Tired of losing track of time, spending your days staring at the luminous light of your phone, a widescreen TV or your laptop? It’s time to take a stand and make a conscious effort to be more screen free.
In Wales, there are so many amazing experiences to be had, many of which you won't have even heard of, that you'll forget to even miss the device once glued to your hand. Whether you want to wander about in the most picturesque areas of the country, head off on an adrenalin-fuelled adventure, or explore the history of baked beans, there really is something for everyone!
Hidden in Port Talbot, this isn’t your typical museum: the two-bedroom flat is an immersive experience, where you can see a range of beany advertisements, explore the ‘Branston Bathroom’ and of course the ‘Heinz Kitchen’. It’s a must-visit for anyone partial to a tin of the good stuff.
It was first set up by Barry Kirk, whose life was changed after spending 100 hours naked in a bathtub filled with beans, setting a new world record. Following that experience, his superhero alter ego was born: Captain Beany from Planet Beanus.
Wales’ first aqua park is a fantastic place to spend the day and is a great workout too! The Welsh edition of Total Wipeout (without the pressure of millions of viewers watching you), will have you laughing your way to that summer six-pack. There are plenty of other water sports available on-site too, including the main attraction, wakeboarding, paddleboarding and Ringo rides.
3. Immerse yourself in a yoga class
There’s no activity that goes hand-in-hand with a digital detox better than the art of yoga. This mindful exercise can help you to feel better in yourself both physically and mentally. If you’re heading for a retreat in Wales, it’s certainly worth looking up a local yoga class to get involved with to find your zen.
4. Have an adventure at Zip World
Zip World is probably one of the most exciting attractions in Snowdonia, with plenty of unique experiences on offer that are sure to pique your interest. From the fastest zip line in Europe offering a phenomenal view, to the trampolining disco extravaganza that’s in a CAVE, whether you’re a thrill-seeker or just want to bounce around for an hour or, this is the place to be.
5. Explore the beauty of Portmeirion
The fairytale village of Portmeirion will capture your imagination and leave you feeling as if you’ve been transported to a whole other world. Inspired by a small fishing village on the Italian Riviera, the thoughtful architecture and vibrant floral displays make this the most picture-perfect spot. While away your hours wandering around and filling your inner creativity with inspiration.
Bodnant Gardens is a wonder to behold in all seasons with spring bringing the fresh blooms, and autumn the warmth of the golden leaves falling. It’s one of the finest gardens in Britain, with a magnificent array of flora and fauna enticing all ages to relish in the rainbow of colour.
We might be biased, but we think that the walking routes in Wales could possibly be the best in the UK ... particularly when you opt for one of our whimsical waterfall walks where you’ll be left breathless at the sight of the cascading waters glistening in the sunlight. Having inspired a number of Welsh myths and legends over the years, we’re sure that visiting one will leave you awe-struck.
8. Build a giant sandcastle
Inspired by 2018’s Year of the Sea Beach Sculpture Festival, why not have a go at creating your own masterpiece? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and move beyond the realms of castles into mythical creatures, dramatic landscapes and anything else your imagination can conjure. It may take an entire day but get all hands on deck and you might be surprised by the result.
The WaveGarden at Adventure Parc Snowdonia (formerly Surf Snowdonia) is the perfect place to learn to surf. As the world’s first commercial artificial surfing lake, this offers novice surfers optimum conditions to test the water, with 18 waves an hour reaching a length of 150m were you to surf the whole way. With an exciting re-launch planned for 2019, the park is soon to see the addition of a number of other adventures including climbing, parkour, ziplining and a whole host of others too!
10. Spend a day bog snorkelling
The Bog Snorkelling Championships take place on August Bank Holiday every year in Llanwrtyed Wells and are a globally renowned event, challenging competitors to complete the journey through two consecutive water-filled trenches, each 55 metres in length, cut through a peat bog in the fastest time possible. Anyone can enter, so this could be your time to shine and be crowned king or queen of bog snorkelling! If you doubt that you can compete with the impressive speeds of the pros, the Fancy Dress Section could be the place for you.
If you think caves are boring, then you’ve clearly been visiting the wrong ones. Wales is home to a wide selection of mind-blowing rock havens, where you can step onto a scene from Batman: The Dark Night Rises. Kayak underneath glowing stalactites or even get married in the National Show Caves Centre for Wales! Find a cave in Wales that isn’t boring today.
12. Unleash your inner artist
Taking the time to really pay attention to our surroundings is something we don’t often manage to do. It’s common for many to see their travels through the screen, too busy snapping photographs here, there and everywhere to make the most of physically being there. So, why not take your pens, pencils or paints outside? Pick a spot and spend a day really looking at the finer details. This relaxing and mindful activity will help you to centre yourself and pick up the positive habit of looking for the beauty all around.
13. See Wales from the sea
Whether you want to surf, kayak, paddleboard or sail, it’s all at your fingertips in Wales! Gazing across the rippling sea back at the land allows you to see Wales from a whole new perspective. In certain areas, you may be able to spot the local sea life too, including friendly dolphins.
14. Try wild swimming in Snowdonia
Ever been wild swimming? Snowdonia is the perfect place for first timers with lakes, rivers and waterfalls just waiting to be explored. In the hot summer heat it’s a fantastic way to cool down and provides sublime views all around, away from the bustle of the beaches.
15. Experience the eeriness of an abandoned asylum
There are a few eerie abandoned asylums dotted throughout Wales, including the Pool Park Asylum in Ruthin, and the Insane Asylum in Denbigh. Both offer thought-provoking insights into the past, with intricate architecture and abandoned decay proving to be a fascinatingly haunting experience. Be warned, this isn’t for the faint-hearted as it is certainly one of the more alternative activities in the area.
Home to four Dark Sky Reserves of varying status, there is no better place to experience the magic of the night skies. With little artificial light to interfere with the stars that glitter above, your chances of spotting something miraculous on a clear day are very high. Come equipped with a handbook on the night sky and see which constellations, planets and natural phenomenons you can spot.
That’s our top 16, and we think you’ll absolutely love every single one! In fact, we challenge you to try them all in 2019 and let us know how you get on.
Top tip: If you want to capture each moment without getting caught up in the camera screen, why not take along a disposable camera and limit yourself to one photo per activity? We’d love to see the results of your photo diary.
Explore our collection of holiday cottages in the Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia and elsewhere in Wales today and get yourself ready for a year of discovery…