Thinking of a cottage holiday in Mid or North Wales? Here’s a good day out for all the family…
(Written by Lisa Markham, owner of Maes y Wennol holiday cottage in Snowdonia, North Wales. Lisa also has her own review column in the Daily Post).
Three in One:
Corris Craft Centre, King Arthur’s LABYRINTH, Bard’s Quest
“One of the most mysterious and atmospheric stories Wales has to tell – rarely has it been told in more apt surroundings” The Express
What’s the attraction?
Things to do on your cottage holiday in Mid Wales
The starting point is the Corris Craft Centre – home to 10 craft workshops. Talented craftspeople making unique hand-crafted items: hand-made cards, rustic furniture, hand turned wood, glassware, patchwork and quilting, candles, leatherwork, jewellery, pottery and wooden toys. The labyrinth shop sells a range of books, gifts, toys and souvenirs on the Celtic Arthurian theme.
Things to do on your cottage holiday in Mid Wales
The next step was an underground adventure – perfect for children of all ages. An unique boat journey along an underground river, through the great waterfall, and sail into a world of mystery, legends and storytelling. An opportunity to explore a labyrinth of tunnels and spectacular caverns, as tales of King Arthur and other ancient Welsh legends unfold in a dramatic subterranean setting. A fascinating journey for Colin (10), Tom (5) and Catrin (3) – even for Mum and Dad.
Finally, we faced the challenge of the Bards’ Quest to search for the lost legends hidden in the Maze of Time. What an amazing way to relive the wonderful legends to evoke the spirit and the history of the people to save the mystical stories which echo across the ages.
What’s on offer?
Set among the woodland of an old working quarry of Upper Corris, it creates the perfect atmosphere for the King Arthur’s underground adventure and the maize.
With free car parking, a very clean, spacious, light, bright and modern café with lovely views serving locally sourced ingredients to make up and an interesting menu with a Welsh twist with genuine welcoming staff. The café is adjoined by a well-planned picnic and outdoor play area – instantly gaining attention of all three children.
How did you get there?
The King Arthur’s Labyrinth is situated at Corris Craft Centre in Mid Wales on the main A487 road between Machynlleth and Dolgellau. However, from Llanfihangel y Pennant, the journey took twenty minutes and the children were thrilled to get out of the car so soon.
How long did you stay?
The hours passed by very quickly and very relaxed it was for the parents. We spent the afternoon there trying out all that was on offer from painting pottery to getting lost in the maize and trying to keep Catrin’s helmet on.
Did you take a brolly?
The weather was brilliant sunshine for the whole day. As the main activity, the Labyrinth being underground makes it the perfect activity for families – rain or shine. Which is why it is so very popular with tourist from all over the world.
What did you do there?
Immediately, the children spotted the park which was perfect for all three to enjoy and for ‘Mum & Dad’ to have a quiet coffee. The first port of call was the Quarry Pottery with lots of lovely pots and smoking dragons. The incentive was to paint their own pottery. The staff were so welcoming, patient and made it a very enjoyable and memorable experience. It was a pleasure to watch their concentration as they painted their dinosaurs, pigs and turtles. They were so interested in the process of the whole pottery making.
It was a real thrill to watch them as they entered the barge and made our way deep into the old quarry towards the plunging waterfall ahead of us – Colin and Tom were thrilled to hear the stories whilst Catrin was working hard on keeping control of that helmet.
Coming out of the darkness back to the sunshine was a relief which is why we enjoyed the maize so much. It was wonderful to find our way and listen to the various stories some of which I had never heard even though I studied Welsh History for four years. So an afternoon of thrilling story telling was enjoyed by all especially Catrin – she was totally engrossed when the ‘giant was running after his daughter’.
How much did it cost you?
Admission to the Labyrinth underground tour:
Adult: £5.75: Child £4.10: Senior: £5.20
Admission to the Bard’s Quest:
Adult:£4.10: Child: £2.35: Senior: £3.60
Concessionary rates available for groups of 15 or more and admission to the Bards’Quest is half price when purchased with admission to the Labyrinth tour.
Admission to the Craft Centre is free. However, the pottery making cost £25.00 which included choosing a pot from a wide variety of shapes and sizes, all shades of colours you could imagine in a wonderful quaint workshop.
How about food and drink?
Instantly the space available in the cafe especially with ‘busy’ children creates a relaxed atmosphere which benefits all the family. The Welsh twist in the menu was quite unique with a variety of Welsh Rarebits presented cleverly on a glass board with a red background. Different but appealing, The children chose from a variety of scrumptious home baked cakes and milk shakes. A pleasant time for all of us for a very reasonable cost of around £10.00.
Are there any shops?
The 10 craft workshops creates the perfect opportunity for the public to buy the unique hand-crafted items as well as the Labyrinth shop which sells a range of books, gifts, toys and souvenirs on the Celtic Arthurian theme.
Is it ok/safe for kids?
We did feel quite confident as the children ran and played quite freely all afternoon between the park, the craft centre and the picnic area. Having the specific acitivites during the day to focus on, the compact playing areas were perfect to let off steam.
Can people with disabilities get around?
Being on one level with paved walk-ways creates a satisfactory environment for all abilities and ages. There is ample free car parking with blue badge spaces within a few yards of the Craft Centre. The picnic areas are, however, on unlevel grassed surfaces. Gents and Ladies disabled toilet and baby changing facilities in both toilet blocks with room for a wheelchair but limited space for a carer.
It clearly states in the brochure to refer to their website or call for an Access Statement.
What was the best bit?
Seeing their determination as they painted their pottery models and maybe the exhilaration (or was it terror) on Catrin’s face as the barge slowly glided into the plunging waterfall and voices coming out of the darkness retelling stories and legends from our ancient history. Tom and Colin were mesmerised and stunned into silence as they listened to the legends of Wales bellowing from the deep mystical quarry where in fact their Grandmother used to work for the Chief Executive when it was a working quarry 60 years ago.
King Arthur’s Labyrinth and Bards’Quest opens daily from 31st March to 4th November 2007. It opens at 10am and the last visit starts at 5pm.The Corris Craft Centre and the Café also open at other times of the year so it is advisable to telephone for details:
‘Three Great Attractions in One Beuatiful Location…..’ – you just can’t go wrong because there is something to interest everyone.
The Corris Craft Centre – the starting point of the adventures
An underground boat ride into a Labyrinth of spectacular caverns, myths and legends….
The challenge of the Bards’Quest to search for the lost legends hidden in the Maze of Time.
Corris, near Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 9RF
Tel: 01654 761584
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