Wednesday, November 2, 2011

WALES

GENERAL
Celtic Trails – Chepstow; 011-44-012-9168-9774; celtic-trails.com; will help arrange hiking trips.
Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail – St. Dogmaels (north) to Amroth (south); walescoastpath.gov.uk or llwybrarfordircymru.gov.uk; twists and turns through 186 miles of coast; covers almost every kind maritime landscape, from cliff tops and coves to beaches and estuaries; lies almost entirely within Pembrokeshire Coast National Park (Britain’s only coastal national park); both Wales Coast Path & International Appalachian Trail follow its route.
Wales Coastal Path – ccw.gov.uk/Splash.aspx; squiggles continuously from Chepstow (south) to near Queensferry (north), via dramatic serrations, sandy bays, and domineering castles, making 1377 km (870 miles) shore accessible; includes Pembrokeshire coast, section from Llanmadoc to Port Eynon, passing Rhossili (among UK’s best beaches), and Isle of Anglesey Coast Path.
Walk North Wales – walknorthwales.co.uk; excellent walking plans that can be downloaded free onto GPS, iPhone, etc.



ISLANDS
(includes Anglesey, Llanddwyn & Puffin)
ANGLESEY
Bars & Nightclubs
White Eagle – Rhoscolyn; 011-44-014-0786-0267; white-eagle.co.uk; where young Kate and William pop in now and then.

Hotels
Ye Olde Bulls Head Inn & Townhouse – Castle Street (Beaumaris); 011-44-081-0329-1248; bullshead inn.co.uk; low-ceilinged, wooden-beamed; once welcomed celebrated guests Dr. Johnson & Charles Dickens; lounge is seamless mix of contemporary & traditional styles; bedrooms are beautifully furnished in range of styles, all sympathetic to their historic context.
Château Rhianfa – Beaumaris (Glyngarth); 011-44-033-0333-7222; chateaurhianfa.com; enchanting Victorian home, modeled on 16th Century French Renaissance château of Chenonceau; in spectacular gardens with commanding views over Menai Strait & towering Snowdonia peaks; close to picture-postcard village of Beaumaris & just 12 miles from Snowdonia Park.
Tre-Ysgawen Hall Hotel & Spa – Capel Coch, Llangefni (Anglesey); 011-44-012-4875-0750; treysgawen-hall.co.uk; 1882 Victorian country house hotel with spa.

Restaurants
Ye Olde Bulls Head Inn – Castle Street (Beaumaris); 011-44-081-0329-1248; bullshead inn.co.uk; low-ceilinged, wooden-beamed; among North Wales’ top restaurants.

Sights & Sites
Beaumaris Castle – Castle Street (Beaumaris); 011-44-012-4881-0361; cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/beaumaris-castle; built as part of Edward I’s campaign to conquer north Wales after 1282; now ruined castle managed by CADW as tourist attraction; historian Arnold Taylor described Beaumaris Castle as perfect; built of local stone, with moated outer ward guarded by 12 towers & 2 gatehouses, overlooked by inner ward with 2 large, D-shaped gatehouses & 6 massive towers; south gate reachable by ship, allowing castle to be supplied directly by sea; UNESCO considers Beaumaris among Europe’s finest late 13th-early 14th Century military architecture examples & thus classed as World Heritage site.


LLANDDWYN – anglesey-history.co.uk/places/llanddwyn; small tidal island near Anglesey; more than 10 miles of footpaths cross it & Newborough Warren, including Anglesey Coastal Path; worthwhile goal after mile-long walk along beach from nearest car park; Llanddwyn Island Lighthouse marks western entrance to Menai Strait; make sure to walk to ruins of St. Dwynwen’s Church.


PUFFIN – uninhabited island off eastern tip of Anglesey.



MID-WALES
(includes Cardiganshire, Oswestry & Powys)
[Note: technically, Oswestry is in Shropshire but is border settlement & considered Welsh.]
CARDIGANSHIRE
(includes Aberaeron, Aberporth, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Ciliau Aeron, Ponterwyd & Tregaron)
Bakeries, Coffee, Ice Cream, Juice & Tea
Agnelli’s Espresso Bar & Deli – 3 Bridge Street (Aberystwyth); 011-44-079-6995-9466; aberystwyth.org.uk/foodanddrink/cafes.shtml; compact, modern venue; coffee & panini.
Cabin – 21B Pier Street (Aberystwyth); 011-44-019-7061-5119; aberystwyth.org.uk/foodanddrink/cafes.shtml; open for over 50 years; people-watching.

Bars & Nightclubs
Harbourmaster Bar – Pen Cei (Aberaeron, 15 miles south of Aberystwyth); 011-44-015-4557-0755; harbour-master.com; early 19th Century, Georgian-style building, right on harbor among colorfully painted structures; decent bar menu for more casual dining.
Rummers Wine Bar – Bridge Street (Aberystwyth, opposite harbor); 011-44-019-7062-5177; aberystwyth.org.uk/foodanddrink/pubguide.shtml; easygoing place with sawdust on floor & live music on weekends.
Scholars – 8 Queen’s Road (Aberystwyth); 011-44-019-7061-5241; scholarsaber.co.uk; filled with Victorian knickknacks; lots of nooks & crannies; live music on Thursdays & Saturdays; popular pub quiz on Sunday nights.
Ship & Castle – 1 High Street (Aberystwyth); 011-44-019-7061-2334; shipandcastle.co.uk; inn since 1700s; draws chatty locals & students and has ale selection unrivaled in region.

Beaches
Ynyslas Beach – B4572 (9 miles up coast from Aberystwyth); where Dyfi River flows into sea at Cardigan Bay; enormous dunes crisscrossed by wooden bridges; part of nature reserve home to several species butterflies &lizards; strong currents render sea here unsuitable for swimming.

Hotels
Falcondale Hotel – Falcondale Drive (Lampeter, Ceredigion); 011-44-015-7042-2910; thefalcondale.co.uk; surveys Teifi Valley; built in 1859 as private home, this Victorian Italianate villa is on acres of peaceful ornamental lawns & woods, set against Cambrian Mountains & Cardigan Bay.
Gwesty Cymru – 19 Marine Terrace (Aberystwyth); 011-44-019-7061-2252; gwestycymru.com; seafront Edwardian house converted into stylish lodgings; most guest rooms have views across bay.
Harbourmaster Hotel – Pen Cei (Aberaeron, 15 miles south of Aberystwyth); 011-44-015-4557-0755; harbour-master.com; early 19th Century, Georgian-style building, right on harbor among colorfully painted structures; bedrooms have wonderful harbor views.
Penmaenuchaf Hall – Dolgellau; 011-44-042-2129-1341; penlobby.co.uk; 21 acres grounds & restaurant; description “country house hotel” has become devalued; original meaning - dignity & style, supreme comfort, cuisine & service - applies here; built in 1860 for wealthy cotton magnate; ambitious, no-expense-spared restoration of fine, grey-stoned manor; Garden Room Restaurant provides light & elegant setting; grounds overlook Mawddach Estuary; world-class, purpose-built trails in Coed y Brenin Forest are close by.
Penrallt – Aberporth; 011-44-012-3981-0227; thepenrallt.co.uk; Edwardian mansion on 42 acres with classic rooms to suites, wood-paneled restaurant & 2 pools.
Ty Mawr Mansion – Cilcennin (Aberaeron); 011-44-015-7047-0033; tymawrmansion.co.uk; boutique rooms-suites in plush Georgian country hotel with gourmet dining & private cinema.
Y Talbot – Square (Tregaron); 011-44-019-7429-8208; ytalbot.com; one-time drovers’ inn; great food; lovely accommodations.

