A Culture-Packed Weekend: 48 Hours in Cardiff

Cardiff is often unfairly overshadowed by the other UK capitals – but if you book a trip to this vibrant, historic city you’ll see that it holds its own against the likes of London and Edinburgh.

If you’ve booked a weekend away to Cardiff (or if you’re considering doing so soon) here’s our ultimate guide to enjoying a culture-packed 48 hours in our exciting capital.

Friday PM

Arriving at Cardiff, you’ll want to check into your hotel and get moving. The city is filled with fantastic hotels, but a stay at No. 10 Cardiff or Cathedral 73 will put you in chic modern accommodation in a great location. Alternatively, you can stay a little out of the centre in a suburb like Penarth – Holm House Hotel being a highlight.

From here, venture out into the city to experience the nightlife. You can grab a casual dinner in the Brewery Quarter, or something more refined on Pontcanna Street, before heading to the trendy bars on Mill Lane or down at Mermaid Quay.

Saturday AM

Once you’ve finished your full Welsh breakfast (complete with cockles and laverbread), you’ll want to start sightseeing. The best place to begin is Cardiff Castle, which is famed for its elaborate interiors, hidden wartime shelters and hilltop Norman keep.

Banqueting Hall, Cardiff Castle

From the castle you can wander over to the National Museum (just 10 minutes on foot) and immerse yourself in the art and history of our wonderful nation.

Historic Gallery, National Museum Cardiff

Saturday PM

After lunch, spend your afternoon doing something a little different. Book far enough in advance and you can catch a rugby match down at the Principality Stadium. Alternatively, book tickets to a matinee at the National Theatre Wales, or the Wales Millennium Centre.

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay

Later on, you can enjoy dinner at one of Cardiff’s finest dining establishments. There are many to choose from, but one of our favourites is the award-winning Restaurant James Sommerin on the seafront in Penarth. You can get here in just 25 minutes by hopping on a train from Cardiff Central.

Restaurant James Sommerin, Penarth

After dinner, stick around to enjoy a cocktail in one of the nearby bars – just don’t forget that the last train from Penarth leaves just before 11.30!

Sunday AM

Make the most of your Sunday morning by heading down to Castle Street and hopping on a bus to St. Fagan’s National Museum of History. This open-air museum is free to enter and open seven days a week; at its heart is a 16th century manor house surrounded by other historic buildings.

National History Museum, St Fagans

Wander through the museum complex and you can learn about the history of the Welsh people, getting a key insight into how people here have lived through the ages. Bring a picnic and you can enjoy it on the grounds – alternatively, you can grab lunch at one of the onsite cafés.

Sunday PM

Before you head off, spend your last hours in Cardiff enjoying a leisurely stroll through one of the city’s green spaces (weather permitting). There are plenty to choose from, but Bute Park is our favourite.

As for the journey home? We suspect you’ll spend it planning your next visit to our beautiful capital…

 

Images © Crown copyright 2018 (Visit Wales)

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)

Seven Sensational Spring Stays

With the worst of the weather out the way, it’s the perfect time to plan a reviving spring getaway in Wales. The rolling green hills, sandy beaches and lush forests make our beautiful nation ideal for a holiday at any time of the year – but Wales is particularly magical during the spring months.

If you’re planning a Welsh getaway of your own in the next few weeks, check out the following list for some accommodation inspiration.

Summer Hill, Betws-y-Coed

The pretty riverside village of Betws-y-Coed can be found in Snowdonia, bordered by the Gwydir Forest Park. There are plenty of places to stay here, but a particular highlight is Summer Hill, a boutique hotel housed in a late Victorian country house. The traditional bedrooms have been given a modern twist and each boasts an ensuite bathroom and gorgeous views.

Cwmllechwedd Fawr, Llanbister

Cwmllechwedd Fawr is all about simple charm. Tucked away in the hills of central Wales, this secluded farmhouse offers quiet, luxurious accommodation with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Choose between three ensuite rooms in the main bed & breakfast, or a cosy self-catering cottage.

