WALES can be appreciated in any season, although the less-hearty traveler may want to visit in spring or summer, when coastal gales and heavy rainfalls are at a minimum. If you travel off-season, pack warm, weatherproof gear and good hiking boots.
GETTING THERE: While trains go regularly from London to western Wales, renting a car is highly recommended. Most places of interest in Wales are impossible to get to without a vehicle, and bus service is sporadic. Pembrokeshire is about a three-hour drive from London.
LODGING: Prices vary, but most good bed-and-breakfasts, hotels, and converted farmhouses offer rooms ranging from 15 ($24) to 30 ($47) per night per person.
Breakfasts are usually hearty English affairs, featuring heavy plates of eggs, bacon, sausages, baked beans, fried mushrooms, toast, and - occasionally - fried tomatoes. More-upscale places offer cereals and fresh fruit as an alternative.
Wales Tourist Information Centres can reserve rooms that have been approved by the Wales Tourist Board. For advice or brochures in Britain, call 01348-873484 in Fishguard or 01633-842962 in Newport.
(Note: All phone numbers given are for calling from within the United Kingdom. To call from the United States, precede each number with 011-44 and drop the first 0 of the in-country number. Thus, to call the Wales Tourist Board in Fishguard from the US, dial: 011-44-1348-873484.)
Cnapan Country House for Guests, Newport, tel: 01239-820575. Bed-and-breakfast, 23 per night per person. Five rooms run by family; has cozy atmosphere, delicious home cooking.
Tycanol Farm, Newport, tel: 01239-820264. Caravan 10 per night, small cabin (loft) 6.50. Working farm, beautiful coastal view. Unheated rooms are too cold for winter stays.
Harbour House Hotel, Haverfordwest, tel: 01437-720013; 15 per night per person. Located on edge of small harbor; atmosphere is more rustic.
Old Cross Saws Inn, Pembroke. Bed-and-breakfast, 12 a night. Best for budget travelers.
SEASON: Some lodgings close for all of February. Many formerly unspoiled towns are now crowded with tourists during the warmer seasons.
LANGUAGE: While virtually all Welsh people speak English, all signposts are in both languages. The uninitiated will find Welsh, with its rivers of consonants, almost impossible to decipher. But its phonetic pronunciation is easier than it looks. Rules: C is always hard; DD is ''th'' as in ''breathe''; W is a vowel if it's inside a word, pronounced ''oo.'' F is ''v,'' LL is a breathy ''thl,'' and CH has a guttural sound, as in the Scottish ''loch.''