Restaurants
Falcondale Restaurant – Falcondale Drive (Lampeter, Ceredigion); 011-44-015-7042-2910; thefalcondale.co.uk; Victorian Italianate villa on acres of peaceful ornamental lawns & woods, set against Cambrian Mountains & Cardigan Bay; highly regarded, formal & serious restaurant that gets mixed reviews from customers.
Gannets Bistro – 7 St. James’s Square (Aberystwyth); 011-44-019-7061-7164; aberystwyth.org.uk/foodanddrink/gannets-bistro.shtml; simple but friendly bistro specializing in hearty roasts & traditional Welsh-style dishes that use local fish & meat; organically grown vegetables & good wine list; popular with locals so likely to hear Welsh being spoken.
Garden Room Restaurant – Dolgellau (at Penmaenuchaf Hall); 011-44-042-2129-1341; penlobby.co.uk; 21 acres grounds; light & elegant setting; excellent food.
Gwesty Cymru – 19 Marine Terrace (Aberystwyth); 011-44-019-7061-2252; gwestycymru.com; seafront terrace dining.
Harbourmaster Restaurant – Pen Cei (Aberaeron, 15 miles south of Aberystwyth); 011-44-015-4557-0755; harbour-master.com; early 19th Century, Georgian-style building, right on harbor among colorfully painted structures; sophisticated, modern Welsh brasserie specializes in local seafood.
Ultracomida – 31 Pier Street (Aberystwyth); 011-44-019-7063-0686; ultracomida.co.uk; lively, modern Spanish eatery; lunch menu is served tapas style (hake with lentils & Serrano ham, squid fried in garlic with salsa verde, or fresh hummus & toast).

Shopping
Ultracomida – 31 Pier Street (Aberystwyth); 011-44-019-7063-0686; ultracomida.co.uk; lively, modern Spanish deli that can put together upscale picnic hamper.

Sights & Sites
Aberystwyth Arts Centre – Penglais Road (Aberystwyth, at Aberystwyth University); 011-44-019-7062-3232; aberystwythartscentre.co.uk; in addition to cinema, gallery, shops & theater; good bar & café.
Aberystwyth Castle – New Promenade (Aberystwyth, at bay’s southern end, little way down from pier); 011-44-019-7061-2125; castlewales.com/aberystw.html; romantic, windswept ruin; crumbling remains of castle built in 1277; among key strongholds captured in early 15th Century by Owain Glyndwr, Welsh prince who led country’s last serious bid for independence from England.
Aberystwyth Cliff Railway – Cliff Terrace (Aberystwyth); 011-44-019-7061-7642; aberystwythcliffrailway.co.uk; opened in 1896, this Victorian-era railway deposits you at Constitution Hill’s top; longest electric cliff railway in Britain; call for daily times.
Barmouth – Gwynned County (about 1 hour from Aberystwyth; see entry under Gwynned for more information); on Mawddach Estuary’s northern mouth, among few places along Welsh coast that can be described as full-fledged seaside resort; looking bit tired; 2-mile-long promenade, wide expanses golden beach, & mountain-lake fishing; to appreciate splendid location, walk along footpath beside railway bridge that crosses estuary mouth: bay stretches out on 1 side & on other are rugged, looming mountains & river; Charles Darwin worked on Origin of Species & Descent of Man in house by shore.
Bwlch Nant yr Arian Forest – Ponterwyd (Aberystwyth); 011-44-019-7089-0453; forestry.gov.uk/bwlchnantyrarian; forest recreation center; ecologically-friendly building with excellent restaurant facilities, gift shop & superb views; famous for daily Red Kite feeding, which can be seen from Visitor Center or from many places around lake; video system with numerous cameras around lake, giving close-up birds view; Waymarked Walks & excellent Cycle Trails.
Ceredigion County Council-Ceredigion Museum – Terrace Road (Aberystwyth); 011-44-019-7063-3088; reflects county archaeology and history; notable collections of Welsh costume, furniture, & many objects associated with agricultural heritage; fine Hutchings family (1870s-1942) taxidermy collection & many paintings by Alfred Worthington; displays also at Lampter Library, Kite Centre, Tregaron, Harbourmaster’s office, New Quay & cottage at Llanon (open during most August afternoons).
Constitution Hill – beach promenade, at northern end (Aberystwyth); dominates skyline; from top can see much of Welsh coastline (and, on exceptionally clear days, Ireland); small café at top and plenty of space for picnic; long footpath zigzags up to 430' summit (reached most easily, though, via Aberystwyth Cliff Railway); from there, 5-mile-long coastal path stretches to village of Borth, where 3K-year-old petrified forest remains seen on beach at low tide.
Devil’s Bridge (Pont y Gwr Drwg) – Woodlands, Devil’s Bridge (Ceredigion); 011-44-019-7089-0233; devilsbridgefalls.co.uk; spans Mynach River (Rheidol River tributary); bridge unusual in that consists of 3 coexistent yet separate bridges, each built upon previous bridge; most recent is iron bridge (1901), built over stone bridge (1753), built when original thought unstable (built 1075–1200); walk into ravine drops 300' in 5 tiers down to Rheidol River; stone steps leading down to lowest bridge at waterfall are known as Jacob’s Ladder.
Dolgellau – Gwynned County (about 1 hour from Aberystwyth; see entry under Gwynned for more information); solidly Welsh town with dark stone buildings & old coaching inns made of local gray dolerite & slate; pronounced dol-geth-lee; thrived with wool trade until mid-19th Century; prosperity left striking architecture, with buildings of different eras side by side on crooked streets (legacy from Norman times); popular base for people eager to walk surrounding countryside, which forms Snowdonia National Park’s southern; south of Dolgellau rises menacing bulk of 3K' Cadair Idris.
Great Aberystwyth Camera Obscura – Cliff Terrace (Aberystwyth); 011-44-019-7061-7642; aberystwythcliffrailway.co.uk; modern version of Victorian amusement; massive 14" lens that gives bird’s-eye view of Cardigan Bay and 26 Welsh mountain peaks; reached most easily via Aberystwyth Cliff Railway.
Hay-on-Wye – Powys (about 1.5 hours from Aberystwyth; see entry under Powys for more information); hay-on-wye.co.uk; crumbling old castle & low-slung buildings framed by lolloping green hills; beautiful little place; largest 2ndhand bookselling center in world; priceless 14th Century manuscripts rub spines with job lots selling for few pounds.
Llandrindod Wells – Powys (about 1 hour from Aberystwyth; see entry under Powys for more information); llandrindod-wells.com; also known as Llandod; old spa town that preserves Victorian look with balustrades, cupolas, loggias & turrets everywhere; cross over to South Crescent, passing Glen Usk Hotel with its wrought-iron balustrade & Victorian bandstand in gardens opposite, to reach Middleton Street, Victorian thoroughfare; from there, head to Rock Park & path that leads to Pump Room (historic building that is now alternative health center, but visitors can freely take waters).
Llanerchaeron – off A482 (Ciliau Aeron, 17 miles south of Aberystwyth); 011-44-015-4557-0200; nationaltrust.org.uk/llanerchaeron; late-18th Century Welsh gentry estate in Aeron Valley; superb example of John Nash’s early work (1752-1835, Nash was leading Regency architect & Brighton’s Royal Pavilion designer); estate has survived with few changes; self-contained world of barns, brewery, dairy, stables, and walled gardens (particularly beautiful).
Llynwenog Silver-Lead Mine – off A44 (Ponterwyd, 10 miles east of Aberystwyth); 011-44-019-7089-0620; silvermountainexperience.co.uk; 200 year-old mine now museum; can tour reproductions of mining buildings and some original machinery, including working waterwheels; cold in mine, even on hot days.
National Library of Wales – off Penglais Road (Aberystwyth); 011-44-019-7063-2800; llgc.org.uk; massive neoclassical building next to University of Wales; houses notable Welsh & other Celtic literary works among its more than 4.5M volumes; also here is National Screen & Sound Archive of Wales, which hosts lunchtime & evening film screenings.
Machynlleth – Powys (about .5 hour from Aberystwyth; see entry under Powys for more information); powys.gov.uk/machynlleth.php; at head of beautiful Dovey Estuary, does not look like typical Welsh country town; long & wide main street, Heol Maengwyn, lined with mixed style buildings from sober gray stone to well-proportioned Georgian, creating atypical sense of openness and space; busiest day is Wednesday, when market trader stalls fill main street.
New Quay – Cardigan Bay; newquay-westwales.co.uk; small oceanside town with best viewpoint for dolphins, perhaps in UK.
Offa’s Dyke Centre – West Street (Knighton); 011-44-015-4752-8753; offasdyke.demon.co.uk/odc.htm; area around Knighton (in Powys) perfect walking country; Knighton unique in that 2 National Trails meet here - Offa’s Dyke Path & Glyndwr’s Way; Centre includes surrounding park & play area; attractive interactive exhibition addresses construction of Offa’s Dyke, Welsh princes of Anglo-Saxon period, and Knighton history.
Penglais Woods – woodland stretch east of Aberystwyth; idyllic, peaceful spot for picnic or walk; follow footpath opposite hospital on Penglais Road (steep hill rising up from town’s main street) until cross small bridge, then make right & walk until reach paved road; from here several entrances.
Soar Y Mynydd (Chapel) – take road from Tregaron sign-posted to Soar y Mynydd (next to Talbot Hotel); ebcpcw.org.uk/english/churches/29; Wales’ most remote chapel; south west of Tregaron, on road to Llyn Brianne; although actually near River Towy headwaters (standing on Camddwr River banks); worth making trip out of Teifi Valley to see this Calvinistic Methodist chapel in its wonderful isolation, certainly evoked by trip along single track road passing several ruined stone buildings (& strikingly lonely red telephone box & post box), past waterfalls & acres of open land on way to this simple place of worship; stop on way at Cwm Berwyn lookout point, which looks over ice-sculpted, U-shaped valley; chapel built in 1822 by request of Rev. Ebenezer Richard of Tregaron, to provide for farmers, who lived in surrounding area, and for drovers, who passed this way on journey to or from village; take circular walk (5½ miles) leaving from chapel & heading southwest to foot of Pen y Gurnos; climb to summit adds mile to route; path then continues up stark & beautiful Doethie Valley, following river, before returning east along track to Soar Mynydd.
Vale of Rheidol Railway – Park Avenue (Aberystwyth); 011-44-019-7062-5819; rheidolrailway.co.uk; at Aberystwyth Station hop on steam-powered train for hour-long ride to Devil’s Bridge (Pont y Gwr Drwg), where Mynach & Rheidol Rivers meet in spectacular falls series; clamped between 2 rocky cliffs where water torrent pours unceasingly; actually consists of 1 bridges, each built on top of other; oldest is 800 years old.


