Wales for Welsh beginners

Probably a strange question, and apologies if it’s in the wrong place, but since it has to do with Wales/Welsh…:

I have been studying Welsh for a few months, my wife has started this monday :sweat_smile: but in September we would like to visit Wales for the first time as Welsh speakers (to be). Are there any places you can think of that are ‘beginner’-friendily?

(So far, the plan includes two weeks with three ‘base camps’ for a few days: Bangor, Aberystwyth and Caerdydd - the first and the last chosen as we want to travel sustainably and they have a direct train from/to London. Any tips in or near those would be especially welcome) :slight_smile:


I was in Aberystwyth last weekend, so I can make a few recommendations but this won’t be an exhaustive list. Hopefully a local will be able to provide more details:

National Library

Everyone here seems to speak Welsh. There’s a really nice art gallery (with a lot from/about Wales), plus temporary exhibitions and the library itself. Don’t miss the Trysorau/Treasures permanent exhibition. It’s only small but theres a load of really cool important Welsh cultural things in it. There’s also a nice cafe and gift shop.

Aberystwyth Arts Centre
This is on the university campus and is at the top of a steep hill. It’s possible to get a bus or taxi up if you don’t fancy the walk. Mostly temporary exhibitions and events, but a lot of (but not all) Welsh speaking staff. Also a nice cafe and gift shop.

Tourist Information Office / Town Museum

This is in the centre of town and everyone here speaks Welsh. On the ground floor is the tourist info office and gift shop, but if you go up the stairs theres a decent museum of local life, and a cafe. It might also be worth contacting these people before you arrive to ask if there are any Welsh language events in the area during your stay.


Still in Aberystwyth;

Driftwood Designs

This shop has some nice gifts and items, many featuring local landmarks. When I went in the lady running it was fluent and very happy to speak.


This is a Welsh language bookshop that also sells music, gifts etc. Again fluent speakers here.


Nice restaurant on the seafront with dual language menus and most of the staff speak Welsh. Decent food. Gets very busy so you may want to book ahead (you can do this by popping in the day before if you want).


Didn’t get a chance to try this restaurant but it was recommended by the tourist info as a place with Welsh speakers

Y Gornel
11 Princess St, Aberystwyth SY23 1DX
Nice but small cafe with bilingual menus. Food is great. Staff when I was there weren’t fluent but understood enough to take an order.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to check out these pubs, but supposedly places to use Welsh (they certainly were years ago). Beware that Y Cwps opening hours may not match Google maps, but it’s worth checking if they have live music on. Can anyone else confirm is Y Cwps still a pub or now a music venue only?

Yr Hen Lew Du

Also does some food

Y Cwps / The Coopers Arms
Northgate St, Aberystwyth SY23 2JT


At the risk of overstaying my welcome on this thread :laughing:… I’d say any of these places are learner friendly especially if they’re not stupidly busy. Particularly the tourist info/museum and the national library - it’s pretty much their job to promote Welsh culture including the language so they should be up for a chat. Everyone tends to be kind, patient and enthusiastic especially towards learners not based in Wales.
I’d also keep my eye out for the many other businesses with Welsh names as places to try. One thing that the tourist info said to me is that most places have at least one Welsh speaker on staff so if you start off your interactions in Welsh then they might assign that staff member to you.
I also think the more Welsh we speak in these places normalises the language and drives up demand for Welsh language staff!

Final point - if you discover somewhere not on this list, can you come back and let us know?


Can I jump on this thread and ask for similar recommendations for Machynlleth and Aberdyfi? It’s nearly holiday time again, and I am determined not to waste the chance like I did last year.

Sorry, still quite a newbie on this forum so not sure how to include partial quotes.

@ overstaying the welcome: not at all. You’ve been very welcome, thank you so much.
@ completing the list if we discover something else: I’ll make sure to do that :+1:

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You can try this place. Good food and Welsh speaking:
Ty Medi

I’ve eaten there and had a nice conversation with the staff.

I’m told this place is also Welsh speaking but I’ve not eaten there. Photos show Welsh language menus;
Caffi Alys
69 Heol Maengwyn, Machynlleth SY20 8EE

There’s also quite a few other Welsh named businesses that might be worth a try, along with Owain Glyndwrs Parliament House.
Again, if you find anywhere please let us know.

