Dr Heather Williams, University of Wales Aberystwyth


This three-year AHRC-funded project looks into the various portrayals of Wales and ‘Welshness’ in European travel writing in the period 1750-2010. The project is a collaboration between Bangor University, the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies and Swansea University.

From the beginning of the period under study, travel writing has been an important source in forming perceptions of travel destinations. In light of this, the project will investigate an array of sources including travelogues, guidebooks, diaries and blogs, and will highlight the role of travel writing in forming perceptions of Wales both at home and abroad.

European travellers have come to Wales for numerous reasons: from those seeking a romantic idyll, to industrial spies in the Victorian era and refugees from Nazi Germany. Using individual travellers as case studies the project will broaden the scope of understanding by uncovering representations outside of English travel writing. It will also measure the extent to which existing English-language portrayals have helped shape European perspectives of Wales.

The project will also open up new avenues by broadening the definition of travellers to Wales. Aside from traditional travellers who came for purposes of leisure, scholarship or commerce, the project will also include writing by European exiles and refugees in Wales.


Outputs include:

  • Special issue on Wales of the academic journal Studies in Travel Writing, 18:2 (2014)
  • An international conference ‘”Minority” Cultures and Travel’ , September 14 -16 2015 at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth
  • Touring exhibition at Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth, followed by Swansea and Bangor, beginning summer 2015


Project website

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