OSWESTRY
Hotels
Pen-Y-Dyffryn Country Hotel – Rhydycroesau (Shropshire); 011-44-016-9165-3700; peny.co.uk/hotel; comfortable, intimate, perfect; overlooks valley; lovely.


POWYS
(includes Brecon, Carmarthenshire, Gladestry, Llanwddyn, Machynlleth & Welshpool)
Hotels
Bear Hotel – High Street (Crickhowell); 011-44-018-7381-0408; bearhotel.page-hotel.info.
Dyke House – Gladestry; 011-44-015-4437-0275; dykehouse.co.uk; Salman Rushdie lived here.
Felin Fach Griffin – Felin Fach (Brecon); 011-44-018-7462-0111; eatdrinksleep.ltd.uk; elegant, stripped-floor en suite B&B rooms.
Gliffaes Country House Hotel – Gliffaes Road (Crickhowell); 011-44-018-7473-0371; gliffaeshotel.com; situated on 35 garden acres with views of Brecon Beacons National Park; overlooks Usk River.
Jabajak – Banc y Llain, Llanboidy Road (Whitland); 011-44-019-9444-8786; jabajak.co.uk; country retreat notable for eclectic, worldwide influences.
Lake Country House & Spa – Llangammarch Wells; 011-44-015-9162-0202; lakecountryhouse.co.uk; lovely grounds.
Lake Vyrnwy Hotel & Spa – Lake Vyrnwy (Llanwddyn); 011-44-016-9187-0692; lakevyrnwy.com; overlooks lake & surrounding forest, moorland & rugged Berwyn mountains; walking trails; balconies located off most bedrooms.
Llangoed Hall – Llyswen (Brecon); 011-44-018-7475-4525; llangoedhall.co.uk; formerly owned by Laura Ashley; in Edwardian style; antiques & artworks fashioned by Walter Sickert, Augustus John & Rex Whistler; gardens.
Metropole Hotel & Spa – Temple Street (Llandrindod Wells); 011-44-015-9782-3700; metropole.co.uk; Victorian hotel; grand; indoor pool.
Peterstone Court Hotel – Llanhamlach (Brecon); 011-44-018-7466-5387; peterstone-court.com; Georgian country house with chic, luxury rooms & spa converted from underground cellars.
Ty Mawr – Brechfa (Carmarthen); 011-44-012-6720-2332; wales-country-hotel.co.uk; former Welsh Country Hotel of Year; intimate, cream-washed hideaway; dates from 15th Century remodeled, well-appointed bedrooms; excellent food.
Ynyshir Hall – Eglwysfach (Machynlleth); 011-44-016-5478-1209; ynyshir-hall.co.uk; imposing white manor house once Queen Victoria’s childhood summer home; she left her imprint on décor & gardens; trees still stand where she planted them; now run by charming couple who manages to pamper you let make you feel at home (if your home is an aristocratic residence); chef is unbelievable and during 5-day stay, did not experience one mis-step; abundance of birds flying in from nearby beaches & estuary because 1 of Britain’s finest bird reserves adjoins grounds.

