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.

Take a Welsh Adventure Before School Starts

The summer holidays tend to zoom past before we can even catch our breath, so why not make the most of those precious weeks and plan a few fun getaways with the family?

Visit Wales with your children and you can take them on some fantastic adventures around the country. Learn about local folktales and myths, and fuel their imaginations with atmospheric landmarks.

Arthur’s Stone, Gower

Take a day trip out of the city to visit Arthur’s Stone, Maen Ceti. Though officially the stone is said to belong to a Neolithic tomb, the myth tells that it’s a pebble from King Arthur’s boot. According to the legend, Arthur fished the pebble from his boot and threw it away, hard enough for it to travel from Carmarthenshire all the way to the hills of Gower – and in the process grow vastly in size.

Not only is this site the ideal adventure spot for kids interested in Arthurian legends, it’s also a beautiful place for an afternoon stroll. Another legend associated with the stone tells of its thirst – while there, tell your little ones to watch out for the stone getting up and going to the nearby stream for a drink!

Branwen’s Grave, Anglesey

Branwen is a major figure in Welsh mythology, the daughter of Llyr and the wife of the King of Ireland – a marriage that, in typical fashion, ended in disaster, tragedy and death. Local legend says that Branwen, who is also associated with Harlech Castle, was buried on Anglesey.

Today you can visit her supposed burial site, Bedd Branwen, a ring cairn with a small standing stone in the middle.

The Lowland Hundred, Borth

To visit Wales’ own Atlantis, head to Borth in Ceredigion, where you can view the remains of a sunken forest. Normally hidden under sand, it is only exposed in certain weather conditions. These ancient tree stumps – which died thousands of years ago – are believed to be proof of a lost country once inhabited by ancient peoples: Cantre’r Gwaelod, or the Lowland Hundred.

Various myths surround Cantre’r Gwaelod, many of which attribute the cataclysmic flood to human negligence. For the best chance of seeing this ancient forest, head to the southern end of Borth Beach at low tide.

The Lady of the Lake, Llyn y Fan Fach

Llyn y Fan Fach is a remote lake in the Brecon Beacons framed by a scenic mountain ridge. For slightly older children who are up to the challenge of a two-hour walk, this is the ideal day-trip destination.

The myth attached to this wild place tells the story of the Lady of the Lake, who rose three times from the water and was seen by a young man, enchanted by her beauty. The lady agreed to marry the young man, provided he did not touch her three times with metal. Needless to say, he did not manage to keep his promise, and his wife ultimately returned to her watery home.

Enjoy a picnic on the ridge overlooking the lake, telling your children to keep their eyes peeled for a mysterious woman emerging from the water…

The Best Walks in Wales – and Where to Stay Nearby

With its rolling green hills, gorgeous coastal paths, and impressive mountain ranges, Wales is a true haven for people who love to walk. If you’re planning a walking trip here, read on for a list of our nation’s finest walking routes – and the hotels where you can stay nearby.

Llangollen Canal – Pen-y-Dyffryn Country Hotel

For a gentle, scenic six-mile walk along one of Wales’ most famous waterways, book a stay at Pen-y-Dyffryn Hotel. From here, it’s just a 30-minute drive to the Horseshoe Falls, where you can embark on a walk along the Llangollen Canal.

This route will take you to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a feat of 18th century engineering rising 130 feet. Though dizzyingly high, the aqueduct is safely fenced, meaning you can bring your dog along to enjoy the view. At the end of your walk, return to the comfort of Pen-y-Dyffryn and enjoy a hearty evening meal in the award-winning restaurant.

The Gliffaes Tree Walk – Gliffaes Country House

Our second walk comes courtesy of Gliffaes Country House, in the heart of the Brecon Beacons. Book a stay here and you can explore 33 acres of grounds and woodlands.

To make the most of your beautiful surroundings, set aside an hour for the Gliffaes Tree Walk. This route will introduce you to the ancient oaks, beeches, redwoods and maples on the hotel grounds. It’s the perfect way to work up your appetite for afternoon tea, which is served daily between 4 and 5.30pm.

