Travel

Visit to the Welsh Homeland – Part 2

It was now Wednesday and the half way point of my trip, and just like all trips home I’ve had over the years, the time was passing so fast.

The rain didn’t let up and the plan for the day was to visit the Dyserth Waterfall, we went ahead as planned with rain coats and umbrellas packed and ready to go. Arriving at the waterfalls I have to say I was a little underwhelmed; sure the grey sky didn’t help, but honestly there wasn’t really much about it. We saw the waterfall, walked the woods, attempted a dirty dancing log walk and within an hour we found ourselves in the pub!…which was a common theme with each day out!

Later that day I visited friends at Manorafon farm in Abergele, perks of being friends with the owners means I get private animal tours after hours perfectly paired with a glass of vino! Every time we visit they have new additions to the farm family, and on this occasion it was Meerkats and reptiles. Ge-Ge and Fifi were adorable, and much smaller than I had imagined meerkats to be, but I guess I was used to seeing them stand tall in that curious pose with their head held high, shouting “Alan, Alan”…..ok so I know that not all of you will get that reference but it’s all I can think about when I see them in that pose! Google it and it will be sure to give you a little chuckle! If you have little ones and are fortunate with the weather then I highly recommend to spend an afternoon at the farm.

The next morning, we headed to Plas Newydd which is set on the shores of the Menai Strait amidst breathtakingly beautiful scenery. The 1930s restyled interior is famous for its Rex Whistler association and contains his exquisite romantic mural. The interiors were amazing and there was so much that I loved about this place, that I will be writing a full blog on this one next week!

Unfortunately, as was the reoccurring theme, the weather was not on our side so we didn’t get a chance to explore the beautiful gardens at Plas Newydd. Instead we grabbed a quick coffee and sampled some Welsh fudge before we moved onto Beaumaris.

Arriving into Beaumaris I had a sense of familiarity, like I had been there before and this only became apparent once we passed the castle and began walking down the main street and I saw the Bulkeley Hotel. Only a couple of years back I attended a close friend’s wedding there!….ok so I was slightly intoxicated, as you do at weddings so I can be forgiven for not remembering that I had in fact been to Beaumaris before! The Bulkeley is a stunning grade I listed building with sea views to the rear and it was a gorgeous wedding setting. We decided to pop in to see the place again and have lunch in the coffee shop; they also offer a great afternoon tea.

After lunch we had a mooch around the shops and even rummaged in the village antique shop. I love the excitement that I might find something unique and beautiful in antique shops, but unfortunately not on this occasion. The village offers some great little boutique shops with unique products, mostly locally made from local products.

The night of the wedding we stayed at the The Bull, just over the road which was handy as it was literally crawling distance…..and we just so happened to be crawling! This 5* hotel is set in a 400 year old building and the rooms have been tastefully renovated for a cozy stay, so if you are looking for a a night or 2 in this area to explore then I would recommend The Bull; they have a great restaurant too!

I woke up on the final day of my Wales adventure to find sunshine! Today’s itinerary was a short 20 minute drive to a place called Betws Y Coed, translated this means means “prayerhouse-in-the-woods” and is thought to refer to the 14th Century St. Michael’s Church where the yew trees are around five centuries old.

Now here I had been before, several times in fact. My parents would take me and my sisters here for picnics in the summer and we would bring along our dog Penny; a gorgeous black Labrador who loved to play in the river. Every time we go my older sisters like to remind me that on one of these family days out, when I was about 6 or 7 I decided that I wanted a photo on the rock that was positioned in the middle of the river. So off I go using the stepping stones and our dog Penny is jumping around all excited. I get to the middle stone and I am pretty chuffed with myself for making it, so as I stand there with a big smile on my face, my dad gets the camera out and looks through the lense and I am not there anymore! I have slipped off the rock into the water and immediately begin to cry like a baby……well like a 7 year old child I guess!

I wade out to the shore and I am soaked through, all the while my 2 sisters are practically rolling around on the river bank in hysterics; and I am pretty sure that my parents found it funny too but they played the responsible parent role and consoled me. Now I am in soaking wet clothes, so my dad had to go into the village to one of the shops to buy me some dry clothes….which meant that I ended up with an outfit from the souvenir shops bargain bins!…..much to my sisters delight!

So that’s a little trip down memory lane, now back to my trip. We walked the same path as we did when we were young, along the river through the woods to the falls, which is all a clear path so you don’t need to worry about following a trail. It’s a great place to visit in nice weather and take a picnic and spend a lazy afternoon in the beautiful surroundings to the soundtrack of the running water. If you are an outdoor person and love walking and active holidays then this is a great base; set in a beautiful valley in the Snowdonia Forest Park with so many walking opportunities, be sure to go up to Llyn Elsi which is a lake just located above the village and is stunning.

Llyn Elsi

We walked up and round to Swallow falls; which real name is Rhaeadr Ewynnol, but I guess this was too difficult for tourists to pronounce and so somehow it was re-named by tourist as Swallow Falls. It’s one of Snowdonia’s most visited sights, and is the highest continuous waterfall in Wales and although it is no Niagara it certainly is impressive and worth a visit.

Most of the places mentioned in this blog are under the National Trust so if you are planning a visit and live in the UK then I would highly recommend becoming a member to be able to visit over 500 National Trust attractions.

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