September – The Month For Events In Wales

The Summer school holidays are nearly over but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying some time away. And September is a great time of year to head to Wales with a range of events to enjoy. From food festivals, to Ironman challenges, from interesting train rides, it’s all waiting for you to visit.

Here at Best of Wales, we’ve compiled a list of some of the great events you could be visiting in September, so head out and enjoy the start of Autumn.

9th of September – Real Ale Train 

Hop onboard the Llangollen Railway and soak up the atmosphere whilst enjoying the Real Ales on offer at their well stocked bar. For more information head to their website.

10th of September – Ironman Wales 

Even if you’re not taking part in the Ironman Wales then this event is one not to miss as a spectator. A 2.4 mile (3.8km) swim, a 112 mile (180km) cycle, followed by a marathon is a challenge not for the faint hearted.  The town of Tenby is packed full of atmosphere and the early morning atmosphere for the swim is one not to miss, well worth that early alarm wake up call.

16th – 17th September – Sandman Triathlon 

The Anglesey Sandman Triathlon comprises of four distances, the Sandman Full, the Sandman Sprint, the Sandman Savage and the Sandman Legend. You will also be able to compete as a relay team in both the full and sprint distances. Head to the Sandman Triathlon website for more information.

16th – 17th September – Abergavenny Food Festival, Abergavenny

Abergavenny Food Festival

With 200 exhibitors from Wales and further afield this is one of the UK’s biggest food events. You can enjoy a food Academy for children with hands-on workshops, a rolling programme of chef demonstrations featuring the region’s finest and special master classes, workshops, tutored tastings and talks.

16th – 17th September – Mold Food and Drink Festival

Showcasing outstanding local produce, celebrity chef expertise and live music to create a fabulous foodie weekend for the whole family.

16th September - Jazz night on the Vale of Rheidol Railway 

A fantastic night including a complimentary cocktail on the platform, train trip from Aberystwyth to Devil’s Bridge, buffet at the Hafod Hotel, jazz music by Chocolat, dance with Aberswing, best dressed and dance contest, return travel to Aberystwyth by bus. For more information head to the Vale of Rheidol website.

22nd – 24th of September – Elvis Festival, Porthcawl

Elvis Festival Porthcawl

Elvis Festival Porthcawl

Elvis lives, thanks to the thousands of fans and the tribute artists who attend this annual gathering of the Elvis Festival at Porthcawl

23rd – 24th September – Narberth Food Festival, Pembrokeshire 

Well established in the food festival calendar you can expect food stalls, live music, street theatre, talks and tastes, chef demonstrations and free children’s activities.

Looking for accommodation then head to our search page or contact us on 01650 511101 and our team of expert will help you find your perfect holiday cottage

Vote for us in the British Travel Awards

plas y mor champagne

Over the years Best of Wales has been successful in a number of awards on a local and regional level, and this year we are pleased to be nominated for the British Travel Awards in the Best UK Holiday Cottage/Self Catering Booking Company (Small company) category.

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Over the last 7 years we have grown as a company and now offer nearly 300 cottages on our website. As well as growing we have built a wonderful relationship with our owners and guests which is so important to us.

The awards winners will be decided by you the public and we’d appreciate it if you would be so kind in casting a vote for us. All voters will be in with a chance of winning a number of prizes and voting is open until the 30th of September. Winners of all award categories will be announced in a prestigious awards ceremony later on in the year.

Please get voting and wish us luck.

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For more information on the awards and for voting for the other categories click here.

Look inside Epic Retreats – Wales’ first pop-up boutique hotel

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Want to have a look at Wales’ first pop-up boutique hotel? The pictures of the eight Epic Retreats cabins have been revealed and there’s still time to book and become one of the fortunate ones who will be lucky enough to enjoy the unique, exclusive experience.

The eight cabins, which are the focus of the Channel 4 documentary ‘Cabins in the Wild’ with Dick Strawbridge, are all inspired by Welsh legends as Visit Wales’ Year of Legends and will welcome their first guests on the 5th of June.

Epic Retreats will visit two locations across Wales this summer; Southern Snowdonia from the 5th – 30th of June and the Llŷn Peninsula from the 10th of July until the 11th of September.

Mid-week guests will also enjoy epic experiences tailored to each location, including private chefs, Welsh music and theatre performances.

Each boutique cabin includes a double, king size or circular bed, living area with wood burner and hob and en-suite facilities.

