A Welsh Affair
With the four day Easter weekend approaching and no plans other than the obligatory (and much looked forward to) family egg exchange, we began mooting ideas for a mini getaway. Very quickly we settled on Wales, JHubz never having been, its proximity and abundance of Castles making it an easy choice, we’re both rather fond of a castle. With not enough time or energy for the long haul we settled on South Wales and it’s breathtaking scenery. Some intensive tripadvisor-ing later and we had a gourmet mini break planned, from conception to booking all in twenty four hours and less than twenty four hours until our getaway began, woohoo!
Friday morning arrived all too soon and after a teeny lay in, an oil check, fuel top up – both for us and the car – we were flying down the M4 in the rain, which varied from barely there drizzle to torrential downpour for the rest of the day. We both love a road trip and neither the rain nor *insert appropriately annoyed cuss word* muppets on the road with us, did anything to dampen our spirits.
The majestic Severn bridge and its equally majestic £5.60 toll charge signify your arrival in Wales and pretty soon rolling hills highlight the view.
Raglan Castle was our first destination. One of the last medieval castles built in Wales, the remains are wonderfully evocative of bygone days. It’s also one of the few remaining places health and safety madness has not yet claimed and you can clamber, within reason, to your hearts content. Narrow stone steps, so worn in places you can put a hand through the gaps, lead you to the top of a tower and wonderful views over the castles grounds. After a dry hour wandering around we headed back to the car as the drizzle recommenced.
Lunch was at The Crown at Pantygelli. As much for its food as the wonderful town name. Up until this point the roads had been pretty straightforward but in heading to The Crown we were truly off piste driving along a lane no wider than the car. Laughing nervously that any driver we came across had better be good at reversing as there was no way I would be attempting it. With no small sigh of relief we reached the Old Hereford Road and were soon pulling into the parking lot.
Lunch was a tasty deconstructed steak and ale pie followed by banoffee Eton mess for JHubz and goats cheese tart followed by truffles for me. Good solid pub grub served by welcoming, happy staff.
After lunch we headed back to the main road, this time avoiding the narrow lane of doom and were soon on our way to Llechwen Hall Hotel where we’d be enjoying dinner and the night.
Not very much later, and after a journey seeming to consist solely of roadworks we were following a narrow winding road up through heath land to LLechwen. What a view on the way! The hotel is a little dated but our room was warm and clean with sheep and new lambs bleating adorably from the field next door.
We tried venturing out for a walk but returned within the half hour as the cold rain continued, passing a farmer and his wife as they collected some tiny lambs and their mother for a night in at the farm.
Sadly the day’s eating left me a little underwhelmed. Nothing was wrong per se but nothing was deliciously right either and as someone who has put on a substantial amount of weight in the last year and is *shudders* limiting treats accordingly, when a weekend of planned deliciousness falls short I’m feeling the pain. Fat girl pain as it is I understand its weight is not so consequential but anyway. I am hoping J’s introduction to Welsh Rarebit and our planned afternoon tea tomorrow raise the bar somewhat.
After a night spent being woken by the snores from the room next door, accidentally kicking each other and repeatedly almost falling out of the tiny double bed, we were both up at stupid o’clock, eight on a Saturday, gross! Skipping breakfast we packed up and headed down the hill and the short distance into Caerphilly where we found ourselves in the lovely Glanmor Tea Rooms being served by the nicest waitress of the trip. (No slight intended to any of the other lovely waiters and waitresses we encountered). Breakfast consisted of tea and a delicious full Welsh all enjoyed in sight of the castle, which was to be our next stop. And YAY I say with no sarcasm, because it is Easter or maybe because they just like dressing up in chain mail, the castle was full of reenacters. We witnessed an awesome battle and some huge trebuchets firing into the moat. Nerd heaven it was and an awesome sight to see. We also climbed up some ridiculously narrow steps to the top of the tower and a rather lovely view. As previously mentioned we do love a castle.
A quick pit stop at Morrisons to buy Welsh Cakes and Caerphilly Cheese (there is a noticeable lack of tourist shops in Caerphilly) we headed to the final destination on our Welsh Adventure. The Ruperra Arms for afternoon tea. At this point you may be forgiven for thinking all we do is eat and it’s no wonder I’m a little fattie but honestly, we did some good walking in between all the eating. As afternoon teas go it was okay. The sandwiches were a little chunky and confusingly, although supplied with a generous amount of clotted cream, the deliciously light scone came with artificial cream slathered on it, yeah no. Scrapped that off and put the clotted in its rightful place. And there was no strawberry jam. Er hello? But what raised this afternoon tea from the forgettable to the sublime were thin slices of the tangiest, feather light lemon tart and the richest, darkest and smoothest chocolate torte, oh yes indeedy, they were fanbloomingtastic.
Wales has been absolutely lovely and with happy hearts and heavy tummies we’re heading back across the bridge to the mainland, another beautiful memory made. And having failed to introduce JHubz to Welsh rarebit this time, we’ll also have to visit again, yay! ☺ Xx
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