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.

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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.

Welsh Rugby stars visit Best of Wales’ idyllic Christmas Cottage.

In the run up to Christmas Best of Wales were delighted to welcome members of the Welsh rugby squad to Bwthyn y Fro. BBC and S4C had hand-picked this Holiday Cottage in the Vale of Glamorgan to film their Christmas promo’s and the idyllic thatched cottage was the perfect location with its large log fire and cosy Christmas appeal. The players and film crew fell in love with the cottage right away.

Ashton Hewitt NNicky Smith and Josh Turnbull playing monopoly

Ashton Hewitt , Nicky Smith and Josh Turnbull playing monopoly

Nicky Smith and Gareth Davies cooking Christmas dinner

Nicky Smith and Gareth Davies cooking Christmas dinner

Bwthyn y Fro is a perfect traditional thatched cottage set in a small hamlet in the Vale of Glamorgan, yet only 30 minutes from the centre of Cardiff. This gorgeous cottage is the perfect blend of authentic features and stylish design. Within walking distance of a local pub, shop and the all Wales coastal path and beach. It is warm , and cosy cottage and a great location at which to spend your Christmas.

The filming was done by Y Clwb Rygb,  BBC ScrumV and TAG and we look forard to showing you a teaser soon. Bwthyn y Fro http://www.bestofwales.co.uk/self-catering-holiday-cottages-south-wales-llantwit-major-cottages-394590 can be booked online along with other perfect holiday properties all across Wales at www.bestofwales.co.uk

Wild Food #FindYourEpic

Out latest #findyourepic is here in May Mairi, our Customer Service Coordinator went exploring on a wild food foraging course in Cardiff. The foraging course took place in Cardiff City Centre which has the largest city centre park in Europe.  Mairi was able to explore the woods and taste a wide variety of edible plants and flowers growing in the wild – the instructors even had to point out the ones she should avoid as some are very poisonous! Let’s see what she got up to on her adventure…

Have a look at some of their upcoming events and if you fancy doing your own course and want to find out more about all the food growing in the wild in this country, this is the foodie adventure for you.  Visit the website for more information; http://www.wildfooduk.com/

If your looking for our availability around the dates of these courses please follow the link;

http://www.bestofwales.co.uk/

Why Choose a Cosy Cottage for Autumn?

We are well and truly into the Autumn months and thinking about plans for the next few weeks.  With Christmas around the corner, why not book yourself into a cosy cottage or as a present for a loved one to enjoy a few days in front of a log fire with a glass of mulled wine? Or even a few board games with a hot chocolate in hand?  We have numerous ideas on what to do, the first question is why choose a cottage?

We are all about showcasing the Best of Wales and here are some of the best features which we think will sway you into choosing a stay in our cottages this Autumn. Remember Holiday cottages are not just for Summer they are great all year round…hen-gapel

  1. Choose a cottage that has a log fire and have a night in with the family or friends enjoying the coziness whilst playing some board games, or reading a book in front of the fire.  This is your time – do what makes you happy.

  2. Linen and towels are provided in most cottages, one less thing to pack!

  3. Don’t fancy doing a shop before your arrival or not enough room in the car? Not to worry as supermarkets deliver, double check which ones deliver to the cottage and then get shopping online..

  4. Welcome packs are provided at most cottages on arrival which include local produce from the area you are visiting.  Most include tea, coffee, sugar,  milk, cake and if you’re celebrating a special occasion some will include a nice surprise for you.

  5. More of an adventurist? We let you know of popular things to do in the area and what attractions and activities there are such as Ziplining, walking Snowdon or even a rugby game in Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.  Let us know what activities you’re into and we will find you the best area to visit.

  6. Get wet or muddy during your adventures? Don’t worry our cottages include washing machines and tumble driers in case you get caught up in the lovely Welsh Weather.

  7. Not sure what to do on a rainy day and not into doing anything adventurous? Our cottages include TV’s and some have DVD’s or log into the WIFI that’s provided and watch something on Netflix with your feet up on that comfy sofa and just relax.

  8. We know that Great British Bake off has finished but you could make your own bake off at these cottages…

  9. Worried about taking the children away as there’s too much to think about? At our Family friendly cottages they include high chairs and travel cots so you don’t have to worry about that. The only extras you would need to bring with you is the bedding for the cot.