All cabins are purpose-built for the Epic Retreats project, uniquely designed units themed on the mythology, tradition and beauty of Wales.

In addition to the eight cabins the ‘hotel’ will also feature a communal area including a fridge for food storage, on-site BBQ and eating area.

On arrival guests are provided with a welcome pack containing some of the best produce Wales has to offer, as well as bed linen, hand and bath towels and logs for the wood-burner.

Launched in celebration of Wales’s Year of Legends, Epic Retreats promises to immerse visitors in the most impressive landscapes and adventures the country has to offer.

Co-founder of Epic Retreats, Llion Pughe said, “We are excited to finally reveal the eight cabins that make up Epic Retreats.

“The unique cabins, complimented by our country’s stunning landscape, make for an unbeatable experience and we look forward to welcoming our first guests this summer who will get to see Wales in a completely unique setting.”

So lets take a look at the eight legendary cabins:

Arthurs Cave created by Miller Kendrick Architects

Arthurs cave

Legend tells us of a cave slept in by King Arthur and his knights while travelling — a cave that could be discovered once and never again…

Stylishly blending in with its surroundings, the cave — which features a large sliding glazed door — is an alluring hideaway from the elements, while locally sourced sheep’s wool insulation and a log fire will keep you warm whatever the weather.

So sit back, relax and enjoy the incredible panoramic views from the comfort of your cabin.

Click for more information on Arthur’s Cave.

Black Hat created by the Rural Office for Architecture

Black hat new

Homely and spacious, this unique accommodation is inspired by the traditional tall black hat worn by the Welsh women who halted a French invasion via Fishguard in 1797. Often referred to as the “last invasion of Britain”, it is said that the invaders mistook the hundreds of women marching towards them in black hats and scarlet cloaks for British Grenadiers, and fled.

Like a tipi, a timber frame supports a canvas skin, shaped into a traditional hat. Featuring a king-sized bed within the upper floor of the hat and a domed roof for stargazing, this really is a place to relax and forget about the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Sit back and enjoy the warmth of the stove in the living area, or roll the walls right back for an extended lounge and be one with nature.

Click for more information on Black Hat.

Animated Forest created by Francis Arnett

Animated forest

Inspired by the Welsh poem, Cad Goddeu, or The Battle of the Trees, the Cabin in the Woods is designed to resemble a creature negotiating its way through the woodland.

The cosy hideaway envelops guests in a padded sleeping area extending to the wall and ceiling, while roof lights make the cabin bright and airy during the day and reveal stunning views of the starry sky at night.

Whether you choose to escape the elements and cuddle up by the fire, or open the large entrance door to watch the world go by, this unique cabin is the ultimate retreat.

Click her for more information on the Animated Forest.

Dragons Eye created by Carwyn Lloyd Jones

dragons eye

Tread carefully — there’s a dragon lurking in the landscape.

With its stainless steel scaly ‘skin’ and gridshell roof, our Dragon’s Eye pod will really fire your imagination.

Relax on the round rotating bed and enjoy a stunning view of the beautiful Welsh landscape through the full height glass ‘eye.’ Or cwtch up in the warmth of the wood burner while protected from the elements by the sheep’s wool insulation.

For more information on the Dragon’s Eye click here.

Little Dragon created by Barton Wilmore Architects

little dragon

Little Dragon is a unique blend of industrial heritage and Welsh folklore.

Inspired by the iconic emblem of Wales, it has been specially created using locally sourced sustainable materials synonymous with the country’s heritage.

The scaly shingle exterior and claw-like tripod base are evocative of the smoke-breathing beast that, according to legend, once dominated the country’s rugged landscape.

But don’t be frightened – once inside you will receive a very warm welcome. Soft furnishings and a roaring log fire breathing warmth through the structure provide a homely experience, while the cylindrical design delivers magnificent panoramic views, immersing guests in the stunning scenery outside.

For more information on Little Dragon click here.

Miners Legend created by How About Studio

Miners

Miner’s Legend is a tribute to the once-thriving mining industry, central to Wales’ rural communities.

At first glance, the cabin is a collage of mining structures and corrugated iron sheds seen scattered through the Welsh landscape.

But once through the entrance tunnel, you’ll discover exquisite, crafted details that will fill you with delight.

Continuing your journey through a collection of unique cavernous spaces you will soon arrive in the main chamber. Generous in height and warmed by a small stove, you can enjoy views over the surrounding landscapes from the comfort of a soft alcove.