Restaurants
Bear Pub – High Street (Crickhowell); 011-44-018-7381-0408; bearhotel.page-hotel.info; considered among best pubs in Britain.
Felin Fach Griffin – Felin Fach (Brecon); 011-44-018-7462-0111; eatdrinksleep.ltd.uk; country pub with kitchen garden & local menu.

Sights & Sites
Aberglasney House & Gardens – Llangathen (Carmarthen); 011-44-015-5866-8998; aberglasney.org; owned for 10 generations of family that traced its origins to Elystan Glodrydd & Gwenllian, granddaughter of Hywel Dda; sold as Llys Wen to members of Rudd family sometime around 1600; eventually bought by Robert Dyer, successful Carmarthen lawyer, in 1710; in 1803, bought by John Philips, lawyer from Llandeilo, on behalf of brother Thomas, surgeon returning home after 30-year career as surgeon with East India Company; he & his married mistress lived in house, and dying childless in 1824 left property to his nephew John Walters, who added Philipps to his surname; he left to middle daughter, whose daughter Mary Anne (also known as Marianne), inherited; Marianne Pryse married soldier Charles Mayhew; Aberglasney commandeered at WWII outbreak; in 1955 estate was broken up, with tenant farmers acquiring their rented land, while house & farm bought by Carmarthen lawyer David Charles; 1995-1999 restored and opened to public; 10 acres gardens, with 3 walled gardens; Elizabethan/Jacobean Cloister garden & rare parapet walk at its centre; Cloister Garden; Ninfarium, award-winning garden based on gardens of Ninfa near Rome.
Brecon Beacons National Park – Plas y Ffynnon, Cambrian Way (Brecon, stretches from Llandeilo (west) to Hay-on-Wye (northeast) to Pontypool (southeast), covering 519 square miles & encompassing 4 main regions: Black Mountain (west), Fforest Fawr (Great Forest) & Brecon Beacons (center), & Black Mountains (east)); breconbeacons.org, breconbeacons.org and beacons-npa.gov.uk; established in 1957, 3rd of 3 Welsh parks (Snowdonia in 1951 & Pembrokeshire Coast in 1952); known for remote reservoirs, waterfalls (including 90' Henrhyd Waterfall & falls at Ystradfellte) & caves (such as Ogof Ffynnon Ddu).
Carreg Cennen Castle – Trapp (Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire); 011-44-015-5882-2291; carregcennencastle.com; within Brecon Beacons National Park; spectacular location, due to position above limestone precipice; in ruinous state since 1462.
National Botanic Garden of Wales – Llanarthne (Carmarthenshire); 011-44-015-5866-7149; gardenofwales.org.uk; Middleton family built mansion here in early 17th Century; architect Samuel Pepys Cockerell built Middleton Hall (1789), turning original structure into farm; owner added ingenious water park, water flowing around estate via interconnecting lakes, ponds & streams linked by dams, water sluices, bridges & cascades; spring water stored in elevated reservoirs that fed into lead cistern on mansion’s roof, allowing for piped running water & water closets; in 1806, Cockerell designed & constructed of Paxton’s Tower, Neo-Gothic folly erected in honor of Lord Nelson (situated on hilltop near Llanarthney; in 1842, estate passed to eccentric Edward Abadam; in 1931, mansion gutted by fire, leaving only walls, covered in molten lead globules; under guidance of Welsh Historic Gardens Trust, Millennium Commission funded Britain’s 1st national botanic garden for 200 years, virtually on site of Cockerell’s mansion, Great Glasshouse constructed, which now forms centerpiece; much of original waterscape restored & extended by introducing cascades to its western approach; extraordinary original view (east side of mansion) restored, extending as originally to Paxton’s Tower in distance; 568 acres.
Powis Castle – Welshpool; 011-44-019-3855-1944; nationaltrust.org.uk/powis-castle; medieval castle, fortress & grand country mansion; known for extensive, attractive formal gardens, terraces, parkland, deerpark & landscaped estate.



NORTH WALES
(includes Colwyn Bay, Corwen, Denbigshire, Gwynned, Llanrwst & Wrexham)
COLWYN BAY
Hotels
Rathlin Country House – 48 Kings Road; 011-44-014-9253-2173; rathlincountryhouse.co.uk; in beautiful conservation area, just minutes from Colwyn Bay town center & beach; luxury bed & breakfast offers charming rooms, free Wi-Fi, free parking & outdoor swimming pool and sauna; on nearly 1 acre own grounds, near Pwllycrochan Woods; just 3 en suite rooms, well-appointed; 2 rooms have whirlpool bath, while another has steam shower room.


CORWEN
Hotels
Tyddyn Llan – Llandrillo; 011-44-014-9044-0264; tyddynllan.co.uk; country house with period furnishings.

Restaurants
Tyddyn Llan – Llandrillo; 011-44-014-9044-0264; tyddynllan.co.uk; among Wales’ top restaurants.


DENBIGHSHIRE
Hotels
Hand at Llanarmon – Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog; 011-44-016-9160-0666; thehandhotel.co.uk; long & winding road up beautiful Ceiriog Valley leads to crossroads & tiny village of Llanarmon; soothing retreat superbly placed for exploring countryside (one of those “best-kept secrets”); rolling borderlands, grassy highlands & hidden valleys (1 of which leads to Wales’s highest waterfall); old beams, roaring fireplaces, casual mix-&-match of pine & oak furniture; modern bathrooms.
Manorhaus – Well Street (Ruthin); 011-44-018-2470-4830; manorhaus.com; boutique accommodation, restaurant & art gallery in historic market town in beautiful Vale of Clwyd.
Pentre Mawr Country House – Llandyrnog (Denbigh); 011-44-018-2479-0732; 5-star service with luxury, 9 room guest house comfort; owned by highly skilled cooks who present varying nightly menu that always features home-made breads & ice creams; meals served in conservatory overlooking salt-water pool with covered hot tub.

Sights & Sites
Offa’s Dyke Path – Prestatyn to Chestow; nationaltrail.co.uk/offas-dyke-path; long-distance footpath along Wales-England border; among Britain’s National Trails; keeps close to remnants of Offa’s Dyke, 8th Century earthwork, majority of which probably constructed on Mercian King Offa’s orders.

GWYNNED
(includes Abercoch, Bettws Y Coed, Caernarfon, Conwy, Dolgellau, Llandudno, Pwllheli, Penrhyndeudraeth, Portmeirion & Waunfawr)
Bakeries, Coffee, Ice Cream, Juice & Tea
Alpine Coffee Shop – Station Approach (Bettws Y Coed); 011-44-016-9071-0747; alpinecoffeeshop.net; superb coffee shop & restaurant in picturesque village; can get baked goods and sandwiches to go; good place to stock up before climbing Mt. Snowdon.
Tu Hwnt i’r Bont Tea House – Llanrwst (on left bank of River Conwy across Pont Fawr (“Big Bridge”) from Llanrwst); 011-44-014-9264-2322; cadw.wales.gov.uk; 15th Century grade II listed building originally built as farmhouse, Tu Hwnt i’r Bont (“Beyond Bridge”) actually considerably older than Inigo Jones bridge it stands beside; during 16th Century used as Courthouse; during last century, acquired by National Trust who have since leased as traditional Welsh Tea Rooms; must see.

