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)

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.