Exotic Plants hit Wales

They look impossibly exotic, and they have travelled to our shores from distant Asia, yet they flourish in the Welsh climate.

Rhododendrons were brought to the UK by intrepid Victorian plant hunters.

Stately home owners craved exotic flowers for their gardens, enhancing their status by planting previously unseen species.

The lush, colourful blooms of rhododendrons create a particularly head-turning display, and so became hugely sought-after.

Many of the Rarebits sport spectacular ‘rhodies’ as they are affectionately known.

Planted long ago, many have grown to a huge height, almost the sizes of trees, and look stunning when drenched in blooms.

Rhododendron blooms appear in a huge array of colours, from deep red to vibrant pink, soft lilac to brilliant white.

Gardens such as those at Gliffaes, Portmeirion, Castell Deudraeth and The Falcondale are a haven for rhodies of all kinds.

And if you hanker after growing some yourself, but don’t have a garden big enough, don’t worry, there are species at the other end of the spectrum that aren’t much bigger than a heather.


Bird watching bliss

Wales is a bird watchers’ paradise, the breathtaking landscape providing magnificent habitat for a wide range of species.

You don’t need to be a twitcher to enjoy seeing red kites soaring in the skies, or choughs swooping over coastal cliffs or the teeming hordes of gannets nesting on the remote and lovely Grassholm Island.

The RSPB nature reserve in mid Wales, Ynys Hir, is home to a  number of interesting birds including the charismatic lapwing, snow-white little egret, the elegant redshank and the elusive lesser spotted woodpecker.

Nature reserves like this one provide a home for butterflies too, and carpets of wildflowers.

The Llyn Peninsula is another haven for wildlife, thanks to its diverse terrain.

The holy island of Bardsey, where 20,000 siants are reputedly buried,  is especially rich in birdlife, with the RSPB ringing more than 100 species.

You don’t necessarily even need to leave our hotels to see birdlife in abundance.

The Falcondale near Lampeter has blue tits nesting in the garden wall every year – delighting guests as they fly back and forth feeding their young.


Visit our glorious gardens

Having once been stately homes or prosperous country residences, many of the Welsh Rarebits hotels have amazing gardens.

At this time of year they are coming into their prime with fresh new leaves and flowers gracing trees and shrubs, rhododendrons and azaleas providing a blaze of colour, and bluebells and wild garlic filling the woods.

Gliffaes, near Crickhowell,  for example, has spectacular grounds, with a unique tree trail that wends its way through an awe inspiring collection of mature trees –  many of which are rare or unusual.

All of our lovely gardens provide tranquil areas where you can sit and relax on a bench, enjoying the peace and quiet, serenaded only by bird song.

Then there’s the option of a glass of wine overlooking beautifully tended grounds – the ideal way to chill out.

After which, there’s food a delicious meal to look forward to– fabulous food being something Welsh Rarebits hotels are justifiably famed for.