Hotels
Bodysgallen Hall & Spa – Royal Welsh Way (Llandudno); 011-44-014-9258-4466; bodysgallen.com; 1st of 3 important houses restored & opened in 1980s as Historic House Hotels (others being Middlethorpe Hall (York) & Hartwell House (Buckinghamshire)); special features include remarkable garden & central tower; medieval core is fine 16th Century mansion; tower built as lookout for Conwy Castle (higher you climb, older spiraling staircase becomes); encircling view is enthralling.
Castle Cottage – Ffordd Pen Llech (Harlech); 011-44-017-6678-0479; castlecottageharlech.co.uk; unexpectedly modern, boutique-like accommodations; 7 rooms; outstanding restaurant.
Penmaenuchaf Hall – Penmaenpool (Dolgellau); 011-44-013-4142-2129; penhall.co.uk; Victorian mansion, presiding over arresting scenery across Mawddach Estuary to distant wooded mountain slopes; long tree-lined; original oak & mahogany panelling, stained-glass windows, slate floors, squishy sofas & log fires in winter; bedrooms have views from balconies; fishing along Mawddach River (or llyn Penmaenuchaf) within grounds, as are mountain biking, off-roading, sandy beaches, walking/hiking routes, bird-watching & championship golf are all nearby; acres of private manicured lawns feature both water & lavender garden and woodland.
Plas Bodegroes – Nefyn Road (Pwllheli); 011-44-017-5861-2363; bodegroes.co.uk; Georgian manor house set in lush gardens offering cosy B&B rooms with views, plus elegant dining.
Hotel Portmeirion & Castell Deudraeth – Minffordd & Portmeirion (Penrhyndeudraeth); 011-44-017-6677-0000; portmeirion-village.com; 1st is waterfront, eclectic structure, while 2nd is imposing castellated mansion.
Porth Tocyn – Cornish Row, Bwlchtocyn (Abersoch); 011-44-017-5871-3303; porthtocynhotel.co.uk; country house with en suite rooms (antiques & Egyptian cotton linens); dining & bay views.
St. Tudno Hotel & Restaurant – North Promenade (Llandudno); 011-44-014-9287-4411; st-tudno.co.uk; on seafront; 18 bedrooms in lovingly refurbished hotel.
Synchnant Pass Country House – Synchnant Pass Road (Conwy); 011-44-014-9259-6868; sychnantpasscountryhouse.co.uk; great place to relax after day in mountains; swimming pool.
Ty’n Rhos Country House – Seion, Llanddeiniolen (Caernarfon); 011-44-012-4867-0489; tynrhos.co.uk; country house; unfussy but elegant.

Restaurants
Alpine Coffee Shop – Station Approach (Bettws Y Coed); 011-44-016-9071-0747; alpinecoffeeshop.net; superb coffee shop & restaurant in picturesque village; can get baked goods and sandwiches to go; good place to stock up before climbing Mt. Snowdon.
Castle Cottage – Ffordd Pen Llech (Harlech); 011-44-017-6678-0479; castlecottageharlech.co.uk; unexpectedly modern, elegant atmosphere; outstanding restaurant, among top 100 in UK.
Hand at Llanarmon – Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog; 011-44-016-9160-0666; thehandhotel.co.uk; long & winding road up beautiful Ceiriog Valley leads to crossroads & tiny village of Llanarmon; soothing retreat superbly placed for exploring countryside (one of those “best-kept secrets”); rolling borderlands, grassy highlands & hidden valleys (1 of which leads to Wales’s highest waterfall); old beams, roaring fireplaces; among top gastropubs in UK.

Sights & Sites
Bodnant Gardens – Tal-y-Cafn, Nr Colwyn Bay (Conwy); 011-44-014-9265-0460; bodnantgarden.co.uk; National Trust property situated above Conwy River and overlooks valley towards Carneddau Mountain range; occupies area of over 80 acres surrounding Bodnant House; also, Bodnant Welsh Food Center sells local goods & produce.
Castell y Bere – Llanfihangel y Pennant (off B4405); 011-44-014-4333-6000; cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/castell-y-bere/?lang=en or castlewales.com/cybere.html; constructed by Llywelyn Great in 1220s; stone castle intended to maintain authority over local people & defend southwest Gwynedd.
Conwy Castle – Rose Hill Street (Conwy); 011-44-014-9259-2358; cadw.wales.gov.uk; medieval fortification on north coast built by Edward I between 1283-89; played important part in several wars; UNESCO considers Conwy to be among finest examples late 13th Century & early 14th Century military architecture in Europe; World Heritage site.
Caernarfon Castle – Castle Ditch (Caernarfon); 011-44-012-8667-7617; cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/caernarfon-castle; medieval fortress.
Harlech Castle – Harlech; 011-44-017-6678-0552; cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/harlechcastle; medieval fortification, constructed atop rock spur close to Irish Sea; built by Edward I 1282-89; World Heritage site.
Llandudno Pier – North Parade (Llandudno); 011-44-014-9287-0346; llandudnopier.com.
Nant Gwrtheyrn – reached by preposturously steep road down into valley, accessed from Llithfaen (village on B4417), if driving, take very slowly & extremely careful, can manage in small car but do not attempt if raining; otherwise, 25-minute walk from car park at hilltop); 011-44-017-5875-0334; nantgwrtheyrn.org; village built for quarry workers in 19th Century, when granite dug out of surrounding mountains & shipped to Liverpool, Manchester & elsewhere to be used in building roads; quarries closed after WWII & village gradually abandoned; in 1982, Welsh Language & Heritage Centre opened in restored buildings; main focus is offering residential Welsh-language courses to suit all ability levels, including B&B accommodation in homey little grey-stone cottages & meals at on-site restaurant; can also rent self-contained cottages; eerily quiet & ideal for tranquil walk along world’s-end cliffs; traditional burial place of 6th Century Celtic King Vortigern (Gwrtheyrn in Welsh), who features in many Arthurian legends; old chapel has small exhibition on village history; marked 3-mile loop walk heading past pebbly beach, various quarries & farm ruins; top car park is also start of 30- to 50-minute track to striking Tre’r Ceiri, among best preserved Iron Age hillforts in Europe, where remains of 150 stone huts have been discovered.
Portmeirion – Penrhyndeudraeth (on Dwyryd River estuary, 2 miles southeast of Porthmadog & 1 mile from Minffordd railway station); portmeirion-village.com; popular tourist village; designed & built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925-75 in Italian village style.
Snowdonia National Park – Plas Tan y Bwlch (Maentwrog, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Waunfawr, Park Study Center); 011-44-012-8667-2232 (visitor information) or 011-44-017-6677-2600 (Plas Tan y Bwlch); eryri-npa.gov.uk and visitsnowdonia.info; situated on west coast, covering 823 square miles; home to over 26K people; as well as being largest National Park in Wales, boasts highest mountain in England & Wales, largest natural lake in Wales, as well as picturesque villages like Betws y Coed & Beddgelert; see Mt. Llanberis & Snowdon.
Vaynol Hall & Gardens – Capel-y-graig (Menai Bridge, Bangor, Y Felinheli); 011-44-012-4851-1395 or 011-44-074-4768-8122 (m); britainexpress.com/attractions.htm?attraction=792; not open to public; among finest examples of Arcadian landscape garden; over 1K acres of parkland, including garden laid out in Elizabethan times, parkland designed in 1820 & woods dotted with castellated tower, mausoleum & boat house; parkland contained within stone wall 7 miles long, holding over 30 listed buildings including chapel & medieval tithe barn.


