Cardiff – a city to visit in 2017

Cardiff is making the headlines this year with the UEFA Champions League Final taking place in the city on the 3rd of June. However if football is not your thing, Cardiff is a city to visit for a host of reasons. Sporting events, cultural opportunities, shopping, eating out and more. Here’s our city suggestions for all occasions:

The Romantic getaway 

Cardiff Hideaway

Cardiff is a romantic city, with restaurants to dine in, quaint bars and plenty of space for romantic walks. Our Cardiff Hideaway (sleeps 2)  is a great place for a romantic weekend with the added bonus of a hot tub to relax in after a day exploring.

The Sports fans dream

Cardiff penthous

You couldn’t be closer to the action than at Millennium View Penthouse (sleeps 4) , with a large balcony with views over the Principality. The ideal location if attending any event at the stadium or just wanting to be at the heart of the city action.

The Bay View

cardiff waterside

Your opportunity to sit on the balcony and enjoy stunning panoramic views all across Cardiff, the bay and out to sea. Cardiff Waterside apartment (sleeps 4)  is a great place to base yourself to explore the wonderful Cardiff Bay area.

Escape to the country

Y Golomen

Y Cudyll Coch (sleeps 4)  and Y Golomen (sleeps 4) are 2 5 star cottages just 20 minutes from Cardiff city centre. The added bonus of countryside and being close to the city, and also near Barry Island made famous by Gavin and Stacey

For the extended family

Bringing the extended family along (or even a group of friends) then Sophia Walk (sleeps 8)  is a stylish property in the heart of the city. A short walk and your at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff Castle and the cities shops and bars. Also boast the benefit of having onsite parking.

Sophia walk

A group accommodation

Head to our Cardiff Bay Lodge or Cardiff Boutique Townhouse (both sleeping 20) with a group of friends for a celebration weekend in Cardiff. The ideal location for a Hen or Stag weekend in the city.

cardiff boutique townhouse

We’re here to help you find the perfect accommodation for your city stay. Contact us on info@bestofwales.co.uk or telephone 01650 511101.

Experience your very own Lambing Live in Wales

This time of year is important in our farming calendar in Wales as it’s lambing time. Home to 11 million sheep this is when farms across the country turn into maternity wards to welcome 100,000’s of new lambs into the world.

Many of our holiday cottages are located on farms and this is where you’ll get an opportunity to experience the lambing season for yourself. How would you like to experience your very own lambing live? How about seeing a new born lamb taking its first steps, experience the hustle and bustle of the lambing shed, or the opportunity to bottle feed milk to a pet lamb?

This is what you can experience with some of our Welsh farm holidays. Your opportunity to be shown around the farm by an experienced farmer and see what lambing is all about.

Gwarcwm uchaf located near Aberystwyth and Machynlleth is set on a working farm, lambing is nearing the end however you can still watch the new born lambs play in the surrounding fields.

At Ffermdy’r Waun and Ysgubor y Waun you can be as hands on as you wish. How about a visit to their lambing shed to give a helping hand?

Hafan Hiraethog is another great option for you and again will be lambing from mid March until the end of April.

So why not experience something a little different on your holiday this spring and stay on a genuine Welsh farm. What are you waiting for……

Locations announced for Wales’ first pop-up boutique hotel

A while back we told you all about the exciting project we’re involved in, Epic Retreats (to recap head here). Epic Retreats will see Wales’ first pop-up boutique hotel appear over the Summer and it’s time for some more great news, with the announcement of the locations and also that bookings are now open (get in fast).

The Llŷn Peninsula, Southern Snowdonia and lush West Wales have been confirmed as the locations for this luxury one-of-a-kind experience inspired by Welsh legends.

Fewer than 200 bookings are available and will allow guests to choose from eight unique cabins inspired by Wales’ past. There will also be the option of including legendary experiences tailored to each location or having a more relaxed stay where you explore at your own pace.

Inspiration for the units includes the legend of King Arthur, the iconic Welsh dragon and the country’s famous industrial heritage.

sky-hut

Launched in celebration of Wales’s Year of Legends, Epic Retreats promises to immerse visitors in the most impressive landscapes and adventures the country has to offer.

During their stay, guests will get the opportunity to meet local characters, legendary figures and entertainers that will help bring the story of Wales to life.

Carmarthenshire, West Wales – 5th of June to the 3rd of July 

The eight bespoke cabins will venture to the abundant green backdrop of Carmarthenshire, West Wales.

Visitors can delve into a history dating back thousands of years, hunt down gold and tread in the footsteps of the heroes of Camelot, pursuing the elusive Lady of the Lake and the heroic wizard Merlin.

