The Welsh Welcome: From Cardiff to Pembrokeshire (Week 1)

Written by Lisa from Fjords and Beaches as she travels through Wales experiencing the Welsh Welcome.

As you may know if you follow Welsh Rarebits on Instagram, I have officially started my adventure across this beautiful country, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. If you need a little more backstory as to why exactly I am spending the next month travelling Wales and testing out the luxury hotels in the Rarebits Collection, you can head this way and read the first blog post I wrote for this blog, where I introduced myself and my ‘mission’.

If you can’t be bothered with that, here’s the brief low down. My name is Lisa, and I am a travel blogger from Norway. I have previously lived in Pembrokeshire as an exchange student, and love everything about Wales! I am currently travelling across the whole country staying in the gorgeous hotels in the Welsh Rarebits Collection while testing the Welsh Welcome (which is said to be one of the best).

Every day I share my experiences on Instagram (both my own; Fjords and Beaches and the Welsh Rarebits one), Facebook (head this way) and Twitter. In addition to that, I will be publishing these weekly blog posts for the next 4 weeks, outlining in more detail which hotels I have been staying at and how the experience has been.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

Hotel no. 1 – Holm House, Penarth

My first night in Wales set the bar high. I checked into beautiful Holm House in Penarth, located with beautiful views over the Bristol Channel. My room absolutely took my breath away, and I was treated to a suite with 2 balconies and stunning views. I was really happy to start my adventure here and spent my time at Holm House relaxing, drinking their speciality gin tonics, and going for walks around the beautiful area.

During my stay, I was also treated to an Indian Head Massage at their lovely spa, which I couldn’t recommend enough. Holm House is the perfect getaway, just a short drive from the centre of Cardiff.

Hotel no. 2 – No. 10, Cardiff

From Holm House I headed into the city and was excited to get a taste of urban life before I was to head out of Cardiff again. I checked into No. 10 Cardiff and was excited to be told that I was to stay in the Venetian Suite during my time there. The room was large and beautiful, and I knew I was going to get a good night’s sleep in the massive bed.

From No. 10, I had Cardiff on my doorstep, and I loved it! The hotel is a quick 5-minute walk from Cardiff Castle, and I made sure to take advantage of it. I spent my day in the city taking a tour of the castle, joining a city bus tour, and getting some shopping done. This is the perfect hotel for a city break in Cardiff!

Dinner was lovely, and I got to enjoy the set menu for the evening. The highlight of the evening was definitely the Eton Mess (followed closely by the beetroot tortelloni), paired with a local band playing Irish folk music! It made for such a lovely atmosphere and a truly special dinner.

Hotel no. 3 – The Cawdor, Llandeilo

As projected, I was due out in the Welsh countryside on my 3rd day. And the further I drove, the bigger the smile on my face. I checked into The Cawdor in Llandeilo thinking this place is straight out of a fairytale, and it didn’t take me long before I had located Dinefwr Park and Newton House. I spent the whole day walking around Llandeilo, gushing and awing at the beauty of Newton House, and taking photos of the beautiful greeneries surrounding it.

Back at The Cawdor, I was treated to the best sirloin steak I have had in ages, and it truly was a meal to remember. I couldn’t recommend the restaurant enough, and the staff were incredibly friendly and hospitable. They recommended places to go in the area, and nice walks I could take, and I truly felt like a long-lost friend visiting.

After dinner, I proceeded to sleep like a princess in my four-poster bed (#DreamsComeTrue), and woke up feeling so relaxed and ready to take on my next adventure!

Hotel no. 4 – The Corran, Laugharne

Just an hour drive from Llandeilo, I arrived at the Corran Spa and Hotel with excitement. This hotel truly feels like it is in the middle of nowhere, which was just what I was hoping for! The buildings of this old working farm date back to the 1700s, and I was in awe the minute I walked through the reception doors (and was greeted with a glass of champagne).

