Tag Archives: Snowdonia

Look inside Epic Retreats – Wales’ first pop-up boutique hotel

dragons-eye-1

Want to have a look at Wales’ first pop-up boutique hotel? The pictures of the eight Epic Retreats cabins have been revealed and there’s still time to book and become one of the fortunate ones who will be lucky enough to enjoy the unique, exclusive experience.

The eight cabins, which are the focus of the Channel 4 documentary ‘Cabins in the Wild’ with Dick Strawbridge, are all inspired by Welsh legends as Visit Wales’ Year of Legends and will welcome their first guests on the 5th of June.

Epic Retreats will visit two locations across Wales this summer; Southern Snowdonia from the 5th – 30th of June and the Llŷn Peninsula from the 10th of July until the 11th of September.

Mid-week guests will also enjoy epic experiences tailored to each location, including private chefs, Welsh music and theatre performances.

Each boutique cabin includes a double, king size or circular bed, living area with wood burner and hob and en-suite facilities.

All cabins are purpose-built for the Epic Retreats project, uniquely designed units themed on the mythology, tradition and beauty of Wales.

In addition to the eight cabins the ‘hotel’ will also feature a communal area including a fridge for food storage, on-site BBQ and eating area.

On arrival guests are provided with a welcome pack containing some of the best produce Wales has to offer, as well as bed linen, hand and bath towels and logs for the wood-burner.

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.

Co-founder of Epic Retreats, Llion Pughe said, “We are excited to finally reveal the eight cabins that make up Epic Retreats.

“The unique cabins, complimented by our country’s stunning landscape, make for an unbeatable experience and we look forward to welcoming our first guests this summer who will get to see Wales in a completely unique setting.”

So lets take a look at the eight legendary cabins:

Arthurs Cave created by Miller Kendrick Architects

Arthurs cave

Legend tells us of a cave slept in by King Arthur and his knights while travelling — a cave that could be discovered once and never again…

Stylishly blending in with its surroundings, the cave — which features a large sliding glazed door — is an alluring hideaway from the elements, while locally sourced sheep’s wool insulation and a log fire will keep you warm whatever the weather.

So sit back, relax and enjoy the incredible panoramic views from the comfort of your cabin.

Click for more information on Arthur’s Cave.

Black Hat created by the Rural Office for Architecture

Black hat new

Homely and spacious, this unique accommodation is inspired by the traditional tall black hat worn by the Welsh women who halted a French invasion via Fishguard in 1797. Often referred to as the “last invasion of Britain”, it is said that the invaders mistook the hundreds of women marching towards them in black hats and scarlet cloaks for British Grenadiers, and fled.

Like a tipi, a timber frame supports a canvas skin, shaped into a traditional hat. Featuring a king-sized bed within the upper floor of the hat and a domed roof for stargazing, this really is a place to relax and forget about the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Sit back and enjoy the warmth of the stove in the living area, or roll the walls right back for an extended lounge and be one with nature.

Click for more information on Black Hat.

Animated Forest created by Francis Arnett

Animated forest

Inspired by the Welsh poem, Cad Goddeu, or The Battle of the Trees, the Cabin in the Woods is designed to resemble a creature negotiating its way through the woodland.

The cosy hideaway envelops guests in a padded sleeping area extending to the wall and ceiling, while roof lights make the cabin bright and airy during the day and reveal stunning views of the starry sky at night.

Whether you choose to escape the elements and cuddle up by the fire, or open the large entrance door to watch the world go by, this unique cabin is the ultimate retreat.

Click her for more information on the Animated Forest.

Dragons Eye created by Carwyn Lloyd Jones

dragons eye

Tread carefully — there’s a dragon lurking in the landscape.

With its stainless steel scaly ‘skin’ and gridshell roof, our Dragon’s Eye pod will really fire your imagination.

Relax on the round rotating bed and enjoy a stunning view of the beautiful Welsh landscape through the full height glass ‘eye.’ Or cwtch up in the warmth of the wood burner while protected from the elements by the sheep’s wool insulation.

For more information on the Dragon’s Eye click here.

Little Dragon created by Barton Wilmore Architects

little dragon

Little Dragon is a unique blend of industrial heritage and Welsh folklore.

Inspired by the iconic emblem of Wales, it has been specially created using locally sourced sustainable materials synonymous with the country’s heritage.

The scaly shingle exterior and claw-like tripod base are evocative of the smoke-breathing beast that, according to legend, once dominated the country’s rugged landscape.

But don’t be frightened – once inside you will receive a very warm welcome. Soft furnishings and a roaring log fire breathing warmth through the structure provide a homely experience, while the cylindrical design delivers magnificent panoramic views, immersing guests in the stunning scenery outside.

For more information on Little Dragon click here.

Miners Legend created by How About Studio

Miners

Miner’s Legend is a tribute to the once-thriving mining industry, central to Wales’ rural communities.

At first glance, the cabin is a collage of mining structures and corrugated iron sheds seen scattered through the Welsh landscape.

But once through the entrance tunnel, you’ll discover exquisite, crafted details that will fill you with delight.

