Having made the decision with my partner earlier in the year that this summer we would stay in the UK, I have been more determined than ever to see as much of the country I call home.
Resident in the UK my whole life, like many other people, I have seen shockingly little of the country. I have visited around 20 countries in my 25 years, but as for exploring places closer to home, I simply have not.
My Mr and I decided to book a last minute trip to somewhere we had both heard was meant to be incredibly beautiful – North Wales, and boy oh boy, did it surpass our expectations.
I had never visited Wales at all before, and my partner had previously only visited the south, about a decade before, so we were both looking forward to exploring a new place.
We booked a two night stay in the Victoria country house hotel of Northop Hall, perched on a Flintshire hill in the middle of several acres of woodland, and surrounded by cows. A popular destination for weddings, the hotel amply served its purpose although the decor and upkeep left a little to be desired. Clean and tidy, the hotel could have used a bit of renovation work. White paint thinned through to wood on several doors, wallpaper so dry it began to peel in the upmost corners of some corridors, wildly patterned carpets thread bear after numerous years of downtrod – the little things can really add up. Further to this we were left unimpressed that our room was never turned down after our first night. This is something that you expect, along with replacement bathroom linens, even in the simplest two star hotels, so for our room to be ‘missed out’ was quite disappointing.
However, this type of thing is nothing to get us down and the breakfast in the hotel made up for it. A small, family run hotel, the breakfast consisted largely of the basics for a cooked breakfast, but everything was cooked perfectly and served hot which is often an issue with buffets. There were fresh juices, teas, coffees and cereals available as well.
Our first evening in Wales was a Sunday, so we headed to a town not too far away, for a Sunday Roast, in a pub called The Fat Boar. Opting for one roast beef (below, right) and one lamb, the roasts came with all the trimmings you would expect, plus some cauliflower (YUK!). You could get one course for £12, two for £15 and three for £18, which compared to London was a great deal.
We got up bright and early on our first full day in Wales and headed to Llandudno for some tobogganing and a mini hike. It was then on to a tiny, but beautiful village of Beddgelert in Snowdonia for some lunch. There will be separate blog posts coming about both of these things, very soon as I have too many pictures, especially of Beddgelert, for only this post.
Between all of the places we visited, we frequently stopped to take pictures of the lakes and valleys as we went, even pulling up on the side of the road to get out and take photos because the place was just so pretty. One of the best things about the trip was the fact it was self driven. That being said, there was a lot of driving to be done and on this trip alone we easily surpassed over 500 miles of driving, so a big thank you to my Mr (and Mercedes) for all of that.
Overall, it was great to explore a new area of the UK. It is definitely somewhere I would like to see more of in the future. I would say that it would be best to visit in summer, as there would be less chance of snow, although the powdery white stuff could be very pretty if one happened to be trapped in a cabin, in the hills, with lots of food and a log fire burning.
Have you ever visited North Wales? Is it somewhere you would like to see? Let me know in the comments below.