A fun quiz about our great nation. How much do you know?
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A fun quiz about our great nation. How much do you know?
How is it the 14th of August already? It feels as though it should be March. And if the year feels like it’s slipping by too quickly, how fast has this summer gone? Before long we’ll be huddling round a crackling open fire drinking thick hot chocolates. But, the summer isn’t over yet and before we descend into another very British winter, we thought we’d share some ideas and tips for surfing holidays in Wales.
Whether you’re a beginner to surfing or an absolute pro, Wales is a great place to go on a surfing holiday. Especially if you don’t fancy a long, long drive to Cornwall. As always, if you’ve got some surfing ideas or tips you’d like to share, we’d love to know. Feel free to add a comment to the bottom of this blog, or contact us via our Facebook page or by tweeting us @TouristsOnline.
Surf Snowdonia, Wales, Snowdon
Much anticipated, Surf Snowdonia is an inland surf lagoon that opened in August 2015. Since opening, it’s not disappointed. With breath taking mountain views of Snowdon’s mountainside, clean, clear water and the perfect, albeit orchestrated, waves, it’s a winning combination for any surfer.
There are several options if you want to surf. You can do free surfing, which means you are allocated a bay. There are three types of bay – beginner, intermediate and advanced. The waves within each bay are suited to your ability. Prices for free surfing sessions depend on your ability. Beginner sessions go from 19 for one hour, whilst intermediate and advanced free surf sessions go from £29 per hour.
If you’d prefer some guidance, whether you’re a beginner or just want to brush up on your surfing skills, you can also get lessons from Surf Snowdonia. Kids’ lessons go from £29 per hour, whilst adult lessons are from £39 per hour. Again, the price gets higher the more advanced a surfer you are.
There’s also a coffee bar, shops, glass viewing platform and a soft play shack for the kids, which makes Surf Snowdonia a practical and handy day out, as well as an exhilarating one.
Here’s a video to give you a taste of what Surf Snowdonia is all about:
We like our food here at Wales Tourists Online HQ. And, as proud foodies, we’re obviously big cheese lovers.
Thankfully, for cheese enthusiasts like ourselves, Wales has got a lot to offer. From its award-winning cheddars to creamy goats cheese masterpieces. Visit Wales have a good guide to the some of Wales’ finest cheeses.
However, not only are there plenty of great cheese producers in Wales, there are also some great cheese festivals, events and attractions. Here’s our guide for cheese lovers who want to holiday in Wales.
If you try any of our suggestions out, or you have some more ideas, please share them with us. We love hearing from you.
Wales gets a lot of things right – food, scenery and, of course, pubs. We like nothing better than sunning ourselves in a pub garden, eating home cooked pub grub whilst making sampling one or two of the local ales. Sounds like summer bliss to our ears. Or, if the weather turns a little inclement, then we wouldn’t grumble about putting our feet up in front of the well-stoked fire either. Whatever the weather, we always love heading to a Welsh pub.
In this blog post we wanted to share some of the best pubs we’ve come across. Mind you, if you think you’ve been to better then let us know. We’d love to have an excuse to conduct more thorough research to check that your claims are correct. Well, it’s all in a day’s work after all!
Groes Inn, Conwy
With views as good as its beer, Groes Inn had to make it onto our incredible pub list. Beautifully placed next to the Conwy Estuary this Conwy drinking hole has been serving pints since 1573. So, as you can imagine, it’s full of historical charm and character.
Everything about this traditional pub is of first-rate quality. The beers are local to the region and the pub even has their very own special blend of Groes Ale, which is brewed at The Great Orme Brewery. If you’re a foodie, then you’ll be pleased to hear that this pub’s two dining rooms serves award-winning food from local suppliers. Voted the best pub in the ‘AA Pub of the Year 2013/14′ this former coaching inn is a must-see.
Unfortunately, this video has no sound, but the photos show off some of Groes Inn’s best bits so we thought it worth sharing with you:
Black Boys Inn, Caernarfon
Black Boy Inn is a welcoming and homely family run business that’s always worth a visit. The pub always serves local brewers and has an excellent range of cask ales, bitters and craft lagers on draft.
