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.

Wales’ Best Beach – our top five picks

Wales is full of breathtaking coastlines with endless stretches of golden sand and beautiful clear water. With our pick of the top five to visit, you’ll never need to travel abroad for a relaxing beach break again.

1. Abersoch, Llyn Peninsula

abersoch-beach-north-wales

Located in the Llyn Peninsula, the peace and beauty of the beach will be sure to capture your heart. The area has been designated an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ and we can see why. The sheltered conditions are ideal for sunbathing and watersports alike, and the beach is a popular destination for international events like sailing, wakeboarding and windsurfing.

Why not stay at Porth Tocyn Hotel in Abersoch? The coastal location and superb views make it the perfect place to spend a summer weekend.

2. Harbour Beach Tenby, Pembrokeshire

tenby-beach-pembrokeshire

Tenby is host to several glorious beaches, but this is our personal favourite. Tenby North is an enclosed golden beach that creates a glorious suntrap, even in the colder weather. The beach surrounding the prominent Goskar rock is overlooked by Tenby town and the impressive North Cliffs. Offering superb views over Carmarthen Bay, we can see why it is such a popular tourist destination. It has even received a coveted Blue Flag for its cleanliness.

Penally Abbey Hotel is just minutes away from Tenby and offers the perfect combination of feeling secluded whilst being so close to the town.

3. New Quay Beach, Cardigan Bay

new quay-beach-cardigan bay

The seaside resort of New Quay is renowned for being the inspiration of the famous Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. With its pretty harbour and stunning beaches, it has become an extremely popular visitor attraction. The area is also home to the UK’s largest pod of dolphins, making it the perfect place to take a boat trip and enjoy some wildlife spotting this summer.

4. Cefn Sidan, Camarthenshire

cefn sidan-beach-carmarthen bay

Cefn Sidan translates to ‘silk back’, which accurately describes the smooth eight-mile stretch of golden sand. Located within Pembrey Country Park, the beach is surrounded by a belt of impressive sand dunes that are a site of Special Scientific Interest. It’s ideal for long walks, and there are also many historical shipwrecks to explore – the most visible being the SV Paul, dating back to 1919. This beach is also easily accessible making it a great spot for family trips.

5. Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire

saundersfoot-beach-pembroekshire

The wide sandy beach and harbour is situated in front of the quaint village of Saundersfoot. It’s a beautiful and tranquil place during the summer months, and should therefore be a definite on your list to visit this year. As another Blue Flag beach, it’s the perfect place to go for a refreshing dip in the clear water. The gradual slope of sand also creates plenty of safe paddling opportunities for children.

St. Brides hotel overlooks Saundersfoot beach, and the stunning view can be seen from almost every room.

National Pet Month

National Pet Month – why not take your beloved pets on holiday with you this April?

For those of us that feel guilty in leaving your best friend behind when going on holidays, here’s a perfect excuse to take them with you. National Pet Month takes place this month (April) and you can bring your best friend along to The Falcondale, a beautiful country mansion set in rural West Wales, at no extra charge! They have recently been listed in the Daily Mail’s “6 of the best dog friendly hotels” 2016, so you can rest assured that both you and your pets will be well looked after!

National Pet Month promotes responsible pet ownership and encourages groups, businesses and individuals to stage their own event during the month. The Falcondale will not be charging the usual £10 per night for pets in the belief that they can have a holiday the same as their owners.

On arrival your pampered pooch will be presented with a cosy dog blanket, water bowl and tasty treats. Although your pet is not allowed in the restaurant, they can dine from their own menu alongside their owners within the conservatory and lay be the fire in the lounge before bed. It really is a dogs life!

 

snoopy national pet month

Snoopy

Highlights

*14 acres of land to play or amble around in right on the doorstep

*3 to 5 mile circular walks available from the hotel

*The whole of the coastal footpath, wooded and forestry walks, hilltop walks and dog friendly beaches within easy reach.

Lisa Hutton the owner of the Falcondale explains “we have our own dog (Snoopy) here at the hotel, and would like to encourage

our guests to bring theirs too. Why should the owners have all the fun when The Falcondale has so much to offer your dog as well”.

 

National Pet Month Doggie Box

”Doggie” Box

 

Extras

Pre-book a “doggie” box for your stay at £20, which will include: –

*Rope Toy

*Poop Bags

*Chewy ear

*Doggie treats

*Falcondale blanket for you to keep


Guests can also arrange training and guidance with a local dog trainer – Sue MacFarquhar, a registered member of The Federation of Dog Trainers and Canine Behaviourists, runs the Training – she has over 35 years experience in training, teaching and behavioural work. These one-off lessons will be booked direct with Sue, and can be held either on the lawns at Falcondale or with Sue.

Call freephone 0808 198 7981 for further information, or look up www.thefalcondale.co.uk.