Horseback riding in Wales

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Equestrian tours in Wales

 Wales Mini Guide
    Source: World Travel Guide

Overview

Wales is a historic land of castles and mountains, sweeping beaches and strong national identity dating back to pre-Norman times and reinforced in 1999, when Wales was granted its own assembly.

The capital, Cardiff, has seen extensive regeneration, both in the city centre and the nearby Cardiff Bay area, which is now seen as a major entertainment and administrative centre. In the rural north, farming and tourism continue to be the main sources of income.

Populous south Wales incorporates Cardiff, the cities of Swansea and Newport, Carmarthen Bay and two national parks, Pembrokeshire Coast and Brecon Beacons. The Cambrian Mountains and the attractive coastal resorts of Cardigan Bay are highlights of mid Wales, while the north has popular seaside resorts like Llandudno and Rhyl, the island of Anglesey and the scenic delights of Snowdonia National Park.

Passport/Visa

Passport Required?

British

N/A

Australian

Yes

Canadian

Yes

USA

Yes

Other EU

1

Visa Required?

British

N/A

Australian

No

Canadian

No

USA

No

Other EU

No

Return Ticket Required?

British

N/A

Australian

No

Canadian

No

USA

No

Other EU

No

 

Passports

To enter the United Kingdom, a passport valid for the duration of stay is required by all nationals referred to in the chart above, except (1) EU nationals holding a valid national ID card.

EU nationals are only required to produce evidence of their EU nationality and identity in order to be admitted to any EU member state. This evidence can take the form of a valid national passport or national identity card. Either is acceptable. Possession of a return ticket, any length of validity on their document, or sufficient funds for the length of their proposed visit should not be imposed.

Passengers transiting the UK destined for the Republic of Ireland are advised to hold return tickets to avoid delay and interrogation.

Passport Note

(a) A passport is not required for travel between Great Britain and Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. (b) Passengers transiting the UK destined for the Republic of Ireland are advised to hold return tickets to avoid delay and interrogation.

Visas

Not required by nationals referred to in the chart above for stays of up to six months.

Visa Note

(a) Nationals not requiring visas are advised to be in possession of either a return ticket or, if arriving on a one-way ticket, proof of sufficient funds to accommodate and support themselves for the duration of stay. (b) Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements (see Contact Addresses).


Money

Currency

See the individual Money sections within the Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man and Northern Ireland sections for information on currency specific to these regions.

Pound (GBP; symbol £) = 100 pence. Notes are in denominations of £50, 20, 10 and 5. Additional bank notes issued by Scottish banks (including £1 notes) are accepted in all parts of the UK, although some smaller shops outside Scotland may prefer English banknotes. Coins are in denominations of £2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 pence.

Currency Exchange

Money can be exchanged in banks, exchange bureaux, some post offices and many hotels. The exchange bureaux are often open outside banking hours but charge higher commission rates. All major currencies can be exchanged.

Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs

American Express, MasterCard and Visa are all widely accepted. Cash can be obtained from a multitude of ATMs available across the country.

Traveller's Cheques

Widely accepted. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in Pounds Sterling.

Banking Hours

Mon-Fri 0930-1630 (there may be some variations in closing times). Some banks are open Saturday morning; some all day Saturday.

Exchange Rate Indicators

Date

June 2

$1.00=

£0.69

€1.00=

£0.77

 

Health

Vaccinations

 

Special Precautions

Diphtheria

Yes

Hepatitis A

No

Malaria

No

Rabies

No

Tetanus

Yes

Typhoid

No

Yellow Fever

No

Inoculation regulations can change at short notice. Please take medical advice in the case of doubt. Where 'Sometimes' appears in the table above, precautions may be required, depending on the season and region visited.

Health Care

If suddenly taken ill or involved in an accident during a visit to an EEA country or Switzerland, free or reduced-cost necessary treatment is available for European travellers - in most cases on production of a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Comprehensive insurance is advised for all other nationals.

The National Health Service (NHS) provides free medical treatment (at hospitals and general surgeries) to all who are ordinarily resident in the UK, but requires payment for dental treatment, prescriptions and spectacles. Immediate first aid/emergency treatment is free for all visitors, after which charges are made unless the visitor’s country has a reciprocal health agreement with the UK. Full details of individual agreements are available from the Department of Health (website: www.dh.gov.uk).