If you’re after food then whatever meal you’re after – breakfast, lunch or dinner – Head Chef Marius Cepoiu (who’s French trained!) is happy to oblige. The menus are varied and updated regularly. You can opt for something traditional and warming, like lobscouse, or something a little fancier, like scallops and black pudding. Our stomachs are growling as we write.
You can also stay at the Black Boy Inn. There are ten types of rooms at the Inn, from suites to single beds, so whatever your needs you should find something.
In 2015 Black Boy Inn was awarded bronze in the National Tourism Award for Wales and in the same year was awarded a Certificate of Excellence by Trip Advisor. Learn more about the Black Boys Inn by watching this video:
Ty Coch Inn, Porthdinllaen, Wales
Voted as one of the top 10 beach bars in the world (Cheap Flights) Ty Coch Inn is truly incredible. Built in 1823 and originally used as a vicarage, the pub is situated on a beach – yes, you read that right – which makes Ty Coch’s scenery utterly unique.
The pub, which you can only access by foot, is based at one end of a curved, sandy bay. The bay is overlooked by cliffs and, when you sit outside the pub, drink in hand, you can see both Yr Eifl and Snowdonia. Stunning.
Water sports is popular on the beach and there’s also a golf course behind the pub, so there’s plenty to keep you occupied in between rounds and lunch!
Here’s a video that shows off the Inn’s perfect location:
Food is often the topic of conversation at Wales Tourists Online HQ and we’re often overheard discussing (read squabbling) over what we think are the best food festivals and restaurants around. Out of those conversations the idea for this blog post was born – the ultimate summer foodie list. We’re rounded up some of the best Welsh food festival events you can attend this summer. We hope you enjoy.
And remember, we always love hearing from you. Tell us about the food events you love and let us know if you can recommend some to us. You can share your recommendations via Twitter or Facebook, or feel free to comment on this post.
Abergavenny Food Festival, 18th – 20th September 2015
With more chef headliners than you can shake your fork at, Abergavenny Food Festival is the type of star studded event food lovers dream of.
Exhibiting over 200 food and drink producers, this year’s award-winning festival has attracted Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge, as well as the famous sister duo Hemsley + Hemsley. You can also watch food writer and stylist Olia Hercules as she takes you on an taste bud adventure as she talks about her favourite Eastern European recipes.
Finally, as if that wouldn’t keep you busy enough, if you want to get your children to follow in your foodie footsteps remember that kids have their very own Food Academy at Abergavenny Food Festival. That means you can kick back and enjoy your gourmet cheese nibbles whilst they’re kept busy learning new skills and rustling up something delicious in the kitchen. Bliss.
Ticket info – you can book your tickets here!
Saturday Adult: Advance £9.00 / On the day £12.00
Sunday Adult: Advance £7.00 / On the day £10.00
Weekend Adult: Advance £14.00 / On the day £18.00
Group discount: Advance 10% / On the day n/a
Under 16s get in free with a paying adult
To give you an idea of what a day out at the festival is like, here’s a video of the festival from 2012:
Neath Food Festival, 2nd – 4th October
The fact that the organisers of Neath Food Festival have had to extend the event from a two-day festival to a three-day festival is proof enough that this festival is not to be missed.
Set nearby to Swansea, the Festival has a friendly and welcoming market-vibe and last year you could enjoy a ridiculously wide range of food, from crusty artisan breads to mouth-wateringly good Louisiana burgers.
Here’s a video of last years’ event – it makes us hungry just watching it:
Hamper 2015, Llangollen Food Festival, 17th – 18th October
For just £5 you’ll get to sample products from Wales’ finest food producers, see live cooking events and try out fun workshops at Llangollen Food Festival this autumn.
In 2014 there were over 100 exhibitors showcasing their best produce, from chocolate to coffee and lamb to cheese. And if you were feeling curious, you could even sample some chocolate and fudge sausages from local farm, Abbey Farm.
Ticket information – you can book your tickets here!
Concessions (65+): £4.00 plus £2.25 handling fee per order.
Happy eating everyone!
Not planned your summer holiday yet? It’s not too late. In this blog we’re rounded up some fantastic summer holiday options for you, from a Bed and Breakfast in the Brecon Beacons (that’s a lot of Bs) to a canal boat break along one of Wales’ best-loved canals, you’ll find something that ticks all of your holiday-checklist-boxes.
