A Londoner in Wales – From the Underground to the Valleys

Today’s Culture with Travel post is by Aaron Robertson

As someone who spends much of my time in London, constantly competing for space on the Underground in and amongst thousands of commuters in a never-ending rush, I look forward to when the opportunity arises to get out of the city.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the capital, but you certainly do require the odd week where you can get away from it all. Compared to the London lifestyle, Wales offers a much more laid back way of life, making for the ideal escape for an honorary Cockney, such as myself.


When you think of Wales getaways, your mind almost immediately turns to Snowdonia National Park, home of the United Kingdom’s tallest mountain. Here, you can choose to climb Mount Snowdon by foot or, if you haven’t got your hiking boots with you, take a leisurely drive or catch the train to the top of the mountain.

If you do ever find yourself in Snowdon, I thoroughly recommend opting for the train as your mode of transport. It takes a couple of hours to reach Snowdon’s summit, during which time you can take in the awe-inspiring views of the Welsh countryside.

Snowdonia National Park
Snowdonia National Park in Wales

I will warn you, though, as it is an old rack railway, the train cannot reach anything like the speeds of commercial trains and space can feel cramped the ride somewhat bumpy. This is all part of what, for its time, was an incredible engineering feat.

Welsh Coastline

Granted that Wales isn’t exactly noted for its warm weather, but when the sun does shine it makes for the perfect opportunity to visit the country’s immaculate coastline. Welsh beaches tend not to be as crowded as other more popular beaches in the UK, therefore allowing for plenty of space for your bucket and spade!

Along some of the beaches you can find holiday parks where visitors can hire out a static caravan, placing them close to the beautiful coastline. This is an inexpensive option that allows those who travel on a budget to enjoy the finest views that Wales has to offer – and they really are something.

So Much Green

With spending so much of my time in London, usually, the only real piece of greenery I see is on my morning runs through Hyde Park. It’s the only real place that you can go for a run in London, I will never understand how people can run on the busy streets constantly navigating their way through hundreds of pedestrians. I like to have an open space where I can get away from the big built-up city.

That’s why I fell in love with Wales, which offers so much opportunity for a city-dweller nature lover such as me. I have already mentioned Snowdonia National Park earlier on in this post, and it does make for a fantastic running location, but St. David’s Head in Pembrokeshire really does make for a fantastic, yet challenging, course.

Its hills and rocky paths lend itself to an almighty workout, if you are into that kind of thing. If you click here you will find a good route that you can map out for yourself.

An Ideal Respite

For those of us who live in big cities, Wales remains an idyllic sanctuary in which to retreat to and enjoy some of the finer aspects of life. Outside of Cardiff, the majority of the country is made up of beautiful countryside, meaning that almost any Welsh holiday destination will see you either find or rekindle your love for nature.

Aaron is a keen traveller and has spent more time than he cares to admit in London both for work and leisure, which he is sure earns him the title of honorary Cockney.

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