After celebrating its Year of Adventure during 2016, Wales is now looking ahead to its 2017 Year of Legends – a 12-month tribute to this ancient nation’s epic myths and legends of the past, present and future. Dragons, princesses, warriors… and footballers! It’s all waiting to be discovered in Wales.
Rugged coastline & beach, Marloes sands, Dyfed, Wales.
VisitWales is inviting visitors to immerse themselves in Wales’ epic stories, and explore the stunning locations where landscape meets lore. Visitors can enjoy prehistoric architecture, action-packed activities and a cast of legendary characters and heroes – from mighty King Arthur to wonderful Roald Dahl, as well as modern-day heroes and heroines making history right now.
With thousands of years of history and mythology to share, VisitWales is splitting the year into five key themes, linking to major events and celebrations along the way.
Love Stories – January and February
The start of the year will celebrate Wales’ legendary love stories, including Valentine’s Day in February and St Dwynwen’s Day on 25 January, which honours the nation’s patron saint of lovers each year. The legend goes that Dwynwen was the prettiest of Welsh king Brychan Brycheiniog’s 24 daughters. She fell in love with a man named Maelon Dafodrill, but her father had already arranged for her to marry someone else. Distraught, Dwynwen devoted her life to God, setting set up a convent on the island of Llanddwyn off the coast of Anglesey. The remains of the church can still be seen on the island, along with Dwynwen’s Well, which has become a place of pilgrimage for young Welsh lovers since the 5th century.
Film locations – March and April
Next up, March and April will celebrate legendary film locations, coinciding with the release of major new Hollywood movie King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Spot the imposing mountains of Snowdonia on screen. Mount Snowdon is reputedly where Arthur killed a fearsome giant, Rhitta, while Llyn Llydaw is supposedly the final resting place of Excalibur, Arthur’s sword, after it was thrown in the lake’s waters after Arthur’s death. Filming for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword took place in several areas, including Tryfan mountain in the Ogwen Valley – one of the most famous and recognisable peaks in Britain. Angelina Jolie filmed parts of Tomb Raider here in 2001 and Sean Connery shot scenes for First Knight here 20 years ago.
Sporting legends – May and June
2017 will be a legendary year for sport in Wales as it hosts the UEFA Champions League final for the first time on 3 June at Cardiff’s National Stadium of Wales. The Women’s Champions League final will be played in Cardiff City Stadium two days earlier, which makes May and June the perfect time to celebrate Wales’ sporting legends – both historical and emerging, such as footballer Gareth Bale.
Summer festivals – July, August and September
Wales is home to some of Britain’s best summer festivals, such as Green Man and the increasingly popular Festival No. 6, held at the Italianate coastal town of Portmeirion. So the summer months of 2017 will be dedicated to legendary festival fun!
Food routes – October, November, December
From Caerphilly cheese to Glamorgan sausages, Wales’ food is as legendary as its castles. The last three months of the year will celebrate all the nation’s gastronomic delights, showcasing the local masters who make Wales such a fantastic place to eat and drink – from cheesemakers to beer boffins.