  10. How about gazing at the stars in the hot tub with your partner? Hot tubs are perfect for that romantic breakllety-morben

    11. Fancy showing your friends how much of a chef you are? Our cottages are equipped with the main utensils that you need for that biiig dinner that you want to cook – some can even organise a chef in case your not that confident with your cooking skills…

    12. So how about a game of pool or foosball? You’ve already lost in monopoly but you’re a really good pool player? Show your skills in our cottages that includes a games room

    13. A pet is part of the family, we all know that, and we have specific pet friendly cottages to suit everyone’s needs because at the end of the day the pet deserves a break too.

    14. The weather has already been mentioned but we all know that the Welsh weather can be unpredictable, but what people don’t know is how beautiful it can be to go on walks on days like these…

Has this helped you make up your mind yet? We have cottages to suits everyone’s needs, from cottages with modern designs to traditional farmhouse, we let you choose what self catering cottage you want :)

Why not have a look at our availability, choose your favorite cottage and let Wales inspire you..

The Best Scenic Drives in Wales

One of the best ways to enjoy Wales and indulge in all of its beauty is by taking scenic drives. These drives can be extremely relaxing, and you will likely find yourself pulling off to the side of the road multiple times in order to take in the majestic scenery, capture it in photos, and breathe in the fresh air before heading on. What are the best scenic drives in Wales, though? Keep reading for a short list to start planning your journey.

The A470

If you only have time to take one scenic drive while you are in Wales, you should go on the A470. This is the main road that runs from Conwy to Cardiff, and it is a total of 186 miles long. After reserving your parking spot with yourparkingspace.co.uk and preparing for your journey, you can begin your ride in Cardiff before you drive up through South Wales Coalfield and reach the Brecon Beacons. You could then make your way to the top of Pen y Fan, which is southern Britain’s highest point. The road will then skirt Brecon and you will make your way through beautiful rolling farmlands and market towns. Finally, you will get to the midpoint of the country, which is Llanidloes.

The Abergwesyn Pass

Yet another one of the many popular scenic drives in Wales is Abergwesyn Pass, which runs from Tregaron to Llanwrtyd Wells. For those who are seeking a truly wild landscape to take in and photograph, this road should definitely be on your agenda, as you are not likely to find many other drivers, if any, along the way. You will, however, see moors, pine forest, streams, and escarpments. Beware that around the middle of the journey, you will experience some steep hairpin turns in the area known as the Devil’s Staircase. Don’t speed, as you will want to stay safe and in control. Make sure that you check our petrolprices.com before setting off, as along Abergwesyn Pass petrol stations can be few and far between.

The Black Mountain Pass is also referred to as Top Gear Road, and it is a favourite amongst car drivers and bikers. As you move along this curvy scenic road, you will be able to enjoy incredible views of Tywi Valley. Feel free to slow down and take in the scenery.

Aberystwyth to Rhayader

Finally, consider taking a drive from Aberystwyth to Rhayader. This route will take you across the Cambrian Mountains. Start at Aberystwyth by driving on the A4120 to the Devil’s Bridge. Then follow the B4574 all the way to Cwmystwyth. You will end up on a mountain road which will take you through the gorgeous mountains and past the Elan Valley reservoirs. Then you will make your way down to Rhayader.

These are just a few of the many unique roads that provide some of the best scenic drives in Wales, and in the entire UK. Be sure to schedule these drives in during a weekend or whenever you are planning on taking a holiday to Wales, as you will not want to miss them and all the beauty that they provide.

Events in Wales this November…

This is the time of year where you wrap up warm with scarves and hats and enjoy the wonderful events Wales has to offer. Take a look at what’s taking place this month…

4th – 5th November 2016

Fancy some sparkle in your lives? This weekend is bonfire night with fantastic fireworks to give you that magical feeling. Take a look at the local events near you where there will be a bonfire night with fireworks in each county over Wales. You are sure to find somewhere to play with your sparklers…

fireworks

Always remember to be safe and if you’re away in any of our cottages make sure to keep yourself, family and ensure that the pets are happy too:)

10th November 2016 – 3rd January 2017

It’s officially Christmas in Cardiff as it opens up to the Christmas Winter Wonderland which includes an ice rink and many more attractions for the family. If you’re in Cardiff over this month and enjoy a bit of Rugby the Under Armour Series will be in full swing with Wales playing Australia, Argentina, Japan and South Africa.

The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

Cardiff Principality Stadium, Cardiff

15th – 20th 2016 November Abertoir Horror Festival

Didn’t get scared enough on Halloween? Why not head to the horror festival in Aberystwyth for a night of ghastly films which also includes concerts, theater shows and masterclasses.

