Short breaks and holidays in the U.K. are back in fashion in a big way. If you are looking for stunning scenery with plenty to see and do, then Snowdonia in North Wales definitely ticks all the right boxes and in my opinion should definitely feature on the top of your to do list.
The Snowdonia National Park, covering a vast 840 square miles, is one of the most amazing areas of outstanding natural beauty I have come across.
The dramatic mountain ranges, with Snowdon standing majestically in their midst, cascade down into green fertile valleys with streams and sensational waterfalls eventually leading to the sea. Little picture-book villages are scattered high and low, and all seem to have their own story to tell and sights to see. With a breathtaking heritage coastline, castles and culture, industrial heritage, fabulous little railways, gardens, parks and family fun, Snowdonia is just waiting to be explored.
WHERE TO STAY
There’s lots of accommodation choice from camping and caravan sites, to B&B’s and many hotels throughout the region. I decided to combine my stay with one of North Wales most popular visitor attractions – Portmeirion.
The famous Welsh architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis certainly picked a fabulous spot in 1925 when he embarked on creating the inspirational village and gardens known as Portmeirion.
The Italianate Village was finally completed in 1976 and is testimony to how a naturally beautiful landscape could be developed without spoiling it. Built on its own private peninsular with sensational views across the estuary, I was able to wander and experience a charming, quirky world of meandering streets and cliff top towers.
If you are of a certain age you may recall the cult television series The Prisoner starring the late Patrick McGoohan. The series was filmed at Portmeirion in 1967 and was subsequently instrumental in bringing many more visitors to this unique village resort. There’s a dedicated Prisoner shop selling memorabilia and the village is still very much a focus point for Prisoner fans.
There are over 50 buildings of various styles and character. There are shops, cafes, restaurant and a Portmeirion Pottery seconds shop. A good number of the quirky cottages are now let as self-catering accommodation sleeping from 3 to 8 people.
The legendary Portmeirion Hotel was the base for my short break. This hotel offers superb luxury accommodation still all in keeping with the design and vision of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. I stayed in one of the Anchor suites next to the main hotel. Well appointed and with a glorious view across the estuary.
I found the level of service throughout the hotel to be excellent. The restaurant, lounge and bar were very comfortable and relaxing and the restaurant offered a first class menu. On the first night we had dinner in the hotel restaurant and on the second Castell Deudraeth, which is the castle situated at the entrance to Portmeirion, all included in our dinner, bed and breakfast package. And as for the full Welsh breakfast in the morning … a definite must!
Portmeirion is licensed for civil weddings and the village and hotel provide a romantic, fairytale setting for a wedding. There’s lots of information about weddings at Portmeirion on their website www.portmeirion-village.com
The website also gives details of accommodation choice and various offers.
For further information on the attractions of Snowdonia you can have a look at the following websites: