croeso!

Winter is wonderful in Wales. Our world-class spas invite you to unwind and revitalize in genuine luxury. It's a great time to gather for affordable family reunions and, from late January through March, post-holiday bargains abound. Tell us when you'd like to visit Wales and you may win special Welsh spa products, or even a digital camera.

Visit Wales Logo Visit the Official Website
Subscribe to Croeso!
Order a Brochure

 

in the news greetings
How many Joneses does it take to fill the Millennium Center's main hall? Wales is calling all Joneses to help break the Guinness world record for the largest same surname gathering and 1,600 is the number organizers of "Jones, Jones, Jones" are hoping for, to break the current record of 583 held by the Norbergs of Sweden. Several famous Joneses are expected on stage as well, as part of a variety program of entertainment. For a winter vacation in Wales, options are plentiful: luxuriate in a spa, take the family on an activity-packed break to one of our three National Parks, or just relax by a log fire in a cozy Welsh cottage.

Towns and cities buzz with events and festivals, while walkers can explore the hills of the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia or the views along the Pembrokeshire Coast. One of my favorites is the walk along the coastal path to the village of Porthgain in North Pembrokeshire. Time it right to finish up with a leisurely pub lunch at the 18th century Sloop Inn. Or pop into the Bell Inn in Skenfrith, just named Michelin "Pub of the Year" for Britain and Ireland. To help make your planning even easier we've added a new "Places to Stay" section to our website.

We're a friendly lot in Wales, so come spend the holiday or post-holiday season with us. A winter visit to Wales may be just what you need.

Claire Goold
Wales Marketing USA
Visit Wales
spotlight on image
spotlight on: spas of Wales
Winter - when brisk mountain hikes or strolls by the seashore are great fun, and when the capital city of Cardiff buzzes with activity - is a spectacular time to visit Wales. It is also the perfect season to check into one of our spa hotels for a holiday that includes a lot of pampering. We know how to do that well. After all, Wales has been offering year-round spa holidays for more than 200 years.

In the 18th century, visiting a spa meant socializing, "taking the waters" or drinking from springs believed to have healing properties, and as readers of Jane Austen know, looking for a spouse. The spa tradition continued, and many new, lavish spa hotels opened during the Victorian era. Over time, the focus shifted away from matchmaking and mineral water toward rest and rejuvenation. In the 21st century, the spa boom continues, with luxurious spa hotels now pampering guests in every corner of Wales.

The choices are abundant. You may opt for the St. David's Hotel, a contemporary hotel in Cardiff where evenings can be spent at the theater or in lively clubs. Another possibility is the St. Brides Hotel overlooking the sea and offering special marine treatments. Our newest five-star hotel, the Quay Hotel, comes complete with such exotic extras as a traditional Turkish hamam and a Thai massage suite. Romantic country house hotel spas also offer luxurious dining and are perfect picks for your anniversary or Valentine's Day. Day spa guests are always welcome as well, giving you the option to rent a cottage nearby and drive over for a spa treatment or a gourmet dinner.

Click to read on . . .>
travel ideas image
spotlight on: the gardens of Wales
Are you Welsh? You might be, even if you don't think so. About 1.7 million Americans consider themselves 'Welsh American,' but the actual number with some Welsh blood (folks like Hillary Clinton, Bo Derek and Abraham Lincoln) is much higher. Thus it's no surprise that many families tracing their roots are finding their way to Wales - and turning their research into full, family-affair vacations.

Of course you don't have to be a Jones, or the least bit Welsh, to make a memorable family vacation or reunion in Wales - and winter is a great time to go. It gets wet at times, but temperatures (at 40�F on average, milder on the coasts) are a bit warmer than Santa Fe's. Plus, places like Cardiff embrace the cold with outdoor events as if the sun shines all year.

Also, self-catering trips are perfect for families looking to base themselves in one place, like fully-stocked cottages or a castle hotel on the coast; most discounted in winter. You can make trips by foot, car, bus or train by day, then all cozy up to your fireplace by night.