Withdraw up into the sleeping chamber, where you’ll wake to a panoramic view of the landscape after a comfortable night’s sleep!

For more information on the Miner’s Legend click here.

SkyHut created by Waind Gohil + Potter Architects

Sky Hut new

One for the stargazers and dreamers – SKYHUT provides a unique setting to experience Wales’ magnificent night sky. Named as the country with the highest percentage of ‘International Dark Sky’, Wales boasts exceptional views, especially at night.

Taking inspiration from the myth of Welsh mountain, Cadair Idris, where legend states that travellers sleeping out at night awake as madmen or poets, SKYHUT will leave you crazy about Wales and waxing lyrical for the stars.

With a simple geared cable system borrowed from sailing technology, open the doors to transform your cabin into a glamping-observatory. From day to night, enjoy 360˚ views across the landscape through clerestory eye level glazing.

For more information on the SkyHut click here.

Slate Cabin created by Trias studio

Slate cabin

Mimicking the art of constructing cairns, whereby walkers collect stones and build place-markers along their route — a raw, unclad building will be gradually transformed through layers of slate, forming a textured, stylish exterior.

A neat structure of slate, the cabin fits effortlessly into its surroundings and embodies simplicity and style.

In contrast to its grey slate exterior, inside you’ll find a single, cosy room clad with honeyed wood. A kitchen and built-in table form a sitting space, while the bed sits on a raised platform providing a magnificent view of the surrounding scenery.

A table overlooking a perfectly framed view provides the ideal setting for people seeking a quiet retreat to come to read, write and relax.

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For more information on the Slate Cabin click here.

So now you’ve taken a look at all eight cabins you can now head and book your Epic Retreat.

‘Cabins in the Wild with Dick Strawbridge’, the Channel 4 documentary following the creation of the cabins starts on Sunday, May 21 at 8pm.

The Epic Retreats project is a partnership between Best of Wales, Cambria Tours and George + Tomos Architects and is part funded by the Welsh Government’s Tourism Product Innovation Fund.

Cardiff – a city to visit in 2017

Cardiff is making the headlines this year with the UEFA Champions League Final taking place in the city on the 3rd of June. However if football is not your thing, Cardiff is a city to visit for a host of reasons. Sporting events, cultural opportunities, shopping, eating out and more. Here’s our city suggestions for all occasions:

The Romantic getaway 

Cardiff Hideaway

Cardiff is a romantic city, with restaurants to dine in, quaint bars and plenty of space for romantic walks. Our Cardiff Hideaway (sleeps 2)  is a great place for a romantic weekend with the added bonus of a hot tub to relax in after a day exploring.

The Sports fans dream

Cardiff penthous

You couldn’t be closer to the action than at Millennium View Penthouse (sleeps 4) , with a large balcony with views over the Principality. The ideal location if attending any event at the stadium or just wanting to be at the heart of the city action.

The Bay View

cardiff waterside

Your opportunity to sit on the balcony and enjoy stunning panoramic views all across Cardiff, the bay and out to sea. Cardiff Waterside apartment (sleeps 4)  is a great place to base yourself to explore the wonderful Cardiff Bay area.

Escape to the country

Y Golomen

Y Cudyll Coch (sleeps 4)  and Y Golomen (sleeps 4) are 2 5 star cottages just 20 minutes from Cardiff city centre. The added bonus of countryside and being close to the city, and also near Barry Island made famous by Gavin and Stacey

For the extended family

Bringing the extended family along (or even a group of friends) then Sophia Walk (sleeps 8)  is a stylish property in the heart of the city. A short walk and your at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff Castle and the cities shops and bars. Also boast the benefit of having onsite parking.

Sophia walk

A group accommodation

Head to our Cardiff Bay Lodge or Cardiff Boutique Townhouse (both sleeping 20) with a group of friends for a celebration weekend in Cardiff. The ideal location for a Hen or Stag weekend in the city.

cardiff boutique townhouse

We’re here to help you find the perfect accommodation for your city stay. Contact us on info@bestofwales.co.uk or telephone 01650 511101.

Experience your very own Lambing Live in Wales

This time of year is important in our farming calendar in Wales as it’s lambing time. Home to 11 million sheep this is when farms across the country turn into maternity wards to welcome 100,000’s of new lambs into the world.

Many of our holiday cottages are located on farms and this is where you’ll get an opportunity to experience the lambing season for yourself. How would you like to experience your very own lambing live? How about seeing a new born lamb taking its first steps, experience the hustle and bustle of the lambing shed, or the opportunity to bottle feed milk to a pet lamb?

