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Wales is a country full of spectacular landscapes and outstanding natural beauty. An anonymous poet once wrote about the ‘Seven Wonders of Wales’ listing some of, what he felt, were the most unmissable sights.

What are these seven wonders? And what makes them so unique? Let’s explore the wonders of Wales in this article! 

The Seven Wonders of Wales Poem

The Seven Wonders poem was written around the late 18th century and is a simple four-lined poem taken from the perspective of an English traveller to North Wales. It goes like this:

“Pistyll Rhaeadr and Wrexham steeple,
Snowdon’s mountain without its people,
Overton yew trees, St Winifred’s Well,
Llangollen’s Bridge and Gresford’s bells.”

Anonymous

Although a lot has changed since the poem was written, these seven wonders have stood the test of time and are all still with us today.

The seven wonders mentioned in this notorious poem were chosen thanks to their unique characteristics and unmatched beauty, making the poem a perfect reference for the millions of tourists visiting Wales each year1 (source: BBC).


What Are The Seven Wonders of Wales?

Let’s take a look at the Seven Wonders and what makes them a notable landmark in Wales.

1. Pistyll Rhaeadr 

Situated in the village of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant, Pistyll Rhaeadr is the highest waterfall in the UK at 240ft tall. People from all over the world come looking to find this pearl of natural beauty. 

Just a short 20-minute walk to the top of the waterfall and you can experience the spectacular views of the Berwyn Mountains and surrounding woodland.


2. St Giles’ Church

Next in the poem is ‘Wrexham steeple’ which is actually a tower built in the early 15th century as part of St Giles Church in Wrexham. The tower or ‘steeple’ is 135ft high with fantastic views of the Berwyn Hills, the Mersey Estuary, and the Cheshire Plains.

On visiting the church, you’ll be amazed by the stunning medieval architecture of this Grade 1 listed building. The church is the largest of its kind in Wales at 180ft long. 


3. Snowdon

Snowdon is by far the most famous of these seven wonders. The mountain is the highest in Wales and England at 1085m tall (3560ft) and well worth the effort of climbing to the peak to experience breathtaking views of mountains, hills and lakes. 

The summit can be reached by six different paths varying in difficulty or you can take the Snowdon Mountain Railway and enjoy the views from a vintage steam train. The Snowdonia National Park has a wealth of treasures to discover and enjoy including hidden lakes, waterfalls and medieval history.


4. Overton Yew Trees

In the small village of Overton-on-Dee, the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin dominates the high street with not just one but 20 ancient yew trees. 

Some of these trees are over 2,000 years old and pre-date the church itself making them an important part of Overton’s history2 (source: Wikipedia). One of the trees was planted by Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1992 to commemorate the 700th anniversary of a Royal Charter granted to Overton by King Edward 1 in 1292.


5. St Winefride’s Well

The well at St Winefride’s has been a famous holy site for pilgrims since the 12th century. The waters in the well are believed to be the location where Welsh abbot St Beuno bought his niece Winefride back to life. This ancient story still attracts many people every year who come to test out the waters healing properties making Winefride’s Well the oldest continually visited pilgrim site in Britain. 

The chapel itself is a striking building built in the late 15th century. On the chapel floor, the spring water is set in a star-shaped basin with another pool outside for pilgrims to bathe in its waters.


6. Llangollen Bridge

Thought to have been the first stone bridge to span the River Dee, Llangollen bridge was first constructed in 1284 by John Trever 1, the Bishop of St Asaph.

It has been upgraded many times but the bridge we see today was built around the late 16th century. Llangollen bridge is still in use today and no matter how many times it evolves, the bridge still maintains the original design that earned it a place on the seven wonders list.


7. Gresford’s Bells 

Last of the wonders is All Saints Church in Gresford for its pure-sounding bells that are rung regularly for church services. The earliest record of the bells is found in the parish register and dates back to 1714. Each of the bells has been restored over the years but one of the original bells still remains and is called the “Parsons” or “Prayer” bell which is inscribed “God save the church”. 

In 1877, an apparatus was installed so that all eight bells could be chimed by one person and played simultaneously to provide music for hymns and special occasions.

The church, which was built in the 15th century has beautiful original stained glass windows and a grove of yew trees that date back more than 1,000 years.


What Are The Modern Seven Wonders?

Although this classic list of wonders is still going strong today, most of them are located in the North of Wales. Wales, as a country though, has a wide variety of wonders to be discovered and explored. This begs the question, what are the modern seven wonders of Wales?

A survey by Wales Online found a new definitive list of seven wonders chosen by the public, these were:

  1. The Great Glasshouse at the National Botanic Garden of Wales
  2. Snowdon
  3. Wales Millennium Centre
  4. Eisteddfodau
  5. Portmeirion
  6. Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
  7. The Pembrokeshire Islands

The first is the Great Glasshouse of the Botanic Garden of Wales, designed by world-famous architect Norman Foster. Next was Snowdon, a survivor of the original list of wonders known for being the tallest mountain in Wales but also for its history and ecology making it a unique and breathtaking location. 

The new modern list also included The Wales Millenium Centre, Eisteddfodau, Portmerion, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, and the Pembrokeshire Islands added for their cultural heritage and outstanding natural beauty.

Arguably, Eisteddfodau is an oddball in this list since that is a cultural tradition rather than a physical location, but this is what the people voted for.

The modern seven attractions certainly attest to the wide geographical spread of Welsh Wonders.

Kieren is the founder and editor-in-chief of Wales Guidebook. Originally from rural Mid-Wales, he has lived all over the country from Cardiff to Wrexham. A true Welshman, Kieren created this site to share his passion for Wales and help others discover this beautiful country.