The Hen Weekend

A while ago I created a post about my perfect hen weekend and last weekend it came along and it was a great surprise.

As my maid of honour, my sister and my other bridesmaid’s had the task of preparing my hen weekend, and that’s difficult due to my fussy nature. But, it was great and I am very happy with how it turned out.

car journey

 

On Friday after work, I headed off deeper into North Wales, and instantly I knew where we were off to. If you have read previous posts you will know that I do like many places in North Wales, especially the Llyn peninsular. This is due to the fact that the only holiday’s I had as a child was to Porthmadog and I have some great family memories there. And, that’s exactly where we were heading, to Greenacres in Porthmadog.

 

Greenacres is a Haven holiday park located just off Black Rock Sands beach. When we arrived we were pleased to find that our caravan for the weekend was very close to the beach and overlooking the sand dunes, so we had a lovely view. My sister and friends had gone to a lot of effort to make food, and stock up on drink as well as decorate the accommodation.

The night started well but went by quickly and soon became a blur, as we walked to the beach to listen to the waves and enjoy the fresh air.

The next morning we had other guests arriving and the sun was shining which I was extremely grateful for. We had to make the most of the sunshine so headed to the beach where we had Prosecco and played rounders! There is an ice cream van that drives up and down the beach in warm weather selling refreshments and ice cream so there’s little need to head back to the caravan.

jellyfish

 

 

Later in the afternoon, we went for a walk along the beach where there were several jellyfish guarding the shoreline, so we made sure we had some sandals on – this is a regular thing here so bear this in mind when visiting.

 

 

In the evening we went for a lovely meal at Ty mwg beer and brisket smokehouse. This restaurant has picturesque views and there’s also a campsite for campers and tourers. Once we had finished the meal we back to the accommodation for a bit of Prosecco ping pong before grabbing our change and going to the arcade! It’s not just for children.

After another night that turned into a blur, we woke up to a full English and rain 😦 But not for long as the sun came out and we enjoyed ice cream from Cadwalders in Criccieth. Located approximately 15 minutes from Porthmadog, Criccieth is a lovely beach town with a castle overlooking the sea.

Criccieth

Once we had taken some silly pictures and made the most of the sunshine (again)!

Borth y Gest

 

 

We stopped at Borth-y-Gest, a small fishing village. Taking a walk through the trees and grass to the small beach we had some fantastic picture opportunities.

 

 

 

That evening back at the caravan a good clear up and pamper night was in order before a delicious Indian take away from Passage to India.

Not your typical hen weekend, but one that was just right for me, good friends, delicious food, and sunshine.

What’s On Your Doorstep?

Travelling is sometimes a dream, a list of places I wish to visit before I am too old. But sometimes, especially on snowy days like today, I think about how lucky I am to live somewhere that actually has some lovely sights to explore.

As I sit here listening to my son begging to go outdoors and play in the snow, I started to think about a time when I’d be eager to get outside to just simply be outside. So, once I have written this post I will grab my warm boots, hat and gloves and take to the snow.

It’s not just the snow that makes me want to be outdoors but the sun too, and occasionally the rain. Near my home is a park that I think many locals take for granted. The park is big has a wood, stream, pond, swings, visitors centre and a lot of wildlife. Local schools visit and discover the natural habitats of badgers and foxes but when it comes to taking a walk for some reason we choose to head to the shops.

This weekend I will be taking my son to the park and exploring some of the places it has to offer. This isn’t the only area on my doorstep, when I take the time to stop and think about it there are several of places we could go.

Just a half an hour drive away is a beach, many complain “it’s not the best beach”, but who cares it’s there. This summer the aim is to take to the beach after work for fish and chips, or a picnic because we should be making the most of this area.

On rainy days, for some crazy reason I like to go for a walk and the mountains that wall the county I live in are perfect for this. Although, if it is windy it’s probably best to stick to a park or garden but if it’s just rain, well that never hurt anyone.

It may seem ridiculous that a plan has to be in place to visit these places, but these days it’s far too easy to stay indoors.

Domestic tourism is just as good as outbound, we just take it for granted sometimes or focus on the things we can’t do or can’t afford. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of caravan holidays at Greenacres, Black Rock Sands, Porthmadog. Located an hour and a half from my home and located on the Llyn Peninsula this area of North Wales has a lot to offer.

