From the fjords of Flåm to the summit of Snowdon

Shwmae and hei from Norway! In case you’ve missed it, something very special will be happening this coming spring/summer. Yours truly will be visiting Wales with the Welsh Rarebits Collection in order to stay at the amazing hotels in the Collection, sample some of the best food Wales has to offer, and really experience the fantastic Welsh ‘Croeso’!

You may be wondering who ‘yours truly’ actually is, and if so, this post is for you!

My name is Lisa, and I am a 26-year old travel blogger and freelance writer from Norway. The main things you need to know about me is that I’m a Slytherin, I’m obsessed with diving and the ocean, and that I lived in Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire for a year as an exchange student when I was 17/18.

Now, almost 10 years later; I’m coming back!

At 17 I fell in love with Wales. I knew nothing about the country before moving to Saundersfoot for my exchange year (sorry!), but it didn’t take me long to realise that Wales is one of my absolute favourite countries in the world. From the accents to the daffodil, from Gavin & Stacey to Leigh Halfpenny, I was sold. I’ve since been back several times, and I’m always sad to leave.

This is why I was extremely excited when the opportunity to travel across Wales with the Welsh Rarebits Collection came about!

Let’s rewind to the beginning of this adventure to see how it all started. A few months ago, the Welsh Rarebits Collection advertised this opportunity as ‘the best job in the world’ on their website. It didn’t take long until the opening was shared in countless Facebook groups and blogger communities I was in. Some of my friends tagged me in it knowing how much I love Wales and told me I was perfect for it.

The application was simple; a 1-minute video introducing yourself and your fit for the part. So, I decided to go for it! After all, I’ve got 9 years’ experience in travel writing through my blog Fjords and Beaches, some useful social media skills, AND I love the country. In addition to this I have worked in the hospitality field in my village in Norway (where we welcome over 1 million travellers a year), so if anyone should be testing the Welsh welcome, it should be me!

I grabbed my iPhone, and after a few failed attempts (raise your hand if you actually enjoy hearing your own voice), I had a 1-minute video of me where I didn’t sound like a complete idiot explaining these reasons why I was the best candidate. For extra effect I shot the video standing with the beautiful fjords of Norway in the background, and I think it added a little extra something to the application.

I then sent off my application and forgot all about it. I started planning the rest of my adventures for 2018, and as time passed I figured I simply didn’t get it. You have no idea how excited I was two months later when I got a call telling me that I was invited to Wales by the Welsh Rarebits Collection!

As for the plans I’ve made, I’ll be taking a rather interesting route before I make it to Wales. In February I’m heading to Bali, where I’ll be staying for two months. From there I’ll be travelling to Australia, where I also get to spend a month or two. So I’m planning on being nicely tanned by the time I visit Wales in May 2018.

I’m currently at home in Norway, waiting patiently for Christmas, and am super excited to start planning my trip to Wales next year. I’ll be travelling around Wales for at least 30 days, staying in 30 different hotels from the Collection. As someone who loves any excuse to stay in a hotel, this is the perfect trip! Luckily, I have a job I can take with me wherever I travel, and enjoying the Welsh welcome while writing about my adventures couldn’t be a better way to spend a month.

So, make sure to keep a look out on the Welsh Rarebits social media channels, as well as mine, when May comes around! I’ll be taking Wales by storm and can’t wait to share the adventure with you all through weekly blog posts and daily social media posts!

Follow along: Welsh Rarebits Instagram & Facebook – Fjords and Beaches blog, Instagram & Facebook

Plan your Welsh summer holiday now with our favourite staycation destinations

With summer just around the corner there’s no better time to start planning your Welsh summer holiday. From long walks in the Brecon Beacons to relaxing road trips along the Welsh coast, we have listed some of our favourite staycation destinations to give you the inspiration to plan your perfect Welsh holiday.

 

Brecon Beacons

If you want to get away from the rush of everyday life then the Brecon Beacons is ideal. Great for nature lovers, adventure seekers and those just after a detox, the Brecon Beacon national park provides the perfect backdrop for a fresh, revitalising summer holiday.

