Wales is a proud sporting nation with both rugby union and football attracting significant interest throughout the country.
Many visitors flock to enjoy the scenic and breathtaking countryside it has to offer but some have questioned whether its possible to explore the stunning vistas whilst also taking in some sporting action? Whether you’re taking a stroll down the unrivalled Pembrokeshire coast or relaxing to the gentle sound of Afon Glaslyn lapping serenely on the shore, in Wales, you are never far away from the thrill of the match.
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Welsh Premier League
The Welsh Premier League is a division that contains both semi-professional and professional clubs with 12 teams located throughout the country. Whilst the majority of clubs are located close to a major town or on the coast, Newtown FC are one of a handful who are positioned in the middle of Wales close to some of the country’s finest panoramic surroundings. The Robins are one of just three clubs who have never been relegated from the top tier but unfortunately, they’ve struggled throughout the 2017-18 season and could slip into the league below if performances don’t improve during the last few months of the campaign. At the other end, The New Saints are dominating proceedings and betting sites have them as 1/100 favourites to wrap up the title with Connah’s Quay the only side realistically able to catch them and they are priced at 20/1. Visitors to Newtown and its neighbouring villages can join the regular gathering of dedicated fans at Latham Park on a Saturday afternoon before enjoying one of the many activities North and mid-Wales has to offer. Powys offers plenty of picturesque landscapes even in bleak mid-winter when the snow-covered hills offer the ideal opportunity for walkers to wrap up and enjoy the sound of crunching underfoot whilst budding photographers will relish the chance to take snaps of the stunning white undulations. Other options nearby include the Kerry Ridgeway walking and cycle route which offers views of Wales and England on either side and visitors can enjoy the tree-covered route through the Ceri Forest en route. Heading further north will take visitors to the upwardly mobile Bala Town FC, where regular Welsh Premier League games are enjoyed equally by locals and tourists. The town of Bala is part of the Snowdonia National Park and was named in Lonely Planet’s best places to visit in 2017. Major attractions include the Bala Lake Railway where four locomotives take visitors up to Penybont during a scenic and memorable 90-minute commute. For those fans who don’t mind dipping down a level, Penybont FC ply their trade in Welsh Football League Division One and have a stadium capacity of 1,200.
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Cardiff, Swansea and Newport Football Clubs
South Wales is ripe for fantastic countryside and it is also home to three football teams who reside in the top four tiers of the English leagues. Away fans who visit the Cardiff City Stadium or the Liberty regularly opt to extend their trip to make it a long weekend in South Wales. Coastal resorts such as Tenby and Saundersfoot are extremely popular but can often be busy particularly at the start of the new football season in August. The Brecon Beacons National Park are between 45 minutes and an hours drive away from Cardiff and many football fans can leave the stadium at full time and arrive at the world-famous mountain range in time for an evening meal at one of the regions cosy country pubs. Many of the local hostelries will not only offer a terrific range of ales and a locally sourced menu but provide the opportunity for weary travellers and walkers to position themselves by a roaring log fire and catch live Premier League and EFL Championship matches on the television screen. It’s a brilliantly relaxing way to follow the football without even entering the ground. Establishments such as the Felin Fach Griffin and the Star Inn were listed amongst Wales’ 35 cosiest pubs and are both within drivable distance of Swansea. For those looking for something a little livelier, the Plough Inn in Cardiff also offers a fantastic service and is a favourite of Welsh winger and Real Madrid Gareth Bale and his family. There are a number of historic towns and villages to drive through or stop-off positioned throughout South Wales with travelling football fans spoilt for choice. The Vale of Glamorgan offers plenty of options including St.Hilary which has retained the majority of its stone-built properties and featured in the BBC television series Sherlock.
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Wales offers the perfect mix for football fans and sightseers alike. Filled with country walks, cycle paths and winding roads, there is something for everyone and a number of Welsh football clubs from the top two tiers are situated nearby. It’s a terrific way to relax and unwind but also keep across all of the sporting action.