This is what you can experience with some of our Welsh farm holidays. Your opportunity to be shown around the farm by an experienced farmer and see what lambing is all about.

Gwarcwm uchaf located near Aberystwyth and Machynlleth is set on a working farm, lambing is nearing the end however you can still watch the new born lambs play in the surrounding fields.

At Ffermdy’r Waun and Ysgubor y Waun you can be as hands on as you wish. How about a visit to their lambing shed to give a helping hand?

Hafan Hiraethog is another great option for you and again will be lambing from mid March until the end of April.

So why not experience something a little different on your holiday this spring and stay on a genuine Welsh farm. What are you waiting for……

Locations announced for Wales’ first pop-up boutique hotel

A while back we told you all about the exciting project we’re involved in, Epic Retreats (to recap head here). Epic Retreats will see Wales’ first pop-up boutique hotel appear over the Summer and it’s time for some more great news, with the announcement of the locations and also that bookings are now open (get in fast).

The Llŷn Peninsula, Southern Snowdonia and lush West Wales have been confirmed as the locations for this luxury one-of-a-kind experience inspired by Welsh legends.

Fewer than 200 bookings are available and will allow guests to choose from eight unique cabins inspired by Wales’ past. There will also be the option of including legendary experiences tailored to each location or having a more relaxed stay where you explore at your own pace.

Inspiration for the units includes the legend of King Arthur, the iconic Welsh dragon and the country’s famous industrial heritage.

sky-hut

Launched in celebration of Wales’s Year of Legends, Epic Retreats promises to immerse visitors in the most impressive landscapes and adventures the country has to offer.

During their stay, guests will get the opportunity to meet local characters, legendary figures and entertainers that will help bring the story of Wales to life.

Carmarthenshire, West Wales - 5th of June to the 3rd of July 

The eight bespoke cabins will venture to the abundant green backdrop of Carmarthenshire, West Wales.

Visitors can delve into a history dating back thousands of years, hunt down gold and tread in the footsteps of the heroes of Camelot, pursuing the elusive Lady of the Lake and the heroic wizard Merlin.

There will also be an opportunity to discover the area’s wildlife on bespoke wildlife walks where guests will get the chance to meet some rare species.

Surrounded by plentiful local food and drink, guests can tantalise their taste buds with award-winning, local gin and cheeses.

Llŷn Peninsula - 10th of July to the 7th of August 

The unique units will then journey north where they will reside along the spectacular coast of the Llŷn Peninsula.

After spending the night overlooking a secluded beach, visitors can spend their days strolling along the famous Wales Coast path, enjoying a boat trip to Bardsey Island, rumoured to be the burial site of King Arthur, and exploring Snowdonia National Park – home to the highest mountain in England and Wales.

Snowdonia - 14th of August to the 11th of September

Finally, the boutique hotel will pop-up in the foothills of the mythical Cadair Idris mountain in Snowdonia. The remote valley location and magical surrounding, including the romantic Castell y Bere, Snowdonia mountains and stunning steam train journeys, will offer a limited number of people the most unique of summer holidays.

black-hat

Co-founder of Epic Retreats, Llion Pughe said, “The locations we have chosen provide a choice of seascape, mountain and valley, a true reflection of Wales’ legendary landscape.

“We have carefully selected sites that will show Wales at its best, alongside an itinerary packed to the brim with trips and activities crafted by Wales experts Cambria Tours, featuring only the finest local produce and unique accommodation inspired myth and legend – guests will be immersed in a truly Welsh experience.”

For more information on the project or to book one of the limited spaces, visit www.epicretreats.wales

What’s on in Wales – February Half Term

With the first school holidays of 2017 just around the corner we’ve pulled together a list of just some of the events taking place in Wales. So if you’re in search of great events to keep the children entertained then we’ve got Puddle Jumping, Pirates and Mud all waiting for you:

1. 18th – 26th of February – Half Term fun in the Garden with family activities –  National Botanic Gardens of Wales, West Wales 

There will be fun and games on every day, including zoo bugs and bug crafts, make and decorate your own rockets and constellation cards and look at the skies with telescopes.

nbgw116

There will also be a welcome return to the Garden by Jugglestruck, with shows on February 18th, 25th and 26th.

To round the week up there will be a very special St David’s Celebration Day in honour of our patron saint, with a food and craft fair and music by local choirs. Entry to this Celebration Day will be free to everyone.

