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My North Wales Tour

Our house had been a Covid zone since the Saturday of the Bank Holiday weekend with my youngest succumbing to it having proudly boasting on Friday she was invincible. Ummmm famous last words. She was banished to her room which as teenager was no big thing but you’d think she’d turned left on an airplane and was determined to enjoy silver service. Covid continued to wreak havoc with Big W being floored on the Sunday and feeling even more ropey on the Monday and then his positive COVID test.

On that bombshell I slept downstairs partly due to being able to get comfy with my dodgy shoulder and also to avoid undoing all my travel plans. It came as no surprise that I hurled a 26th wedding anniversary card in his direction, zipped up my suitcase and headed off to spend a night in Shrewsbury with a school friend after doing a test myself.

The following morning was the Denbighshire leg!

Pontcysllte Aqueduct, had a mooch in Llangollen and on to Llandyrynog via the Horseshoe Pass to meet Nia of the Denbigh Plum who I had been introduced to on Insta by my friend Nia of Bodlon and then onto Lllandudno. I stayed at The Escape Boutique B&B in Llandudno, enjoyed a curry at the Blue Elephant, a drive up to Great Orme (no sightings of goats) and had a good night's sleep before a visit to Conwy and a sighting of the goats before breakfast.

On the way to Rhyl I had a cuppa in Rhos on Sea with artist Niki Cotton (no photos as we were too busy chatting) then enjoyed a drive along the coast to Rhyl for the Tourism event in the newly redeveloped 1891 where I met lots of different tourism people, some of whom had been living in my phone so it was nice to meet them in real life. After a stroll on the beach I headed to Llanfairfechan for a cuppa and with Gareth and Rhian whose view from their garden is sublime, then onto Bangor for supper with Balint who organises Wales Week / Hungary, before falling into bed in Deiniolen for another good night's sleep and a visit to Portmeirion, one place I have always wanted to visit since the Botanic Garden started appearing in my kitchen and watching my great uncle in an episode of The Prisoner.

After a sunny day at Portmerion I drove to Anglesey to stay with another school friend and her husband on their farm in Llanerch y Medd. The next day John and I went off to Newborough Beach, Llanddwyn Island, Rhuddgaer Stepping Stones and Parys Mountain which is 22,000 steps let me tell you!

The plan was to leave Anglesey and head to Llangollen in a carefree manner listening to Audible, taking in the incredible views and stopping at places on the way. It took me 9 hours to get there! I spent a couple of hours in Beaumaris before popping to Adventure Parc Snowdonia, Betws-y-Coed, Llanrwst and Tu Hwnt i’r Afon. I was too late to visit Rhug but that will have to wait until next time.

The next morning I took a very circuitous route (I have no sense of direction) to meet Davina at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod and then popped to Plas Newydd before meeting a Welsh friend for lunch in Shrewsbury and then dull hours of motorway before getting home.

I certainly crammed a lot in and would have loved to have done some activities but my dodgy shoulder put paid to that, but I had a truly wonderful time. Having only been to Anglesey and Caernarfon Castle before that trip was a very brief skim of North Wales, this tour has been manic and although I have been to lots of different places I have only scratched the surface. There is so much to see and do, with a long list of places I want to go to either for the first time or to see more of.

It was sunglasses weather all the way with a mix of sun, wind and a little rain. My day in Portmerion was beautifully sunny, Anglesey was windy though John said it was "just a little breezy" and it only rained when I was at the event in Rhyl. See It doesn't always rain in Wales, if all you've heard is it always rains in Wales then go for yourselves, besides it rains in a lot of other places.

Croeso! The welcomes were wonderful. Every where I went everyone was really friendly and welcoming. At no point did anyone start talking in Welsh when I walked in but just incase I was ready with my "Dydw I ddim yn siarad Cymraeg eto ond dwi'n dysgu Cymraeg" for and was greeted with "da iawn" and a load of questions, of course I was happy to chat and learn more about where I was!

I visited lots of delis and foodie places as well as cafes, pubs and restaurants and brought back plenty of booze and foodie treats, I love meeting producers who I follow on social media.

Granted North Wales is far away (well from Berkshire it is) but if you're going to go and stay then take your time and explore. Waze says it takes 4 hours and 53 minutes, Google maps says 4 hours and 48 minutes from Wokingham (and Cardiff) but there's no way I would do it all in one go, others might but not me! Next time I go I will go cross country stopping on the way for a night so I get a full day and then back via West Wales. I know it might not be your thing but I much prefer to do it that way and besides if I had a full on itinerary I would not be able to be spontaneous (some may say impetuous or is it impulsive, whatever it's impromptu). I also didn't feel the urge to dash around, I was happy pooling and taking it all in.

When I got back I had post trip blues. You see and as I have said before Wales has got it all going on. Wales isn't about the stereotypical things you've read and heard about. Yes there are lots of sheep, yes loads of people have an interest in rugby, yes it rains but Wales is a lot lot more than that. Wales has the best flag, the best anthem, fascinating history and culture, wonderful views, amazing beaches, you're guaranteed the best yarns and banter, the Welsh have a great sense of humour, there's loads of bridges and interesting architecture, there's connections everywhere and every day is a school day. When I was in Conwy I read an article about Lewis Carroll's brother and mussels, I found this interesting as there is a painting by Lewis Carroll of my 3rd great uncle in the National Portrait Gallery. The same 3rd great uncle was a friend of William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones (whose wife was the aunt of Rudyard Kipling) as well as William Gladstone, so I have not only fallen down a rabbit hole but I have a renewed and passionate interest in history.

To find out more about North Wales pop back here and I will be sharing my travels now that I have been appointed North Wales Tourism Ambassador. Also North Wales Tourism and Go North Wales.


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