LLANRWST
Hotels
Plas Maenan Country House – Conwy; 011-44-014-9044-0264; plas-maenan-hotel.co.uk; upscale Edwardian guesthouse set on hilltop above A470; 8-minute walk from Dolgarrog railway station & 5.2 miles from Bodnant Gardens; 6 country-chic rooms & 4 elegant suites; full Welsh breakfast.


WREXHAM (includes Llangollen)
Hotels
Manorhaus – Hill Street (Ruthin, Llangollen); 011-44-014-9266-0232; manorhaus.com; boutique hotel in Georgian townhouse; 100 metres from town center & 7-minute walk from Ruthin Craft Centre artist studios selling handmade gifts; 8 stylish rooms featuring original artwork & bespoke fabrics; flat-screen TVs & DVD players; some fireplaces & Clwydian hill views; chic suite with claw-foot tub offers living area with fireplace; breakfast included; restaurant offers high-end dining in traditional room with fireplace & sunroom; sleek bar; cinema in vaulted basement offering evening movies for fee, sauna & steam room.

Sights & Sites
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct – Station Road (Trevor Basin); 011-44-019-7829-2015; pontcysyllte-aqueduct.co.uk; navigable aqueduct that carries Llangollen Canal over River Dee Valley; completed in 1805, highest & longest aqueduct in Britain; World Heritage Site; thriving community of otters; can walk to Horseshoe Falls.



SOUTH WALES
(includes Blaenavon, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Cardigan, Monmouthshire, Newcastle Emlyn, Pembrokeshire, Port Talbot, Porthcawl, Rhossili, Swansea & West Glamorgan)
BLAENAVON
Sights & Sites
Big Pit National Coal Museum – Ton Mawr Road; 011-44-029-2057-3650 or 011-44-014-9579-0311; museumwales.ac.uk; real coal mine & mining museum; underground tours.


CAERPHILLY
Sights & Sites
Caerphilly Castle – Castle Street; 011-44-029-2088-3143; cadw.wales.gov.uk; medieval fortification constructed by Gilbert de Clare in 13th Century; occupies around 30 acres & is 2nd largest castle in Britain.


CARDIFF
(includes Llanilltud Major, Newport, Pondoylan, Tongwynlais, Tredunnock & Usk)
Bars & Nightclubs
CaffiBar Chapter – Market Road; 011-44-029-2030-4400; chapter.org; before art movie at hipster Chapter Arts Centre, try one of numerous ales offered here; also good food.

Hotels
Celtic Manor – Coldra Woods, Usk Valley (Newport); 011-44-016-3341-0262; celtic-manor.com; despite ginormous size & multitudinous business- & leisure-related offerings (spans Ks of acres with several venues), smaller 19th Century Manor House is charming; 2 health clubs; 6 restaurants total.
Llanerch Vineyard – Hensol (Pondoylan, near Cardiff); 011-44-014-4322-2716; llanerch-vineyard.co.uk; luxury farmhouse accommodation; bar, bistro, cafe, nature trail; rooms are uber-chic.
Llys Meddyg – East Street (Newport); 011-44-012-3982-0008; llysmedyg.com; contemporary, remodeled Georgian townhouse; seaside chic; excellent restaurant.
Newbridge on Usk – Tredunnock; 011-44-016-3341-0262; celtic-manor.com/newbridge-on-usk; affordable!; 6 rooms; part of Celtic Manor Resort; pretty-as-picture restaurant with rooms on Usk River; 200 year-old structure with traditional beamed ceilings, cosy nooks & open fires.
St. Davids Hotel & Spa – Havannah Street; 011-44-084-4824-6171; thestdavidshotel.com.
Radisson Blu – Meridian Gate; 011-44-029-2045-4777; radissonblu.co.uk; floor-to-ceiling windows; ask for Fashion Style room.

Restaurants
CaffiBar Chapter – Market Road; 011-44-029-2030-4400; chapter.org; pub with good food.
Chai Street – 134 Whitchurch Road; 011-44-029-2062-0333; chaistreet.co.uk; Indian street food; owned by Mint & Mustard.
Clark’s Pies – 23 Bromsgrove Street; 011-44-029-2022-7586; clarkspies.co.uk; peppery beef, vegetables, and gravy wrapped in thin pastry; carry-along snack.
Le Gallois – 6-10 Romilly Crescent; 011-44-029-2034-1264; legallois.co.uk; on quiet street; dependably elegant French cuisine; try wood pigeon glazed in Lapsong souchong tea.
Mint & Mustard – 134 Whitchurch Road; 011-44-029-2062-0333; mintandmustard.com; Indian food; voted 1 of Great Britain’s top 100 restaurants in 2009 try mint pappadams with apple pachadi, lemon pickle, and mint sauce.
Woods Brasserie – Pilotage Building, Stuart Street; 011-44-029-2049-2400; woods-brasserie.co.uk; situated in revitalized waterfront Cardiff Bay area; seasonal menu skews toward updated Welsh classics, such as slow-roasted lamb rump in puff pastry and salmon dishes.

Shopping
Wally’s Delicatessan – 38-46 Royal Arcade; 011-44-029-2022-9265; walllysdeli.co.uk; where all expats go to shop; Italian and Spanish breads and hams; regional specialities, too.

Sights & Sites
Cardiff Castle – Castle Street; 011-44-029-2087-8100 or 011-44-029-2022 7281; cardiffcastle.com.
Cardiff Central Market – St. Mary Street; 011-44-029-2087-1214; Cardiff-market.co.uk; beautiful arcade dating back to 1891; dozens of local purveyors sell everything from electronics and pet accessories to meats and vegetables.
Cardiff Civic Centre – Cathays Park; 011-44-029-2087-1137; cardiff.gov.uk; numerous early 20th Century buildings & central park area, Alexandra Gardens; includes Edwardian buildings (such as Temple of Peace, City Hall, National Museum & Gallery of Wales, and several buildings belonging to Cardiff University campus); also includes Cardiff Crown Court, Welsh Government administrative headquarters & modern Cardiff Central Police Station; among finest civic centre in British Isles.
Castell Coch – Tongwynlais; 011-44-029-2081-0101; cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/castell-coch/?lang=en; 19th Century Gothic Revival castle built on genuine 13th Century fortification; on steep hillside high above village; working drawbridge & portcullis, and sumptuous interiors rivaling those of Cardiff Castle.
Chapter Arts Centre – Market Road; 011-44-029-2031-1050; chapter.org.
National Museum of Wales – Cathays Park; 011-44-029-2039-7951; museumwales.ac.uk.
National Roman Legion Museum & Roman Baths Museum (Caerleon) – High Street (Caerleon, Newport); 011-44-016-3342-3134; museumwales.ac.uk/roman; site of archaeological importance, being notable Roman legionary fortress (Isca Augusta) & Iron Age hill fort.
Riverside Farmers’ Market – Fitzhamon Embankment; riversidemarket.org.uk; just across Taff River from Millennium Stadium; great place to buy game or visit stalls.
St. Illtud’s Church – Church Street (Llanilltud Major); 011-44-014-4679-2439; illtudsgalileechapel.org.uk; founded in 500 AD by Welsh monk Illtud, church is Britain’s earliest learning center; maintains among most important collections of Celtic Christian stones in UK.
Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre – Bute Place (Cardiff Bay, in Wales Millennium Centre); 011-44-029-2087-7927; visitcardiffbay.info; diverse waterfront built around 200 hectare freshwater lake known as “Bay”; museums, restaurants, shops, etc.