There will also be an opportunity to discover the area’s wildlife on bespoke wildlife walks where guests will get the chance to meet some rare species.

Surrounded by plentiful local food and drink, guests can tantalise their taste buds with award-winning, local gin and cheeses.

Llŷn Peninsula – 10th of July to the 7th of August 

The unique units will then journey north where they will reside along the spectacular coast of the Llŷn Peninsula.

After spending the night overlooking a secluded beach, visitors can spend their days strolling along the famous Wales Coast path, enjoying a boat trip to Bardsey Island, rumoured to be the burial site of King Arthur, and exploring Snowdonia National Park – home to the highest mountain in England and Wales.

Snowdonia – 14th of August to the 11th of September

Finally, the boutique hotel will pop-up in the foothills of the mythical Cadair Idris mountain in Snowdonia. The remote valley location and magical surrounding, including the romantic Castell y Bere, Snowdonia mountains and stunning steam train journeys, will offer a limited number of people the most unique of summer holidays.

black-hat

Co-founder of Epic Retreats, Llion Pughe said, “The locations we have chosen provide a choice of seascape, mountain and valley, a true reflection of Wales’ legendary landscape.

“We have carefully selected sites that will show Wales at its best, alongside an itinerary packed to the brim with trips and activities crafted by Wales experts Cambria Tours, featuring only the finest local produce and unique accommodation inspired myth and legend – guests will be immersed in a truly Welsh experience.”

For more information on the project or to book one of the limited spaces, visit www.epicretreats.wales

What’s on in Wales – February Half Term

With the first school holidays of 2017 just around the corner we’ve pulled together a list of just some of the events taking place in Wales. So if you’re in search of great events to keep the children entertained then we’ve got Puddle Jumping, Pirates and Mud all waiting for you:

1. 18th – 26th of February – Half Term fun in the Garden with family activities –  National Botanic Gardens of Wales, West Wales 

There will be fun and games on every day, including zoo bugs and bug crafts, make and decorate your own rockets and constellation cards and look at the skies with telescopes.

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There will also be a welcome return to the Garden by Jugglestruck, with shows on February 18th, 25th and 26th.

To round the week up there will be a very special St David’s Celebration Day in honour of our patron saint, with a food and craft fair and music by local choirs. Entry to this Celebration Day will be free to everyone.

2. 18th – 26th of February – Welsh Puddle Jumping Championships with Dusty Duck at WWT – Llanelli Wetland Centre, Llanelli, West Wales

WWT

Could you be the WWT Welsh Puddle Jumping Champion 2017? Grab your wellies and waterproofs and make a splash for the judges at the competition running daily at 2pm during half term. Prizes available daily as well as the chance to be the overall WWT champion.

3. 18th – 26th of February – Family Half Term Workshops – National Museum Cardiff, Cardiff, South Wales 

A fun way for the whole family to learn more about the artists while uncovering hidden talents!

Places are limited so you will need to book on arrival

4. 18th – 26th of February – Pirate Week – Gower Heritage Centre, Gower, South Wales

A fun-filled week of pirate-themed events at The Gower Heritage Centre!

With gold panning, bouncy castle, craft activities and swashbuckling movies held in Wales’ smallest cinema, La Charrette and of course the opportunity to cross swords with infamous Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Charlotte Duberry!

5. 20th – 24th of February – Crafty Castle Creations – Carew Castle & Tidal Mill, Pembrokeshire

Paint a shield or make a lance ready for battle, create a dragon, a clay tile or even try calligraphy. Come along and make your own Castle creation! Activities change daily.

carew 2

6. 20th – 24th of February – Mud Week – Plas Newydd House & Gardens, Anglesey 

Since usually blessed with perfect mud making weather so we thought we’d celebrate!

From Mud Pie making to puddle splashing walks around the woods, get those wellies on and join us for some muddy fun!

No need to be a stick in the mud!

Booking not needed.

7. HwyNos – The Real Welsh Experience – The Plough Rhosmaen, Llandeilo, West Wales 

Come and join the Real Welsh Experience with our HwylNos evening at The Plough Hotel And Restaurant on Friday the 24th of February. An evening of Welsh entertainment and food with Georgina Cornock-Evans Harpist, Carl Gough Storyteller, Dawnswyr Penrhyd, Bois y Castell and Aled Jones.

HwylNos v5.0

This event is aimed at visitors into the area (as well as locals) and showcases our Welsh culture and talent for you to enjoy while staying in the area.

Tickets are £15 (including a 3 course buffet) and are available from The Plough Rhosmaen ( 01558 823431). It’s going to be a great evening of entertainment, food and Hwyl.

Looking for accommodation for February Half Term, head to our search page or contact us on 01650 511101.

