With a population of just over three million people, Wales is a small country by anyone’s standards. Much given over to wild hills and great swathes of fields, the towns and cities are few and far between. However, for a small country it has given the world some rather impressive theories, inventions and fashions – so here’s our guide to 10 awesome things which originated in Wales – and you may well be rather surprised.
Powys businessman Pryce Pryce-Jones owned a shop in Newtown, Mid-Wales in the mid-ninetieth century. He noticed that the railways were being expanded, and he decided to use this new resource to send packages out to people’s homes, rather than have them collect from him. First he sent out leaflets, detailing the products, in the post and encouraged people to ‘mail order’. This paved the way for the universal mail order system and, eventually, the internet shopping mega-industry of today!
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
The weather forecast
Known as, ‘the father of modern meteorology’, Montgomery born David Brunt was the Britain’s first full time Professor of Meteorology at Imperial College London – the art of the weather forecast was born – and has proved extremely useful ever since. A First World War Meteorologist, he became president of The Royal Meteorological Society in 1942 and was knighted for services to his industry in 1959.
Mary Quant and the mini skirt
The Swinging Sixtes – and every ‘It’ girl was wearing the Mary Quant mini skirt. A true icon of its time, its designer Mary Quant was born to Welsh parents – who’d have thought that Wales and catwalk style went hand-in-hand, but then Wales did give the world Princess Diana’s wedding dress too!
Swansea-born Edward ‘Taffy’ Bowen was one of the pioneers in the discovery of radar. He built the first radar transmitter in the 1930s and this inspired him to build smaller transmitters which could be fitted into aeroplane cockpits – without radar and Taffy Bowen, the Second World War could have ended with a very different result.
An Irish Intitution? – so you may think, but legend has it that the recipe was allegedly ‘bought’ by Mr Arthur Guinness from a tavern keeper in Holyhead, North Wales whilst he was waiting for a ferry, and taken over the sea to Ireland where is became the iconic symbol it is today.
= and + signs in mathematics
The + and = signs in maths are both down to a Welsh man called Robert Recorde from Tenby in South Wales, who in 1557 changed the then standard equals sign (II) to the = we are all familiar with today.
London’s Covent Garden
Designed by the legendary architect Inigo Jones, who was born the son of a Welsh cloth worker, London’s Covent Garden is one of the most famous buildings in the city. Built in 1630, it was the first modern square in London and ticked all the boxes for contemporary style. Taking inspiration from the fashionable Italians, the piazza was born and can still be enjoyed today.
Denbighshire-born David Edward Hughes invented a carbon microphone in the 1870s. He failed to patent his device and Thomas Edison, who was working on a similar project, became synonymous with its invention. However, there were witnesses who told that Hughes was demonstrating his device quite a while before Edison!
The Theory of Evolution
Alfred Russel Wallace, born in Usk, Monmouthshire, was a naturalist and botanist who worked alongside Charles Darwin developing the theories of natural selection and human evolution. Called the father of bio-geology, he paved the way for some groundbreaking scientific theories. However, he was from a poorer background than his contemporary scientist – it was Darwin who was to finally write ‘On Origin of Species’, although an earlier piece on this theory was jointly published by Wallace and Darwin, so no doubt their work together helped.
Bill Frost, a carpenter from Saundersfoot in South Wales was seen flying 500 yards (457 metres) in a plane made by himself, in 1896. He patented his invention but was too poor to renew the patent – two years later the Wright Brothers officially made aviation history.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.