CARDIGAN
Hotels
Hammet House – Llechryd; 011-44-012-3968-2382; hammethouse.co.uk; on River Teifi; Georgian mini-mansion; boutique property; ultra-modern inside.


LLANDOVERY
Hotels
Castle – Kings Road; 011-44-015-5072-0343; castle-hotel-llandovery.co.uk; traditional coaching inn since 19th Century; now warm, laid-back, fashionable country bolthole.

Restaurants
Castle – Kings Road; 011-44-015-5072-0343; castle-hotel-llandovery.co.uk; traditional coaching inn since 19th Century; now warm, laid-back, fashionable country bolthole; pub grub.

MONMOUTHSHIRE
(includes Abergavenny, Gwent, Skenfrith & Usk)
Hotels
Allt-y-Bela – Llangwm Ucha (Usk); 011-44-078-9240-3103 (William Collinson); alltybela.co.uk, arnemaynard.com or sawdays.co.uk; designer Aren Maynard’s rustic-chic home and “tapestried grounds”; guesthouse and plein-air classroom for horticulturists; unimpressive drive up; topiaried grounds signal imminent impressiveness; furnished with antiques; also, can take horticultural courses: dinner & other meals by arrangement.
Bell at Skenfrith – Skenfrith; 011-44-016-0075-0235; skenfrith.co.uk; 17th Century coaching inn; beside Monnow River; 11-room countryside inn.
Llansantffraed Court – Old Raglan Road (Clytha, Llanvihangel Gobion); 011-44-018-7384-0674; llch.co.uk; approached through long driveway; grand, country house hotel; award-winning restaurant; plush furnishings; 20 acres manicured grounds.
Walnut Tree – Llanddewi Skirrid; 011-44-018-738-5297; thewalnuttreeinn.com; book cottage, if possible (there are 2).

Restaurants
Llansantffraed Court – Old Raglan Road (Clytha, Llanvihangel Gobion); 011-44-018-7384-0674; llch.co.uk; approached through long driveway; grand, country house hotel; award-winning restaurant.
Walnut Tree – Llanddewi Skirrid; 011-44-018-738-5297; thewalnuttreeinn.com; try Bakewell tart (jam pastry with almond-egg filling); Michelin starred.

Sights & Sites
Llanthony Priory – Llanthony (Abergavenny); castlewales.com/llantho.html; partly ruined, former Augustinian priory in secluded Vale of Ewyas (steep-sided, once glaciated valley within Black Mountains area of Brecon Beacons National Park).
Raglan Castle – Raglan (Usk); 011-44-012-9169;0228; cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/raglancastle/?lang=en; late medieval castle dating between 15-early 17th Centuries.
Skenfrith Castle – Skenfrith (Abergavenny); 011-44-018-7462-5515; nationaltrust.org.uk/skenfrith-castle; nationaltrust.org.uk/skenfrith-castle; medieval castle; located on Monnow River; remains of castle that stand today date from early 13th Century; grouped with White & Grosmont Castles, Skenfrith is among “Three Castles” or “Trilateral Castles” built in Monnow River Valley as part of Norman conquest of South Wales.
Tintern Abbey – Tintern (Gwent); 011-44-012-9168-9251; cadw.wales.gov.uk; founded by Walter de Clare, Lord of Chepstow, on 9 May 1131, on Wye River; in ruins.


NEWCASTLE EMLYN
Hotels
Gwesty’r Emlyn – Bridge Street; 011-44-012-3971-0317; gwestyremlynhotel.co.uk; old coaching inn, over 300 years old; excellent restaurant.

Restaurants
Gwesty’r Emlyn – Bridge Street; 011-44-012-3971-0317; gwestyremlynhotel.co.uk; old coaching inn, over 300 years old; award-winning restaurant; locally sourced ingredients, including coracle-caught salmon.

PEMBROKESHIRE
(includes Crymych, Dale, Dyfed, Haverfordwest, Meline, Milford Haven, Narberth, Newport, Solva, St. Davids, Tenby & Whitland)
Hotels
Allenbrook Manor House – Haverfordwest (Dale); 011-44-016-4663-6254; allenbrook-dale.co.uk; country house with large garden; overstuffed arm chairs by roaring fires (which, note, are not as necessary as elsewhere in UK because this is sunshine capital), deep bathtubs, silver, ceramics & porcelain, portraits, taxidermy; really superb; adjacent to shore; can also rent Cliff Cottage or Drift Cottage.
Crug-Glas Country House – Abereiddy Road, Solva (Haverfordwest); 011-44-013-4883-1302; crug-glas.co.uk; 5-star country house hotel; 600 acre spread; sober exterior gives little hint of what lies within; excellent food.
Druidstone Villa – Broad Haven (St. Davids); 011-44-014-3778-1221; fbmholidays.co.uk/druidstone; national treasure; weather-beaten Georgian house; walled garden, poised cliff-edge above lovely beach; family run; staff delightful; fabulous breakfasts, good bar meals (bar stays open late), & top quality restaurant, with views out to sea; books months ahead; 11 rooms & 5 cottages around gardens, including tiny eco-hut, powered by wind and solar.
Fields Lodge – Middlekilns Lane (Herbrandston, Milford Haven); 011-44-016-4669-7732; fieldslodge.co.uk; this is place to stay if beginning Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail or Wales Coastal Path; owner genial and knowledgeable.
Grove – Molleston (Narberth); 011-44-018-3486-0915; thegrove-narberth.co.uk; substantial 3-story house (Georgian with Victorian additions, in Arts & Crafts style); boutique, luxury bolthole; in addition to main house, there is 15th Century Longhouse & 16th Century Coach House; also has high quality, self-catering cottages on grounds; good food.
Jabajak – Banc Y Llain, Llanboidy Road (Whitland); 011-44-019-9444-8786; jabajak.co.uk; on vineyard surrounded by countryside; 10 traditional rooms & suites come with complimentary WiFi, flat-screen TVs & coffeemaking & tea equipment; some feature vineyard views, heated floors, 4-poster beds &/or whirlpool baths; upscale restaurant (set in converted farm buildings) offers regional cuisine; other amenities include free hot breakfast, lounge bar, meeting room & guest lounge with wood-burning stove.
St. Brides Spa Hotel – Saundersfoot; 011-44-018-3481-2304; stbridesspahotel.com; modern, seaside hotel.
Trefloyne Manor – Trefloyne Lane, Penally (Tenby); 011-44-018-3484-2165; trefloyne.com; lovingly refurnished, historic manor house; spacious rooms; can also take Coach House (former barn); beautifully restored;; own golf course; restaurant; self-catering at Rare Hideaways.
Warpool Court – St. David’s; 011-44-014-3772-0300; warpoolcourthotel.com; magical spot overlooks among best coastline views; strong Celtic atmosphere; excellent food; gardens and covered, heated swimming pool (not open all year round); footpaths lead down to shore.
Williams Accommodation (Tan Yr Allt) – 10 Main Street (Solva); 011-44-014-3772-9000; williamsofsolva.com; main house, Tan Yr Allt, is Grade II listed, late Georgian style house; built & designed in 1835 for local, wealthy shipping merchant, John Williams; classically, comfortably furnished; atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming; 4 spacious, fully equipped bedrooms; 2 en suites with king-size beds and 2 other bedrooms; open log fires in winter.
Wolfscastle – Haverfordwest; 011-44-014-3774-1225; wolfscastle.com; comfortable country home.