WIN A Football Themed Holiday in Wales

Romantic Wales For Valentine’s Day

There are two romantic celebrations coming up soon which gives you a great opportunity to treat your other half with a romantic break. Dydd Santes Dwynwen (the Valentine’s day for Wales) on the 25th of January and of course Valentine’s Day on the 14th of February.

You can read all about Dydd Santes Dwynwen here and earn some extra brownie points for being extra romantic this year with a Welsh weekend away. Whether you decide to head away in January or February we have some great romantic cottage for you to choose from. Rural retreats with cosy log fires to take long romantic walks from are waiting for you. Here’s a selection of our Romantic Cottages……

Bwthyn Tawel – Abergavenny 

bwthyn-tawel

Cae Cefn – Aberystwyth

cae-cefn

Crud y Deryn – Bala

crud-y-deryn

Cysgod y Ffynnon – Solva

cysgod-y-ffynnon

Hen Bost Nefyn – Llyn Peninsula 

hen-bost-nefyn

Penlon – Pwllheli 

penlon

Y Daflod – Machynlleth

y-daflod-view

To search our full range of cottages on offer head to our search page or contact us on 01650 511101 or info@bestofwales.co.uk and we’ll help you find the perfect romantic break.

Wales the land of Adventure

2016 was the year of adventure in Wales, and yes we did have an adventure. Our staff went out and about and explored all over Wales, taking part in some great adventures along the way. We went:

  • On a power boat trip with Rib Ride
  • Mountain Biking at Coed y Brenin
  • To Zip World Fforest in Betws y Coed
  • In search of wildlife at Folly Farm
  • Went Coasteering with Celtic Quest Coasteering
  • Went Surfing on the North Wales Coast
  • Exploring at Abergavenny Food Festival
  • Sampling a taste of Wales Rally GB
  • Went foraging with Wild Food Uk
  • Bouncing Below in Blaenau Ffestiniog
    and
  • Walked the Wales Coast Path

Thanks to all the attractions and activities for all the fun and here’s to more adventures in 2017

Catch up  with all the individual videos here

Exploring the Wales Coast Path

We recently headed out and explored the Wales Coast Path as part of the year of adventure, heading to Ceredigion in West Wales and exploring from Aberporth to Llangrannog. This was a short section of the coast path, and this is the benefit of the path, you can walk as little or as much as you want!

At a total of 870 miles, Wales was the first country in the World to have a coast path around its entire coastline, and the scenery, wildlife and countryside are well worth exploring.

To plan your walk you can head to the Wales Coat Path website and as we mentioned, do a short walk suitable for the whole family, or challenge yourself to a multi day walking holiday.

Watch how Lisa got on during her day out and why not get out and explore for yourself.

Zip World Bounce Below – Best of Wales Year of Adventure

It’s nearly Christmas and if you’re still searching for that perfect gift for a loved one, family or friends we’ve got the perfect thing for you.  Zip World has re-opened Bounce Below bigger and better this Autumn and is a fun day out for thrill seekers of any age, situated in Blaenau Ffestiniog where you can jump from net to net in the caverns deep underground.

Not sure if this is for you?  Elen our Customer Service Officer went as part of her year of adventure back in September and this is the latest of our #findyourepic have a look on how she got on…

Fancy making a weekend of it whilst your in the area? Have a look at our availability in the North Wales Snowdonia area:  http://www.bestofwales.co.uk/property_search_results.asp?startdate_cal=30-Dec-2016&enddate_cal=02-Jan-2017&numbernights=1&region_0=1819&region_1=0&level=0&showchange=1&town=&sleeps=&propertycode=&property=%23&showpage=1&search_frm=0&tab=1

Visit the website for more information and how to book your Bounce Below;

https://www.zipworld.co.uk/adventure/detail/bounce-below

Plans unveiled for Wales’s first ever boutique pop-up hotel

Plans have been unveiled to launch a new boutique hotel that will ‘pop-up’ at three secret, breath-taking locations across Wales next year.

It’s all part of Epic Retreats (which we’re proud to be partners of), a completely unique hotel that will celebrate Wales’s Year of Legends 2017 by allowing people to enjoy the best landscapes and experiences Wales has to offer while staying in one of eight bespoke cabins, designed specifically for the project.

Less than 200 bookings will be available, meaning a select few will get the opportunity to stay in the three locations with unparalleled views of the Welsh landscape. They will be treated to unique Welsh experiences during their stay inspired by their location – from sea fishing and beer tasting to having meals prepared by top Welsh chefs.

Today Epic Retreats has unveiled designs of the high quality ‘boutique’ cabins that have been inspired by Wales’s legends and its past – from the country’s famous industrial heritage to the story of King Arthur.