Food and Drink

Food within the UK is generally safe to eat, with health and safety standards monitored by various government agencies. Tap water is considered safe to drink but bottled water is widely available. If you’re camping, always boil, filter or purify water from streams.

Other Risks

The UK is not a risky destination but travellers should still take appropriate precautions. Summer temperatures in England rarely reach above 30°C (86°F), but on hot days there is still risk of sunstroke and it’s advisable to wear sunscreen, as well as appropriate clothing. The same goes for winters, during which weather can be very changeable. Waterproofs (or at least a strong umbrella) are mandatory at any time of year. Those hiking in the mountains should come prepared, with appropriate gear and maps if needed but the biggest danger comes from those who disregard warning signs or poor weather.

If you’re planning to walk in wooded or heath areas such as in the Scottish Highlands, it’s worth taking precautions against tick bites: ensure you wear long-sleeved tops, tuck your socks into your trousers and wear insect repellent. Ticks are known to spread Lyme disease which, although fairly rare in the UK, can affect your skin, joints, heart and nervous system. Symptoms include: a pink or red circular rash which develops around the bite up to 30 days after a person is bitten; flu-like symptoms; headaches; and muscle or joint pain. If left untreated, symptoms can become more serious.

Midges are a hiker’s and camper’s nemesis, especially in the northwest Highlands during the summer. While they’ll do no worse than cause a multitude of unbearably itchy bites, it’s definitely worth covering up and dousing yourself in insect repellent to ward off these persistent beasties.

The weather in Scotland can change in an instant. If you’re walking, skiing or climbing in the hills, it’s vital to be prepared for all weathers. It’s not at all uncommon to go for a walk on a beautifully sunny day, only to find yourself surrounded by mist and drizzle with little warning. Make sure you’re equipped with a map, compass, extra food, layers and waterproofs, and always tell someone where you’re heading before you set out. Scots and visitors alike also find themselves unexpectedly caught out by the sun – you might not need it often, but pack some sunscreen.

Getting There

Main Airports

Cardiff International Airport (CWL) (website: www.cwlfly.com) is 19km (12 miles) from Cardiff. To/from the airport: A rail link connects the airport with Cardiff Central station. A bus runs between Cardiff city centre and the airport. Taxis are available outside the terminal building. Car hire is available. Facilities: Restaurants, shops, bureaux de change, ATMs, children's play area and executive lounge.

Departure Tax

None.

Getting There by Water

Main ports: Fishguard, Holyhead (Anglesey) (website: www.holyheadport.com), Pembroke (website: www.mhpa.co.uk) and Swansea (website: www.abports.co.uk), all of which have ferry connections to the Republic of Ireland, with companies including Irish Ferries (tel: 0870 517 1717; website: www.irishferries.com) and Stena Line (tel: 0870 570 7070; website: www.stenaline.com).

Getting There by Rail

There are two mainline routes into Wales. One runs from London Paddington to Fishguard along the south Wales coast (branching at Whitland to serve Haverford West and Milford Haven), while the other links Holyhead with Chester and northwest England. In addition, the line from Cardiff to Chester (via Newport, Hereford and Shrewsbury) links the south Wales cities with Abergavenny in Gwent and Wrexham in Clwyd. There are also two smaller cross-country lines: these run from Shrewsbury to Welshpool, Barmouth, Harlech, Porthmadog and Pwllheli; from Shrewsbury via Welshpool to Aberystwyth; and from Craven Arms (on the Shrewsbury–Ludlow line) through Llandrindod Wells and Llandovery down to Swansea. For details, contact National Rail Enquiries (tel: 0845 748 4950; website: www.nationalrail.co.uk).

Getting There by Road

The best road approach to Wales from southern England is via the M4 motorway, which runs from west London to Newport, Cardiff and Swansea, almost to Carmarthen. The A5 links London and the Midlands with the ferry port of Holyhead, and the A55 links Holyhead with Chester. The best cross-country road is probably the A44/A470 from Oxford to Aberystwyth.
 

Climate

Wales tends to be wetter than England, with slightly less sunshine. The coastal areas, however, can be very warm in summer. Conditions in upland areas can be dangerous and changeable at all times of the year.

Required Clothing

Similar to the rest of the UK, according to season. Waterproofing advised throughout the year, and warm clothes are required for upland areas.

 

Contacts

Visit Wales/Croeso Cymru

Brunel House, 2 Fitzalan Road, Cardiff CF24 0UY, UK
Tel: 0870 830 0306.
Website: www.visitwales.com

 

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