Stunningly located between the Eifl and the sea, this deserted quarry village was inaccessible by car until the 1980s, when it was regenerated to provide residential Welsh courses.
Welsh Language and Heritage Centre, Nant Gwrtheyrn, Llithfaen, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, LL53 6PA
Tel: 01758 750334
Self-catering Cotswold cottage. Beautifully renovated old silk-workers cottage in the charming Cotswold village of Blockley. Great for walking and wonderful pubs for meals. Amazing views from the cottage and very peaceful. Highly recommended.
Fantastic website with all different kinds of walks in this wonderful part of Wales. We recently did the eight-mile walk around the lakes in Trefriw - the Conwy Lake District.
Great little cafe on one side of Llyn Crafnant where they make delicious home-made cakes and serve a well deserved cuppa.
A wonderful French 'country-style' (their words) restaurant, serving fabulous local fish, lamb, beef etc., but done in the best French way, i.e. cooked well and served simply. Anniversary dinner (snails in garlic butter and chilli, local lamb, sea bass in yet more delicous garlic butter, plum & almond tart) was faultless. So many provincial (and urban come to that) restaurants overcook fish but not so here - and it's good to be offered local sea trout and brill hauled in from the harbour opposite in Conwy. Staff are young yet very friendly and helpful. Not innovative cuisine but delicous nonetheless. We've been coming to Conwy for years but only tried this place this weekend - we'll definitely be heading back.
Paysanne, Station Road, Deganwy
Conwy, LL31 9EJ
Tel: 0871 223 9396
A ruined medieval castle, on a cliff, in the hills of the Brecon Beacons, with (on a good day) views out to the sea. Wild and windswept, a fantastic location, which will set anyone's adventurous imagination going. Great exploring for all ages (don't miss the cave), with footpaths around the castle for longer walks. Pop to the farm next door to a fab cafe in a barn, also the source of Brecon Carreg mineral water.
In the village of Trap, 4 miles from Llandeilo in SW Wales. The castle is signposted on brown "Tourist Attraction" signs.
Tir y Castell Farm, Trap, Llandeilo SA19 6TS Camarthenshire
Pete's Eats on Llanberis High Street has long been the eating and meeting point of climbers (the cafe keeps the climbers new route book for the area) and other outdoor enthusiasts in northern snowdonia. They're famous for their pints of tea and serve these with big portions of climber-walker-cyclist-paddler-traveller friendly food at low prices.
The menu ranges from chip butties to smarter healthier options, with loads of vegetarian choice, and specials that change often. Whatever you choose it is sure to be filling and satisfying.
As well as great food and a good crack, there's always a pile of papers and magazines, a book swap, internet access and a map/guide library. They also now do accommodation. My favorite place in the world for sheltering from the weather, recovering from the rigors of the great outdoors, kicking back and telling tall tales.
The primary coloured building stands out amongst the surrounding slate grey! Look out too for the eponymous Pete with his funky chef's trousers and long silver pony tail.
Pete's Eats, 40 High Street, Llanberis, Gwynedd, LL55 4EU
T: 01286 870 117
Nearest railway station Bangor, then bus.
Probably the most enjoyable way to spend a rainy weekday evening in Blaenau Ffestiniog. The choir rehearses once a week at 7.30pm in a secondary school and visitors are welcome to come and listen, especially if they ring first. Entirely in Welsh.
Cwmorthin is an abandoned slate mining village just above the village of Tanygrisiau, and close to Blaenau Ffestiniog - both have railway stations, the latter on the mainline. The piles of slate and empty cottages create a calm but slightly eerie effect. In the sunshine, especially just after rain, it's hard to take a bad photograph there. Follow the path along the left hand side of the lake at Cwmorthin and you'll find a roofless stone chapel.
Charming steam train that chuffs from Blaenau to Porthmadog and back on most days during the spring and summer. The hike between Tanygrisiau, Dduallt and Tan-y-Bwlch stations is particularly beautiful. The train traces a loop around a lake to reach Dduallt, and waiting at the halt feels a bit like standing in the middle of a giant train set.
A Bohemian-style cafe overlooking Swansea marina - Jazz and Floyd drifting through the sails and masts and out over the bay... Excellent selection of coffees. Also, poetry nights and live music.
Front of National Waterfront Museum, Swansea Marina. www.coffeecesso.com/
A little jewel of calm and quiet, Caerhaul B&B is situated overlooking the sands of the pretty estuary of Cardigan. There is only one double bedroom available, so you get to enjoy the amazing seaside garden all to yourself! Very reasonably priced and it's convenient for visiting all sorts of places in Pembrokeshire and Cardigan Bay.
Gwbert Road, Cardigan
Tel: 01239 613140
Unique event featuring all that is most colourful in the re-creation of the Napoleonic Era, when Europe from Portugal to Russia was dominated by the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Regiments of the British and French armies are encamped, performing drills and displays and fighting skirmishes - Sharpe's Rifles before your very eyes and ears (black powder rifles are surprisingly loud!)
Indoors, there are war games demonstrations, a costume exhibition, specialist trade stands, tour guides, and booksellers, a bar, and quality catering.
Great day out for anyone who ever enjoyed Sharpe's Rifles, Pride and Prejudice,etc., and a lovely setting with the oldest medieval barns in Europe.
Details at www.internationalnapoleonicfair.com
Cressing Temple, Witham Road, Braintree, Essex CM77 8PD
North Wales finest Medieval Festival in stunning setting next to A55, features fine line up including Sword Fight Display Team MERLET from the Czech Republic, their first UK apearance. These are the fight arrangers and stuntmen who did the hard work on "A Knight's Tale" and taught Heath Ledger to hold a sword and a lance! Also many top UK medieval groups, such as The Order of Fighting Knights and God's Company of Tabor.
Channel 4's Scrapheap Challenge Roadshow 2007 have chosen this event to bring their Giant Archery Machines too - come along and join in the fun!
Full details at www.medieval-fayre.co.uk
Bodelwyddan Castle, Denbighshire (Rhyl Station) www.bodelwyddan-castle.co.uk/
The Welsh National Coal Museum is not only free, it's possibly one of the most fascinating days out I've ever had. It's a real mine with everything left more or less as it was when it closed in 1980, though they've added an interesting exhibition on mining's history. But the undoubted highlight was the chance to put on a helmet and take the lift deep underground with a former miner who talked really engagingly and amusingly about the life and the work. It really brings home just how back breaking and risky the work was, and how intense was the cameraderie that developed among those doing it.
Though the whole thing's almost unbearably poignant I didn't leave feeling depressed, just a bit better informed about a job and a way of life that's done so much to shape the identity of the area. We also left with a gleaming car, washed by the local male voice choir raising money for their next tour.
Pembrokeshire is the new Cornwall! before all the tourists arrived and clogged the roads. Walk the Pembrokeshire coastal path, it has breathtaking scenery, golden sandy beaches in coves where you might not have to share your beach! Pebble beaches perfect for skimming practice and the locals are so friendly, they always have time to stop for a chat and find out about you - whilst keeping you up to date with the latest news in agriculture!!
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