2. 18th – 26th of February - Welsh Puddle Jumping Championships with Dusty Duck at WWT - Llanelli Wetland Centre, Llanelli, West Wales

WWT

Could you be the WWT Welsh Puddle Jumping Champion 2017? Grab your wellies and waterproofs and make a splash for the judges at the competition running daily at 2pm during half term. Prizes available daily as well as the chance to be the overall WWT champion.

3. 18th – 26th of February - Family Half Term Workshops – National Museum Cardiff, Cardiff, South Wales 

A fun way for the whole family to learn more about the artists while uncovering hidden talents!

Places are limited so you will need to book on arrival

4. 18th – 26th of February - Pirate Week – Gower Heritage Centre, Gower, South Wales

A fun-filled week of pirate-themed events at The Gower Heritage Centre!

With gold panning, bouncy castle, craft activities and swashbuckling movies held in Wales’ smallest cinema, La Charrette and of course the opportunity to cross swords with infamous Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Charlotte Duberry!

5. 20th – 24th of February - Crafty Castle Creations – Carew Castle & Tidal Mill, Pembrokeshire

Paint a shield or make a lance ready for battle, create a dragon, a clay tile or even try calligraphy. Come along and make your own Castle creation! Activities change daily.

carew 2

6. 20th – 24th of February - Mud Week – Plas Newydd House & Gardens, Anglesey 

Since usually blessed with perfect mud making weather so we thought we’d celebrate!

From Mud Pie making to puddle splashing walks around the woods, get those wellies on and join us for some muddy fun!

No need to be a stick in the mud!

Booking not needed.

7. HwyNos – The Real Welsh Experience – The Plough Rhosmaen, Llandeilo, West Wales 

Come and join the Real Welsh Experience with our HwylNos evening at The Plough Hotel And Restaurant on Friday the 24th of February. An evening of Welsh entertainment and food with Georgina Cornock-Evans Harpist, Carl Gough Storyteller, Dawnswyr Penrhyd, Bois y Castell and Aled Jones.

HwylNos v5.0

This event is aimed at visitors into the area (as well as locals) and showcases our Welsh culture and talent for you to enjoy while staying in the area.

Tickets are £15 (including a 3 course buffet) and are available from The Plough Rhosmaen ( 01558 823431). It’s going to be a great evening of entertainment, food and Hwyl.

Looking for accommodation for February Half Term, head to our search page or contact us on 01650 511101.

WIN A Football Themed Holiday in Wales

Romantic Wales For Valentine’s Day

There are two romantic celebrations coming up soon which gives you a great opportunity to treat your other half with a romantic break. Dydd Santes Dwynwen (the Valentine’s day for Wales) on the 25th of January and of course Valentine’s Day on the 14th of February.

You can read all about Dydd Santes Dwynwen here and earn some extra brownie points for being extra romantic this year with a Welsh weekend away. Whether you decide to head away in January or February we have some great romantic cottage for you to choose from. Rural retreats with cosy log fires to take long romantic walks from are waiting for you. Here’s a selection of our Romantic Cottages……

Bwthyn Tawel – Abergavenny 

bwthyn-tawel

Cae Cefn – Aberystwyth

cae-cefn

Crud y Deryn – Bala

crud-y-deryn

Cysgod y Ffynnon – Solva

cysgod-y-ffynnon

Hen Bost Nefyn – Llyn Peninsula 

hen-bost-nefyn

Penlon – Pwllheli 

penlon

Y Daflod – Machynlleth

y-daflod-view

To search our full range of cottages on offer head to our search page or contact us on 01650 511101 or info@bestofwales.co.uk and we’ll help you find the perfect romantic break.

Wales the land of Adventure

2016 was the year of adventure in Wales, and yes we did have an adventure. Our staff went out and about and explored all over Wales, taking part in some great adventures along the way. We went:

  • On a power boat trip with Rib Ride
  • Mountain Biking at Coed y Brenin
  • To Zip World Fforest in Betws y Coed
  • In search of wildlife at Folly Farm
  • Went Coasteering with Celtic Quest Coasteering
  • Went Surfing on the North Wales Coast
  • Exploring at Abergavenny Food Festival
  • Sampling a taste of Wales Rally GB
  • Went foraging with Wild Food Uk
  • Bouncing Below in Blaenau Ffestiniog
    and
  • Walked the Wales Coast Path

Thanks to all the attractions and activities for all the fun and here’s to more adventures in 2017

Catch up  with all the individual videos here