If you’d like to find out more information about any of the properties listed on Wales Tourists Online or if you want to share where you are heading for your summer holiday this year, you can Tweet us @TouristsOnline or visit our Facebook page.
Arfyn House at Llwyn Onn, Brecon Beacons
What better place to spend your summer holiday than the Brecon Beacons National Park? It’s one of our favourite Welsh destinations.
And this rural idyll can only serve to make your trip to mid-Wales even better. Set within stunning gardens, Arfyn House offers two modern, high-quality bedrooms, which can accommodate up to four people. Each bedroom has access to a stylish en suite. After a restful night’s sleep, you’ll wake up to a fresh and healthy breakfast. Choose from cereals, homemade fruit compote, yoghurt, toast and homemade jam. Delicious.
Once you’ve refuelled, you can pop into the local town of Brecon, or head to the popular Llwyn Onn reservoir. You can also visit the nearby waterfall walk at Ystadfellte, the Brecon Mountain Railway or the red kite feeding centre. For those looking for an active holiday, there’s fishing, mountain climbing and Bike Park Wales to keep you entertained. We feel out of breath just describing what’s on offer!
In the evening, you can enjoy the eateries in Brecon, catch a show at the theatre or a film at the local cinema.
If you’d like to stay with owners Alun and Sally at Arfyn House, prices vary depending on the season. Double or twin en suite rooms go from £70 per night.
Cambrian Cruisers, canal boat holiday along the Monmothshire and Brecon Canal
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” The Wind in the Willows
We have to agree with The Wind in the Willows author Kenneth Grahame when he wrote about spending summers days on boats. Bliss.
Cambrian Cruisers can offer you the perfect Wind in the Willows inspired retreat. If you hire a boat you’ll be able to chug down the 35-mile long Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal, taking in the fabulous sights of the Usk Valley and Pontypool along the way.
There are just six locks to operate along the course, which means you’re trip will be a relaxed and carefree affair.
Some of our fondest memories of holidays as children centre on those moments when you and your family arrived at your destination and when it comes to this all-important moment Bodfan Farmhouse does not disappoint.
Having travelled down the beautiful tree-lined drive, you’ll catch sight of the home – a traditional white farmhouse that sits proudly in a lush green field, surrounded by trees. Once inside the 5 bedroomed farmhouse the views don’t disappoint either. You can see Snowdonia in the distance and endless green fields.
As well as the normal mod cons, such as WiFi, the farmhouse also has a library, extensive gardens to explore and storage for cyclists.
Although the farmhouse is a self-catering holiday home, for a little extra you can have a meal and a cake waiting for you on arrival. Just let the owners know – they’ll be more than happy to help.
Depending on the time of year, the prices for Bodfan House vary. Prices tend to start from £515 per week however and rise to £1100 in the peak season.
You can’t beat a good slice of cake. Even if the sky is gloomy and it’s raining cats and dogs, a good slice of Victoria sponge or even a warming chunk of bara brith (that’s a Welsh fruit loaf, in case you were uncertain – here’s a bara brith recipe in case you fancied making some yourself) is bound to put a smile on your face.
That’s why, seeing as its spring and we’re bound to be getting all sorts of weather thrown our way over the next few weeks, we’ve scoured Wales to find the best tea rooms available. Let us know is you visit any of the tea rooms or if you’ve been to any of the ones listed here before. You can Tweet us @TouristsOnline or visit our Facebook page.
The Angel Hotel, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire
If you want to experience the glitz and glamour of an award winning afternoon tea, but don’t want to fork out a small fortune for the experience, then Abergavenny’s Angel Hotel might be a good fit for you.
Served in the luxurious Wedgewood Room, the afternoon tea you tuck into at The Angel Hotel will have been freshly baked that morning by the hotel’s resident baker, Sally Lane, and her team of talented cooks.
Not only will you be offered dainty sandwiches, warm scones, pastries and cakes, the hotel also serves specialist teas, teas of the seasons and has its very own classic tea library. Impressive. If the tea choice sounds daunting, don’t worry. Knowledgeable staff are on hand to help you make the right tea choice.
Prices: Afternoon tea (£21.80). High tea (£26.80)
Llyn Crafant Lakeside Cafe, Snowdonia
A trip to Wales wouldn’t be complete without a quiet stop to appreciate the staggering beauty that is the Welsh countryside.
