Friday, 23 September 2016

Christmas In Wales


Christmas Dinner is our favourite type of dinner, and we’re rather fond of a good turkey (or goose!) with all of the trimmings, and an excellent Christmas Pudding. Yet, we’ve never really attempted to spend Christmas anywhere but at home. But as the kids have grown up and moved away, and have their own lives, we can’t help but feel a little at a loss at this time of year, with all manner of goings on all around us and things to do, but not much of an idea on what exactly appeals to us… or what we’re supposed to do.

When we were approached about spending Christmas in the heart of North Wales, within a luxury, boutique Country House Hotel in Caernarfon, we were immediately interested. After all, who wouldn’t value a holiday at Christmastime? The Ty’n Rhos Country House sits upon an open field, and benefits from a very good position between Bangor and Caernarfon. And, their Christmas events are better described as a Christmas Spectacular, to be frank.

We arrived at 2pm on the dot to a very festive tipple and a sumptuous cream tea, right in front of a gloriously cosy log fire that put ours at home to shame. We made quite an event about exploring this beautiful Country House – the surroundings and the gardens in particular are wonderful, and staff presence was very attentive, but nicely relaxed. Later in the day we enjoyed an entirely fabulous three-course candlelit dinner, followed by coffee and chocolates. Apparently the Ty’n Rhos has a fantastic restaurant in Caernarfon with a very high reputation, and we certainly weren’t let down.

We enjoyed a very restful night’s sleep within an individually decorated, sumptuously outfitted room. We awoke fresh and ready to take on Christmas Day with a very thoughtfully presented Contental Breakfast. Opening presents within such grand surroundings was certainly an experience!

The décor at the T’yn Rhos was beautiful and very classy, and we’re very happy to report that even their Christmas decorations were perfectly in keeping with the rest of the décor. Classy and high-end, with not a single sprig of tatty or cheap looking tinsel anywhere.

Christmas Lunch was an experience. With utterly fine dining, lovely service and excellent staff, we enjoyed ourselves very much – especially so thanks to some wonderful wine recommendations. We enquired as to how exactly such a small restaurant in Caernarfon managed to have such a selection, and we were entrusted with the knowledge that the T’yn Rhos have links to a local wine merchant. The staff in their entirety were very well-educated in regard to all things wine, and it was refreshing to have a conversation with a server that absolutely and entirely shares a passion for all things wine.

When Lunch was over, we were pleasantly surprised to find that wasn’t the end of the festivities. We were greeted with coffee, Christmas cake, and a pleasant liqueur served in the stunning conservatory, and a full evening buffet.

Boxing Day started off with a full Welsh Breakfast, and we were pleased to discover that the afternoon enabled us to check out the sales in nearby Caernarfon, and we found a number of bargains in this fantastic little Welsh town. We returned to a piping hot pot of tea within the Conservatory, and later met in the Lounge at 7pm for drinks and more delicious canapes. There was even more food on hand with a 5-course Gala Dinner, followed by more coffee and a selection of utterly delicious petit fours.

All-in-all, the Ty’n Rhos looked after us well and truly. Service was kind, attentive, and their staff appear to know the correct balance between providing everything you need, without it being too overbearing. The food was absolutely delicious and there was more than enough of it to leave us feeling that we couldn’t even begin to handle another bite! 

The Ty’n Rhos has a similar package throughout 2016, so we encourage you wholeheartedly to spend Christmas in Wales this year. You certainly won’t regret it!  


Tuesday, 30 August 2016

The Llandudno Summer Ice Rink Is Due To Close Soon – Don’t Miss Out!

Llandudno is a fantastic destination for your summer holiday. It’s a wonderful town, originally purpose-built for tourism in 1848. It attracted a number of revellers back then, and absolutely hasn’t lost any of it’s sparkle since. With careful maintenance as well as a number of some seriously fun things to do in the surrounding areas, Llandudno fully deserves it’s title of the Queen of Welsh resorts and is the largest seaside town within Wales. This prestigious title is helped in no small part by the array of fantastic hotels in Llandudno which line the wonderfully clean and carefully maintained shoreline – truly a spectacular sight to behold when the sun’s out and the sea and skies are blue.

That, after all, is what is to be expected from a holiday by the seaside, isn’t it? Llandudno has it in abundance. An excellent marriage of history and progressiveness, sun, sea, sky and – an ice rink?

Believe it or not, it’s true. Or at the very least, it’ll be true for August. Venue Cymru, situated right on the long crescent promenade of Llandudno, is famous in the town for providing anything from Broadway performances, ballets and operas to live music from very notable bands – and this year, even hosted the BANFF Film Festival!

Some say that British tourism is on the decline and that the British seaside holiday is on the way out. Llandudno pooh-poohs that notion in the way that only Llandudno can. With grace, dignity, and standing ahead of the pack with it’s fantastic variety of attractions and history.

Whether you’re here for bucket and spades at the beach, sampling the delicious icecream, enjoying Llandudno’s wonderful pier, shopping at Llandudno’s staggering 2 shopping parks and highstreet – or even walking the magnificent Great Orme, Llandudno has so much for absolutely everyone. For an excellent hotel experience, the Cae Mor Hotel in Llandudno is right on the shoreline next to Venue Cymru – centrally and wonderfully situated to ensure that you have a wonderful holiday, whatever you choose to do with it.