The beaches here are beautiful and the towns full of heritage, myths, and legends. It is a great part of the world to explore but is often lost by the idea of an exotic beach break. Of course, the chance of sun is touch and go, but if you’re lucky enough to get some it’s an ideal location.

Take a Walk in North Wales

During half term, I only had a couple of days off, so I decided to pack a picnic and take to the Welsh hills for a lovely stroll (come rain or shine). This got me thinking about all of the amazing walks on my doorstep.

I love taking a walk, whether a long one that lasts all day and usually ends with a pub lunch or a short stroll on a Sunday morning. As I live in North Wales there are plenty of local walks but on the odd occasion, I venture further afield. For now, here’s my round up of top places to walk in North Wales.

Wepre Park

Wepre Park

There are times when I feel quite lucky to live where I do and one of the reasons why is Wepre Park. Many may not think it is fantastic but it’s right on my doorstep and is the perfect place to enjoy nature with the family.

There is a waterfall, woods, stream, play area, pond, castle, and visitors centre, that also sells food. The walk through the woodland area is peaceful and worthwhile as you can stop for a picnic at the Ewole castle ruins.

Even though winter is on its way I will still be visiting the park, to take the younger children on a nature hunt. This is when we collect leaves, pine cones and much more to create a winter collage, or to add to our garland for Christmas day.

Welsh Coastal Path

Take your hat, gloves, and scarf as you take a long 870-mile walk along The Wales Coast Path. You don’t have to complete the whole walk but there are parts that offer particularly lovely views. I haven’t walked the whole 870-miles so these are a couple of spots I noted.

There are several sections to the walk but I am focusing on the North, as this is the area I visit frequently.

The Anglesey Coastal Path opened in 2006 and is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the views this Isle has to offer. It can be a challenging walk with hills and steps but as long as you wear the correct shoes and clothing you’ll enjoy every minute and make some wonderful memories. On a warm day taking a picnic is the perfect way to spend an afternoon taking in one of the many views.

Perhaps my favourite area is Menai, Llyn and Meirionnydd, which takes you past Criccieth, Porthmadog, Harlech, Morfa Nefyn and much more. On some of these beaches, you can stop for a bite to eat at the pub or beach huts. There’s also plenty of wildlife to look out for from bottle-nosed dolphins to grey seals so you may want to pack some binoculars. On a sunny day the views are marvelous and on a cloudy day when the skies are grey, you can enjoy the rugged landscape – which feels more authentic to me!

Moel Famau

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When in school visiting Moel Famau was an annual event as part of our sponsored walk to raise money for our school trips. Come rain or shine we would venture up the mountain. One year some of the people I was with decided they wanted to take a shortcut – don’t do this – it did not end well, stick to the path.

New Year’s Eve is a lovely time to take this walk, starting at about 9pm, my family and I started to walk to the peak in time for New Year. Halfway up I looked back and a river of lanterns was following below, it was a lovely view. When we reached the top the scouts and brownies were there lighting campfires and making some food, which was shared around.

Bang on midnight the fireworks below were set off and the sky lite up, it was a memorable new year, even if in the picture I may look cold!

Llangollen

Llangollen

A walk in Llangollen is perfect for all ages, from a high street stroll to an active walk along the river, where the kids can play and the adults can relax. This small town is full of activity and gets very busy in the summer months. No matter how hectic it may seem the surrounding trees and greenery somehow make it feel peaceful and give a sense relaxation.

A walk along the river will take you from the town to the fields, passing swings, rapid rivers and a lovely pub where the food is delicious. Looking over to the other side of the water you can see the steam railway and hear the train come in as it toots, and the children seem to love this.

The walk along the high street is nice too, popping into some of the trinket shops along the way. Entering the town means walking over a bridge that offers a picture perfect moment to capture the river, train station and surrounding forestry.

Llandudno

From the Great Orme to the pier there’s quite a lot to do and see in Llandudno.

We’ll start at The Great Orme which is a large limestone headland, that houses a mine, visitor centre, toboggan and ski slope, and superb views. It is not essential to walk up the Orme, you can just take a lovely drive or a cable car but on a sunny day, why not walk? There’s a cafe at the top and the walk back down is much easier, as well as views and activities its history is fascinating as it is apparently 350 million years old!

