Autumn Adventures in Wales

You don’t need to go Stateside to enjoy the autumn leaves, and what better way to enjoy the cooler days than to explore the colourful woodlands of Wales? With a wealth of opportunities such as hiking, mountain biking and watching the sky at night, treat yourself to a Welsh autumn break, or maybe surprise your loved ones with a holiday gift voucher!

Mountain Biking in Southern Snowdonia

Coed y Brenin is a world-class, purpose-built venue for mountain bikers, with eight specially designed trails as well as running, walking and orienteering routes. Set in the south of Snowdonia National Park, this picturesque spot makes an ideal location to visit on a weekend break or family half-term holiday. It has an excellent visitor centre, some comfortable walks where you can admire the falling leaves, and an all-access mobility trail. You can even admire the stunning landscape from the comfort of the cafe, and sample some of their home-made treats.

Hiking the Brecon Beacons

Autumn is perhaps the most dramatic season in the Brecon Beacons, with the falling leaves exposing the mountain flanks as they prepare for winter. If you’re up for a hike and some bird-watching, stop off at Craig Cerrig Gleisiaid & Fan Frynych. This extensive nature reserve covers 1200 acres of mid Wales, where you can also admire the autumn hues as you climb some of the routes up to the summit of Pen Y Fan.

Wales for Wildlife

Wales is a nature-lover’s paradise, featuring 11 RSPB sanctuaries and 216 Wildlife Trust reserves. Autumn wildlife to watch includes seasonal seals and porpoises in the islands off the Pembrokeshire coast, crested grebes near Bangor in North Wales, and wildfowl in the wetlands of the South. A highlight of the RSPB Newport Wetlands in October is the twilight flocking of 50,000 or more starlings, as they perform syncopated flight dances before dropping down to roost.

The Sky at Night

Wales has many designated Dark Sky Areas around its coasts and mountains, where you can get away from city lights and observe the heavens. At historic Penmon in north east Anglesey, for example, you can not only spot seals, dolphins and puffins off its shores, but find the astral animals of the zodiac. On the west coast, Penbryn Beach is a mile of golden sand that’s one of the best-kept secrets in Wales. Wonderful in the daytime, this is also a beautifully secluded spot from which to wonder at the beauty of the night sky.

Incredible Castles

What better adventure for inquisitive kids than a visit to a real life castle? Pembroke Castle is one of the most iconic of the Welsh castles, with a long history and stunning architecture, plus ongoing excavations and some great exhibits. With a fascinating reputation as the birthplace of Henry VII, the first of the great Tudor monarchs, Pembroke castle is also built over a natural cavern where you can find pipistrelle bats… and maybe a dragon! And if you’re arriving soon, castles all over Wales will open for free on 29/30 September.

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

Rarebits rooms with a view

Welsh Rarebits hotels take the idea of a good view to a new level. Admire panoramic sea views, National Park sights and glorious gardens scenes – they will keep you pinned to the window of your room for minutes on end.

Harbourmaster, Aberaeron

You’ll be spoilt for choice at the Harbormaster – most rooms come with spectacular views of the beautiful Aberaeron harbour or look out over Cardigan Bay – the sunsets here are unmissable!

Penmaenuchaf Hall, Dolgellau

Located within the Snowdonia National Park and overlooking the beautiful Mawddach Estuary, it’s hard to find a room without a fantastic view.

The Falcondale, Lampeter

Wake up to lush valley views – scenic rooms are situated at the front of the building and overlook the beautiful garden and well-kept lawns.

Llansantffraed Court, Abergavenny

Indulge with breakfast in bed while taking in this scene – admire the hotel’s 20 acres of manicured grounds (complete with trout lake) and beyond to unspoilt rural Monmouthshire.

Porth Tocyn Country House Hotel, Abersoch

The hotel sits on a bluff high above the southern coast of the Llŷn Peninsula, commanding a stunning panorama that seems to take in most of North Wales – on a clear day you can see along the peninsula all the way to the top of Snowdon.

Gwesty Cymru, Aberystwyth

Located on Aberystwyth’s Victorian promenade, overlooking the blue waters of Cardigan Bay – most of the hotel’s rooms boast spectacular sea views.

Gliffaes Country House Hotel, Crickhowell

Set in a beautiful location, in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Views of the gorgeous surroundings are sure to leave you feeling calm and well rested.

Twr y Felin, St David’s

Tyddewi is the best room in house, located in the Windmill Tower. This two story suite has a spiral staircase leading you to the original observatory located on the highest floor of the hotel, which boasts spectacular 360 degree views of the St Davids Peninsula.

Warpool Court Hotel, St David’s

The hotel is situated in a magical spot overlooking one of Britain’s loveliest stretches of coastline – many of its bedrooms come with glorious sea views, soak up the views in the Skomer Room (above).

St Brides Spa Hotel, Saundersfoot

Most of the individually styled bedrooms have lovely sea views and balconies. Their decor is bright and contemporary, echoing the maritime scene outside.

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.

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.