Tuesday, 16 August 2016

A Dog Friendly Getaway in Snowdonia


Dog Friendly Walks Betws-y-Coed
We love nothing more than being able to holiday away, taking time away for ourselves from our busy day to day lives. This time is important.  In fact, psychologists regard holidays a source of happiness and an essential for quality of life (Filep, 2012; Richards, 1999).  With our busy lifestyles, it can be difficult to make time for ourselves and our loved ones (pets included).  When leaving your dogs with the kennels just doesn’t seem like the right choice for someone who considers them as much part of their family as children. For you, a dog friendly getaway is the answer. And what could be better for you and your dogs than beautiful Snowdonia, North Wales. The mountains, the lush green forest backdrops and the calming sound of nearby rivers make the best relaxing environment for you and your pets. It’s a good thing there’s plenty of dog friendly accommodation in Snowdonia to give you the best possible stay.

The principal village in Snowdonia is Betws-y-Coed. Due to its exceptional beauty and outstanding landscape, it has become an established yet undisturbed activity hotspot for dog walkers and cyclists alike. The riverside walks are well known, taking you on a journey over bridges, boardwalks and pathways through the trees. With a choice of paths available, you can choose a walk between 1-3 hours long. These beautiful paths are suitable for the whole family and even wheelchair users and pushchairs. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, Betws-y-Coed is only a short drive away from the more advanced walking routes over the Tryfan and Cwm Idwal mountains – also a place of Special Scientific Interest. Or perhaps you’re looking to climb the highest point in Wales and England; Mount Snowdon, only 6 miles away from Betws-y-Coed.

The Glan Aber Hotel, Betws-y-Coed is fantastic dog friendly hotel allowing up to two dogs to stay with you in your specially selected room. Dogs are also welcomed in the public bar area where guests are welcome to have their evening meals. Water bowls as well as a shaded outside area is provided. Perhaps you’d like to spend the day taking advantage of the many attractions around the area? Well the Glan Aber Hotel works closely with Snowdonia Animal Sanctuary to provide a full or half day dog sitting service so you can make the most of your stay. With a range of freshly prepared, family friendly meals available throughout the day, you needn’t worry about finding somewhere to eat. The hearty evening meals will finish your day off nicely in the ambient restaurant. Staying in this valley couldn’t be done any better.

References:
·         Filep, S. (2012). Positive psychology and tourism. In M. Uysal, R. Perdue & J. Sirgy (Eds.) Handbook of tourism and quality-of-life: The missing links (pp.31–50). Dordrecht: Springer.Flaxman, P.E., Ménard, J.,
·         Richards, G. (1999). Vacations and the quality of life: Patterns and structures. Journal of Business Research, 44, 189–198.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Surf The Conwy Valley!

The Conwy Valley and surrounding region of Snowdonia and North Wales offer so very much to see, do and experience, we struggle to think of how anyone could fit it all on a typical break. The Year of Adventure is very much is full swing, with a multitude of thrill seekers arriving from England, Europe, and even wider to experience this beautifully underrated holiday treasure-trove. Hotels in Conwy and the surrounding areas are prepped, equipped and ready to provide a great experience for thrillseekers that need a bit of down time on their adventure.

Surf Snowdonia is an excellent (and certainly unique) thing to do in North Wales, and we’re huge fans of it and it’s amazing Crash and Splash Lagoon, which is a real opportunity to go head-to-head against friends or family (or both) and put your agility, determination and balance to the ultimate test against a sea of obstacles. Whether it’s giant spinning balls, monkey bars, climbing walls, rope bridges or balance beams, it’s unbelievably fun and an excellent way to make some memories.

But what about after the sun’s gone down, the lagoon is closed, and you’re after a nice, quiet place to relax and refuel? There is excellent accommodation to hand (and certainly a step above pitching a tent or retiring to a cramped pod) with the nearby Groes Inn, less than 15 minutes drive away. Situated between Ty’n-y-Groes and Rowen, this historic inn offers a real high-quality experience in it’s beautiful coach house that dates back to the 15th Century – known as the oldest Inn in Wales.

History bleeds from this attractive place, be it the aged vines that cover the pretty exterior (we wonder how old they in particular are…) or even its very pretty pub and charming layout that’s stuffed full of the character features you can only expect in a place like Wales. Handsome, charming, and certainly something special if you’re travelling with someone special, the Groes Inn is a gigantic leap upward from being cramped up in most camping pods and is close enough to Dolgarrog and Surf Snowdonia, that it’s not an ordeal taking your board and just going.  
  

Monday, 1 August 2016

A Luxury Dog Friendly Experience


We enjoy going on holiday with our pets, and it just doesn’t seem right to drop them with friends and family when we’re off about and around, leaving our dogs in particular to pine. Some of us
report that we don’t really enjoy going away as much with the consideration of our dogs left at home or in a kennel. On the other side of the coin, we’re not exactly fond of staying at “dog friendly” hotels, as they have a reputation for being quite… chewed. If you’re looking for a premium dog friendly hotel in Caernarfon, we have a treat for you, and your best friend as well.

