Get Ready for Christmas – Festive Markets across Wales

The festive season will soon be beginning in earnest, so if you’d like to spend the second half of December lazing by the fire with mulled wine and a good book, rather than battling through crowds of high street shoppers in search of gifts, then the Rare Hideaways team can help. We’ve compiled a list of the best Christmas markets around Wales, the perfect places to pick up gifts, decorations and tasty festive treats. Pop these dates and locations in your diary and you can get your Christmas shopping sorted in no time.

Llandudno Christmas Fayre, Conwy

(15-18 November)

One of the major markets coming to North Wales this November is the Llandudno Christmas Fayre. Kicking off on Thursday 15th November and running until the Sunday of that week, this market is a celebration of festive food, drink and crafts that will be hosting 130 different stalls. Highlights from the local area include Edwards of Conwy, a local butcher famous for its excellent sausages and pies; Jaspel’s Craft Cider, which is made in Anglesey, and the Snowdonia Cheese Company. Tickets only cost £4.50 (or £3.75 if you book before the end of October) and under-16s go free! Find out more here.

Colby’s Winter Fair, Pembrokeshire

(17-18 November)

Colby Woodland Garden in Amroth is a beautiful place to visit, no matter what the time of year. During the spring and summer months it comes alive with flowers and foliage; come autumn its walled garden, ponds and bridges make it an excellent place for an atmospheric adventure with your little ones. In November the garden also plays host to a winter fair, where you’ll be able to browse a variety of stalls selling homemade goods and local arts and crafts. Find out more here.

Tredegar House, Newport

(24 November-22 December)

Tredegar House is a stunning 17th-century house situated just outside Newport in South Wales. Visit this historic place during the festive season and you can enjoy the fantastic Christmas celebrations. Kicking off on Saturday 24th November, the Christmas season at Tredegar House incorporates a fantastic market, which will run every weekend. Browse jewellery, soap, homeware, decorations, and plenty of tasty food & drink, before enjoying a guided tour of the traditionally decorated house and grounds. Find out more here.

Llanerchaeron, Ceredigion

(1-2 December)

This gorgeous Georgian villa situated in the Aeron Valley is the ideal place to kick-start December. Head to Llanerchaeron for the first weekend of December and you can enjoy the annual Christmas Fair. Adult tickets are only £5 and give you access to the house, food and craft stalls, and even Father Christmas himself! Visit on a different weekend in December, and enjoy a traditional workshop which will teach you how to make a wreath or table centrepiece. Find out more here.

Don’t forget that Rare Hideaways can help turn a fun Christmas day trip into a festive weekend away. Our carefully selected self-catering properties are located all around Wales in some of the most beautiful settings imaginable. Click here and get browsing!

All I Want for Christmas is… a Welsh Rarebits Gift Voucher!

With October creeping to a close it’s time to start thinking about Christmas. Whether or not the festive season fills you with joy, you’re probably still set on picking out some perfect gifts for those special people in your life. This year, if you’re looking for something a little bit different, why not invest in an experience, rather than that standard handbag, jumper or bottle or fragrance?

At Welsh Rarebits we supply gift vouchers and gift experiences that the lucky recipient can put towards a booking at one of our luxury properties. If you know someone who could use a fantastic holiday in beautiful Wales, read on – your Christmas gift list will be ticked off in no time.

Gift Vouchers start from £25

A Welsh Rarebits gift voucher is the ideal gift for somebody who’s notoriously hard to buy for – after all, who wouldn’t jump at the chance of a weekend away in the Welsh countryside? We have a huge variety of member properties to choose from, meaning there’s something for everyone. We can offer vibrant city breaks in Cardiff packed with shopping, dining, museums and galleries; scenic getaways by the sea complete with coastal walks and plenty of wildlife, and luxury spa retreats in historic countryside mansions.