Combine your love of cake and your love of a good view by visiting the Llyn Crafant Lakeside Café in Snowdonia. You can enjoy a slice of their finest, whilst looking out at the stretch of lake and the beautifully rugged, rolling hills. Life doesn’t get much better than that!
And, if you’re a walker, you can take a stroll across Mynydd and through Crafnant Valley.
Plum Vanilla, Pembrokeshire
2A St. James’ Street, Narberth, Pembrokeshire, SA67 7D
Voted by The Guardian as one of the top 10 places to eat in Pembrokeshire and described as a ‘bright and breezy, quietly boho cafe” Plum Vanilla is definitely worth a visit, especially if you enjoy the quickly and less traditional tea room.
When visiting Plum Vanilla you’ll enjoy homemade and organic food made by the friendly sisters who own the café. As well as delicious desserts, you can also enjoy a fresh breakfast or a hearty lunch here.
Another perk to the Plum Vanilla café, is that the sisters use as much Fairtrade and organic produce as possible. Dining with a conscience – hurrah for Plum Vanilla!
All pictures taken from http://www.plumvanilla.com/
Waterloo Gardens Teahouse, Cardiff
5 Waterloo Gardens, Cardiff, Wales, CF23 5AA
In 2009, the Waterloo Gardens Teahouse in Cardiff won the best UK coffee house, which is a slightly misleading award because its speciality is not coffee, but tea.
If a good brew is your priority, make a beeline to this modern and tea-crazed café. Although welcoming, the staff at Waterloo Gardens Teahouse take their concoctions seriously and you’re guaranteed a memorable cuppa if you head to this must-visit spot, which, handily, is open seven days a week.
Every now and again we all need cheering up. And now that Easter is coming to an end, we thought you might be in need of a little boost. So here we show you five things from Wales (or things that are at least Wales themed!) that should put a smile back on your face.
The cows know best
These cows are literally jumping for joy at the sight of their lush green, Welsh pasture! And who can blame them? Look at that cracking view:
Well, who doesn’t want to be Tom Jones?
This brave gent, AKA ‘Wales’ sexiest man’ gives it his all in this retro Tom Jones parody. We salute you Rod Jones for your dedication and your sideburns:
The happiest lamb in the world
It may only be a few seconds long, but this bouncing little lamb can surely put a smile on anyone’s face – even if you’re having the worst day ever.
Goldie Lookin’ Chain vs the Wales rugby team
Rugby always puts a smile on our face, which is why we had to include this video of Welsh lads Goldie Lookin’ Chain taking on these two players way back in 2011:
Pharrel Williams’ song ‘Happy’ gets the hapus treatment
Folks from all over Caerphilly created this video to promote the beautiful Welsh language. The video was produced by the Welsh language initiative, Menter Iaith Caerffili.
Here at Wales Tourists Online we get to meet a huge range of people. Whilst some love to lounge around, reading a good book and going for afternoon tea or a pub lunch, others want their holidays to be a little more active.
If you fancy swapping camps – turning from a lover of relaxed breaks into someone who is craving a little adrenaline – you might find inspiration for your next action packed, adventure holiday here. And if you have any other ideas, give any of these activities a go, or would like to share your best active holiday with us, please do so on our Facebook page or by tweeting us @TouristsOnline. We’d love to hear from you!
With your wetsuit in hand, surfing is one of the best ways to enjoy Wales’ glorious coastline. For locations you could try Tenby, although this spot is probably best for the more experienced surfer. For Tenby surfing tips you might the BBC site useful. This mini guide has information about conditions and surfing in different seasons. You’ll find a surf report and live web cam of the water at Tneby here. Equally the Gower Peninsula, Porth Neigwl and Freshwater West beach in Pembrokeshire are supposed to be very good surfing spots.
Here’s a video of a few talented people surfing in Tenby:
Wales is also full of great surf schools, so even if you’re not a seasoned pro you can still give this kind of active holiday a go.
Climbing in the Brecon Beacons and Monmouthshire
Wales boasts plenty of stunning, challenging and exciting spots for climbing, from the most southerly spots in Wales to the most northerly, from cliff climbing to bouldering. But if you’re not an experienced climber you might want to begin with Aber Rocks, where you can try indoor Bouldering. At this centre, which can be found in Monmouthshire, you won’t be able to climb beyond four and a half metres, so it’s an excellent choice for first timers or for those who aren’t confident, regular climbers.