Situated in the heart of the Beacons with amazing views of the peaks, the Peterstone Court is only a stones-throw away from some great activities such as golf, fishing, mountain biking and more, not to mention the vast array of hiking trails available. If you’d rather take a more relaxing approach then the hotel houses a top quality spa offering only organic products. There’s also a Jacuzzi, sauna and a wide range of treatments and therapies.

 

Pembrokeshire Coast

Forget the Caribbean, Wales is home to some of the most beautiful coastlines in Europe, with Pembrokeshire home to some of the top spots. For thrill-seekers there are plenty of water-sports available, while the sandy beaches are great for a romantic stroll or a family outing.

There are many great places to stay on the Welsh coast, however in order to get the most out of a coastal holiday in Pembrokeshire we recommend staying at the Warpool Court Hotel. Overlooking one of Britain’s most attractive stretches of coastline, this hotel not only gives you access to the coast in a matter of minutes but also puts you at the centre of Wales’ Celtic heritage such as the St David’s Cathedral, the holy well and many other ancient sites. Not surprisingly, the Warpool Court Hotel has some amazing cuisine with fish being a speciality. We also recommend going on a few coastal walks when visiting the Pembrokeshire coast; a guide on the best trails can be found here.

 

Penarth

With the buzz of Cardiff’s city centre on its doorstep, Penarth offers the perks of a city break with the benefits of relaxing sea views, allowing you to sit back and put your feet up. There’s plenty to do around Penarth including multiple boat tours around Cardiff Bay, a visit to the Cosmeston Medieval Village and for those wanting to make a splash there’s the Cardiff International White Water centre. On top of all this, Cardiff’s St David’s shopping centre offers some of the best retail outlets around.

The Holm House based in Penarth has a beautiful sea view and is only a short drive or bus ride away from Cardiff. With its state-of-the-art spa and eclectic personality, this hotel residing on Penarth’s ‘Millionaires’ Row’ is definitely one to check out.

Wales, land of legends

This year Wales is marking the Year of Legends, a fitting celebration for a country full of mythical landscapes and mystical stories. Here are some of our favourites.

Cadair Idris

Cadair Idris, which directly translates as Idris’ Chair, is one of Wales’ most iconic peaks and can be found in southern Snowdonia. It’s rumoured that Idris was once a giant king who used the mountain as his throne and it is said that if you fall asleep on the mountain you’ll wake up as either a madman, a poet or not at all. For the perfect base to explore this throne, take a look at Penmaenuchaf Hall.

Merlin’s Oak

It’s said that King Arthur’s legendary wizard protected this oak tree, which can be found in the centre of Carmarthen. Merlin threatened that Carmarthen would drown if the oak was ever removed and it was rumoured to even resemble the face of the wizard himself. A local poisoned it in the 1850s, and the remains of the trunk were finally removed at the end of the 1970s – after which Carmarthen suffered its worst floods for years. Coincidence? If you want to explore Merlin’s cursed town, stay at Tŷ Mawr Country Hotel:

Merlin is said to be buried on Bardsey Island, off the coast of the Llyn Peninsula. Our recommendation for a hotel in this area is Porth Tocyn.

Gelert

The legend of Wales’ most famous dog, Gelert, and his master Llewelyn the Great is one that many schoolchildren are familiar with.

Llewelyn and his wife went out hunting with his wife, leaving their baby son with a nurse and a servant, who went on a walk. On Llewelyn’s return, Gelert ran out of the home covered in blood. Llewelyn ran to his son’s room and, finding the cradle overturned with his son nowhere to be found, killed Gelert with his sword.

As the dog died, his last sounds were answered by the sounds of a baby’s cries, coming from behind the overturned cradle. Llewelyn pulled aside the cradle and found his son unharmed lying next to the body of a huge wolf.

The village of Beddgelert in Gwynedd is supposedly where Llewelyn buried his brave companion. You can visit the charming village of Beddgelert and learn more about the legend. We recommend staying at the Saracen’s Head.

St David

The patron saint of Wales, St David was born around the year 520 near the city that now bears his name.

St David performed many miracles including bringing a boy back to life. The most famous of his achievements is said to have taken place in the village of Llanddewi Brefi when he was preaching to a large crowd that was having difficulty hearing him.

