10. Our food and drink
From seaweed in bread to a lovely big dollop of cheese and mustard on a slab of bread, Welsh cuisine was never going to rule the world in the same way that Italy or America has. But therein lies the beauty – we don’t want to share all our delicious laver bread or Welsh rarebit with everyone. We’ll keep it for us to tuck into when we’re cwtched up tight on a cold Welsh winter’s night.
9. Our sportsmen and women
For such a small country, we’ve managed to produce our fair share of world-beating sports stars. From the rugby legends such as Gareth Edwards, Barry John and JPR through to the only undefeated British boxing champion Joe Calzaghe, and on to the unstoppable Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson – all legends in their own right. Add to that record-breaking football star Gareth Bale and our Six Nation champions, the Welsh Rugby Team (a large portion of whom made up the series-winning British and Irish Lions) and we’ve got ourselves some world-beaters.
8. Our beaches
With Rhossili Bay recently voted the third best beach in Europe, the world suddenly realised what we knew all along – that Welsh beaches are top notch. Ok, so we’ve had a few blemishes in the past with a few of the beaches doubling up as sewage farms, but we’ve finally come good.
7. Our castles
You don’t come across many castles in the world, but some of the very best can be found forged into the Welsh countryside. Caerphilly castle is the second largest castle in the UK – the Yanks can’t get enough of them, because yes sir, they’re the real thing.
6. Our language
Yes, it sounds like a drayman clearing his throat the morning after the night before on occasions but where else in the world are you going to get words and phrases such as ‘popty ping’ and ‘Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch’?
5. Our hwyl
We’ve seen it time and time again, especially in Welsh sport, when we’ve really got our backs to the wall. From deep within our hearts, the crowds find their voice, sparking the hwyl within the players. They take a sharp intake of breath, accept the challenge and then go smash it – the Welsh way.
4. Our music
From Ivor Novello, right through to erm…Sonia, Welsh music and the way we create and perform it, is one of the great things that the Welsh are renowned for. Shirley, Tom, Bryn, Charlotte and Katherine, Cerys – all musicians renowned the world over. And for those stood on the terraces of the Arms Park or the Millennium Stadium, who can fail to get a flock of geese rippling over their skin they join the other tens of thousands in singing Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau? Pure magic.
3. Our artists
Richard Burton. Dylan Thomas. Anthony Hopkins. Tommy Cooper. All masters of their art and giants in the world of the arts. Wales has produced many artistic greats over the centuries. Creative genius in conflict with human flaws sparked some of the most memorable living characters the world has seen. “I’ve just had eighteen straight whiskies. I think that’s the record.”
2. Our flag
There’s no flag in the world quite like it. While the other counties that make up the UK share the Union Jack, they’ll always be reminded that they are part of that union thanks to the fact that the Union Jack itself is made up of their flags. We’ve got one all to ourselves. And it’s bluddy lovely mun.
1. Our people
Apart from the odd idiot here and there, Wales is full of lovely, friendly people. Unlike England, we’ve never invaded anyone so very few people hold a grudge against us. In fact, we are known throughout the world as a friendly nation. It’s us, the proud Welsh people that are the best thing about Wales. Come here and give us a cwtch will you?