Glasbury House Outdoor Education Centre
Not quite sure what you fancy doing? with Glasbury House Outdoor Education Centre might be for you. The centre organises a lot of activities, such as caving, hiking, mountain biking and kayaking. You’ll find the Georgian house in Hereford, situated close to the Black Mountains in the Brecon Beacons.
Wild swimming, Wales
Wild swimming can be a freeing, exhilarating and peaceful experience. If you’re curious, Wales has some stunning spots for wild swimming. The website Wild Swimming , which is a wild swimming community run site, has come up with this list of wild swimming sites in Wales.
According to The Guardian, Lower Ddwli Falls, Waterfall Woods, in the Brecon Beacons is one of the top 10 wild swimming destinations in the UK, having a fantastic waterfall to experrince. If you’ve got any suggestions that don’t feature on this site then please do let us know, either in the comments or on our Facebook or Twitter pages.
If you want to go wild swimming with your kids you might find these tips useful.
Wales has the sea. We have canals. We have rivers. And we have lakes. That’s a lot of great canoeing opportunity. When trying to decide where to canoe in Wales you might like to begin by first finding a club or centre.
To give you a taste of canoeing in Wales here’s a video from the Canoe Slalom Races at Tryweryn and Llandysul. You might not be at this level, but we thought it might help inspire you:
Although half term is great, when it comes to the weekend we know how hard it can seem to keep your keeps entertained and happy. To help keep your stress-levels down and to make sure your children enjoy the last few days of their holidays, we’ve put together some half term activities you can do this weekend in Wales.
What to do this Saturday (20th February), Wales
According to the Met Office’s Laura Young the best day to go out this weekend is Saturday, which is, in the most part, dry and cloudy with a little sun in a few spots.
One event your children might enjoy is building their own nest box. This event is taking place at Elan Valley Visitor Centre for National Nest Box Week and is free. Or, if you’re looking for an indoor activity Aberystwyth Arts Centre are hosting a Family Archive Project tomorrow, which asks you to bring in your family photos.
At Wales Millennium Centre you and your family can attend Home Sweet Home – an event that invites you to help the centre build a cardboard modern town.
Here’s a video explaining what Home Sweet Home is all about:
On the final night of this installation, which is the 21st of February, the organisers will be holding a street party.
If you want to go for a walk this half term, a great family walking spot is Moel Famau, which has a car park (you need to pay to park) and well-marked routes up to Jubilee Tower. There are different grades of walk you can do when exploring this vast hill, which can be handy if you have small children.
Here’s a video of Moel Famau:
Although you might be satisfied with the amazing views (Moel Famau is located within an area of outstanding natural beauty), your kids may be less impressed. To make it more fun for them, you could create your own scavenger hunt list, including things they might spot on the walk. Or, if you want to get and about in the Welsh countryside, the National Trust have 10 great ideas for general things to do with your kids.
We particular like ‘the discover what’s in a pond’ idea and ‘go on a barefoot walk’, although they may not be great for the more dirt-adverse kids and parents!
If you’re kids are slightly older, they might enjoy something more adventurous such as mountain biking on the Green Trail in Coed Llandegla, which has been created for familes, or maybe Go Ape at Margem Park:
What to do this Sunday (21st February), Wales
Sadly, on Sunday rain is set to sweep the country so you and your family would be best to stick to indoor activities, unless you’re brave and you have good outdoor clothing anyway!
On rainy days we love going to the cinema. If you want to kickback in front of a film this Sunday, why not visit one of these independent cinemas in Wales?
Another great family activity for younger children is The Frist Time Machine run at The Welfare. This performance has dance, music, theater and a whole load of family fun. You’ll go on a time-travelling adventure with your tot. Tickets are from £5.50 to £6 and the show is suitable for children aged five and over.
To end your half-term, you could always go and see the Hansel and Gretel opera performance at Wales National Opera. The show lasts for two hours and ten minutes and starts at seven fifteen. The show runs from the 21st of February to the 11th of April, so if you don’t catch t this half-term there’s always other nights.