The Stackpole Wildlife Walk – Elm Grove Country House

The pretty village of St Florence in Pembrokeshire is home to the Elm Grove Country House, a 4-star hotel boasting 20 acres of lawns. Though there are plenty of excellent walking routes in the region, a favourite of the hotel’s owners is the Stackpole Wildlife Walk.

This walk begins at Stackpole Quay and heads south along Barafundle Bay, following the coast until Broadhaven Beach. From here it heads northwest to the Lily Pools in Bosherton, and up to the Eight Arch Bridge; crossing over will put you on a track heading east in the direction of Stackpole Quay.

Porth Clais to St Justinians – Twr y Felin Hotel

The Pembrokeshire Coast offers so much for walkers, which is why this is a favourite walk of Emma’s at Twr-y Felin.

Start at Porth Clais Harbour and head west to St Justinians. The walk features views of Ramsey Island and St Brides Bay and takes in one of the more rugged sections of the coastline, making you feel close to the sea and rock (but the route is not strenuous), which is great for bird and seal watching!

Brechfa Forest – Ty Mawr Country Hotel

If you prefer exploring dense woodland to open coastal paths, then Ty Mawr is the hotel for you. This award-winning establishment has plenty to recommend it, but the key draw for walkers is that it sits on the edges of Brechfa Forest. When you check in, the staff will be able to recommend a number of different routes, varying in length and difficulty.

Ceiriog Valley – The Mulberry Inn

The Mulberry Inn is another hotel where you don’t have to venture far to discover an excellent walking route. Situated in Llwynmawr, not far from Chirk Castle, this establishment boasts comfortable modern rooms, an 18th century bar, and pretty gardens. The inn is also surrounded by beautiful walking routes, and offers special discounts to walkers.

Laugharne & the “Dylan Thomas” Trail – The Browns

Our final destination is Laugharne, home of Dylan Thomas. For the ultimate Laugharne experience stay at The Brown’s (Thomas’s favourite pub) and take a stroll through the town and surrounding countryside.

One excellent route takes you from the centre of town to the Dylan Thomas Boathouse and then north to the Delacorse Farm, before looping back south via St Martin’s Church, where Thomas is buried.

 

© Crown copyright 2018 (Visit Wales)

Stays With a Story

A memorable holiday is about so much more than comfortable accommodation and good food – to be really fantastic, a getaway destination should have a story to tell. If you’re seeking a Welsh adventure with a difference, read on for some inspiration…

Laugharne and Dylan Thomas

If you’re a fan of the Welsh poets there’s a good chance you know about the significance of Laugharne – and in particular the gorgeous boathouse where Dylan Thomas spent the last four years of his life. Situated on the Taf estuary, this iconic literary setting is open to visitors year-round, allowing fans of Thomas to wander through the very rooms where his great works were created. For the ultimate getaway, check into The Corran Resort & Spa, a luxury hotel with an award-winning restaurant that’s just a ten-minute drive south of the Boathouse.

St Davids and the Patron Saint of Wales

The picturesque city of St Davids can be found on Wales’ southwest coast, and is most famous for its 12th century cathedral. What makes this seaside setting significant is the fact that it was the birthplace of Wales’ patron saint, David. As with many saints, David’s life was composed of a long list of miracles, including the restoration of a blind monk’s sight. He also founded the Menevia monastery on the very ground where St Davids Cathedral now sits. Another upside to visiting St Davids is the availability of fantastic luxury accommodation, including Warpool Court and Twr y Felin Hotel.

Portmeirion and The Prisoner


There are many things that make the village of Portmeirion an unusual holiday destination. Built between 1925 and 1975 by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, this waterside toy town was constructed in the style of an Italian village, and is notable for its lush gardens and colourful houses. TV fans primarily associate Portmeirion with being the setting for The Prisoner, a series which saw Patrick McGoohan seeking to escape an eerily idyllic coastal resort known only as The Village. Today Portmeirion still hosts annual Prisoner fan conventions – although it’s also a gorgeous getaway for architecture enthusiasts and beach lovers.