Tŷ Bae, Holyhead

Tŷ Bae is a bed & breakfast situated on the western coast of Anglesey, on the scenic Trearddur Bay. With just three rooms – each of which boasts a king-size bed, rain shower and balcony – this establishment promises a quiet, intimate stay with some stunning views. And with a beach just on your doorstep, you’re in the perfect location for water sports, hiking and – given the right weather – a spot of swimming.

Manor Town House, Fishguard

Head to the picturesque town of Fishguard in Pembrokeshire and you can enjoy a stay at the 4-star Manor Town House. A boutique B&B with some excellent sea views, this establishment promises an ensuite bathroom, Egyptian cotton sheets, a flat screen television, and a locally sourced breakfast.

St Katharine’s House, Milford Haven

Another fantastic Pembrokeshire establishment can be found in Milford Haven. St Katherine’s House has just two rooms – both of which have been carefully decorated with a blend of traditional and modern features. There’s plenty to explore in the surrounding area, and with packed lunches available from the B&B you’ll be well fed.

Lincoln House Hotel, Cardiff

Not all spring getaways in Wales have to be seaside or rural. If you’re seeking a more vibrant location, head to Cardiff and spend a few nights at the Lincoln House Hotel. Situated next to the parkland along the River Taff, this bed & breakfast is close to a number of restaurants, shops and tourist attractions. For the ultimate luxury break, book the penthouse and make use of the lounge and kitchen.

Llanrhaeadr Springs, Denbigh

This spa hotel and popular wedding venue is situated just outside Denbigh in northern Wales. Book a spring getaway here, and you can enjoy a number of luxury spa treatments centring on the skincare brand Thalgo. The hotel has a restaurant, which is housed in the old stable blocks, and the quirky accommodation comes in the form of rustic Shepherds’ Huts and the cosy Dovecot cottage.

 

Wales with your Dog: 5 Unmissable and Unique Experiences

The 1st of April may be April Fools’ Day, but if you’re an animal lover you may associate it with the beginning of National Pet Month. Across the country our furry friends are gearing up for 30 days of extra special walkies, tummy scratches and tasty treats.

For the Welsh Rarebits team, National Pet Month is the perfect excuse to explore the beautiful landscapes of Wales with our canine companions. If you’re a dog lover planning a trip to our part of the world in the next few weeks, check out the five brilliant experiences listed below – they’re guaranteed to give you paws for thought…

Visiting Gelert’s grave

Beddgelert, Snowdonia, North Wales

Gelert was a legendary Welsh dog who lived in the 13th century. Mistakenly killed before his time, he was greatly mourned by his owner Prince Llywelyn. Today you can visit his grave as part of the River Glaslyn walking trail. Head to the village of Beddgelert (which, unsurprisingly, translates to “the grave of Gelert”) and you can take a scenic stroll along the banks of the Glaslyn, looping away from the river briefly to visit the memorial stones. As you’d expect, the trail is dog-friendly; it’s also worth mentioning that it’s suited to walkers of all ability levels, and set against the stunning backdrop of Mount Snowdon.

Pet-friendly properties nearby: Saracen’s Head, Ty’n Rhos, Sychnant Pass Country House, Bryn Tyrch Inn, Plas Dinas, Summer Hill.

Outdoor attractions

Raglan Castle, Monmouthshire

Wales is a magnet for lovers of the great outdoors – and that includes the four-legged variety. Assuming your pooch is reasonably well-behaved, they’ll be welcome at a variety of places that’ll delight both you and your pet. Historic Wales has a fantastic selection of castles to visit, for example, where you can marvel at ancient battlements while Rover enjoys the bracing fresh air. Raglan Castle in the Vale of Usk, and Carmarthenshire’s Laugharne Castle are two great examples.

