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.

Glorious Gardens

Summer has officially arrived, which means it’s time to slap on some sun cream, pull out that picnic blanket, and plan a delightful getaway in the UK. In Wales, you can make the most of the sunshine by heading to one of these gorgeous hotels, all of which are known for their fantastic gardens.

Tre-Ysgawen Hall & Spa, Anglesey

Tre-Ysgawen is a country house hotel and spa dating back to 1882 which is known for its fine dining. The gardens surrounding the hotel are a key attraction, and feature a laburnum arch, an old well, a snowdrop wood, and – most notably – a number of sculptures, including the 19th century “Lady”.

Bodysgallen Hall & Spa, Llandudno

This historic hotel is situated within 200 stunning acres of wooded parkland and gardens. Book a stay here and you can wander through the lovingly maintained grounds admiring the walled gardens, lily ponds, rockery, rose bushes, and follies. The crowning glory is the 17th century formal garden filled with precise box hedges.

Holm House, Penarth

Head to picturesque Penarth, a coastal town just south of Cardiff, and you can stay at Holm House. Penarth is known as “The Garden of the Sea”, so it’s fitting that Holm House boasts immaculately manicured gardens, where you can enjoy gorgeous sea views. Experience the luxury of a Holm House break by making use of this fantastic Midweek Sunset Escape offer, which includes a 25-minute spa treatment.

Bear Hotel, Crickhowell

Just named one of the Best Summer Pubs in Britain by The Times, The Bear Hotel in Crickhowell is the perfect place for a summer escape. Plan a stay in this former stagecoach inn, or simply stop by for lunch, and you can dine in the beautiful summer garden, which boasts some spectacular floral displays.

Lake Country House & Spa, Llangammarch Wells

You might book into the Lake Country House to enjoy the luxury spa treatments, but you’ll want to stay for the beautiful grounds. Stroll past the lakes and along the banks of the River Irfon, fish and play tennis, and spot resident woodpeckers in the trees.

Llansantffraed Court, Abergavenny

Llansantffraed Court is a hotel and restaurant housed in a spectacular redbrick building. Best known for its award-winning food, the hotel is also notable for its beautiful gardens. The 20 acres of grounds feature a walled kitchen garden, manicured lawns, ancient trees, a lake and fountain, and even a 16th century church.

Grove of Narberth, Narberth

The Grove of Narberth is a luxury hotel situated in the rolling Pembrokeshire hills, just a 12 minute drive from the coast. In the beautiful grounds you’ll discover centuries-old oaks and beeches, formal box hedges, a restored 17th century walled garden, and a kitchen garden. Visit during the summer, and you can expect to see rhododendrons and colourful flower borders in bloom.

Portmeirion, near Porthmadog

We couldn’t talk about glorious gardens without mentioning Portmeirion, the coastal town famously designed and constructed by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis in the style of an Italian village. Visit this curious place and take a tour of the quirky, beautifully kept gardens. Notable features include the pagoda and lily pond of the Japanese Garden, the rhododendrons, and the monkey puzzle trees.

Making a Splash!

With the mercury rising across the UK, it’s a fantastic time to plan a poolside holiday. To avoid the hassle of booking flights and accommodation abroad, arrange a stay in beautiful Wales. All the properties listed below have their own swimming pools, which means you’re guaranteed a cool, refreshing and oh-so-relaxing stay!

Porth Tocyn Country House Hotel, Abersoch

Porth Tocyn is a coastal country house hotel situated a short distance from some excellent beaches. Stay at this establishment, though, and you won’t even have to venture outside to sunbathe by the water. The surrounding gardens feature a secluded outdoor swimming pool, lined with loungers, chairs, and plenty of greenery.

Peterstone Court, Brecon

Housed in a Georgian building that still boasts traditional features, Peterstone Court is, on the one hand, a classic example of a country hotel. On the other, it’s a modern and vibrant establishment that boasts a fully equipped gym, excellent spa facilities, and – best of all – a heated outdoor pool, which rests in the centre of a lovingly maintained garden.

Sychnant Pass Country House, Conwy

This 5-star hotel nestles on the edge of Snowdonia National Park amidst three gorgeous acres of landscaped gardens. Book a stay here and you can spend your days golfing, hiking, and sightseeing in the historic local towns and villages. Alternatively, stay put and make use of the excellent onsite facilities. Work out in the gym, enjoy spa treatments, and enjoy a relaxing swim in the heated indoor pool.

The Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod

The Metropole is housed in a distinctive green building that dates back to the late 19th century. Home to an award-winning restaurant and a spa housed in a Victorian conservatory, this 4-star hotel frequently tops the list of mid-Wales establishments. Stay here and you can enjoy leisurely swims in the 18 metre heated indoor swimming pool – it’s the perfect way to unwind after a day of sightseeing.

Corran Resort & Spa, Laugharne

The Corran is a country retreat located on the Towy Estuary, a short distance from the Dylan Thomas Boathouse. A place where tradition meets modernity, the Corran houses a 16th century building at its heart, and is known for its spa, award-winning restaurant, and The Corran Academy – a cookery course run by Jean-Christophe Novelli. More importantly, the hotel also boasts an excellent indoor swimming pool!

St Brides Spa Hotel, Saundersfoot

This Pembrokeshire hotel is situated on a cliff top overlooking the coast. The main attraction here is the spa, which provides a sanctuary of seafront calm and a host of revitalising treatments. The most exciting feature here is the outdoor infinity hydro pool, which lets you cool off as you gaze out at the spectacular Pembrokeshire coastline.

Warpool Court Hotel, St Davids

Warpool Court is perhaps best known for its stunning sea views, which can be enjoyed from the Italian-style gardens and the traditional dining room. Set in 15 acres of beautiful coastal land, Warpool Court provides the perfect escape from the urban grind. Best of all, the hotel boasts a covered heated swimming pool, which stays open between April and September.

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)