Written by Lisa from Fjords and Beaches as she travels through Wales experiencing the Welsh Welcome for the whole of June.
I can’t believe that I have spent 4 weeks travelling this beautiful country! In case you have missed the earlier recap of my adventure, head this way to read all about Week 1, which started in Cardiff and took me all the way to Pembokeshire, and head this way for Week 2, which saw me travel around the coast of Pembrokeshire and up to Aberystwyth. You can read all about Week 3 here, which saw me continuing up through beautiful Snowdonia to Anglesey.
I started this week on Anglesey, before I continued driving East towards England through the North of Wales. The sceneries still take my breath away, and this week I have stayed in 6 incredible hotels! Staying in the same hotels for 2 nights was a true luxury for a nomad like me, and I have loved every minute of it!
This week I have also had some visitors. My friend Louise travelled from Manchester to join me for a night in Llandudno, and then my sister came all the way from Norway to spend the weekend with me!
Hotel no. 19 – Sychnant Pass Country House
On my drive from Beaumaris to Sychnant Pass I had to stop and cross off a bucket list place from my list; visiting the train station in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch! It was so fun to spend some time trying to pronounce it, and realising that I was finally visiting that place I had seen all over my MySpace when I was young. I then continued the beautiful drive to Sychnant Pass Country Hotel.
The scenery surrounding the hotel is incredibly beautiful, and I spend some time walking around the property and looking around. My room was ready early, so I gratefully got to spend some time relaxing and taking in the pink decorations (if you want a fun, pink room; request the Aberystwyth room!). The four-poster bed welcomed me with open arms after dinner, which was an exquisite creamy risotto with cheddar bonbons (which I had not tried before!).
Sychnant Pass also has a swimming pool and jacuzzi so you can imagine how I spent the hours before dinner. The swimming pool is indoor, and at such a comfortable temperature. I spent ages just floating around in it before bringing my Kindle out to the jacuzzi to have a read and enjoy the scenery.
Hotel no. 20 – St. George’s Hotel, Llandudno
My drive the next day wasn’t long, and I headed towards Llandudno, where I was being joined by Louise, a close friend from Manchester who made the drive to come to see me. We checked into our room at the St. George’s Hotel, and spent quite some time marvelling at the view from our balcony. The room was spacious, and the bed super comfortable.
We quickly realised there were lots to do in Llandudno, and merrily went off to explore the town. I visited the Home Front Museum, and we found that the ‘real’ Alice in Wonderland, who inspired the character, used to holiday in Llandudno with her family, and so there is an Alice in Wonderland interactive trail you can follow around the town! Of course, there is also the lovely walk along the promenade.
Dinner in the evening was an experience, as we sat along the window of the restaurant looking over the ocean. Our three courses were all amazing, but I was extra happy to find tortellini on the menu! I had actually started to miss pasta after so many days of luxurious steaks and impressive cooking.
The next day, before saying goodbye and heading to the next hotel, we made the short drive to Conwy to visit Conwy castle. The castle and town is a world heritage site, and it is impressive how much of the old town walls still stand. This is another of Edward I’s castles that he built arund Wales, and it is just as impressive as all the others!
I arrived at my next hotel; Manorhaus, a little later than usual, and received some super fun news when I did. Once a week they host a movie club for movie night, and they thought maybe I would like to join it. This involved a screening of the film The Post (starring Meryl Streep), and a themed 2-course dinner (matching the movie), followed by local ice cream during the film! I was so excited to get to do this, and it ended being an incredibly fun and social dining experience.
My room at Manorhaus was absolutely lovely, with stylish decorations and great bath products (the conditioner worked wonders). The next day I had plenty of advice on what to get up to, and I ended up visiting the Ruthin Gaol, which is one of the only Pentonville style prisons you can still visit today as an attraction for the public.
During my drive to the next hotel, I was in for a bit of a surprise, as I passed a sign that said “Welcome to England”. I thought for a minute I had taken the wrong turn and had to go back, but continued on for a little bit. I am glad I did, because at the end of my Google Maps directions I found Pen-Y-Dyffryn Country Hotel. When I entered the beautiful building I asked if I was really in England, and I was informed that yes, I was, but barely.
At the end of their car park there is a little stream, and that stream signifies the border between England and Wales! I loved this little fun fact, and smiled at realising that I was now in England, quite literally staring back at Wales.
Pen-y-Dyffryn is a lovely and cosy country hotel, where you are made to feel right at home. I really enjoyed my dinner in the evening and met some fellow hotel guests who all raved about the place. Some had even stayed there several times. For dinner, I had the duck, which was really tasty and accompanied by a pasnip mash (my favourite vegetable). It was a very good evening, to say the least.
Hotel no. 23 – Lake Vyrnwy Hotel and Spa
Lake Vyrnwy Hotel and Spa is the place where I was lucky enough to get to spend two days. My sister came to join me for the weekend, and we couldn’t have had a better time. We stayed in a large room with a sitting area and incredible views of the lake, and the place had such a serenity to it we almost didn’t want to leave when Sunday came. We spent the weekend relaxing, enjoying the peacefulness of the Lake, and sampling our fair share of wine from the extensive wine list.
As you can tell from the photos, the views really were spectacular, and we loved getting to look out over the lake and its fairytale-like tower at every meal, and from our room. Lake Vyrnwy also has a spa, which we made sure to make use of. I opted for a 30 minute back, neck and shoulder massage, which really saved the day when it came to my poor neck who sleeps in a new hotel bed every night (my life is so hard, right?).
After my massage, my sister and I spent some time on the spa terrace, reading magazines and simply basking in the sun. We also tested their refreshing steam room and whirlpool.
Lake Vyrnwy Hotel and Spa has two restaurants, and since we were staying for 2 nights, we got to try both of them! The Tower Restaurant is their fine dining establishment, where we had an incredible 3-course meal alongside the stunning views from the hotel. The Tavern Brasserie also serves amazing food, but in a more relaxed atmosphere. There really is something for every taste at Lake Vyrnwy!
After saying goodbye to my sister, it was time to head off alone again. I made the drive through the beautiful countryside and ended up at my next destination; the Hand at Llanarmon. This lovely place was such a nice welcome after the drive to Shrewsbury and back (to drop my sister off at the train station), and I was extatic when I saw the size of the bed I would be enjoying all on my own.
Before dinner I made the short drive to the Pistyll Rhaedr Waterfall, which is said to be the tallest single drop waterfall in the United Kingdom, and considered to be one of the ‘Seven Wonders of Wales’. The 25-minute drive was breathtaking itself, and I had to stop the car several times to marvel at the view. The roundtrip took no more than an hour, and it was worth the visit and the sights along the way!
Dinner was an experience, and I was treated to a starter I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. A Mature Welsh Cheddar Brulee was on the menu, and being the cheese lover that I am, I couldn’t say no. It was followed by a traditional and delicious Sunday roast (sirloin beef), and I couldn’t recommend it enough. After dinner it was finally time to crawl into my big bed, and I had such a good night’s sleep, which woke me up feeling so refreshed and ready for a new day (and for the amazing breakfast at the Hand).
I hope you are planning to continue to follow my adventures around Wales, because they aren’t done yet! Make sure to follow along on Facebook and Instagram, and to check back here on the blog next week!
— Lisa from Fjords and Beaches