7 Staycations you will never believe are in Wales

Summer may be officially over, but that shouldn’t stop you from planning your next getaway. As the winter months draw closer, the recurring daydream of relaxing on a beach in Bali or sailing around the Greek islands is returning more frequently. But who says you have to go abroad? It may not have the glorious weather, but Wales definitely has the glorious attractions that will be sure to convince you to take a ‘staycation’. We’ve detailed where to visit along with things to do and key activities here in Wales.

1) Portmeirion

The private tourist village of Portmeirion is located near Porthmadog in north Wales. With its picturesque views and pastel-coloured buildings, it’s easy to mistake this quirky place for a sleepy town on the Italian coast.

The village is especially magical at night, when it closes to the public but remains open for hotel guests. So why not choose between two of our luxurious hotels and suites and experience the beaches, hidden coves and woodlands after dark?

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2) Llanrwst

Situated between Conwy and Betws-y-Coed, Llanrwst is the perfect place to base yourself if you’re visiting Snowdonia. This village could be high in the Himalayas and it’s easy to forget that the outside world exists when you’re there. Sitting deep in the Conwy Valley, the iconic three-arched bridge next to the Tu Hwnt l’r Bont tearooms passes over the river and acts as the main focal point for this picturesque place. What’s more, we offer accommodation with beautiful lawns and wooded grounds in the nearby Sychnant Pass Country House, ensuring your stay will be stunning in every way.

3) Skomer Island

Skomer is located less than a mile off the stunning Pembrokeshire coast. The main attraction is its wildlife; the island is home to puffins and you might spot  dolphins and seals in its waters, giving the island a tropical feel.

In the spring, the island becomes covered in a beautiful blanket of bluebells, with no piece of land spared.

4) Tintern Abbey, Chepstow
The village of Tintern boasts outstanding landscapes complemented by the imposing structure of its ruined Cistercian Abbey. Located between Chepstow and Monmouth on the Welsh side of the River Wye, Tintern Abbey’s romantic yet gothic appearance is sure to blow you away. Being able to see the thick woodland peering through the Abbey’s structure allows you to appreciate the surroundings, which are especially beautiful on a bright day.

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 5) Merthyr Mawr sand dunes

Wales is lucky to have so many unspolit stretches of coastline and the Methyr Mawr sand dunes are particularly enchanting. These dunes are the second highest in Europe and look like they belong in the middle of the Sahara.

This location is definitely holiday-worthy, with the medieval Candleston Castle and the Norman Ogmore Castle waiting to be explored nearby.

If you’re looking for a more unusual activity, many people enjoy bringing their snow sledges to the dunes and having fun on the slopes. So why not give it a go?

6) Blaenau Ffestiniog

In the heart of Snowdonia National Park is the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Having made its name from its industrial heritage, it is now home to two adrenaline-fuelled adventure activities – Bounce Below and Zip World Caverns. Makes a change from hiking!

Housed in a psychedelic underground cave and boasting three trampolines and a network of slides and ladders, Bounce Below is perfect for staycationers looking for an active and fun-filled trip. Similarly, Zip World Caverns offers numerous tunnels, bridges and balance beams to ensure that your experience is action packed. The best part? You don’t even need to rely on good weather.

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7)Lake Vyrnwy

Sitting on the border of the Snowdonia National Park, Lake Vyrnwy looks like something out of a children’s story. It has vast and lush views, which complement the romantic architecture of a large dam and its fairytale tower. Its surroundings are equally breathtaking, with rolling meadows, thick forest and steep waterfalls.

While you’re here, why not try the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel and Spa and enjoy the stunning sunset views from your balcony?

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If you’ve been inspired by these staycations and want to visit Wales, take a look at our offers page for some last-minute deals.

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.

Wales’ Best Beach – our top five picks

Wales is full of breathtaking coastlines with endless stretches of golden sand and beautiful clear water. With our pick of the top five to visit, you’ll never need to travel abroad for a relaxing beach break again.

1. Abersoch, Llyn Peninsula

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Located in the Llyn Peninsula, the peace and beauty of the beach will be sure to capture your heart. The area has been designated an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ and we can see why. The sheltered conditions are ideal for sunbathing and watersports alike, and the beach is a popular destination for international events like sailing, wakeboarding and windsurfing.

Why not stay at Porth Tocyn Hotel in Abersoch? The coastal location and superb views make it the perfect place to spend a summer weekend.

2. Harbour Beach Tenby, Pembrokeshire

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Tenby is host to several glorious beaches, but this is our personal favourite. Tenby North is an enclosed golden beach that creates a glorious suntrap, even in the colder weather. The beach surrounding the prominent Goskar rock is overlooked by Tenby town and the impressive North Cliffs. Offering superb views over Carmarthen Bay, we can see why it is such a popular tourist destination. It has even received a coveted Blue Flag for its cleanliness.

Elm Grove is just minutes away from Tenby and offers the perfect combination of feeling secluded whilst being so close to the town.

3. New Quay Beach, Cardigan Bay

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The seaside resort of New Quay is renowned for being the inspiration of the famous Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. With its pretty harbour and stunning beaches, it has become an extremely popular visitor attraction. The area is also home to the UK’s largest pod of dolphins, making it the perfect place to take a boat trip and enjoy some wildlife spotting this summer.

4. Cefn Sidan, Camarthenshire

cefn sidan-beach-carmarthen bay

Cefn Sidan translates to ‘silk back’, which accurately describes the smooth eight-mile stretch of golden sand. Located within Pembrey Country Park, the beach is surrounded by a belt of impressive sand dunes that are a site of Special Scientific Interest. It’s ideal for long walks, and there are also many historical shipwrecks to explore – the most visible being the SV Paul, dating back to 1919. This beach is also easily accessible making it a great spot for family trips.

5. Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire

saundersfoot-beach-pembroekshire

The wide sandy beach and harbour is situated in front of the quaint village of Saundersfoot. It’s a beautiful and tranquil place during the summer months, and should therefore be a definite on your list to visit this year. As another Blue Flag beach, it’s the perfect place to go for a refreshing dip in the clear water. The gradual slope of sand also creates plenty of safe paddling opportunities for children.

St. Brides hotel overlooks Saundersfoot beach, and the stunning view can be seen from almost every room.

Celebrating Father’s Day

Whether he’s seeking adventure, dreaming of luxury or just looking for a quiet place to have a pint, we’ve picked our top 10 destinations to spoil your Dad this Father’s Day.

Father's Day gift ideas

Fishing at Gliffaes Hotel, Crickhowell.

Father's Day gift ideas

Gastronomic adventure at Hammet House, Pembrokeshire

Father's Day gift ideas

Lake Vyrnwy Hotel & Spa

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Hammet House on the Pembrokeshire coast for a gastronomic experience.
  2. Stay at The Metropole Hotel & Spa in Llandrindod Wells and visit the Red Kite feeding center nearby.
  3. Lake Vyrnwy Hotel & Spa for activities along the lake including cycling, fishing, clay pigeon shooting, bird watching (the hotel is set in a 24,000 acre RSPB reserve) and many more water activities.
  4. Gliffaes Country House in the Brecon Beacons for a spot of fishing on the River Usk, they have 1.5 miles of trout and salmon fishing exclusively.
  5. Castle Cottage in Harlech has the famous Royal St Davids golf course nearby to test Dad’s skills.
  6. If he’s a pet lover, why not take the dog along with him to The Falcondale in Lampeter, with 14 acres of lawns, gardens and woodland on site to explore.
  7. Relax at St Brides Spa Hotel in Saundersfoot whilst treating him to a session in the alfresco Hydrotherapy pool which is heated to body temperature.
  8. Harbourmaster in Aberaeron – make sure he makes use of the mountain bike for some serious adventure in the local area. There are two mountain bikes available at the hotel for guests to use free of charge! Ask Glyn for some local cycle routes.
  9. For Foodie Dads why not treat him to a Michelin starred dining experience at Tyddyn Llan Restaurant with Rooms in Llandrillo.
  10. Indulge in the award winning real ales and ciders on tap at Y Talbot in Tregaron, the heart of the Cambrian Mountains. You could even stretch to a hearty meal in this historic and characterful Inn.
Father's Day gift ideas

Cycling recommended at Harbourmaster, Aberaeron

Father's Day gift ideas

Real Ales & Ciders at Y Talbot, Tregaron

Father's Day gift ideas

Alfresco Hydrotherapy pool at St Brides Spa, Saundersfoot

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can’t decide which destination to choose, check out our gift vouchers, he can use these towards booking his favorite break.

Enter our competition on Twitter and Facebook – just tell us where you would take your Dad using #WelshRarebitDads for a chance to win a £100 gift voucher. We will pick the winner on Monday 13th June and will post the gift voucher immediately so you can give it to your dad on Father’s Day – Sunday 19th June.

Welsh Wine Week 2016

Welsh Wine Week – Sat 28th May – Sun 5th June 2016

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Yes, that’s right, Wales has an official Wine Week to celebrate its award winning vineyards and to promote the growing wine sector in Wales.
Have you ever tasted a Welsh Wine? You really should, Welsh vineyards have been rewarded with several prestigious national and international awards. The Welsh Wine industry produces over 100,000 bottles of wine each year and many visitors to Wales take in a tour with tasting sessions as part of Wine Trail Wales.
Wine Trail Wales presents the very best of Welsh vineyards, split into three regions to allow the visitor to travel through Wales and learn about the complete wine-making process as well as sample the wine, which is the most important part!

Jabajak Vineyard, Welsh Wine Week 2016

Throughout Welsh Wine Week there will be tours and tastings running at most of the Welsh vineyards, why not visit one of them? You may find your new favourite wine, and with many vineyards with their own Cellar Door (shop) you can take a bottle or ten home with you.

Jabajak Vineyard, Welsh Wine Week 2016
One of our favourites is Jabajak Vineyard near Whitland in Carmarthenshire. Not only does this vineyard offer tours and tastings, they are also a 5 star Restaurant with Rooms and part of the Welsh Rarebits Collection. Set in the heart of the Carmarthenshire countryside, Jabajak is an eclectic mix of Welsh and worldwide influences reflecting the travels of friendly hosts Amanda and Julian.

Jabajak Vineyards, Welsh Wine Week 2016

Amanda says ‘our carefully hand-picked blend of Phoenix and Seyval grapes are grown in our top vineyard that slopes gently south to face the fresh west wales sea breeze. They are slowly pressed then fermented in stainless steel at cool temperatures to maximise quality, then expertly blended to produce a delicate well-balanced crisp wine with fabulous elderflower notes’.

The White House connection, Welsh Wine Week 2016

Their wine is labelled ‘The White House’ and this is very fitting as the history of the farmhouse at Jabajak Vineyard dates back many years and has links to past American presidents. The full story of their White House connection is told on their website and it is well worth a read.
If you would like to visit Jabajak Vineyard for a tour, tasting or an overnight stay they have a range of options available to you. They offer self-guided and guided tours of the vineyards daily from 2.30pm, Cellar Door and Lounge tastings accompanied by antipasti platters and luxury accommodation with a-la-carte dinner.

Jabajak Vineyard, Welsh Wine Week 2016

And arriving just in time to celebrate Welsh Wine Week is their Welsh Blush Sparkling.

The White House Connection, Welsh Wine Week 2016