Monday, 27 March 2017

Weekending In Wales

The only times I've visited Wales in the past have been for family occasions. My brother married a Welsh girl from Powys, Mid Wales, and though they lived in Leeds, they married there and had their daughter's christening there so we travelled there for those events. Unfortunately, the marriage didn't last and his ex wife and daughter moved back to Wales. In later years we went back to Wales to visit my niece and for her 18th birthday celebrations but each time was to the same place. I wanted to see some other parts of Wales so to encourage me to book a trip I included it on my 50 before 50 list and it worked because we visited North Wales this weekend.


We stayed in the market town of Denbigh and it was a good base from which to travel around. We booked a deal on Wowcher, just £89 for two for two nights including breakfast and it also included an allowance of £15 per person towards a meal on the first night with a glass of wine each, though we had a £10 supplement for staying on a Saturday and we had an extra £10 per night to pay for Archie. It was a cracking deal though, the hotel was lovely, an old coaching inn dating back to the 17th century. Some of the features were quirky but this added to its charm and the food and hospitality was very good.


We didn't spend much time in Denbigh itself, which is a shame really as it looked to have lots of lovely shops and a castle and town walls.


There's lots of little snickets and alleyways where more shops are tucked out of view.


The high street with hills in the distance.


Mick had to work on Friday, he'd got an important meeting so he couldn't leave very early so it was late when we set off. We eventually arrived after 8pm so our first night was spent in the hotel. Saturday dawned bright and sunny so we set off in search of a beach. I've often heard Colwyn Bay mentioned so we decided that would be our first port of call.  The beach area was very quiet and we managed to get parked right by the side of the sands without any problem at all. It's a beautiful beach, such a huge expanse of sand and shingle and Archie loved running around and darting in and out of the sea.


I usually do a bit of beachcombing when I'm at the seaside and there were plenty of interesting things to see here. How about a starfish?


Or some interesting seaweed? I haven't seen any seaweed like this before but there was plenty of it about.


I think something must have been having a good feed as there were quite a few dead crabs around.


When we'd tired Archie out we decided that we weren't all that far away from Anglesey so we'd have a drive there. We crossed from the mainland of Wales in to Anglesey by the Britannia Bridge. This bridge was built to provide a direct rail link between London and the port of Holyhead, and railway pioneer George Stephenson's son, Robert, was the chief engineer. The bridge was opened in 1850 but was greatly damaged in 1970 by a serious fire. It was partly rebuilt and in 1980, the upper road level was formally opened carrying a single carriageway section of the A55 road.


We couldn't believe the glorious weather we were having, we've been so lucky with these recent weekends away, both this time and a fortnight ago when we were Visiting The Offspring, so we headed to another beach. My auntie and uncle used to live in Benllech and though I never visited them there, I knew it was a seaside destination so we made our way there. It's another place with a huge expanse of sand and Archie loved spending some time in the rock pools as well as the sea.



Judging by the amount of caravans here, I think Benllech must be a popular holiday destination.


Wherever we were in Wales there was beautiful scenery, I loved this beach with the mountains in the background.


Before we crossed back in to mainland Wales I wanted to visit the place with the longest name in Europe and the second longest one word place name in the world. The long name was invented for promotional purposes in the 1860s and has fifty eight characters. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. This is the old railway station.


As we approached the bridge to cross back in to mainland Wales, we pulled in to a layby at the side of the Menai Strait where we could see the island Ynys Gorad Goch. There's a house built on the island and also the remains of fish traps which are no longer used. In the background you can see the snow capped Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales at an elevation of 1085 metres above sea level.


The Menai Suspension Bridge was built by Thomas Telford and was completed in 1826. It's a Grade 1 listed building. There was no fixed connection to the mainland before the completion of this bridge and the primary means of access to and from Anglesey was by ferry across the Menai Strait.


Driving across the Menai Bridge.


It was late afternoon by this time but there was still one place I wanted to visit. As we drove there, we passed through Snowdonia National Park. The scenery was spectacular.



Betws-y-Coed is the principal village of the Snowdonia National Park. It's surrounded by dense woodland and it's where the River Conwy meets its three tributaries flowing from the West, the Llugwy, the Lledr and the Machno.


The Swallow Falls waterfall is the most famous attraction nearby, however, as it was already early evening and darkness was starting to fall, we stayed in the village. It's somewhere we can visit when we return.