Pet-friendly properties nearby: Llansantffraed Court, The Bear, Wilton Court, Cwm Pelved House, Cabalva Mill Cottage.

Dog-friendly hotels

Dog friendly hotels Wales

Wales is a nation of dog lovers, so it’s no surprise that a huge number of hotels here are pet-friendly. For the ideal stay, book a hotel surrounded by gardens and woodland open to dogs. Some establishments will even go the extra mile to supply features like complimentary dog beds, so it’s worth researching before you finalise that booking. We have a fantastic selection of dog-friendly Welsh Rarebits Hotels, Great Little Places and Rare Hideaways!

Beach hopping in Pembrokeshire

Newport North Beach from the Parrog Pembrokeshire South Coast

Pembrokeshire has over 50 gorgeous beaches, and all of them are dog friendly! If you have a dog who loves frolicking in the waves, book yourself a trip to this beautiful part of the world and plan some seaside walks. Particularly special spots include Marloes and Newport Sands – although it’s hard to go wrong. In the summer months, some beaches put restrictions on areas open to dogs, but it shouldn’t limit your furry friend’s adventuring too much.

Pet-friendly properties nearby: Llys Meddyg, Fishguard Bay Resort, Warpool Court.

Travel by train

Ffestiniog Railway, Snowdonia, North Wales

The Ffestiniog Railway and the Welsh Highland Railway are two historic train lines that carry passengers through scenic areas of Snowdonia. If you travel in the third class portion of either train, you’re allowed to bring a dog aboard – and each pup is only charged £3 for the journey.

Wherever you end up travelling with your canine companion, just remember to pack water, a camera and plenty of snacks! A day out exploring the stunning landscapes of Wales can be exhausting for humans and dogs alike…

Pet-friendly properties nearby: Saracen’s Head, Ty’n Rhos, Sychnant Pass Country House, Bryn Tyrch Inn, Plas Dinas, Summer Hill.

 

© Crown copyright 2018 (Visit Wales)

Greetings from paradise!

As you may remember from my post from a few months ago, I’m the lucky girl who gets to travel around Wales in June to test the Welsh welcome! I’ll be travelling Wales from the end of May to early July, and I’m still as excited as I was the day they told me I’d been picked for the part!

I thought I’d take this opportunity to check in with you all, let you know what I’ve been up to since the last time I was here, and tell you about my upcoming plans. If you’re worried about missing out and want to make sure you’re always in the loop, please follow me on Instagram @fjordsandbeaches! Do make sure to also follow @welshrarebitshotels, as I’ll be using both accounts during my Welsh adventure!

After a lovely Christmas with my family, I spent January in Norway. I made sure I saw my friends and family a lot, and ended the month with a big party to celebrate my birthday and to say goodbye to everyone. Once February came around I jumped on a plane to Indonesia, and I’ve been living it up in Bali for the past month and a half.

Here in Bali I’ve been working a lot on Fjords and Beaches and my freelance writing, and of course making sure to explore the area and surrounding island. The photo above is from Nusa Penida, a neighbouring island – and a bucket list destination for me!

My last few weeks in Bali (I’m here until early April) will be spent working some more, exploring even more, doing some diving in neighbouring islands Nusa Lembongan and Gili Air, and making sure my tan is as good as it gets before I head to my next destination!

Come April I’ll hop on another flight and head Down Under. I can’t wait to get back to Australia, and will spend 7 weeks there. I’ll be staying with a close friend, who I am really excited to see again. I’ll even spend Norway’s Constitution day in Australia (17th of May), so make sure to think of me that day!

A little over a week later I’ll finally be on my way back to the UK and my second home. I land in London on a Friday, and after a weekend there (where you are bound to find me at the nearest Nando’s – oh, how I miss it!), I’ll be boarding that train to Wales!

May 28th it all kicks off, and the adventure starts in Cardiff. Make sure to stay tuned!