From the Great Orme there’s the pier that stretches 2,295 feet. Along the pier, there’s fair rides, huts, an arcade, and cafe. My son loves the pier as there’s so much for him to enjoy.

Llandudno is definitely a place to visit to experience a Victorian beach day with Punch and Judy shows, shelters and in the summer donkey rides. The beach is also not too far from the main town, in case you want some fish and chips, or a mooch around the shops.

Sophie x.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

If you’re planning a trip to North Wales this summer the Aqueduct is a great place to visit, although if you’re not great with heights you may want to give it a miss!

This weekend we decided to take a morning stroll, living in North Wales we are spoilt for choice when it comes to walking routes. My partner isn’t fond of walking so we needed to find somewhere that could hold his attention as well as mine.

The Aqueduct isn’t far from Llangollen and is a peaceful walk along the canal. There is also a FREE carpark which I find to be a rare thing nowadays. Once you have parked up in one of the two car parks, you can go straight to the aqueduct and start your walk or enjoy refreshments on the cafe boat (barge).

There are plenty of light bites available at the cafe boat including sandwiches, and warm dishes too. The food was nice and there’s a surprising amount of choice considering it’s such a small preparation area.

As well as the cafe there’s also a visitors centre, reception, and plenty of ducks to keep you company!

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The area is picturesque and is very peaceful. The aqueduct itself is 38m in height and has a badge passage running alongside the pathway – which is just wide enough for two people to cross together. If you don’t fancy walking you can hire a badge for the day and enjoy the waterways. There’s also a boat trip to Llangollen (1 way) which can take up to 4 hours.

Once you’re at the highest point the view is beautiful, the image below shows the view to the lefthand side.

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At the other side, the path continues to run along the canal, where there are some nice houses and quiet farmlands to enjoy. The path is quite long, so we didn’t walk all the way as the path can take you to Shrewsbury and that’s one heck of a walk that I’ll be saving for another day.

It’s a free day out for the family and can be really enjoyable.

Sophie x.

 

Heading to North Wales?

Growing up and going on caravan holidays to Greenacres in Black Rock Sands I used to feel hard done to! All my friends would go abroad and I was stuck in the UK.

Of course, at that moment in time, I did not realise how much it actually costs to buy and keep a static caravan on a Haven site. Initially, when I found out the cost I used to think ‘why not save that money for a trip to Florida every couple of years?’

Now I have grown up and I have my son things have completely changed. Having a place to escape to every month is worth every penny, even if you only travel for an hour. I definitely want to see the world but if you can’t have it both ways it’s a choice between multiple trips a year and one 2 week holiday. Even though I choose the second option, as I think it’s more of an experience, I’m not completely against the idea of having a place to escape to on the weekends and here’s why…

There are many places in the UK you could choose to visit but for me, North Wales has all my family needs for a peaceful weekend retreat. It may be on my doorstep but the beaches along the Llyn Peninsula and Cardigan Bay are glorious and if the sun is shining they’re perfect.

Morfa Nefyn

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A beautiful beach, that for many years was relatively unknown and therefore was a peaceful and tranquil place. Nowadays more people know about the area but it is still a wonderful place. Situated just beneath a golf course the sea is blue and the sands are golden when the sun is shining it’s like being in France.

There is a small pub on the edge of the beach that serves food and drink and there’s a shop on the road leading down. From the golf course perched on the green cliffs, there is an unspoilt view of the sea and sky – making it the perfect spot to relax.

As Morfa Nefyn can be a little confusing to get to, due to the small lanes I don’t get the opportunity to go very often but it’s definitely worth the journey. When I was a child my mum and dad found the beach by accident when they got lost going somewhere else – but everything happens for a reason and now this is one of my favourite places.

Abersoch

Probably in my top 5 beaches, this is a vibrant beach – the atmosphere is more youthful and the beach attracts those who love watersports. Rather than being relaxing and tranquil like Morfa Nefyn, I would come to this beach if I fancied a more eventful experience.

The village of Abersoch is worth a walk round too, with quaint shops and a local harbour it’s a lovely place to visit.