When we got back to our hotel, we once again had our evening meal there followed by a few drinks in the bar before retiring, very tired (me and Archie) to our room (I think Mick could have kept going).

We had a lovely full Welsh breakfast again on Sunday and I just need to mention here that I managed to cross something else off my 50 before 50 list. I'd asked for the black pudding to be left off my Welsh breakfast, however, it was on my plate when the waitress brought it out so I thought, oh well, I'll give it a try. Black pudding is something that I've never fancied knowing what it's made from (usually pigs blood mixed with fat and oatmeal) but I thought as it was there on my plate I'd give it a go. It reminded me of a slightly spicy sausage but I just couldn't get past the pigs blood element and so after eating about half of it I left the rest on my plate. It does count as trying a food I've never tried before though, so number 18 can now be crossed off my 50 Before 50 list.

After breakfast we decided to head back to Colwyn Bay so that Archie could have a last run on the beach, which he thoroughly enjoyed, and then we headed home.

We've all had a wonderful weekend and though it was only a short break, I think it's done us the world of good. Wales is a beautiful part of the UK, the scenery is spectacular, and it's somewhere I'd definitely like to visit again. As they say, a change is as good as a rest and I've had both this weekend.

54 comments:

  1. What a lovely weekend and at such a bargain price too. You managed to fit so many places into your trip, I bet it felt as if you'd been away for a week. ๐Ÿ˜Š

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    1. There's so many deals to be picked up these days, I'll definitely go on one of these again. I must say that it did feel we'd been there longer than we had, we had such a lovely time.

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  2. Sounds like you had another lovely weekend, lovely photos, Welsh scenery is beautiful. You had a good deal with the hotel and it's good that you could take Archie with you too.
    I would never try black pudding either when i was younger, because of the same reason as you had, although as Mark likes it i tried some once and now i like it, you have to close your mind from what it is when you are eating though, lol
    I vaguely remember going to Colwyn Bay as a child on holiday, but haven't been for years. My ex husbands Mother was Welsh and she could say that long name, i would't have a clue how to get my tongue round it, lol.
    Have a great week.

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    1. We had a fabulous time and the deal we got was amazing. I'd quite happily go back again. I agree about the black pudding, I was trying not the think about what I was putting in my mouth. Colwyn Bay was lovely, or the beach was anyway, we didn't look around the town itself. My ex sister in law could say the long name too, I wouldn't know where to start.

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  3. I think the "seaweed" is some sort of egg case, but for which creature I have forgotten. I'm sure one of your more knowledgeable readers will know.

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    1. Oh, thank you for that, there was so much of it about that I just assumed it was seaweed. I've looked it up and it's apparently whelks egg cases, how interesting.

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  4. Oh Jo - it looks like you had a great time. You were so lucky with the weather. I'm sure that Archie will want to sleep for the rest of this week after all the running around on the beaches! Jx

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    1. We had a wonderful time. The weather was brilliant, we were so lucky. Archie is very tired today, in fact, he wanted to go back to bed when I woke him up this morning.

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  5. Oh Jo, that must have been so wonderful. I loved Wales when we went, but that was a long time ago now. I think 1999. The beaches look good & the mountain scenery is just gorgeous. Your photos are a feast for the eyes & senses. Thank you for taking us along too. Love the photo of the Menai Bridge. I'm not sure I could come at black pudding, but believe we had it very occasionally as children, though I don't remember. Well done & the crossing off is coming along nicely. Have a good week & take care.

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    1. The scenery was fabulous, quite breathtaking. Wales is somewhere I definitely want to return to after this trip, we're so lucky to have such wonderful places to visit. It's nice to be crossing a few things off the list.

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  6. Glad you enjoyed your visit to our neck of the woods!I live in Mold which is about ten miles from Denbigh.What a lot you fitted into to your weekend.We feel very lucky to live in such a beautiful area.We came here in 1972 from Bolton.Such a change for us but we love it .Hope you come again.Barbara

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    1. I saw the signs for Mold as we drove around, you're very lucky to live in such a beautiful place and I can understand why you moved there. I do feel as though we packed quite a lot in and I'd definitely love to visit Wales again.

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  7. Sounds like an excellent time was had by all! I love North Wales, and as we only live a short drive away it's more of a day tripper place for us, but it is as you say a fantastic place for scenery. The mountains and the sea together are just fabulous. Glad you had a good weekend!

