29 December 2021

In Pictures: Highlights from Wales in 2021

29 December 2021

While the pandemic continued to have a massive impact across Wales in 2021, there was some distraction provided by royal and political visitors and a Hollywood duo brought more than a sprinkle of stardom to Wrexham.

Here are some of the best images from across Wales in 2021.

The start of the year saw snow atop Pen y Fan as hardy walkers braved the wintry conditions.

Walkers ascend the path to the summit of Pen y Fan, South Wales’s highest mountain, in snowy conditions (Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Archive)

A coronavirus vaccination centre opened at Cwmbran Stadium in South Wales as the rollout gathered pace.

Vaccine stations are set up at Cwmbran Stadium (Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Archive)
People queue for an ice-cream van in Cardiff Bay, with stay-at-home restrictions eased and people permitted to travel within their local area (Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Archive)

In politics, the Senedd election brought Westminster leaders to Wales, with Labour equalling its best-ever result by winning 30 seats – just one short of a majority.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer during a visit to Wrexham Lager Brewery as part of Welsh Labour’s Senedd election campaign (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Archive)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson eats an ice-cream during a visit to Llandudno (Phil Noble/PA) (PA Archive)
Wales’s First Minister Mark Drakeford elbow bumps newly elected Senedd members Elizabeth Buffy Williams, representing Rhondda, left, and Sarah Murphy the Bridgend & Porthcawl MS (Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Archive)

A giant patchwork art installation Bridges, Not Walls, by Luke Jerram – was unveiled on a bridge to mark the beginning of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod music and dance festival.

The artwork consisted of 800 handcrafted squares of fabric made by people from the local community and around the world.

Artist Luke Jerram’s new artwork, a giant patchwork covering the Llangollen Bridge (Jacob King/PA) (PA Wire)
A surfer in Porthcawl (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Archive)

The slate landscape of north-west Wales joined the likes of the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon National Park and Machu Picchu to become a Unesco World Heritage Site. The landscape, which runs through Gwynedd, became the UK’s 32nd Unesco World Heritage Site and the fourth in Wales, following the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Blaenavon Industrial Landscape and the Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd.

A steam train runs past the north-west Wales slate landscape following the announcement that it has been granted Unesco World Heritage Status (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)
A large sign for Wrexham, in the style of the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, installed on the Bursham Bank (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)

Hollywood glitz and glamour was transported to North Wales when Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds and fellow actor Rob McElhenney bought National League club Wrexham in February.

The were present at their first game – a 3-2 defeat at Maidenhead – in October.

Wrexham owners Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds during a press conference at the Racecourse Ground (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! returned to Wales for a second year due to coronavirus travel restrictions preventing filming at its usual location of the Australian jungle.

Partway through the ITV series, the contestants were removed from Gwrych Castle after extreme weather conditions during Storm Arwen caused production difficulties.

Gwrych Castle near Abergele in Conwy County Borough, North Wales, which was used for I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)
The Virginia creeper covering the Tu Hwnt l’r Bont Tearoom on the banks of the River Conwy in Llanrwst begins to change colour at the start of autumn Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)

In November, an injured man was rescued from a cave after spending more than two days trapped inside.

Rescuers at the entrance of the Ogof Ffynnon Ddu cave system near Penwyllt, Powys in the Brecon Beacons, during a rescue mission is to save a man trapped inside a cave (Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Wire)

In the summer, Charles and Camilla spent a week touring Wales. Camilla carried out a solo event visiting Llanerch Vineyard in Pontyclun. The duchess had met the vineyard’s owner, Ryan Davies, at a Buckingham Palace event and made good on a promise to visit his business.

The Duchess of Cornwall, President of Wine GB, unveiled a plaque during a visit marking the 10th anniversary of the Llanerch Vineyard in Pontyclun, as part of a week-long tour of Wales (Chris Jackson/PA) (PA Wire)
A balloon vendor is passed by Christmas shoppers in the centre of Cardiff in December (Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Wire)

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