Friday, 10 April 2015

Our mini (but amazing) holidays in Wales

Just came back and still my face wears a fantastic relaxed huge smile remembering how good our holidays were... :-)

Don't know about you, but sometimes it is hard for us to find the perfect place to go on holidays with the kids: we want a location which is very nice, but not expensive, where the kids can have new experiences but keeping a certain routine (specially regarding the meals!), where there are different places to see and activities to do, but not very far away from the place where we're staying as we do not want to spend a long time in the car.... aaagh! already exhausted even before the final destination has been decided.

But this time, maybe because our plan A did not work out and we had to organize everything last minute, the process was much more enjoyable.

Our five days started on a Saturday morning, very early, when we arrived at Dublin port. It was chilly (freezing cold for me, but OK, I'm Spanish and any temperature below 25C is freezing cold!), but we did not even have to get out of the car - got there, queued in the car for 15 minutes and were asked to get in the ferry and park inside: our journey would start very soon.

We were lucky - the sea was very quiet so we did not feel seasick: enjoyed a good breakfast, played cards and walked around to pass the time onboard (there's free WiFi so many people were using their laptops and tablets). The three hours passed very quickly and without noticing we had reached Holyhead.

Accomodation: Once in UK, our first stop was the house where we would be staying. A nice and rustic little cottage that we rented through Airbnb, half an hour away from Holyhead. Not very big, but cosy and well located as a base to move around the area. The owners were waiting for us when we got there and very kindly showed us around.

What we knew of North Wales before we thought about this holiday: mmmmmh it's located in the west of UK, aaaand Prince William and Kate Middleton lived there for a while (I'm a Hello! addict, what can I do?) A bit ashamed to say that our knowledge about North Wales was not impressively broad... Never too late to learn! We know much more now: 

Let me introduce you to Aberffraw (Isle of Anglesey):

It looks just like a nice little town but no, no, no: it's much more! It has a huge sandy beach backed by miles of sand dunes where the boys really (and I mean REALLY) enjoyed themselves - (down part: I'm still trying to get rid of all that sand that they brought in their pockets, in their socks, hoodies...even in their underwear!)

We could have spent a whole day here, just running around going from one dune to the other and rolling down like croquettes- a pity we did not think of bringing some sandwiches along, so we could stay longer.

Also in Anglesey, we loved Beaumaris: we just walked around the town, had a cup of tea in one of its numerous cafes - where the views were just outstanding

and enjoyed the evening sun by the beach. We wanted to visit its famous unfinished castle but it was already closed when we arrived... maybe next time?

Our main attraction during this holidays was, without any doubt, Snowdonia National Park, an amazing piece of land (838 square miles) waiting to be discovered. It's perfect for nature lovers both adults and children! full of adventures to live, paths to walk, mines to explore, caverns, little villages, lakes.... and the list goes on and on!

Our time was limited so we  selected just a few things to do:

- Snowdon Mountain Railway: a train takes you from Llanberis Railway Station to the top of mount Snowdon - the highest summit in Wales (1,085 m above sea level)- where you can walk around  for a while and then either walk down (the way down is easy and not long) or take the train to the starting point @ Llanberis. A very recommendable experience even for families with younger children, as there is no need to walk if you do not want to. Perfect for sunny days: the views are amazing! Even though we did not reach the top of Snowdon -as it's only open from May to September- we came back fully satisfied.

- King Arthur's Labyrinth: a bit further South (beside the town of Corris) this activity involves going on a boat underground hearing magical stories about King Arthur, with waterfalls that suddenly disappear and endless interconnecting tunnels. Wow! I was so excited! Unfortunately it's not allowed to take pictures inside the cavern... best reason why you have to go and visit! They have the real (super super real) Excalibur!

- We also saw some villages inside the park. The one we liked most (both the village and its ice creams!) was  Beddgelert: if we could measure the "picturesquesness" (??**!!) of towns and villages, I'm sure Beddgelert would be at the very top of the list. 

Plus, my youngest son alerted me that there is a pub/restaurant/hotel here where we would finally be welcome (???? does that mean that we're not welcomed anywhere else?)

- We were happy happy happy just driving around Snowdonia in the car. It's amazing! It was good that King Arthur's Labyrinth is further South, as we had the chance to get a better idea of how nice the park is.

The rest of our time in Wales, we spent visiting the coast, which is also very attractive. We specially liked Llandudno and Conwy, super touristic, yes, but really nice as well (the amount of restaurants and tea rooms per square mile in these two towns must be amazing!). If you have the chance, visit Conwy's castle.

The five days went by in a second, and without even noticing we were packing again to come back home (noooooo!). One last visit on the day we were coming back - and we left it till the last day as it's located literally beside Holyhead: impressive South Stack lighthouse. 

You can pay for a guided visit and also walk along the cliffs - very high so you have to keep an eye on your little ones to make they do not get too close to the cliff edges

I've just marked these places in the map - feel free to zoom in /out as you want

Back home now, back to school on Monday...Yes, we're sad, but already planning our next trip to Wales


  1. ORALES!!!....que paseo más bonito!!!.....saluditos de amtizq

  2. Hi! I was wondering if there is an organized expat community in Dublin.. and if the government/municiplaity of Dublin has anything organized for newly arriving expats. Hope that you can help me, I am organizing a study trip from a municipality in the Nederlands to Dublin