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    1. How lovely to live close enough to visit for the day. I suppose it would be doable for us but it wouldn't leave us with much time for exploring. I couldn't get over the scenery, as you say, it's the mountains and the sea together, quite breathtaking.

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  8. We once had a day in Betws-y-Coed - it was one of our steam train journeys. It's very pretty by the river. As for black pudding - no way!

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    1. Betws-y-Coed is such a pretty place. We didn't have very long to explore so I'd like to go back again but what we did see was very nice. I think the thought of black pudding is worse than the taste but it's very hard to get the thought out of your head.

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  9. A well deserved weekend break and at that price it would have been rude not to go away! Some beautiful places and you got some good weather. I hope you get to go back again soon. X

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    1. That's what I thought, such a bargain break. I was so pleased that the weather was good, I'm not sure what we'd have done if it was throwing it down with a dog in tow but with the sunshine we had lots of time on the beach.

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  10. A most enjoyable post and lovely pictures. It's good to see that you enjoyed yourselves and had good weather. It's certainly a lovely area to visit having been there several times many years ago. Flighty xx

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    1. It's certainly somewhere I'd like to visit again, we had such a lovely time and the weather, for once, cooperated.

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    2. I'm amazed at how much you packed into your weekend! And well done for at least trying the black pudding ....... in our house you aren't allowed to say you don't like a food of you haven't tasted it!!

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    3. It seemed as if we'd been there much longer than we had, I think that was down to packing so much in. I do usually try foods before I declare them off limits, it was just the thought of the black pudding which put me off and I'm afraid that trying it hasn't cured that.

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  11. It sounds like a wonderful weekend The scenery is breathtaking. As for anything with pigs blood, count me out!

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    1. Ha ha, there's so many people who won't touch black pudding because of the thought of it. My dad loves the stuff but he's not squeamish in the least. We had a great weekend and couldn't get enough of the breathtaking scenery.

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  12. What a great weekend away, I've enjoyed looking at your photos. I agree with you, Wales is a beautiful country and I'd love to go on a family holiday there one summer, hopefully to Pembrokeshire or somewhere with lovely beaches. x

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    1. I'd like to spend more time in Wales too, I've got a taste of it now and there's still lots of places to see, though I'd like to return to North Wales again too.

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  13. What a wonderful time, Jo, and gorgeous photos. We've only been to Wales twice and on both occasions it rained rather a lot, more in N. Wales than in S. Wales (we preferred the South, Snowdonia was a tad grim for our taste, but it was shrouded in mist and rain!)
    Margaret P

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    1. We did so well with the weather, it was beautiful the whole time we were there and showed off Wales at its best. Goodness, grim is the last thought I'd have of Snowdonia, I thought it was spectacular.

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  14. Thank you for sharing your wonderful weekend, so glad the weather was kind for it. We used to visit North Wales quite a lot when the kids were small, many a very hot day spent by and in the clear waters at Betws y coed, brought back some happy memories. xcx

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    1. I can see why Betws-y-Coed is so popular, it's so picturesque. We parked by the river and had a walk around the village, it's so pretty. I'd like to go back so I could visit Swallow Falls.

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  15. That sounds wonderful. It's not a part of Wales I know at all well (shame on me being half Welsh) and that's obviously something I need to rectify. Your enjoyment of it pours out of your writing.

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    1. I'm pleased that my writing conveys how much I enjoyed my visit to Wales. We have some beautiful places in the UK and I need to make more of an effort to see them. Wales isn't all that far away from me but it's taken me all this time to visit and just look at what I've been missing. I'm looking forward to going back again now.

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  16. Shame you missed the Swallow falls, they are brilliant, it's a perfect part of Wales, and my South wales husband, loves the area of the North you visited.

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    1. Missing Swallow Falls gives me a reason to go back again now, sooner rather than later. It was quite late in the day when we got to Betws-y-Coed but we did managed a little look around the village.

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  17. It sounds like you crammed a lot into your weekend in Wales, Jo. Archie does seem to enjoy his trips to the beach. :o)

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    1. Archie's a creature of habit so he loves his usual routine, but once we get to the beach he's like a puppy again, running in and out of the sea, splashing in rock pools and rolling around on the sand, he does make us laugh.