Continuing your journey through a collection of unique cavernous spaces you will soon arrive in the main chamber. Generous in height and warmed by a small stove, you can enjoy views over the surrounding landscapes from the comfort of a soft alcove.

Withdraw up into the sleeping chamber, where you’ll wake to a panoramic view of the landscape after a comfortable night’s sleep!

For more information on the Miner’s Legend click here.

SkyHut created by Waind Gohil + Potter Architects

Sky Hut new

One for the stargazers and dreamers – SKYHUT provides a unique setting to experience Wales’ magnificent night sky. Named as the country with the highest percentage of ‘International Dark Sky’, Wales boasts exceptional views, especially at night.

Taking inspiration from the myth of Welsh mountain, Cadair Idris, where legend states that travellers sleeping out at night awake as madmen or poets, SKYHUT will leave you crazy about Wales and waxing lyrical for the stars.

With a simple geared cable system borrowed from sailing technology, open the doors to transform your cabin into a glamping-observatory. From day to night, enjoy 360˚ views across the landscape through clerestory eye level glazing.

For more information on the SkyHut click here.

Slate Cabin created by Trias studio

Slate cabin

Mimicking the art of constructing cairns, whereby walkers collect stones and build place-markers along their route — a raw, unclad building will be gradually transformed through layers of slate, forming a textured, stylish exterior.

A neat structure of slate, the cabin fits effortlessly into its surroundings and embodies simplicity and style.

In contrast to its grey slate exterior, inside you’ll find a single, cosy room clad with honeyed wood. A kitchen and built-in table form a sitting space, while the bed sits on a raised platform providing a magnificent view of the surrounding scenery.

A table overlooking a perfectly framed view provides the ideal setting for people seeking a quiet retreat to come to read, write and relax.

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For more information on the Slate Cabin click here.

So now you’ve taken a look at all eight cabins you can now head and book your Epic Retreat.

‘Cabins in the Wild with Dick Strawbridge’, the Channel 4 documentary following the creation of the cabins starts on Sunday, May 21 at 8pm.

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.

Snowdonia -Walking Cadair Idris

Yr Wylfa

Yr Wyddfa

Snowdonia is an amazing location in which to walk.There is a great variation of stunning scenery across the whole of the Snowdonia National Park. Around 26,000 people live in the Park and it attracts millions of visitors every year. When we think of Snowdonia the first thing that springs to mind is Mount Snowdon or in Welsh, Yr Wyddfa.  In Snowdonia there are opportunities for cycling, watersports, climbing or maybe photography. It really is a huge playground. The landscape is natural and spectacular with mountains and lakes. Snowdonia is a good location for a holiday or just a short break with great range of 4 and 5 star holiday cottages.

Today the focus is on Snowdonia walks. It is much more than one mountain and covers both Northern and Southern Snowdonia. . There are actually four main areas to walk, each one is distinctive and really shows the variety of Snowdonia walks.

The areas to walk in Snowdonia are :-

  • The northern area which is very popular and includes Moel Hebog, Myndd Mawr, Nantlle Ridge, Snowdon Massif, Glyderau and Carneddau. These are the highest mountains in Wales and are all around 3,000 feet.
  • The second area includes peaks such Moel Siabod, and Moelwynion and the mountains near Blaenau Ffestiniog – famous for its slate quarries.
  • The third area is Rhinogydd toward the west and Rhobel Fawr. This is more remote and less popular with walkers. 
  • In southern Snowdonia you can walk Cadair Idris, the Tarren range, Dyfi and Aran including Aran Fawddwy which is the highest mountain in southern Snowdonia.

This time just a quick focus on Cadair Idris as our walk in Snowdonia. The name derives its name meaning ‘Chair of Idris’ from the giant warrior poet of Welsh legend.

Cadair Idris

Cadair Idris

There are a number of paths to reach the mountain.

The Pony path from Dolgellau

This Snowdonia walk approaches Cadair Idris from the north and uses the former pony route. This walk is suitable for all ages and offers magnificent views. Moderate / hard – 9 miles.

Cader Idris from Llanfihangel-y-Pennant

Less arduous but longer way up Idris’s Chair A less frequented approach to the summit of Cadair Idris that avoids some of the crowds. Moderate / hard – 10 miles.

Cader Idris from Minffordd – Idris Gates and Minffordd path

This Snowdonia walk approaches Cadair Idris from the south and includes a circuit of Cwm Cau. The start is Minffordd and the route continues through superb mountain scenery crossing the summit of Craig Cwm Amarch en-route to Cadair Idris. The return completes the circuit, again enjoying fine mountain views. Moderate / hard – 6 miles.

North of Cadair Idris lies the town of Dolgellau, a convenient base, which offers a wide range of accomodation, cafes, restaurants and shops.

Snowdonia is the most fabulous and exciting area. So much choice and we will try to show you a whole range of walks and other activities in the area in future posts. Please ensure that you enjoy safely and take the necessary steps to make the most of the amazing resource that is the Snowdonia National Park.