The Hand at Llanarmon


Passing by The Hand, you might not suspect that this cosy rural pub and spa hotel has a story to tell – but with a little knowledge of the surrounding region’s history, all becomes clear. This award-winning hotel is named for the Myddleton family, who once occupied nearby Chirk Castle. Legend tells that the bright red hand on their coat of arms was inspired by grisly act of self-mutilation, carried out by one of the Myddleton sons in a bid to win a challenge set by his father. Today the legacy of the family lives on, not only at Chirk Castle but at The Hand, which boasts an impressive wooden sculpture of an open palm outside the front. If that’s not reason enough to visit The Hand, poetry enthusiasts may also be pleased to learn that Llanarmon was once the home of John Ceiriog Hughes.

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Wales’ most romantic honeymoon hotspots

While many of us dream of jetting off to tropical climes for our honeymoon, there’s a lot to be said for staying a little closer to home. Save on expensive travel, spare yourself the jet lag and mosquito bites, and enjoy a truly relaxing honeymoon break in one of these gorgeous Welsh venues.

Lake Vyrnwy Hotel & Spa

You’ll find Lake Vyrnwy nestling at the southeastern fringes of Snowdonia. A reservoir first constructed in the 1880s, this manmade lake is now a nature reserve famed for its rare bird species. Make the trip to this undisturbed part of Wales and you’ll be able to enjoy a one-of-a-kind honeymoon experience at the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel & Spa. Stay at this award-winning country house hotel and you can indulge in fine dining at the Tower Restaurant, relax in the Elemis spa – which is famous for its jacuzzi-with-a-view – and sign up for outdoor activities, such as clay pigeon shooting and fly-fishing. After a long day exploring the wilderness (or relaxing in the spa) you can enjoy a well-earned drink at The Last Grouse pub.

Plas Bodegroes

Just northwest of Pwllheli on the Llyn Peninsula you’ll find Plas Bodegroes, a hotel styled as a “restaurant with rooms”. The property extends across five secluded acres, and centres around a charming country house boasting 10 en-suite rooms and gorgeously kept private gardens. Unsurprisingly, the restaurant – which held a Michelin star between 1991 and 2008 – is a key draw for many visitors. With a menu boasting Welsh Black beef, saltmarsh lamb, and other locally sourced ingredients, it’s the ideal spot for foodie couples.

The Cawdor

For newlyweds who want to combine the quaint charm of a rural hotel with the convenience of a city break, there’s The Cawdor. Situated in the picturesque town of Llandeilo, it’s fantastically easy to access by train. Housed in a refurbished Georgian building, The Cawdor puts a modern twist on its original features, combining contemporary luxury with old world charm. You can enjoy fine cuisine in the Cawdor Dining Room, sip drinks or sample afternoon tea at the hotel bar, or simply relax in the comfort of your room – which comes complete with Myddfai toiletries. Top activities for the area include a wander around colourful Llandeilo, a visit to neighbouring Dinefwr Castle, and a trip to Aberglasney Gardens, which you can reach on the bus.

Grove of Narberth

The Grove of Narberth is another secluded country house perfect for honeymooners. Set in the heart of Pembrokeshire it’s known for its beautiful grounds, stunning views and excellent food. All the rooms look out onto gardens or countryside, and are spread out amongst the main house and several smaller cottages. Food can be enjoyed in the main restaurant, lounge & bar, or on the sunny terrace – and if you’re venturing out of the hotel for lunch, you can take along a picnic hamper. For ultimate relaxation and privacy, enjoy an in-room spa treatment, or a private dining experience with your other half. Perhaps best of all, the hotel welcomes well-behaved dogs, which means it’s perfect for newlyweds looking to bring a furry friend!