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  18. This was such a wonderful post - it sent me googling several times. I totally understand the blood pudding bit - I used to eat it, no problem, when I was a kid as my grandmother would make it and didn't think anything of it. But even though I know it tastes good, I think that nowadays I wouldn't be able to get past the blood bit of it either.

    And wow - that was an incredible deal on the hotel! I'll have to keep that website on my radar for when we eventually go to the UK.

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    1. I'm glad I've finally managed to give the black pudding a try even though it's not something I'll rush back to try again, it's certainly not unpleasant, it's just the thought of it which is off putting. As you say, children don't have these funny ideas so they'll at least try most things. It was a great deal, very affordable and we were so lucky that the hotel and all it had to offer was excellent. We had a wonderful weekend.

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  19. What a lovely weekend break, Jo! And Archie got to enjoy it, too! Brought back wonderful memories of my visits to North Wales over the years, although I didn't go to the towns you visited -- except for Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch -- I had to take my American husband there, of course. Such a beautiful country.
    My dad loved black pudding but I'm not keen on it. P. x

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    1. I always wondered how a town could have such a long name, it was interesting to find out that it was invented for promotional purposes. It's definitely worked as it lured me there. There's some other places I'd like to visit in Wales so there's definitely another trip on the cards.

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  20. A lovely trip away, Archie looks like he had a wonderful time exploring the beaches. I'd love to see more of Wales, such a beautiful country xx

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    1. Archie always enjoys time on the beach, he loves water and can't wait to get in the sea or in rock pools as soon as we step on to the sand. We really enjoyed our time in Wales and can't wait to go back again.

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  21. Thanks you so much for your lovely post! Sitting here in Virginia I feel like I just took a mini vacation!

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    1. That's the great thing about blogging, isn't it, you get to see places you'll never visit yourself and learn so much about them too.

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  22. Your travel pictures are always so wonderful. They're exactly the places I'd like to visit if travel was a possibility for me at the moment.:) I also love your sweet Archie pictures. I've been longing for a King Charles for the last few years. I'm hoping that when we move into our new home in a couple months, I'll finally be able to adopt one.

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    1. One of the great things about blogging is following other people's travels, especially if they live in another country, you get to see places you wouldn't otherwise see. How exciting, not only a new home but a new doggy too. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are such a wonderful breed. I did a lot of research on different breeds before we got Archie and it was definitely worth it because we got the dog which suits our family perfectly.

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  23. I've really enjoyed being taken along your weekend break, what a great time you had and visited lots of lovely places. I loved crossing the Menai Bridge, its many years since we went over that towing our caravan for a few nights break on Anglesey. Beaumaris Castle was a favourite of the children that holiday.
    The black pudding comment made me smile.
    xx

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    1. We definitely packed plenty in to our short time away. I don't know much about Anglesey at all so it was pot luck once we got there where we visited, had I know we were visiting I'd have done a bit of research first. I'd like to go back some time.

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  24. Wow, you certainly got around!What stunning views you enjoyed, I especially love Anglesey and Colwyn Bay, the scenery is utterly beautiful isn't it?
    That was a really good deal and how lovely that your Archie gets to play out too, he's so darn cute! 58 characters...imagine pronouncing that!
    Good you crossed off two items in one weekend. How the sun always shines on you!!!

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    1. The scenery was magnificent, it took my breath away. It's a shame we don't live nearer a beach as Archie loves visiting the seaside, he makes a dash for the sea or any rock pools. I'm hoping to get more things crossed off my 50 Before 50 list now that some better weather's here.

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  25. I love short breaks away, and yours looks amazing.
    Great photo's you've shared, the scenery looks great.
    So nice to see Archie too!

    All the best Jan

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    1. We used to have lots of weekends away but they sort of dropped off somewhat in recent years, it would be nice to get back to them again. Wales was fabulous, I'd love to go back.

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  26. What wonderful scenery! I love that photo with the mountain and the beach. You chose a lovely part to stay in, you need to go back to see more of Denbigh at the very least. That photo of the railway station and it's long name is great!
    Glad to see Archie enjoyed his weekend too.
    Lisa x

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    1. The scenery was just fabulous, wherever you looked was picture perfect. I was very impressed with north Wales, I'd like to try the south now and see what it's like there. Archie had a great time running around on the beaches.

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