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The UK is the most popular international destination for US travelers in 2023, with Flight bookings increased by 145% from the US to the UK compared to last year.
Most American visitors will head to London, which is the most popular international destination during the summer.
Though London leads the way, other travelers will venture elsewhere in the UK or head north to spend time in Scotland.
But there will be fewer visitors venturing to Wales, another UK country. The UK has a lot to offer beyond London, and Wales is one of the lesser-known destinations.
Despite its proximity to London, Wales remains an underrated gem in the UK.
Here’s why this part of the UK should be on your travel wish list this year:
1. Less crowded than England
England is the most visited destination in the UK, but Wales receives fewer tourists. The majority of tourists to Wales are day tourists from the UK, so if you spend a few days to a week exploring the country, you won’t have to deal with the overwhelming tourist crowds.
This makes for a much more enjoyable experience. Instead of waiting in long lines and weaving through the crowds at famous tourist sites, you can enjoy solitude and peace in Wales.
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Wales is full of beaches, national parks and underrated cities that have far fewer crowds than neighboring England.
2. More affordable than London
Wales is also more affordable than London (and the rest of England). Although London is the most popular international destination for American travelers, it is notoriously expensive.
According to tourism planning resources Your Trip Budgetthe average cost of a hotel room in London, UK is £247 (about $317 USD) per night.
However, in Cardiff, Wales, the average cost of a hotel room is just £186 ($238 USD) a night, about 25% cheaper.
Overall, you can have a much more affordable stay in Wales than in England. The cost of living is lower and everything from food to living to transport is cheaper in Wales.
3. Wales is full of natural beauty
One of the biggest reasons to visit Wales this year is for its unspoiled natural beauty.
For hikers and outdoor adventurers, Wales has several national parks to explore. Snowdonia National Park and Brecon Beacons are famous for their mountains, while Pembrokeshire Coast National Park has wild and rugged beaches.
Wales has many amazing beaches, dotted with colorful fishing villages and ancient castles.
Cities like Cardiff and Swansea are also worth a visit, but the real highlight of Wales lies in the country’s wealth of natural beauty and stunning scenery, as well as quaint small towns and as beautiful as a painting.
4. Easily accessible from London
Coming to Wales is not difficult. In fact, it’s a very quick journey from London, the UK’s main tourist hub.
Although Wales has an international airport in Cardiff, there are very few direct flights from abroad and none from the United States.
Instead, you can get from London to Cardiff by train in just 1 hour and 50 minutes. While it’s possible to visit Cardiff on a day trip and possibly squeeze in a few other attractions, it’s actually better to treat Wales as a destination in its own right.
With limited time, two or three days will allow you to see some of the main highlights of this rather small country. If you have a whole week, you can thoroughly explore the mountains, coastline and cities and towns of Wales.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com