First visit to Wales! Advice?

Hello all! I’m from Los Angeles, and while I’ve lived in the UK before, I’ve never been to Wales. I started learning Welsh about a year ago and am nearing the end of Course 2 (southern). I will be living in England all of next year and am already planning a two-week stay in Wales. I’m not sure where to go, though, since I’d like to be somewhere where I’d be able to hear a lot of Welsh on the street/in conversation. I was looking at Dolgellau (even though that would be northern welsh) and Llandeilo. Any suggestions would be great!

Also, I generally find it hard to strike up a conversation in another language. Does anyone have any advice on how best to do this? I’d love to hear about other people’s experiences speaking with native Welsh speakers for the first time.



Don’t be surprised when some people either go straight to English in an attempt to make things easier for you, or when it turns out that the people you’re talking to don’t speak Welsh. It’s worth starting the conversation in Welsh, and if they answer in Welsh, just keep going as long as you can. As for where to hear lots of Welsh spoken, you want rural Wales primarily. Little villages away from the ports and touristy areas tend to be better for this.


Hello. What about including a bootcamp for the first week of your holiday?


S’mae Rachel?

Definitely go to Gogledd Cymru. Somewhere within reach of the Llyn Peninsula would be my recommendation - Pwllheli and the surrounding countryside is where the Luxury Northern Boot Camps are held. Not only is it staggeringly beautiful, but there is a lot of Welsh spoken, although the advice given by HectorGrey still applies). You are within easy travelling distance of Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri, which is fantastic for walking, climbing or just driving through, with lots of places to visit where you can encounter Welsh in the wild (Harlech has my favourite castle and beach, Portmeirion is lovely, nice easy walking beside the river at Beddgelert, Gardd Bodnant is truly wonderful - the best gardens I have ever visited, ayyb).




I totally agree with every word @essenbee has written. However, if you find yourself with a few days available and are nearer the south and want to see somewhere lovely and don’t mind that nobody speaks Welsh, go to Rhossili, Gower because it is gorgeous!


That’s a great idea! I’ll definitely think about that. :grinning:

I won’t advise you on where to go, Wales is a very diverse and very beautiful country, and despite living here my whole life I wouldn’t think of myself as being able to give you the best advice! I will, however, as you mentio Llandeilo, tell you about that area, as it is close to the area I grew up in, and spend quite a bit of time there.
There is still plenty of Welsh spoken in and around that area, though Llandeilo itself has become populated by many people from elsewhere, looking for houses with pretty views - but that is the state of a lot of such places in Wales. The scenery is stunning. Not far south you have one of the most impressively situated (in a scenic way) castles in… Well, anywhere! The favourite Castle of many people for its situation and views, Carreg cennen. The mountains and hills around for walking, places nearby like Brynamman (mentioned in another thread) Choosing Northern or Southern Welsh!
where the native inhabitants still mostly speak Welsh (in the South, of course, but it is all Welsh!) … Well, don’t take my word for it, because I and my family are from that area :wink:


Great to see Brynamman being put on the map. I wonder if the Black Mountain Centre could act as a conduit for Welsh learners who decide to visit - providing a warm welsh speaking environment and pointing people in the right direction. Anyone turning up ad-hoc, may struggle to find anyone to talk to, because it’s certainly not your typical tourist destination - it doesn’t have boutique cafes, shops and bars (thankfully some would say). It doesn’t have these sorts of places where tourists might naturally gravitate towards in order to be able to naturally mingle and socialise etc. It obviously has pubs, but these might not be everyones disgled o de so to speak and short of that, no-one is realistically going to start knocking on peoples doors and asking for a conversation practice in Welsh - a bit too odd to contemplate how that would pan out.

Edit: Just looked up the visitor centre and the centre coordinator has an email address if anyone wanted advice on how to get a Welsh langauge experience - who knows it might an idea they are looking for, but haven’t considered.


So someone who has never previously been to Wales is going to pitch up with enough Welsh to hold a conversation? That is utterly awesome :star: :star2:

How would you feel about talking to the media? I know a few people here who’d love your story… :sunny:


Have you though of visiting the National Eisteddfod in Monmouthshire this year?

1 Like

Don’t do what I did: my first conversation in a pub in Caerfyrddin started with me saying “Paid siarad saesneg efo fi”, which caused my (admittedly inebriated) conversation partner to fall backwards off his stool.

If you can find a Welsh language or tourist or music shop anywhere - most towns have at least one - you are always guaranteed to have a conversation in Welsh


Have you gone yet? I will be in Wales for the first time in over 10 years, and am looking forward to trying some of my Cymraeg.

1 Like

That’d be brilliant! I’ll hopefully be coming to some SSiW meetings over the next year – Likely the ones meeting in Oxford.

1 Like

Ooh, I’d love to! Unfortunately, I won’t be in the UK until September.

I’m looking to visit around either Christmas time or in the spring (have to plan around Uni).

If you do end up in Dolgellau, there’s an unmissable cafe called T. H. Roberts in Parliament House just off the main square. Used to be the shop that supplied the gold miners and still has the assay office inside it and all the original shelving, preserved by planning laws. Facebook it for more info. The manageress has a beautiful accent, but I’m biased because I grew up about 15 miles away…