Llanbedrgoch

Another beach my parents found by accident! The first time I explored this beach as a child, I thought I was abroad. The vibrant beach huts and it’s hidden off road spot make this beach unique and special, growing up I thought it was the beach from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – for some reason! Never the less this made it all the more intriguing to me.

North Wales isn’t just home to some lovely beaches but also some scenic and adventurous walks. I use the word ‘adventurous’ because as a child my dad would tell use the myths and legends as we wondered explored the area, and sometimes we’d even act them out!

Beddgelert

A place of myths and legends, Beddgelert is home to one of the most popular Welsh legends. The legend of Gelert is taught is almost every school in North Wales and for some reason, it’s a story I have never forgotten.

As a small girl, my dad would enjoy taking us to see Gelerts grave, before walking along the stream and through its footpath. We would then enjoy a picnic in the field before taking a walk into the hills, where you’d see Celtic ruins (well that’s what we thought they were) and be reminded of Welsh history.

Once the walk was over we’d visit the local shop (not sure if it’s still there) where Rupert Bear would be in the window – as this is where the illustrator Mr. Alfred Edmeades Bestall M.B.E. was from. We’d then enjoy an ice cream in the from the ice cream shop.

Snowdonia

Perhaps one of, if not the most well-known place in North Wales the walk up Snowdonia can be tiring, so we would generally take the train or walk until we were tired. I personally don’t like taking the train as it goes very slow and I’m worried it’ll give in at any minute and roll back down!

The view on a clear day is well worth the walk and there’s a shop along the way. More recently than when I was a youngster, there’s also Surf Snowdonia which I haven’t had the pleasure in visiting just yet – but it’s on my summer list.

Criccieth

Porthmadog’s neighbouring town that can be reached by simply walking across the beach, when the tied in out. Although the beach is made up of many pebbles it is a lovely place to take in the scenery and enjoy an ice cream – and when I say ice cream I mean the best ice cream I have ever tasted. Still, I visit Criccieth every summer just to have an ice cream!

Overlooking the beach on the hillside is the castle which makes for picture perfect scenery. There’s also a cafe and shop just off the beach.

Llangollen

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During the summertimeI regularly take to this part of North Wales for a walk along the river. Along this path, there’s a playground – where I remember stopping in the rain and eating fish and chips as a girl! There’s also water sporting activities for you to enjoy, I have only ever taken part in white water rafting which was really fun.

Llangollen also has a canal which is a peaceful walk because fewer people seem to go to this area. You will see lots of barges along here which makes me want to experience a canal holiday.

Other than walking and visiting the beautiful beaches lining the coast there are also some attractions for you to visit.

Ffestiniog

Back in the day, Ffestiniog used to be a slate caverns and as a child, I used to visit the caverns and go underground. Now the underground mines are home to Zip World Bounce Below, which is soooooo much fun! Underground trampolines make you feel suspended in the air which is both fun and terrifying at the same time.

Portmeirion

A multi-coloured world took straight from a TV show – not that the colour really made that much difference back then! There are lovely shops, cafes and even a hotel. The views near the lighthouse are amazing, overlooking the bay.

A family holiday to North Wales wouldn’t be complete without a trip to a castle, and there are plenty to choose from. Here are some of my favourites.

Bodelwyddan Castle

A beautiful Jacobean castle in North Wales that provides a fantastic day out. In the grounds the castle has a play area, maze and a chess board – don’t know why I love this so much, but I do.

There are even a few resident pets and a bird watching area. There is something for everyone here but it’s not situated on the Llyn Peninsula instead it is just off the A550 in Denbighshire.

Chirk Castle

My favourite castle, the grounds are perfectly manicured and if I had the cash to marry here I would. Built in 1295 it is steeped in history whilst also being quite modern. There are several events held here each year the last one I went to was the WRC.

The courtyard is spectacular and leads to many areas of the castle. Surrounding the castle, just below the hill are woodland walks, picnic areas and a few shops. Again, this castle isn’t located in the Llyn peninsula but is near Wrexham.

Caernarfon Castle

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A very large castle located next to a harbour, this area is picturesque, especially on a sunny day. Across the water, you can see Anglesey and the scenery are even better from the top of the castle walls.

This whole area brings back happy memories from my childhood, spending time with my cousins, friends and family friends.