The Tyn Rhos Country House is accommodation set in a stellar location, just between Bangor and Carnarfon—with close proximity to the gorgeous Snowdonia region as well as being a mere 5 miles away from the gateway to Anglesey – the Menai Bridge. Graded with Visit Wales’ prestigious 5 star rating, we couldn’t believe our eyes that the Country House is dog-friendly. It’s a beautiful location to sight-see the whole of the North Wales area, in a quiet and peaceful setting ensuring that you can relax and unwind.

Originally a farmstead, this boutique hotel developed over the years to include 19 letting bedrooms, a huge conservatory, a gorgeously decorated lounge, a bar that’s full of Welsh character and a truly special restaurant. The rooms are sumptuous—decorated individually, huge, and so very high-end, we were staggered from start to finish.

Dogs at Tyn Rhos are indeed welcomed, and there’s a miniscule charge of £5.00 per dog, per night. Upon making a reservation, it’s advised to inform the Country House that you intend to take your dog, so they can guide you on the most suitable room for your best friend and you.

The hosts are a family of experienced hoteliers, who previously owned the prestigious Farthings Country House in Somerset. Quality accommodation, superb food, and ensuring a friendly and relaxed atmosphere is paramount to this team of experienced professionals, as well as making the  stay of you and your dog an absolutely perfect one.

Llandudno Voted Top Seaside Resort in the UK By TripAdvisor!

We do like to be beside the seaside, especially so when said seaside is anything alike Llandudno, in North Wales. Llandudno seems to be breaking the trend of desolate, uninhabited, grey and bleary towns on the sea that seem to inspire nothing but despair, and instead is a shining, beautiful example of how care, attention, and constant improvement can break the silly notion that holidays in the UK are dead. It’s really not the case and Llandudno in particular proves it– the most iconic feature of this beautiful town being the gorgeous Victorian Seafront Hotels in Llandudno , set upon the gorgeously clean North beach.

Why does Llandudno have so many fantastic period buildings? Originally created as a resort in Victorian times and functioning as one ever since, Llandudno thankfully managed to escape most of World War II’s bombings, and as such, the constant attention and care paid to these gorgeous buildings has meant that they have remained fully operational, and chock full of stunning period features that we that dwell in high-rise new builds in cities can only dream about.

A great example of these beautiful hotels is the St Tudno Hotel, on the seafront. The hotel itself is very well known in the area for being the subject of repeated visits over one hundred years ago from the family of a certain little girl. Alice Liddel’s family chose Llandudno as the area of many holidays, and afte enjoying their accommodation in St Tudno’s that much, elected to build their own house on Llandudno – Pen Morfa.

While times have passed and changed, St Tudno in itself stands proudly on the Llandudno seafront. Boasting some unique and tasteful features such as fresh flowers weaved daily into it’s chandeliers, stunning décor in Victorian style but with a modern twist, as well as some absolutely beautiful building design – this hotel is one of Llandudno’s finest.

Llandudno stands head and shoulders over it’s competition in the North Wales area, and even headed off competition from far more well-known destinations such as North Devon, Cove Bay, Salcombe, Whitby and Barry Island. It’s not too late to book your trip to Llandudno this year, so why don’t you give it a try?

Fine Dining In North Wales



North Wales is a bountiful and beautiful region, that has it’s roots in slate manufacture and coal mining, and a slew of outdoorsy activities for those so inclined. It’s premier seaside resort, Llandudno recently won TripAdvisor’s Best Seaside Resort of 2016, trouncing competition from England and Wales. Yet moving away from shambling up mountains and the inevitable pull of the seaside, did you know that there’s a hidden jewel for all self-respecting gourmets located just between Bangor and Caernarfon? Fine Dining restaurants in Caernarfon? Really?

Absolutely. The Tyn Rhos Country House has a vast menu, which is changed out daily, as their commitment to sourcing good, local fare of the absolute highest quality is paramount. Their team of Michelin starred chefs source their ingredients daily, in order to guarantee dining of the absolute highest quality for all of their lucky patrons. To enjoy a meal at the Tyn Rhos is a very special thing. Their venue is small and intimate, tastefully decorated and seating 35 people at a time—so you’re absolutely certain to have an experience where you are certainly looked after. We’re fans of the ambience of smaller venues, so this is music to our ears.

Open for evening meals between 6:30 to 8:30, the Tyn Rhos Country House has a lovely atmosphere, a fantastic selection of locally produced, expertly prepared gourmet food (We recommend the premium Wagyu beef, sourced from the prestigious Highland Wagyu Beef Company in particular, not sold through shops and only sold directly to select chefs) and the capability to cater to those with certain dietary requirements.

Due to the nature of food preparation in the Tyn Rhos, it is advised that those who have special requirements or allergies to let the restaurant know as you book – as menus change daily.  
Overall, we’re very impressed by the Tyn Rhos Country House, with it’s beautiful location, majestic house and team of truly talented chefs, we consider it the culinary jewel of the Welsh countryside and would wholeheartedly recommend it to all of our readers.