Slightly further afield but easily doable if you’ve got a car;
Ynyslas Nature Reserve

They speak Welsh at the visitor centre here, and it’s also a nice pretty place. These days there’s a nice boardwalk over the dunes

I haven’t been to Aberdyfi for 20 years, but theres a tourist info place, might be worth asking them.

And of course Aberystwyth is a shortish car/train/bus journey away

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Are you learning North or South Walian? You’re going to hear a lot more Gog in Bangor and might struggle (more than otherwise) if you have just started learning and learning South Walian.

There’s going to be a mixed bag in Cardiff and you’ll have to search out the Welsh opportunities more, although I assume any public institution like museums are a safe bet. But if you end up choosing Cardiff, you simply must go out to St Fagans!

Aberystwyth is near the North/South border and have an influx of people from all over, so the Ceredigion dialect(s) are supplemented by lots of dialects from elsewhere. You also have a high proportion of Welsh speakers and it’s a lovely place. When it comes to speaking Welsh in shops and cafés, chances are that older and very young members of staff speak Welsh, but anyone that is of a student age is less likely to speak Welsh. There are also weekly and monthly meetups for learners (e.g. Clwb C, in Home Café on Thursday mornings, I think it is).


We’re learning North Walian, but for my wife Cardiff had to be in there - and as a Whovian (is there a Welsh word for that?), who am i to disagree :angel:

Came here to say this!

Also: Cant a Mil bookshop ( - it’s a little bit out of the centre, but you’ll be sure to find a Welsh speaker there, and the owner, Jo, is really supportive of learners.

And of course, if you are a Whovian you’ll probably want to go down to Cardiff Bay? If so, the Millennium Centre tries hard to employ Welsh speakers and they’ll make themselves visible with the orange Cymraeg speech-bubble badge. Or what about going to visit the Senedd just next door? The same applies there too.

Wherever you go, people will understand your Gog Welsh and I hope you have a wonderful visit :slight_smile:


You can always start with a Bore da! or Shwmae! and see how people respond. Keep an eye out for guided tours in Welsh as well, I always find that really worth-while in a new language.

It won’t take you long to learn to interpret the most common differences between N and S Welsh. People will understand you, it’s more about you understanding them. :slight_smile:

Wherever you end up going, I’m sure you’ll have a great time!


The staff at the castles which are Cadw owned speak Welsh. I tried my Welsh out at Castel Coch which is not far from Cardiff. They were happy to take the time to chat to me.


Pretty sure some of the staff at the Chapter Arts Centre speak Welsh. It’s a cinema/art centre but with a nice café

Last time I went past this place the chalkboard outside said they speak Welsh… which is interesting for an Italian restaurant

It’s possible there could be a Welsh language gig on at Clwb Ifor Bach

I used to know a few more places, but since Covid a few places have changed and I’m a bit out of the loop.

Check out this list


Oh, and having just seen your location I thought I should ask; I’m coincidentally going to Antwerp this weekend… what’s the best place there to speak Welsh? :smiley:

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No idea, I’m afraid. Except for the Welsh anthem at sports, I hadn’t heard one single word in Cymraeg in Antwerp before Aran’s voice found its way to my house…

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Haha, I assumed not! I’m sure I’ll have plenty to do anyway :grinning:

If you come back next year, I’d be happy try out my Welsh in a pub, but at the moment I can’t say much more than that i met someone who works with your sister… but that’s not all that useful to you, especially as it isn’t true :smile:


Well I did actually manage to find a little bit of Welsh in Antwerp, surprisingly enough, in the Plantin-Moretus museum! This atlas happened to be open at a suitable page, and a lot of the words are in multiple languages, including “Britannis”


That’s wonderful! I’d love to have the chance to take a look at that - will have to go to Antwerp on my next holiday!


If you’re interested in the atlas, its Theatre de l’Univers by Ortelius (1587). You can see a clearer version of that image (plus the rest of the atlas) here;

Interestingly, in another exhibit it mentioned that they published books about many languages, specifically mentioning Welsh (amongst others). If anyone anyone is super keen I believe their library is still open to the public so there may be more Welsh to discover!

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