A white dove landed on David’s shoulder as the ground beneath him rose up to form a hill that allowed everyone in the crowd to see and hear him better.

If you want to visit this hill, which now holds a church, stay at Y Talbot, or if you want to visit the birthplace of St David and hear more about his life, stay at Warpool Court for some added luxury to your stay.

2016: Year of Adventure experienced by everyone

Visit Wales declared 2016 the ‘Year of Adventure’.  It was a year jam-packed with adrenaline sports like coasteering, riding 100mph zip wires and mountain biking.

For the more tame, Visit Wales wanted to make Wales a ‘place where you can stretch yourself – mentally, physically and culturally’.  The Year of Adventure also included wildlife watching, culinary adventures and experiencing cultural events and festivals.

Geocaching, a treasure hunt using GPS, became an outdoor adventure phenomenon the whole family could enjoy, taking them on unexpected journeys throughout the country. While country lovers explored the rolling borderland of Offa’s Dyke Path to the Snowdonia and Brecon Beacons National Parks. Wildlife watchers revelled at dolphins in Cardigan Bay and witnessed endangered red kites soar above them. Foodies were well catered for too and plenty of culinary adventures were had from tasting cockles in Penclawdd to oysters in Anglesey.

Wales’ many opportunities for adventure needed to be shouted about. An ingenious way of doing this was through Visit Wales’ giant EPIC mirror letters – they travelled the country this summer, stopping at the most breath-taking spots – it’s aim to draw attention to some of Wales’ most spectacular places. Sioned and Sam, part of our very own Rarebits team, experienced the remarkable sight – Sam while it was within our Capital’s castle and Sioned witnessed the EPIC sign as a stunning backdrop to the UK Red Bull Cliff Diving World series in Abereiddy in Pembrokeshire.

Sam – “The EPIC art installation at Cardiff Castle commissioned by Visit Wales was truly spectacular! The giant mirrored letters forming the word EPIC certainly promoted Wales as an Adventure destination.”

Sioned – “This event completely personified #findyourepic. Not only were there world class divers competing at this epic location but during the day I saw groups coasteering nearby as well as spectators kayaking across the bay to watch the divers”.

Adventure came in all shapes and sizes in 2016 – where did you find yours? Did you find your inner Tarzan on a zip wire? Did you ride horseback through the surf? Share your EPIC adventures with us using #RarebitsOnTour.

Year of Adventure – Walk the coast path

Year of Adventure – Walk the coast path 

Wales is renowned for its beautiful coastal paths and Ceredigion on the west coast is particularly extraordinary. A challenging but popular choice, the 5 mile walk from Aberystwyth to Borth offers incredible views of Cardigan Bay and surrounding areas as well as a wealth of wildlife. If you fancy walking a bit further, follow the coast an extra 5 miles to the picturesque village of Ynyslas. The sand dunes are a stark contrast to the stony beaches of Aberystwyth and provide a great place to escape for a few hours.

Another site not to be missed is Constitution Hill, an impressive feature at the northern end of Aberystwyth’s seafront. If you’re feeling too tired from the walk, take the Aberystwyth Cliff railway up to the summit to see uninterrupted views of the surrounding towns and countryside. The hillside also boasts one of the world’s largest Victoria-style camera obscura, where you can behold 100 square miles of land and seascape.

Where to stay

Situated on the Aberystwyth seafront is Gwesty Cymru, an Edwardian guesthouse with a fresh, contemporary twist. All 8 rooms, many with sea views, feature flawless interior design and specially commissioned artwork from local artist Bethan Clwyd. After a long walk along the coast, this small but perfectly formed hotel is sure to create a welcoming and comfortable environment, many of it’s rooms has a spectacular sea views.

 

Year of Adventure - walk the coast path - Aberystwyth

Room with a view, sunset Aberystwyth

What to eat

The passionate chefs at Gwesty Cymru always create sensational dishes with locally sourced ingredients. Service with a smile is at the forefront of this restaurant and they ensure to create an enjoyable atmosphere whatever the occasion. Not to be missed is the 10oz sirloin steak, served with handcut chips and a grilled tomato.

Year of Adventure - walk the coast path - Aberystwyth

Gwesty Cymru Hotel & Restaurant