The Corran is surrounded by beautiful nature and marshlands, and the only thing you can hear are the birds chirping and the odd cow letting you know she is there too. This is the perfect place for a country getaway, particularly if you want to get away in order to do nothing but relax. You will be able to enjoy the spa (with a pool and jacuzzi) or relax with one of their treatments (I had the neck, back and shoulder massage, and it was absolute heaven).

Their restaurant offers some delicious choices, and I was completely blown away by the dessert (if you head to this Twitter post, you’ll understand why). I wish I could have stayed here with my Kindle for another week, and couldn’t recommend it enough for a getaway.

Why only 4 hotels this week?

You may be wondering why I am only staying at 4 hotels this week, and not 7. Well, I am currently in Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, where I lived as an exchange student during Sixth Form. I will be spending the weekend with my host family, who I haven’t seen in years, which is why I won’t be staying at any of the hotels in the Rarebits Collection this weekend. But come Monday, I’m checking in to a new one, and I can’t wait!

Make sure to watch this space for the next blog post, and to follow my adventures in Wales on social media!

— Lisa from Fjords and Beaches

Top six places to spend Christmas in Wales

The 100-day countdown to the most wonderful time of the year has begun. If you have yet to decide how to spend Christmas, we’ve done the hard work for you and compiled a list of recommendations.

1.Laugharne 

If you’re familiar with the classic Christmas film ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’, you’ll recognise this town in Carmarthenshire, West Wales.

Pronounced ‘Larn’ and known for being the home of Dylan Thomas, it holds many of the wonders of Dylan’s world, including his old boathouse and his favourite pub – Brown’s.

The Corran Resort & Spa is a great place to stay to explore Dylan Thomas’s Christmas world. The hotel is pet-friendly and offers Christmas Day lunch to enjoy with all the family.

2.Crickhowell

Gliffaes-Crickhowell-Christmas-Break-Snow

image credit: http://www.gliffaeshotel.com/2015/10/christmas-afternoon-teas/

Crickhowell is a small, cosy town located in South Wales. The variety of local shops make it perfect to stock up on Christmas nick-nacks, and its proximity to the Brecon Beacons National Park means you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

Gliffaes Country House Hotel is the perfect luxury base for your exploration of the Brecon Beacons. It’s located in the heart of the national park, and offers spectacular views combined with delicious meals made from local produce.

3.Lake Vyrnwy

Lake-Vyrnwy-Christmas-Break

image credit: http://showmewales.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/a-fairytale-welsh-christmas-at-lake.html

You will have seen pictures of Lake Vyrnwy, even if you haven’t heard the name before. Situated in beautiful mid Wales, the lake itself is a protected reservoir and is home to some incredible scenery.

The area provides the perfect location for an escape in Wales, and the hotel itself offers a staycation deal during the Christmas period. The four star hotel and spa hosts events to entertain you from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day and provides traditional food to really indulge this festive season.

4.Aberaeron

Aberaeron is a small harbour town on the coastline of Cardigan Bay, home to an impressive range of colourful Georgian architecture. Visitors will be able to revel in the bustling atmosphere of the fishing town while enjoying views along the harbour.

The Harbourmaster offers both beautiful sights and delicious seafood, giving visitors over the festive period a Christmas dinner with a difference.

5.Llandudno

Located in north Wales, Llandudno provided the inspiration for ‘Alice in Wonderland’ meaning your Christmas break is sure to be injected with a bit of magic.

Adults and children alike can follow the ‘Alice Trail’, taking you on a tour of the pretty town.

The seafront-based St George’s Hotel offers traditional Christmas delights between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day within its award-winning restaurant.

6.Portmeirion – near Porthmadog

image credit: http://www.portmeiriononline.co.uk/product/5_Cerdyn_Nadolig_Portmeirion_5_Christmas_Cards_0

image credit: http://www.portmeiriononline.co.uk/product/5_Cerdyn_Nadolig_Portmeirion_5_Christmas_Cards_0

The last, but by no means the least interesting, destination on our list is Portmeirion. A small village in north Wales built in an Italian style, it has a unique charm that will appeal to those after something a bit different this Christmas.

The three-night Christmas package at Hotel Portmeirion includes a festive afternoon tea, Christmas lunch and a black tie dinner.