When thinking about travel in the UK, people generally think of Ireland or Scotland. Rarely, if ever do you hear the comment, “Let’s go to Wales!” This may soon change as the secret gets out.
We recently completed an eleven day tour of Wales - Welsh Delights - and there were plenty delights! From the north, we began touring the area of Llandudno (sounds like Clendudno) and using the charming Imperial hotel, right on the sea shore, we explored the area and the island of Anglesey. Castles abound as this is the land that Edward Longshanks conquered and then began building castles. Four nights in the hotel allowed us to feel “at home” every time we returned.
From here we traveled by coach through to mid Wales and the town of Aberystwyth having travelled around Mt. Snowdon and through Snowdonia National Park. This is when we stopped seeing many people. What we did see was a sheep speckled landscape - actually mid Wales is populated by more sheep than the Welsh. Arriving at Nanteos Mansion the group was stunned to find themselves in, well, a mansion. Sixteen foot ceilings, the servants quarters with bells that still ring from the principle rooms, opulent guest rooms, superb food and of course a music/ballroom on the second floor. As one would expect! Three days here allowed for travel in this fabled area and the scenery…. no one expected what was seen. Mountains, valleys and lakes; beautiful countryside and marvellous sea side resorts. Tenby, with its glorious beaches and quaint streets will not be forgotten.
Once again on the coach, we stopped at the Big Pit Mine where we were taken down a 90 metre shaft to the floor of the mine and were led from section to section of this old mine. We were kitted out in helmet and headlamp as well as a safety breathing device. Turning off our lamps and having our guide cover his, we experienced the darkest of dark, where no light is present at all…disturbing to say the least. We soon developed a new understanding of the men, women and children who worked the coal face.
Ironically, when we arrived in Cardiff our hotel was The Exchange, the former Coal Exchange house now converted into a hotel. It was here the first one million pound cheque was written. Given the opulent surroundings within this hotel it is easy to see that this would be the place for this to happen. Again three nights allowed us time to tour and learn more about this marvellous country.
Takeaways from this trip include a travel pace allowing just the right amount of free time to explore on one’s own plus time in the hotels so one doesn’t unpack and pack throughout the trip. An outstanding national guide and the services of excellent coach drivers made this a 10/10 vacation. If Wales is not on your bucket list, it should be! Short flight, English speaking, fantastic scenery, wonderful food and friendly people. What more could you want?
Take a Welsh adventure that will treat both your palate and eyes | June 15, 2020 with Escorts Brian and Deb Tilson.