Our gift vouchers are valid for 12 months and are easily redeemed – the holder of the voucher simply books a hotel of their choice from our list of member properties, then hands over the voucher upon arrival (the value will be deducted from the final bill). When buying your voucher you can select a value between £25 and £1000 – enough to contribute to a stay of several days. Your gift voucher can be delivered directly to the recipient, or be posted to your home address (ideal if you want to stick it in a card and pop it under the tree). Alternatively, you can make things even simpler and print your gift voucher at home.

To find out more about our gift vouchers, click here.

Gift Experiences – Gold, Silver & Bronze

In addition to standard gift vouchers with a set value, we also offer gift experiences. This is the perfect option if you would rather keep the price of your gift a secret. Instead of having a monetary value which is deducted from the final bill for the booking, these vouchers cover the entire cost of the stay.

Our gift experiences are ideal if you have a specific hotel or holiday style in mind. We offer Gold, Silver and Bronze stays, with our Gold hotels offering the most luxurious experiences (click here, and you can view the hotels available within each category). Your loved one can enjoy a revitalising stay in a 5-star spa hotel in the heart of the Welsh countryside, a cosy weekend in a seaside B&B, or one special night at a hotel with an award-winning restaurant. It’s a Christmas present that takes all the hassle out of planning a trip away.

To find out more about our gift experiences, or to make a booking, give us a call today on 01570 470785, or email us at [email protected].

Iconic Views: Wales’ Most Instagrammable Places

Who needs the Amalfi Coast or the mountains of Austria when you’ve got unbelievable views right on your doorstep? Wales may be a small country, but it packs a serious punch when it comes to astonishing scenery. If you’re a keen photographer looking for the ultimate Instagram-worthy location, pay a visit to these spectacular Welsh destinations.

Fairy Glen, Betws-y-Coed

Travel to the scenic village of Betws-y-Coed in Snowdonia National Park and you can visit this atmospheric gorge on the River Conwy – for the reasonable entry free of just 50p.

The Fairy Glen – or Ffos Noddun as it is known to the locals – is thickly wooded on either side and bursting with beautiful wildflowers. Due to the structure and depth of the gorge, the river rushes through in a series of impressive, and extremely photogenic, cascades. Make sure you wander as far as Rhaeadr Y Graig Lwyd to snap photos of the beautiful falls.

St Govan’s Chapel, Buckspool

This astonishing place is located at the southernmost point of Pembrokeshire, a 15-minute drive from Pembroke. The 13th century chapel is a tiny hermit’s cell, built into the limestone cliff-face. Legend tells that St Govan was approaching Wales when he was attacked by Irish pirates – he escaped to the cliffs, where a cave magically appeared, allowing him to hide safely. To show his gratitude he built the chapel and lived there the rest of his life.

To visit you have to descend a flight of precarious worn stone steps – but it’s worth it for a glimpse of this special place and the surrounding views.

Castell Coch, Cardiff

Just a 20-minute drive from the centre of Cardiff you’ll find this 19th century Gothic revival castle, built on the site of an original 13th century structure. With its narrow windows, rounded turrets, and lush green surroundings, it looks like something out of a fairy tale.

Snap photos inside and out and take a scenic stroll through the nearby woodland.

Mwnt Beach, Cardigan

Wales is home to a number of beautiful sandy beaches, but there’s something particularly special about Mwnt. Situated on the west coast, a 15-minute drive from Aberteifi, this secluded little beach lies within a square-shaped cove and is notable for its immaculate golden sand and calm green waters.

Wander along the southern edge of the cove and you can get some fantastic photos of the pretty beach and the green headland beyond.

Llyn y Fan Fach, Brecon Beacons

Not only is this beautiful lake the perfect spot to take some magical photos, it’s also steeped in Welsh legend, supposedly the home of the Lady of the Lake.

The lake is surrounded by steep mountain ridges on its southern and western sides, which make for some incredible views. To get the best photos you’ll want to hike up the ridge and take your photographs from up high.

Castell y Gwynt, Snowdonia

There’s something very special about this summit in the heart of Snowdonia. If you’re into your mountaineering and you can make it to the top, which stands at 972 metres, you’ll be astonished by the views. The limestone rock has formed into craggy, pointed shards, which resemble piles of broken wood. As for the views from the top? Simply out of this world.

