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Spring is here, and the gardens of Wales have risen to the occasion! There's still time to catch the bluebells and rhododendrons and we've got some great deals on driver-guided tours. Not sure which gardens to see? Enter our contest to win two beautiful books about our gardens - or even win a tree! Croeso! Welcome to Wales!

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Welcome to a new issue of Croeso! Notice anything different? How about our new logo? As of Monday, April 3rd the Wales Tourist Board (WTB) is now known as "Visit Wales." Aside from our logo, you shouldn't notice any difference: we'll still bring you news and stories from Wales, special travel offers, fun promotions, and respond to your inquiries.

There is one small change we need your help with: soon we'll be phasing out the Wales Tourist Board e-mail address from which you now get your copy of Croeso! The new address will be croeso@visitwales.ws. Please add croeso@visitwales.ws to your email address book and/or your "whitelist" now - so that you're sure to keep getting your copy of Croeso! when we make the change-over.

In this issue we're looking forward to the spring and summer in Wales. If you're planning a trip we hope we'll spark some ideas and if you haven't had a chance already, visit the Ways to Go section of our website for more great ideas and options. Check back often as we regularly add more information. If you can't find what you're looking for, please let us know: we welcome your comments and feedback and we're here to help.

We look forward to seeing you in Wales soon.

Claire Goold
Wales Marketing USA
Visit Wales

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If you can't travel to Wales right now, maybe a bit of Wales can come to you. We've selected a few of our favorite spring images from our photo library and posted them on our website so that you can download them for free as desktop images on your computer (for Mac or PC). Enjoy! Click here to view and download pictures of Wales. 

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spotlight on: the
gardens of Wales
With the arrival of spring the walled gardens of the National Botanic Garden, Aberglasney's ornamental ponds, the paths at Dyffryn, Chirk Castle's topiary, and backyards, walkways and town greens throughout the country come alive with color and new life.
Wales has one of the most temperate climates in Britain, year-round, so it's no surprise that gardening has long been one of our passions. The unique beauty of our gardens is due in part to their settings. We have coastlines to the south, west and north, mountains in the center and rolling hills throughout. This makes for a naturally dramatic backdrop for all sorts of arrangements of indigenous and exotic plants, trees, and flowers.

Spring is the time to experience the blooming of primrose, bluebells, azaleas, and narcissi including the classic daffodil. Our rhododendrons are world-renowned and some rhododendron gardens stretch out over several acres. Many gardens host "sensory days" when the gardens are at their most fragrant, "watercolor weekends," and music performances on garden stages and in amphitheaters. And when you're ready to take a break, places such as The Gardener's Café at Aberglasney Gardens offer inspired meals and tea with a spectacular view - a rest stop to remember. Click to read on…>
your Wales story in the news
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.
Look out for Wales on the cover of the May/June issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine. It features a wonderful article on the eminent Welsh author, Jan Morris, and the north-Wales region where she lives.
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travel tips: enjoy the view
Touring by car is a great way to garden-hop, but in Wales, the journey can be as interesting as the destination. Local driver-guides are friendly, knowledgeable and affordable, so let someone else do the driving, sit back, and enjoy the view.
Guides' stories of local history, ecology and archeology bring the scenery to life and help you get the most out of every day.

Dragon Tours founder Dr. Mike Davies, a historian and professor, has been running driver-guided tours for 15 years. He'll develop a personalized itinerary for groups of 1-8 people. Contact him at dragontours@ntlworld.com, mention Croeso!, and you'll receive free pub lunches or afternoon teas for every day of your tour.

Country Lane Tours, based in Snowdonia National Park, also wants to buy you lunch! A family-run business, they're known for their creative itineraries, and now for Croeso! subscribers they're offering a complimentary lunch at Bodnant Garden when you book a tour of three days or more. Contact them at info@countrylanetours.com.

Garden tours are especially popular at this time of year, but most guides offer a choice of many themes, either pre-planned or customized to include your personal favorites. For more information on tours to Wales, visit our Escorted Tours page.
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contests and promotions:
bring the gardens home
Do you have "roots" in Wales? You will if you "win a tree" in our National Botanic Garden. You'll be able to dedicate a magnolia, cherry, or one of the Garden's rare and critically endangered trees in commemoration of a loved one or special occasion.
Plus three lucky Croeso! subscribers will each win two coffee-table books on the gardens of Wales. The 575-page "The Gardens of Britain and Ireland" highlights 20 gardens of Wales in glorious detail and "Gardens of Wales" has hundreds of colorful photos of our gardens, background info, interesting facts, and travel information.

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

What quirky event is Llanwrtyd Wells known for? 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.

Not a subscriber? No problem. Just sign up here and you'll also be automatically entered for a chance to win.
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a taste of Wales: horsing
Bryn Davies loves racing horses. He hasn't beaten one in over 20 years, but he keeps trying. "My personal best time was 3:09 when I was 50, but last year, at 3:24 for the 22 mile cross- country course, we came in first for relay teams."
'Last year' would have been when he was 58 - the youngster on a team of three whose collective age added up to 190. And the race in question? The fabled "Man vs. Horse."

Llanwrtyd Wells in mid-Wales, the smallest town in Britain, is known far and wide for more than a few quirky events. There's also the famous bog snorkeling competition -swimming two lengths of a 60 yard trench cut 6' deep into the peat and filled with water. And the Real Ale Wobble; a sort of bicycle rally race where contestants down half pints of ale at each checkpoint (full safety gear highly recommended).

But horse-racing is Bryn's sport. He started in his 30's to raise money for the local school and he's ready for this year's race, coming up on June 10th. He's been training since last August. "Lots of hill work - that's the key." Two years ago, for the first time, a man came out the winner, but last year the horse took back first place. These days Bryn is in it for the beautiful countryside and the company of his fellow runners, who now come from around the world. As long as it's fun, he'll keep running.

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