This Month We’re in Love With…

Forget Valentine’s Day, in Wales we’re all about St Dwynwen’s Day. Celebrated on the 25th January each year, this romantic holiday is all about spreading the love, and spending quality time with the people who matter most. In the spirit of St Dwynwen’s Day we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite romantic places, activities and eateries around Wales that we’ve fallen for this month.

Cocktails at Prohibition in Deganwy

This cocktail bar sits on the Conwy river estuary, a stone’s throw from the ancient ruins of Deganwy Castle. Inspired by the speakeasies of the prohibition era, the cosy and atmospheric bar is the perfect place to while away a few romantic hours with someone special. If you’re feeling adventurous you can even try your hand at a cocktail class!

Stargazing in Snowdonia

Snowdonia was awarded dark sky status in 2015, which means it’s one of the best places in the UK to get fantastic views of the stars – while huddled up to your nearest and dearest. Recommended spots include Llyn Geirionydd, Bwlch y Groes and Llynnau Cregennen. Just make sure you go on a night when the sky is clear – and don’t forget the flask of cocoa!

Sunset at Rhossili Bay

Not only does Rhossili Bay boast one of the most beautiful beaches in Wales, it’s also a fantastic spot to watch the sunset. January may not be a good month for sunbathing, swimming or surfing, but what could be more romantic than taking a stroll along this gorgeous stretch of sand as the sun goes down over the water?

Hay-on-Wye

This gorgeous market town may be most famous for its literary festival, which takes place in early summer, but we reckon it’s the perfect romantic destination year round. Pay a visit during the winter months and you can keep warm with a stroll around town, paying visits to the various bookshops, craft boutiques and independent clothing stores.

Llanddwyn Island

Where better to enjoy a romantic day than Llanddwyn Island, the final resting place of St Dwynwen herself? This gorgeous little island sits off the southern coast of Anglesey, connected by a narrow isthmus that can be crossed at low tide. Pack a picnic, pull on your walking boots, and prepare yourself for a refreshing stroll through this idyllic and historic setting.

Coastal walks in Aberystwyth

There’s something uniquely romantic about cosying up to a loved one as you take a wintry walk by the sea. Head to the gorgeous market town of Aberystwyth and you can enjoy a scenic stroll along the Wales Coast Path, finishing up with a well-deserved pint at one of Borth’s charming seaside pubs. Tip: taking the funicular railway to the top of Aberystwyth’s Constitution Hill is a brilliant way to kick-start this walk (and conserve some energy).

Pancakes at La Crêperie de Claudie in Cardiff

This traditional French pancake restaurant next to Victoria Park is the perfect place to enjoy a sweet treat with your sweetheart. The batter is made onsite by Claudie herself, using a recipe handed down from one generation to the next over many years. With an assortment of crêpes, waffles, milkshakes and hot chocolates to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Dwynwen – the saint for Wales’ lovers

In our first guest blog for The Year of Legends, we’ve asked Alwyn and Carl of Celticos to recount the story of Santes Dwynwen…

Image credit: http://www.visitwales.com/

On the far Western corner of Anglesey we can see Llanddwyn, the setting for the story of Dwynwen, the patron saint of Welsh lovers…

Dwynwen was the fairest of Brychan Brycheiniog’s 24 daughters. She fell in love with Maelon Dafodrill, but as always seems to happen, he was not her father’s choice, and he forbade her from marrying Maelon.

The scheming father had lined up another man who would fit his ambitions for this most beautiful daughter. The distraught Maelon, believing that it was Dwynwen who had rejected him, attacked her in his jealousy and anger.

Dwynwen fled to the wild woods where she begged that God would make her forget Maelon. She fell into a deep sleep and was visited by an angel carrying a potion that could bring forgetfulness and would turn Maelon to ice.  As she woke, she heard God declare that her wishes would be fulfilled.

She wished that Maelon would thaw from his icy state but also that she would never marry. And finally her third wish was granted – that God would fulfil the hopes and dreams of lovers through her prayers.

She kept her side of the bargain and devoted the rest of her life to God. The ruins of a church dedicated to her still exists on the windswept island, a holy well and a cross bear her name, and all lovers in Wales lovers honour her memory on her feast day 25 January.

Image credit: https://www.celticos.com/

Celticos provide bespoke guided tours and have created a series of Legendary Tours specifically for the Year of Legends – head over to their website to discover how you can explore hidden places with a Drive, Walk and Explore Tour, learn about Wales’ most iconic legend The Red Dragon and experience first hand the land of myths and legends. Click here to find out more.