 

Images: © Crown copyright (2018) Visit Wales

Autumn Adventures in Wales

You don’t need to go Stateside to enjoy the autumn leaves, and what better way to enjoy the cooler days than to explore the colourful woodlands of Wales? With a wealth of opportunities such as hiking, mountain biking and watching the sky at night, treat yourself to a Welsh autumn break, or maybe surprise your loved ones with a holiday gift voucher!

Mountain Biking in Southern Snowdonia

Coed y Brenin is a world-class, purpose-built venue for mountain bikers, with eight specially designed trails as well as running, walking and orienteering routes. Set in the south of Snowdonia National Park, this picturesque spot makes an ideal location to visit on a weekend break or family half-term holiday. It has an excellent visitor centre, some comfortable walks where you can admire the falling leaves, and an all-access mobility trail. You can even admire the stunning landscape from the comfort of the cafe, and sample some of their home-made treats.

Hiking the Brecon Beacons

Autumn is perhaps the most dramatic season in the Brecon Beacons, with the falling leaves exposing the mountain flanks as they prepare for winter. If you’re up for a hike and some bird-watching, stop off at Craig Cerrig Gleisiaid & Fan Frynych. This extensive nature reserve covers 1200 acres of mid Wales, where you can also admire the autumn hues as you climb some of the routes up to the summit of Pen Y Fan.

Wales for Wildlife

Wales is a nature-lover’s paradise, featuring 11 RSPB sanctuaries and 216 Wildlife Trust reserves. Autumn wildlife to watch includes seasonal seals and porpoises in the islands off the Pembrokeshire coast, crested grebes near Bangor in North Wales, and wildfowl in the wetlands of the South. A highlight of the RSPB Newport Wetlands in October is the twilight flocking of 50,000 or more starlings, as they perform syncopated flight dances before dropping down to roost.

The Sky at Night

Wales has many designated Dark Sky Areas around its coasts and mountains, where you can get away from city lights and observe the heavens. At historic Penmon in north east Anglesey, for example, you can not only spot seals, dolphins and puffins off its shores, but find the astral animals of the zodiac. On the west coast, Penbryn Beach is a mile of golden sand that’s one of the best-kept secrets in Wales. Wonderful in the daytime, this is also a beautifully secluded spot from which to wonder at the beauty of the night sky.

Incredible Castles

What better adventure for inquisitive kids than a visit to a real life castle? Pembroke Castle is one of the most iconic of the Welsh castles, with a long history and stunning architecture, plus ongoing excavations and some great exhibits. With a fascinating reputation as the birthplace of Henry VII, the first of the great Tudor monarchs, Pembroke castle is also built over a natural cavern where you can find pipistrelle bats… and maybe a dragon! And if you’re arriving soon, castles all over Wales will open for free on 29/30 September.

Planning the Festive Season

With autumn on the way, now’s the perfect time to start planning the ultimate Christmas getaway. Celebrating December 25th at home may be cosy and traditional, but booking a Christmas holiday ensures that you’ll have a truly relaxing day, free from cooking, tidying and washing up. Alternatively, you could give someone a memorable festive break with one of our gift vouchers!

If you’re seeking the ideal festive escape in Wales, check out these beautiful properties, each of which offers its own unique itinerary.

Penmaenuchaf Hall Hotel

This historic 4-star hotel is located just outside Dolgellau in Snowdonia National Park. Housed in a Victorian mansion, this atmospheric establishment boasts spacious rooms furnished in a traditional style and communal areas with log fires.

The Penmaenuchaf Christmas package begins with afternoon tea on the 24th and continues with festive music and a lavish dinner. On the day itself you’ll enjoy a leisurely champagne brunch, a hearty Christmas lunch and a buffet supper. Activities throughout the day include a hotel treasure hunt, a walk in the grounds, and watching the Queen’s speech. The fun continues into Boxing Day with a walk in the Snowdonia hills, a three-course luncheon, wine-tasting and a gourmet dinner.

