Wales, a country full-to-the-brim with picturesque countrysides, unpronounceable city names, countless herds of sheep, and of course, their very own dish: welsh rarebit (ie. posh cheese on toast). It’s no wonder so many Welsh stereotypes exist…
Although Wales may seem like a tiny country to most of you, the contrast in cultures, climates and people from North to South is incredible. North Wales is home to some of the most breathtaking mountains in the United Kingdom such as Snowdon and Conwy and in South Wales, you can find the most idyllic beaches and lakes such as Pembrokeshire, and Carmarthenshire and of course, Gavin and Stacey’s very own Barry Island. Wales seems a lot quieter compared to other parts of the world and with such a mixture of cultures and characters, it’s no wonder that so many Welsh stereotypes exist today.
Whether you have visited wales or not, you will probably be familiar with the following Welsh Stereotypes…
Their world revolves around Rugby
If there’s one thing that Wales is known for, it’s their love for Rugby. Cardiff is home to the Principality Stadium, where numerous international rugby matches take place each year. Top teams such as France, England, Scotland and Ireland travel to Cardiff to be a part of the buzzing atmosphere during the Six Nations. Of course – this is definitely something to be proud of for Welsh people as many international people have branded the Principality as the best Rugby stadium in the world.
Most people have this idea that when you visit Wales, you’ll find lots of proud Rugby supporters around the streets of Wales, or down at the pub, talking about their favourite rugby memories. Another assumption that comes with this Welsh stereotype is that every single Welsh person knows the National Anthem off by heart and they sing it on a regular basis. I guess this stereotype is the Welsh alternative to the die-hard football supporters in England and other European countries. But realistically not everyone in Wales likes Rugby…
No one speaks English, only Welsh
As a foreigner, you may think that everyone in Wales speaks Welsh and only Welsh, but this isn’t true. Although there are some parts of Wales where Welsh is their first language, such as Gwynned where the majority of their population speak Welsh due to Welsh Language laws. On the other hand, there are some parts of Wales that are mostly English-speaking such as Flintshire, where 80% of the population do not know how to speak Welsh.
Realistically, not every single person who lives in Wales speaks Welsh but there are some areas where the Welsh language is the strongest language and unfortunately for us, the Welsh language is a hard one to learn. For English Speakers, it takes nearly twice as long to learn Welsh than it does to learn French, Spanish and Italian.
Welsh people only live on farms and drive tractors
With so many picturesque landscapes in one tiny country, people often assume that everyone in Wales lives on a farm. Whether it’s an industrial farm or a small cottage with a couple of chickens, they believe that this is the only living option for Welsh people. There is also the assumption that everyone in Wales learns to drive at the age of 13 and not just a car, a tractor too! In Wales, there is a large presence of ‘Young Farmers Clubs’ and Farming colleges, so you can see why people believe that this Stereotype is true. This ´Farmer´ stereotype is probably why people tend to think of Wales as a particularly outdated country.
Stereotypes aside, there are lots of seaside towns and industrial parts of Wales too! Becoming a farmer isn’t everyone in Wales’ life ambition either. But on the other hand, you should expect to get stuck behind a Tractor in a country lane at least once during your visit to Wales.
Singing is a nationwide talent in Wales
Another thing that Wales is known for is their singing talent, perhaps this Welsh stereotype stems from how well they sing the national anthem. But not only is the national anthem to blame for this stereotype, it may be down to the success of famous Welsh singers such as Charlotte Church, Tom Jones, Katherine Jenkins. With so many Welsh choirs and successful musicians, it’s no wonder that people assume that all welsh people are good at singing. Not to mention, we all familiar with Uncle Bryn’s love for singing throughout the Gavin and Stacey series!
But unfortunately, not everyone in Wales is born with the voice of an angel, but it’s nice to believe that they are…
Although we don’t see or hear a lot about Wales in films and TV programmes, thanks to these Welsh Stereotypes we already have our own ideas of what to expect when we visit Wales. But – just because you haven’t heard that much about Wales, it doesn’t mean that it’s not worth seeing! Yes, it may be a tiny country but it’s definitely worth a visit.
Do you agree or disagree with these Welsh stereotypes? Leave a comment below.