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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wales?
Like Simon Jenkins I am 'half Welsh' and have lived my whole life outside of Wales, rarely visiting the land of my fathers.
I wanted a book that would:
a) kindle a somehow lost enthusiasm to visit and explore
b) help me overcome my woeful ignorance of Welsh history
I am delighted with this book for it scores on both counts. It is, apart from anything...
Published on 9 Feb 2009 by Duncan Thomas

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39 of 49 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sprinkled with innacuracies
I am no expert on the subject and I didn't set out to check any of the text of this book which was lent to me and highly recommended. I was planning to buy a copy. I wasn't looking for errors but in several sections of the book I spotted mistakes; some of which are detailed below. Most of the places in the book are unknown to me so I have no idea how accurate is the rest...
Published on 23 Jan 2009 by P. Robinson


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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wales?, 9 Feb 2009
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Like Simon Jenkins I am 'half Welsh' and have lived my whole life outside of Wales, rarely visiting the land of my fathers.
I wanted a book that would:
a) kindle a somehow lost enthusiasm to visit and explore
b) help me overcome my woeful ignorance of Welsh history
I am delighted with this book for it scores on both counts. It is, apart from anything else, beautifully written, and conveys on every page, Simon Jenkins' obvious love for and knowledge of his subject, and it is permeated by both humour and intelligence. It is nicely opinionated as well as being well researched - thereby avoiding all of the normal cliche's and gloss that tourist boards regularly push out (and which is actually a turn-off for me). The intoduction is a tour de force in my view, encapsulating quite brilliantly the panorama of Wales' history in less that 40 pages, and explaining things that I never knew (and had become too ashamed to ask about)- the Romans in Wales,
The illustrations are almost all absolutely excellent, and the balance between text and illustration is perfect - no fancy Dorling Kindersley type graphics that make every page a piece of wallpaper.
This is a serious book, and a seriously good one. Wales should, on the strength of it, be having rather more visitors from beyond the Marches this year. I shall be one of them.
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39 of 49 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sprinkled with innacuracies, 23 Jan 2009
By 
P. Robinson - See all my reviews
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I am no expert on the subject and I didn't set out to check any of the text of this book which was lent to me and highly recommended. I was planning to buy a copy. I wasn't looking for errors but in several sections of the book I spotted mistakes; some of which are detailed below. Most of the places in the book are unknown to me so I have no idea how accurate is the rest of the text and I haven't read it all.

Page 30: "...Gwrych Castle overlooking Colwyn Bay..." It doesn't. The town of Colwyn Bay cannot be seen from the castle and it doesn't overlook the Bay of Colwyn.
Page 57 (Bodelwyddan Castle): "Bodelwyddan was rescued by Clwyd County Council with a consortium of Warner low-cost hotels, saviour of a dozen English houses and in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery...."
In fact Clwyd County Council bought the castle in the 1980s without Warner involvement. In 1994 the Council leased part of the site to the Rank Organisation for its first Warner Holidays Hotel. There is a partnership with the National Portrait gallery.
Page 76 (Denbigh): "a tablet at the back of the church commemorates a local man, Twm o'r Nant.." It does, but I am surprised that he doesn't mention that Twm o'r Nant has a large tomb in the churchyard - signposted for visitors.
Page 82: "Llangar sits on the bank of the upper Dee as it curves towards Bala between the Berwyn and Arenig mountains". The church is on the hillside above the river, which is flowing from Bala, not towards it.
Page 204 (Conwy): "Thomas Telford's box girder bridge (1848)..." Telford's bridge is the suspension bridge (a National Trust property), which is not mentioned! The bridge he attributes to Telford is Robert Stephenson's railway bridge!!
Page 224 (Betws y Coed): He refers to the old church (St Michael's) and says "This is locked, sadly..." Yes it is, most of the time, but the key is easily obtainable from the nearby Railway Museum or the Tourist Office.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Visiting Wales, 14 May 2009
By 
Pobble (Bristol UK) - See all my reviews
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I rarely buy new reference books as they generally aren't worth it, but I'm delighted to say this one is. It's a handy size, very readable and covers a wide range. There are some odd ommissions. If South Wales' iconic example of the romantic ruin is Carreg Cennan [which is given a whole column of blurb and a full page photo], then surely Dinas Bran is is North Wales' entry which deserves at least a photo - but it doesn't even get a mention, which is a pity when you think how many tens of thousands of people driving along the A5 must see it and wonder at it. However, I recommend this book as it generally does what it sets out to do.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wales hidden beauty, 2 April 2009
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J. J. P. Pritchard (Lincolnshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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Hardback which has many colour pictures and maps to complement the detailed information on the buildings visited. This is written for the serious and enthuisatic person who likes to wander around old buildings to look at the interior & exterior fabic of the building. The history of the buildings also makes an interesting read, with some un-useual facts on the development of the buildings reviewed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 4 July 2014
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Superb informative guide giving plenty of background and information about the sites.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An indispensable reference, 27 Mar 2014
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R. Clipperton - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wales: Churches, Houses, Castles (Paperback)
If you like visiting many churches, castles and historic homes, this book is indispensible. I saw it first in my local library but immdeiately decided to buy my own copy. My only regret is there are still properties not covered and oh I wish for a similar book for England.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very useful for those living in Wales or visiting., 19 Feb 2014
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A very useful book for anybody visiting or living in Wales as Simon Jenkins identifies many sites and in particular, churches, that one would be unlikely to locate normally.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Information in Hand, 2 Feb 2014
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I am a member of both English Heritage and National Trust; these little books provide information for visiting interesting buildings not in posetion of either of these and help in planning visits to places of interest in Wales
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wales, 31 Dec 2013
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Bought this book for my Welsh brother-in law, he is delighted with it. He recognises a number of interesting places arpouind his home town of Abergavenny.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wales:Churches, Houses, Castles, 6 Dec 2013
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David Hall - See all my reviews
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Good overall guide to the relevant three types of architecture in Wales in the knowledgeable opinion of simon Jenkins,well illustrated
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Wales: Churches, Houses, Castles
Wales: Churches, Houses, Castles by Simon Jenkins (Paperback - 1 Dec 2011)
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