Click to read on . . .>
first person first person
All four of my Welsh grandparents emigrated to the Los Angeles area in the early 1900s. One grandfather, upon retiring, returned 45 years later. He kept a diary and a snapshot book of his three-month visit home. Forty years later my wife and I, and another couple did a genealogy trip to England, Scotland and Wales. With four birth certificates and using my grandfather's diary and snapshot book, in 12 hours I found all four of my grandparents' families and many Welsh cousins and friends. Since then we've taken all of our children, their spouses and several friends to visit Wales. Truly, home is where the heart is...and that's Wales.
Steve J.
I like to get together groups of friends and relatives for trips overseas, so last year I got 14 to agree to a trip to Wales. We had done England, France, Scotland and Ireland previously. Well, believe me, we discovered that Wales was, in our opinion, best of all! The Welsh people were so welcoming and lovely and the scenery was so spectacular! We all loved it and we hope to come back again! What a wonderful surprise it was to find out about this treasure of the UK. I cannot wait to come back and show Wales to my husband!
Carol M.

your Wales story

Do you have a story to share about your visit to Wales? We'd love to hear it. And if it shows up in a future issue of Croeso we'll send you a $25 gift certificate as a token of our appreciation.

Tell us your story.
featured links Travel Offers
  • Cardiff's Winter Wonderland embraces the outdoors with skating rinks, food stands and lit-up rides (through January 7).
  • Llanwrtyd Wells hosts the quirky Saturnalia Wobble/Ramble, a Roman day of fun with group hikes and mountain biking (January 13 & 14).
  • Wales' three national parks are open all year. Set on the southwest coast, the Pembrokeshire National Park features a 186-mile path that passes castles, cliffs and beaches. Northeast of Cardiff, Brecon Beacons National Park and North Wales' Snowdonia National Park are mountainous parks with great hiking trails and steam-engine train rides.
  • Wales is famous for singing and our National Opera singers are world reknowned. The Wales Millennium Centre is hosting a number of their performances that are well worth attending.
  • For more, check our updated events page.
traveloffers
Who says gift-giving stops with the holidays? Some of Wales' best deals all year fall in the first three months, with hotels, spas and golf courses dropping their rates from 20 to 60%. Set in the Pembrokeshire hills, the Clydey Cottages are fully modernized, 18th-century farm cottages, with 20% discounts through March. Splash around the new indoor heated pool or read a novel to the crackle of the fire in your two-floor cottage.

Located in a 17th-century castle in a valley near Brecon Beacons National Park (a couple of hours north of Cardiff), Llangoed Hall drops the rates for its spacious double rooms (with poster beds and comfortable armchairs) to �99 from January 2 through March 10.

If being pampered in a spa is your idea of a perfect day, try either of these two classy spots offering winter breaks. St Brides Hotel, a contemporary seaside resort in Pembrokeshire, gives a free three-course meal or a 25-minute spa treatment on your second night. Tre-Ysgawen Hall, a lushly Victorian spa hotel in North Wales' Anglesey, throws in a half-hour spa treatment and dinner any night you stay, plus it's 60% off a third night if you stay over Sunday.

Did You Know: Bach Travel offers a daytrip from Cardiff to castles, mines and ironworks.

Travel Tip: US citizens don't need a visa to travel to Wales or anywhere in Britain. If you're not a US citizen, check the latest visa requirements for the UK before leaving on your trip.


photo � britainonview/Rod Edwards 2006
contest and promotions image
contests and Promotions - when are you coming
Focus on the fabulous natural beauty of Wales . . . capture family memories that will last a lifetime . . . and do it all with our grand prize, a great digital camera! In addition, two lucky contest entrants will win one of our first prizes, a spa basket created specially for our readers by Pur, a Welsh company that specializes in natural and organic, chemical-free skin care products.

Just answer the following question and you'll automatically be entered for a chance to win:

When do you plan to visit Wales?
Click here to answer.
View the official rules for complete details.


There's no wrong answer, but you must be a Croeso! subscriber to enter. Subscribe now, and you will be automatically entered in the sweepstakes!

CONGRATULATIONS TO Keridwen C. of Scottsdale AZ, the Grand prize winner in our "Bring the Gardens Home" sweepstakes. Keridwen dedicated a tulip tree to a loved one in our National Botanic Garden. We also congratulate Patti N., Joseph A., and Amy K., who each won two exquisite coffee table books on the gardens of Wales.

Reminder. Be sure your Wales email gets through. Please add croeso@visitwales.ws to your address book so you will get emails without interruption.

If you would like to receive your own copy of Croeso! in the future, sign up here.

Copyright 2006 Visit Wales
Visit Wales - U.S.A.
551 Fifth Avenue, Suite #701
New York, NY 10176