The Hand at Llanarmon

A long and winding road up the beautiful Ceiriog Valley leads to a crossroads and the tiny village of Llanarmon, locked away in the undiscovered Berwyn Mountains. Plan an away-from-it-all festive break to remember with a 2 night Christmas Package at The Hand – celebrate with mulled cider, traditional carols, superb food and festive cheer!

Christmas at The Hand – arrive to a warm festive welcome with freshly made cake and biscuits. Join your hosts and fellow hotel guests for mulled cider and traditional carols by candlelight around the piano, and look forward to a superb three course dinner prepared by their team of award winning chefs. Christmas Day kicks off with a traditional Welsh breakfast and a glass of Buck’s Fizz, before sitting down to Christmas Day lunch – served with all the tasty trimmings. There’ll be a special treat for children too.

Ty Mawr Country Hotel

This award-winning 4-star hotel is located in the charming village of Brechfa in Carmarthenshire, South Wales. Rooms here are comfortable, spacious and quiet, and the communal areas boast wooden beams, rustic stone walls and roaring fires – ideal for a cosy winter break.

Christmas packages at Ty Mawr run for three or four days, with festivities commencing on Christmas Eve and incorporating a three-course dinner followed by (optional) midnight mass at the local church. On Christmas Day you’ll enjoy Bucks Fizz with a full Welsh breakfast, a three-course Christmas lunch, and a buffet dinner. Further culinary delights await on the 26th, a perfect day for taking a walk in the countryside.

Lake Vyrnwy Hotel & Spa

With its luxury lakeside accommodation, spectacular views and charming traditional features, Lake Vyrnwy Hotel & Spa is the perfect place to spend Christmas. As an added bonus, the extensive spa facilities will guarantee a relaxing and revitalising stay, leaving you refreshed for the New Year.

Christmas packages at Lake Vyrnwy cover three nights and incorporate luxury accommodation, full Welsh breakfasts in the morning, lunches and afternoon teas, dinners and cocktails, and of course a traditional Christmas lunch. In addition you’ll enjoy complimentary use of the hotel spa, and a day of country pursuits.

Twr y Felin Hotel

How does a relaxed, restful and refreshing festive experience sound? From the moment you arrive at Twr y Felin you’ll be pampered in luxurious, contemporary surroundings and a peaceful location. Stay for three nights or more and you’re guaranteed to experience delicious drink, fabulous food and yuletide cheer!

Your Christmas Celebration Escape includes three nights in luxury accommodation. On Christmas Eve, enjoy mulled wine, mince pies and Christmas carols in the arty Oriel Lounge. Not forgetting the à la carte dinners and Christmas Day lunch at Blas Restaurant (as well as a Christmas Day Champagne reception to look forward to!).

The Falcondale Hotel

Imagine a warm welcome with a glass of bubbly in luxurious surroundings. Imagine a getaway with stunning scenery and a warm Welsh welcome – away from the hustle and bustle of towns and cities. Eat fabulous food, drink good wine, relax and have fun at The Falcondale.  Pull up a chair by the fire and do nothing more strenuous than venture out for a leisurely stroll if you fancy it.

The Falcondale Christmas Break gives you more – stay 2 nights at The Falcondale and receive a complimentary bottle of Moet and Chandon Champagne or book 3 nights and enjoy a complimentary dinner for two on a night of your choice.

Portmeirion

The unique tourist village of Portmeirion in North Wales was built in the Italian style between 1925 and 1975, and is famous for its colourful buildings and elaborate gardens. Come here for Christmas and you’re guaranteed a memorable stay!

Two separate Christmas packages are available in Portmeirion. Stay in the Hotel Portmeirion or Village Suites and enjoy a Christmas Eve with afternoon tea, mulled wine and live music. On Christmas Day you’ll attend a champagne reception, tuck into a full Christmas lunch, and later enjoy a film night complete with popcorn and cocktails.

Alternatively, you can stay at Castell Deudraeth, enjoying a similar array of meals and festivities, and winding off your trip with board games and a three-course dinner on Boxing Day.