Restaurants
Griffin Inn Pub – Haverfordwest; 011-44-016-4663-6227; griffininndale.co.uk; waterfront pub overlooking wide bay; specializes in local produce; village fishermen keep restaurant supplied; popular Welsh ales such as Tomos Watkin or Reverend James are on tap.
Jabajak – Banc Y Llain, Llanboidy Road (Whitland); 011-44-019-9444-8786; jabajak.co.uk; on vineyard surrounded by countryside; elegant restaurant offering regional cuisine; worth special trip.
Old Pharmacy Restaurant – 5 Main Street (Solva); 011-44-014-3772-0005; theoldpharmacy.co.uk; remarkably good.
Terrace – Trefloyne Lane, Penally (Tenby, at Trefloyne Manor hotel); 011-44-018-3484-2165; trefloyne.com; lovingly refurnished, historic manor house; restaurant overlooks parkland and golf course; local fish is specialty.

Sights & Sites
Carreg Coetan Arthur – Newport (in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park); newportpembs.co.uk/articles/carreg-coetan-arthur.php; neolithic dolmen dating from around 3K BCE; burial chamber (also known as quoit); scheduled ancient monument.
Castell Henllys – Crymych (Meline, between Cardigan & Newport, in Pembroke Coast National Park); 011-44-012-3989-1319; pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk/default.asp?PID=261; Welsh, for “castle of old court”; Iron Age hillfort subject of ongoing excavation for more than 20 years, accompanied by reconstruction archaeology whereby experiments in prehistoric farming have been practiced; 4 roundhouses & granary have been reconstructed on their original Iron Age foundations.
Dolaucothi Gold Mines – Pumsaint (Llanwrda); 011-44-015-5865-0177; nationaltrust.org.uk/dolaucothi-gold-mines.
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park – Milford Haven (National Park Offices at Llanion Park, Pembroke Dock) or South Parade (Ruabon House, Tenby); 011-44-016-4662-4800 or 011-44-084-5345-7275; pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk or pcnpa.org.uk; varied landscape of rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, wooded estuaries & wild inland hills, covering 243 square miles; 4 distinct sections: (1) south Pembrokeshire coast, including Caldey Island, (2) Daugleddau estuary, (3) St. Bride’s Bay coast, including coastal islands & (4) Preseli Hills; not all park is coastal (forests & marshes on park’s edges; includes many sites (such as Pentre Ifan) & conservationally significant areas, including 7 Special Areas of Conservation, Marine Nature Reserve, 6 national nature reserves & 75 Sites of Special Scientific Interest; Pembrokeshire Coast Path is designated National Trail, with southern end at Amroth & northern at Poppit Sands, near St. Dogmaels (where path links with Ceredigion Coast Path, which continues northwards); Bedd Arthur (Arthur’s Grave) is possible prehistoric hengiform monument megalithic site in Preseli Hills; Mynydd Carningli is mountain in Preseli Hills (near Newport) with both historic & prehistoric remains.
Pentre Ifan Dolmen – Nevern; best preserved neolithic dolmen in Wales; 7 principal stones, largest of which is huge capstone (16' long, 8' wide & 3' thick) & rests on tips of 3 other stones; dates from approximately 3.5K BCE & traditionally been identified as communal burial.
Solva Woolen Mill – Middle Mill (Solva); 011-44-014-3772-1112; solvawoollenmill.co.uk; Pembrokeshire’s oldest working woolen mill; enormous antique wooden looms.
St. David’s Cathedral – Close (Haverfordwest, St. Davids); 011-44-014-3772-0202; stdavidscathedral.org.uk; 12th Century.


PORT TALBOT
Bars & Nightclubs
Seaside Social & Labour Club – Dalton Road, West Glamorgan; 011-44-016-3988-4309; seasidesociallabourclub.co.uk.


PORTHCAWL
Hotels
Great House – Laleston; 011-44-016-5665-7644; great-house-laleston.co.uk; building dates to 1550s; flagstone floors, oak beams, inglenook fireplaces, mullioned windows, stone archways; well-known restaurant.

Restaurants
Great House – Laleston; 011-44-016-5665-7644; great-house-laleston.co.uk; building dates to 1550s; flagstone floors, oak beams, inglenook fireplaces, mullioned windows, stone archways; well-known restaurant, serving classical food.


RHOSSILI
Sights & Sites
Gower Rhossili Visitor Centre – Coastguard Cottages; 011-44-017-9239-0707; nationaltrust.org.uk/rhossili-and-south-gower-coast/visitor-information; 3-mile long sandy beach; visible on beach at low tide are remains of Helvetia, ship wrecked in 1887; from National Trust shop & Visitor Centre in Rhossili there is level walk along grassy cliff top to Old Coastguard Lookout; if tide is out, adventurous can cross rocky causeway to tidal island of Worms Head, where grey seals can be seen lazing on rocks below; Gower landscape shaped by farming since Stone Age; Vile, at Rhossili, is Medieval open field strip system example; Neolithic burial chambers, bronze age cairns & Iron Age forts.


SWANSEA
Hotels
Fairyhill – Reynoldston, Gower (near Swansea); 011-44-017-9239-0139; fairyhill.net; charming small hotel & restaurant with great reputation.

Restaurants
Fairyhill – Reynoldston, Gower (near Swansea); 011-44-017-9239-0139; fairyhill.net; charming small hotel & restaurant with great reputation.

Shopping
Swansea Market – Oxford Street; 011-44-017-9265-4296; swanseaindoormarket.co.uk; largest indoor market in Wales; covered by steel arched portal frame roof clad in steel & glass, b uilt in 1959-1960 by Percy Edwards; 4th market built at site in 200 years; site used as market since Middle Ages; previous market on site had existed since 1894 but destroyed during WWII bombing raids.


WEST GLAMORGAN
Hotels
Craig-y-Nos Castle – Brecon Road (Penycae, Swansea); 011-44-016-3973-0205; craigynoscastle.com.

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