prices.
Tipping is common in the United Kingdom. In restaurants, a tip of 10% is usually acceptable; it is best to leave the tip in cash to ensure it goes to the wait staff and not the restaurant itself. Tipping in pubs for drinks ordered at the bar is not customary.
Tipping taxi drivers is generally not expected, but rounding up the fare is appreciated.
ELECTRICITY AND ELECTRICAL OUTLETS
Voltage for outlets is 240V. North American voltage is generally 110V. Therefore, you will need a converter for your travels. Adapters will be necessary to adapt your plug into the outlet, but these may not convert the voltage, so both devices are necessary. Facilities have 3-prong outlets with two flat prongs in line and one perpendicular, which look like:
The weather in Wales is often cloudy, wet and windy, but mild. Bring lightweight clothes in the summer and warmer wind-proof layers in winter. To help you plan, below are average low and high temperatures for Wales.
To convert to Celsius, subtract 30, then divide by 2. While not exact, this simple formula will give a close estimation.
Roast lamb, cawl (a broth of meat and vegetables), leek dishes, bara lawr (laverbread – seaweed, often rolled in oatmeal and fried), bara brith (currant bread), and Welsh cakes.
FEW WORDS OF THE LOCAL LANGUAGE
Welsh (pronunciation in parentheses):
Good morning: Bore da (bo-re dah), Good evening: Noswaith dda (nos-w(eye)th thah), Goodbye: Da boch chi (dah bohch chi), Please: Os gwelwch yn dda (os gwel-ooch uhn thah), Thank you: Diolch (diolch), Cheers!: Iechyd da (ye-chid dah)!
Elevator: Lift, Apartment: Flat, Yard: Garden, Trunk: Boot, Truck: Lorry, Bartender: Barman, Cell phone: Mobile, Check: Bill, Bill: Bank note, Trash can: Bin, Sidewalk: Pavement, Drugstore: Chemist, Band-Aid: Plaster, Bathroom/Washroom/Restroom: Toilet/WC/loo, Highway: Motorway, Subway: Tube/ underground, Taxi: Cab, Traffic circle: Roundabout, Crosswalk: Pedestrian crossing, Movie theater: Cinema, Orchestra seats: Stalls, Sweater: Jumper, Pants/slacks: Trousers, Pantyhose: Tights, Sneakers: Trainers, Line: Queue, Mail: Post, Napkin: Serviette, Fries: Chips, Potato chips: Crisps, Eggplant: Aubergine, Dessert: Pudding, Jelly: Jam, Cookie: Biscuit, Liquor: Spirits, Dark ale: Bitter, Beer: Lager, Emergency room: Casualty, Washcloth: Flannel, Wallet: Purse, Purse: Handbag.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE COUNTRY INFORMATION
Additional country-specific information for US citizens can be found on the US Government’s website www.travel.state.gov. Here, you can find the most up-to-date information about destination descriptions, passports/visas, safety and security, transportation, travel local laws, alerts/warnings, vaccinations, and more. For citizens of other nations, we recommend you consult your local consulate for travel information, regulations, and requirements.