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.

Celebrating Father’s Day

Whether he’s seeking adventure, dreaming of luxury or just looking for a quiet place to have a pint, we’ve picked our top 10 destinations to spoil your Dad this Father’s Day.

Father's Day gift ideas

Fishing at Gliffaes Hotel, Crickhowell.

Father's Day gift ideas

Gastronomic adventure at Hammet House, Pembrokeshire

Father's Day gift ideas

Lake Vyrnwy Hotel & Spa

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Hammet House on the Pembrokeshire coast for a gastronomic experience.
  2. Stay at The Metropole Hotel & Spa in Llandrindod Wells and visit the Red Kite feeding center nearby.
  3. Lake Vyrnwy Hotel & Spa for activities along the lake including cycling, fishing, clay pigeon shooting, bird watching (the hotel is set in a 24,000 acre RSPB reserve) and many more water activities.
  4. Gliffaes Country House in the Brecon Beacons for a spot of fishing on the River Usk, they have 1.5 miles of trout and salmon fishing exclusively.
  5. Castle Cottage in Harlech has the famous Royal St Davids golf course nearby to test Dad’s skills.
  6. If he’s a pet lover, why not take the dog along with him to The Falcondale in Lampeter, with 14 acres of lawns, gardens and woodland on site to explore.
  7. Relax at St Brides Spa Hotel in Saundersfoot whilst treating him to a session in the alfresco Hydrotherapy pool which is heated to body temperature.
  8. Harbourmaster in Aberaeron – make sure he makes use of the mountain bike for some serious adventure in the local area. There are two mountain bikes available at the hotel for guests to use free of charge! Ask Glyn for some local cycle routes.
  9. For Foodie Dads why not treat him to a Michelin starred dining experience at Tyddyn Llan Restaurant with Rooms in Llandrillo.
  10. Indulge in the award winning real ales and ciders on tap at Y Talbot in Tregaron, the heart of the Cambrian Mountains. You could even stretch to a hearty meal in this historic and characterful Inn.
Father's Day gift ideas

Cycling recommended at Harbourmaster, Aberaeron

Father's Day gift ideas

Real Ales & Ciders at Y Talbot, Tregaron

Father's Day gift ideas

Alfresco Hydrotherapy pool at St Brides Spa, Saundersfoot

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can’t decide which destination to choose, check out our gift vouchers, he can use these towards booking his favorite break.

Enter our competition on Twitter and Facebook – just tell us where you would take your Dad using #WelshRarebitDads for a chance to win a £100 gift voucher. We will pick the winner on Monday 13th June and will post the gift voucher immediately so you can give it to your dad on Father’s Day – Sunday 19th June.

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

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.