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.

Top places in Wales to propose this Valentine’s Day (or any other day)

Are you planning a romantic surprise this Valentine’s Day? Whether it’s a proposal or a picnic, Wales is full of the most beautiful settings to enjoy with the special person in your life.

For that extra special surprise, you don’t have to take them on Valentine’s Day – take them somewhere special ‘just because’ to really melt their heart.

Here, we’ve picked some of our favourite stunning settings. Let us know what you think on Twitter @Rarebits

Lake Vyrnwy, Llanwddyn

Referred to as a ‘reservoir’ in Powys, the reality is much more captivating than the description. Originally built with the purpose of supplying Liverpool with water, the lake is now the setting for water sports, horse riding, cycling and other activities.

A truly breathtaking sight, the lake is also home to Lake Vyrnwy Hotel and Spa.

Roch Castle, Pembrokeshire

What could be more romantic that a real life castle? Roch Castle is a restored Norman castle, with all the mod-cons and features you’d expect from a luxury hotel.

Four waterfalls walk, Ystradfellte

 The four waterfalls walk is a popular route in the Brecon Beacons, which takes in a quartet of waterfalls along the Afon Mellte. The walk culminates in the Sgŵd yr Eira, where the footpath passes behind the waterfall itself – the perfect location for a romantic gesture.

If you want to make a weekend of it, take a look at Peterstone Court Hotel and Spa.

 Barafundle Bay, near Stackpole

Named as one of the best beaches in the world by Passport magazine, Barafundle Bay offers nothing but natural beauty. If you’re visiting, be sure to pack a romantic picnic as there aren’t any facilities on site.

If you’re heading down that way, why not use Elm Grove as a base for exploring? The house, based in Tenby, has been in the same family for 150 years. Or The Stackpole Inn makes an ideal spot to explore this corner of Pembrokeshire.



Portmeirion Village

An Italianate village in North Wales, Portmerion Village is one of a kind. If you had dreams of proposing abroad, but lack of planning or budget hampered that wish, take a look at this village.

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.

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.

7 Staycations you will never believe are in Wales

Summer may be officially over, but that shouldn’t stop you from planning your next getaway. As the winter months draw closer, the recurring daydream of relaxing on a beach in Bali or sailing around the Greek islands is returning more frequently. But who says you have to go abroad? It may not have the glorious weather, but Wales definitely has the glorious attractions that will be sure to convince you to take a ‘staycation’. We’ve detailed where to visit along with things to do and key activities here in Wales.

1) Portmeirion

The private tourist village of Portmeirion is located near Porthmadog in north Wales. With its picturesque views and pastel-coloured buildings, it’s easy to mistake this quirky place for a sleepy town on the Italian coast.

The village is especially magical at night, when it closes to the public but remains open for hotel guests. So why not choose between two of our luxurious hotels and suites and experience the beaches, hidden coves and woodlands after dark?

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2) Llanrwst

Situated between Conwy and Betws-y-Coed, Llanrwst is the perfect place to base yourself if you’re visiting Snowdonia. This village could be high in the Himalayas and it’s easy to forget that the outside world exists when you’re there. Sitting deep in the Conwy Valley, the iconic three-arched bridge next to the Tu Hwnt l’r Bont tearooms passes over the river and acts as the main focal point for this picturesque place. What’s more, we offer accommodation with beautiful lawns and wooded grounds in the nearby Sychnant Pass Country House, ensuring your stay will be stunning in every way.

3) Skomer Island

Skomer is located less than a mile off the stunning Pembrokeshire coast. The main attraction is its wildlife; the island is home to puffins and you might spot  dolphins and seals in its waters, giving the island a tropical feel.

In the spring, the island becomes covered in a beautiful blanket of bluebells, with no piece of land spared.

4) Tintern Abbey, Chepstow
The village of Tintern boasts outstanding landscapes complemented by the imposing structure of its ruined Cistercian Abbey. Located between Chepstow and Monmouth on the Welsh side of the River Wye, Tintern Abbey’s romantic yet gothic appearance is sure to blow you away. Being able to see the thick woodland peering through the Abbey’s structure allows you to appreciate the surroundings, which are especially beautiful on a bright day.

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 5) Merthyr Mawr sand dunes

Wales is lucky to have so many unspolit stretches of coastline and the Methyr Mawr sand dunes are particularly enchanting. These dunes are the second highest in Europe and look like they belong in the middle of the Sahara.

This location is definitely holiday-worthy, with the medieval Candleston Castle and the Norman Ogmore Castle waiting to be explored nearby.

If you’re looking for a more unusual activity, many people enjoy bringing their snow sledges to the dunes and having fun on the slopes. So why not give it a go?

6) Blaenau Ffestiniog

In the heart of Snowdonia National Park is the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Having made its name from its industrial heritage, it is now home to two adrenaline-fuelled adventure activities – Bounce Below and Zip World Caverns. Makes a change from hiking!

Housed in a psychedelic underground cave and boasting three trampolines and a network of slides and ladders, Bounce Below is perfect for staycationers looking for an active and fun-filled trip. Similarly, Zip World Caverns offers numerous tunnels, bridges and balance beams to ensure that your experience is action packed. The best part? You don’t even need to rely on good weather.

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7)Lake Vyrnwy

Sitting on the border of the Snowdonia National Park, Lake Vyrnwy looks like something out of a children’s story. It has vast and lush views, which complement the romantic architecture of a large dam and its fairytale tower. Its surroundings are equally breathtaking, with rolling meadows, thick forest and steep waterfalls.

While you’re here, why not try the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel and Spa and enjoy the stunning sunset views from your balcony?

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If you’ve been inspired by these staycations and want to visit Wales, take a look at our offers page for some last-minute deals.