The designs were chosen through a competition tender which invited architects from across the world to design unique glamping units themed on the mythology, tradition and beauty of Wales. And we are pleased to announce the 8 winning designs as:

Arthur’s Cave

arthurs-cave

Arthur’s Cave

This design is inspired by the legend of King Arthur and a cave where he and his knights slept while travelling – it is said it could be discovered once but never again. Locally sourced sheep’s wool insulation will be placed within the panels to provide a high level of thermal insulation and the build benefits from a full width sliding door to offer panoramic views of the Welsh landscape.

Black Hat

This unusual structure is inspired by France’s failed attempt of a British invasion through Fishguard back in 1797. It is said that as the French began their assault, hundreds of local Welsh women came to witness the fighting between the French and the local militia.

black-hat

Black Hat

Dressed in their traditional scarlet tunics and tall black hats they were a formidable sight and at a distance may have been mistaken for British army Redcoats – suffice to say the French didn’t stick around for long. A king-sized bed fits within the upper floor of the hat and the domed roof allows for stargazing opportunities.

Cabin in the Woods

This nature-inspired building sits on legs high above the ground and explores the theme of the ‘animated forest’ shaping the Welsh landscape. Inspired by the poem Cad Goddeu, meaning ‘battle of the trees’, from the medieval Welsh manuscript known as the “Book of Taliesin” the unit will be developed to give the impression of movement.

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Cabin in the Woods

Its highlights include a padded sleeping area and a stove area with featured chimney above, as well as a box window designed to catch the morning sun to wake travellers naturally. It will use raw materials derived from the Welsh landscape including timber, steel, slate and leather.

Dragon’s Eye

Inspired by the legend that is the Welsh dragon, this eye-shaped pod could fool passers-by into thinking such a creature was hiding in the great outdoors. The walls will be covered with recycled plastic cut in the shape of a dragon’s scales. And the cabin features a wet room and Hungry Penguin wood burner for cooking and heating.

Little Dragon

This vertical unit celebrates the best Wales has to offer. The three prongs represent the dragon’s foot, the overall design is inspired by Wales’s famous industrial past and the steel door displays the country’s iconic

little-dragon-2

Little Dragon

Celtic knotwork. The layout features a sleeping area upstairs and panoramic glazing at both levels provides for magnificent views across the Welsh landscape.

Miner’s Hut

This cabin is a tribute to the Wales’s mining industry – a Welsh legend that spans generations and landscapes across the country. Visitors are invited to enter the cabin by crawling through a small tunnel, allowing them access into an angular corridor space only lit by borrowed light.

From here they can follow a glow of light from the main space which extends to the full available height with large windows that provide scenic views of the great outdoors beyond.

161031_GlampingCabin_Droga02

Miner’s Hut

Visitors must return into the tunnels to discover the washroom and to climb a flight of steep steps to the sleeping area, from where they can enjoy panoramic views from their bed.

SKYHUT

As a country, Wales has the highest percentage of sky designated as an ‘International Dark Sky’ area making it one of the most outstanding places in the world to stargaze. The SKYHUT is designed to provide a unique place to experience the sky, taking its inspiration from Cadair Idris where legend states that travellers sleeping out under the night sky awaken as madmen or poets.

sky-hut

SKYHUT

The tradition of sleeping out under the night sky is manifested in the roof with a simple geared cable system; borrowed from proven sailing technology, allowing it to open fully. With the doors open too, the SKYHUT can be configured as a glamping-observatory.

Slate Cabin

This cabin is based on the material Wales is built on, and of – slate. The cabin is a single room with a bathroom tucked behind. A kitchen and built-in table frame make up the sitting space, while the bed sits on a raised platform – at one end, this platform pulls back to provide space for a seat and desk.

Slate Cabin

Slate Cabin

The Epic Retreats project is a partnership between Best of Wales, Cambria Tours and George + Tomos Architects and is part funded by the Welsh Government’s Tourism Product Innovation Fund.

Best of Wales director, Llion Pughe, said: “We are thrilled to announce the designs for the Epic Retreats pop-up glamping units. “With three incredible locations, an exciting programme of activities and eight unique buildings, Epic Retreats will celebrate the best Wales has to offer during 2017 – the Year of Legends.

“Our passion for Wales and its history has provided a great source of inspiration for this project and we look forward to giving guests the opportunity to wake up to Wales in the country’s first ever boutique pop-up glamping hotel.”

For more information on the project or to register your interest in booking, please visit epicretreats.wales. You can sign up to ensure that you are the first to find out about important updates, including how and when exactly bookings can be placed, from early January 2017.