20th November 2016 – Conwy Half Marathon

Why not join in the Conwy Half Marathon to keep yourself fit and healthy? With all the mince pies you’ll be indulging in the next month you won’t feel so guilty. This is one of the top scenic runs in the UK and if you just fancy going to simply support the runners and enjoy the surroundings this is also for you.

View with road bridge Conwy Castle Cadw Sites World Heritage Sites SAMN: CN004 NGR: SH783774 Conwy North Castles Medieval Defence Historic Sites

View with road bridge Conwy Castle

28th November Hay on Wye Winter Food Festival

As we all know this is the time for food and drink and the Hay on Wye winter food festival is the place for this. With a weekend of stories, music and great company, join in and indulge in the best quality Welsh food you can find.

28th – 29th November Royal Welsh Winter Fair

For some Christmas shopping with a bit of livestock in the mix this is the perfect place for you. With award winning products in the food hall you are able to explore numerous different trade stands, exhibitions and judging, all whilst being in the festive atmosphere.

These are just snippets of events we have going on in Wales. If any of these take your fancy and you’re looking for accommodation in these areas then head to our search page for our availability or contact us on 01650 511 101.

Wales Rally GB #findyourepic

The next #findyourepic adventure is here and with a special sneak peek to an event coming to Wales this weekend, hold tight as we have a surprise in store for you. Elena our Customer Service Officer went to Phil Price Rally School in Knighton, Mid Wales to a pre-event test with Osian Pryce prior to the Wales Rally GB this weekend. The event held from the 27th-30th October is the penultimate round for the FIA World Rally Championship.

If you’re around the legendary welsh forest this weekend why not try something new and spectate at this event with up to 148 car entries, this is a weekend not to be missed out on…

Visit the website for more information and how to buy last minute tickets, news, press releases, and syndication information on the official website of Wales Rally GB; http://www.walesrallygb.com/home.php

Fancy a bit of rallying this weekend? Find out what availability we have this weekend; http://www.bestofwales.co.uk/

North Wales Named in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Regions for 2017

Great news, North Wales has been named as one of the best regions to visit in 2017, in the Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2017. Named alongside some great destination in countries including Peru, New Zealand, Malaysia and Australia it’s great to see Wales being recognised.

Mentioned by Lonely Planet are some of the well known great adventures to do in North Wales including Surf Snowdonia, Zip World and Bounce Below.

Another great attraction in North Wales is Zip Safari in Betws y Coed by Sip World and we visited the attraction earlier on in 2016.

If you’re looking to explore North Wales next year, head to our North Wales Snowdonia, North Wales Coast, Anglesey, or North Wales Borderlands pages and search through our self catering accommodation on offer. Or contact us on 01650 511101 and we’ll help you find the perfect base for your holiday.

Best of Wales @ Abergavenny Food Festival

In September Sue one of the Best of Wales staff ventured to the Abergavenny Food Festival for a foodie adventure. The Festival which is one of the biggest food festivals in Europe has an amazing atmosphere to experience and explore.

Sue had a great day trying out diverse food cultures with numerous different aspects to the food festival from the gin palace, world food market, meat market to the night market. Let see how she got on.

If you missed out on this foodie event why not head to the Abergavenny Christmas food and drink fair on the 11th of December 2016 to indulge in the festivity…

As we are nearly at the end of our Year of Adventure we will be surprising you with the rest of our staffs epic adventures – stay tuned for what we have next in store…

For more information visit their website

Heading to Abergavenny? How about staying in one of our cottages in the area

Monday  23 November 2015

Pictured:
Re: Llandeilo Festival of the Senses 2015

A weekend of Senses in West Wales – Llandeilo Festival of Senses

The weekend of the 18th – 20th of November is a great time of the year to visit West Wales and join in the celebrations throughout the town of Llandeilo with their annual Llandeilo Festival of the Senses.

Monday 23 November 2015 Pictured: Re: Llandeilo Festival of the Senses 2015

With a weekend full of shopping, food, entertainment, Christmas lights, fire works and Father Christmas this is the place to be.

The annual festival starts on the Friday with craft, food and fashion stalls taking over the town. Leading into Friday night where there’s late night shopping, switching on of the Christmas lights, entertainment and fireworks.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend with the shopping, entertainment and food taking place throughout Saturday and Sunday.

For more information on the festival head to www.fos.wales

and why not make a weekend of it and stay in one of our cottages in the area

Y Dderwen Ty Coch – Sleeps 10 – 10% during the Festival of the Senses weekend + free bottle of prosecco

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Yr Efail – Sleeps 4

yr-efail

Cwmtywi – sleeps 4

cwm-tywo

Hafan Myrddin – Sleeps 8

hafan-myrddin