Just looking at the events calendar for our area, and there are lots of interesting things happening in North Wales.

Next weekend – 31st May and 1st of June is the All Wales Boat Show in Conwy Marina; however you are too late for this as we are already booked! If you are interested in boats, look the dates up for next year and get in touch, we are only 15-20 mins from Conwy.

4th – 7th June Three Castles Classic Welsh Trial – which is a classic car race event in Llandudno.  Look it up at www.three-castles.co.uk

Also on 7th June there is a Summer Food and Craft Fair at Glasdir in Llanrwst – and it’s free!

8th June  A display of classic and vintage cars at Plas Newydd NT on Anglesey.

12th June is the Vaynol Country Music Festival in Bangor. www.vaynolfest.co.uk

14th and 15th June.  Join us in Betws-y-coed for the Snowdonia Arts Festival www.snowdoniaartsfestival.org.uk

20th – 22nd June at the Conwy Touring Park is the VW Fest Conwy.  For all of you classic Volkswagen fans, an event not to be missed – and just down the road….www.conwy-vw-festival.co.uk

Then in the same place on 27th and 28th June, Beer Fest Conwy.  This will, no doubt, showcase some of our excellent local brews! Even better, it’s on the local bus route from here…. www.conwy-beer-festival.co.uk

Also on 28th June the very famous Conwy Pirate weekend.  Fun for all the family, down in Conwy town.    www.conwypirates.co.uk

If you have still got any energy left after all this, the Llandudno Sea Triathlon is on 29th June.  Contestants swim in the sea off Llandudno, cycle the Great Orme and run along the promenade over the Little Orme to Penryhn Bay.  There is always plenty of encouragement along the way, with many people watching on the promenade.                                                      www.xtramileevents.com

Look forward to seeing you at Plas Celyn B&B in June!

 

 

 

 

 

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What a splendid summer we have been having this year in Wales.  Lots of visitors have been enjoying great walking and we ourselves have also been making the most of the beautiful beaches and even swimming in the sea, which has been warmer than for many years! I am about to take up sea kayaking, after enviously watching many kayakers exploring the myriads of coves around Anglesey’s coastline. There are several places that kayaks can be hired for the day, so this is something guests can experience too.

Swimming has been good too in our lovely lakes, notably Llyn Geirionydd, which we can visit late afternoon for a cooling dip (again with warm water this year!) after a hard days’ work.

Many of our guests have walked up Snowdon itself this year, and enjoyed splendid views from the summit as a reward.  It was very strenuous during the heatwave, but now with the temperature a bit lower, the walking is a more comfortable.

Although the weather is a little cooler and more showery at the moment, there are still plenty of activities to enjoy in Snowdonia; try the exciting Zip wire at Bethesda – it’s a real thrill –  and the Ribride trips in the Menai Straits are also fun.  We can vouch for these ourselves, after testing them out for you!  Next on the list is Go Below; an underground adventure including abseiling, a zip wire and a boat ride; can’t wait!

Book now, and enjoy some of these wonderful experiences for yourselves!

Cate

 

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It’s been a nice week here in North Wales, with lots of sunshine (but a little cool, still!) Great for walking or biking and people have started to arrive in force to enjoy the outdoors.  The new zip wire at Penrhyn quarry in Bethesda has opened (http://www.zipworld.co.uk/what-to-expect/) for those of you who like a lot of excitement! For those who like a somewhat more sedate experience, this weekend is the Victorian Extravaganza in Llandudno (http://www.victorian-extravaganza.com/) and it’s sure to attract a big crowd. 
As a keen gardener, my favourite garden to visit is nearby Bodnant Gardens, and today was a wonderful day to see them in spring. The wonderful magnolias scenting the air and the startlingly bright rhododendrons beginning to
flower – it will only get better from now on!
 
Bodnant Gardens
 
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I have just had advance notice of the dates for the new Trefriw Walking Festival.

The Festival will be happening on 17th, 18th and 19th May 2013.  Several guided walks are planned – ranging from a Historical Walk around Trefriw, a family walk around Llyn Crafnant, a forest walk, an Mines walk and others.  Further information is available on www.Trefriw.org

 

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We are delighted to announce that Plas Celyn will be open for bookings from Friday 15th February, following the refurbishment of our kitchen.  Delicious breakfasts will once again be on offer after a comfortable night’s sleep here in gorgeous Snowdonia!

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The kitchen refurbishment is proceeding apace, and we are on target to be open for February half-term week, from Friday 8th February. Come and enjoy some winter walking in the (hopefully) snow-covered mountains or be amongst the first to see Bodnant Garden’s newly-opened Winter garden. Plas Celyn makes an ideal base for either of these activities and you can finish the day with a delicious meal in the cosy village pubs within walking distance – no need for the car!

Cate Bolsover

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Yesterday we went on a fabulous trip on the Welsh Highland Railway.  Recently opened all the way from Caernarfon to Porthmadog, this is a marvellous way to see the mountains.  The station is just by the castle in Caernarvon, and the track winds its way out by the river to Dinas and then up to Waunfawr.  Along this stretch there are lovely views of the coast and Anglesey; then the line runs alongside the Afon Gwyrfai, uphill all the time, past Llyn Cwellyn and the halt for Snowdon Ranger (where the eponymous path begins) to Rhyd Ddu.

Near Rhyd Ddu

From this wonderful stretch of track, the mountains loom into the sky on both sides and everyone is craning out of the windows to catch the view of Snowdon itself, hoping they will see the summit.  Luckily, we had a clear view of the top, and when this  happens you can pick out the new cafe, Hafod Eryri, and sometimes see the train crawling up towards the peak, looking like a tiny caterpillar breathing smoke!

Snowdon - Yr Wyddfa

Between Rhyd Ddu and Beddgelert, the train reaches the summit of the track, marked with a sign;  from here the line snakes down through the Beddgelert Forest to the town itself.  We stop here for a few minutes and stretch our legs, admiring the views at the beginning of the Aberglaslyn pass.  Beddgelert is a nice little town, and if you have time, well worth a visit; but not today, as we continue down through some of the most beautiful scenery in Britain (voted so in a poll of National Trust members)

Aberglaslyn

As we reach Nantmor Halt, we move away from the river briefly, past Coed Hafod Y Llyn and out towards Croesor Junction.  From here, there are more wonderful views, this time of Cnicht ( the Knight, in English, is a very pointed, Matterhorn-type mountain)

Cnicht - The Knight

We now move into the flatlands of Traeth Mawr, passing the Glaslyn Osprey Project at Pont Croesor Halt.  It is, of course, the wrong time of year to see the ospreys at the nest, but we promise ourselves a visit in spring.

Finally arriving in Porthmadog, the train weaves its way through the streets – great fun, with lots of tourists taking photos all the time.  The terminus here is shared with the Ffestiniog railway, and they are currently working to enlarge the station so there can be two separate platforms.  There are fine views of the harbour as the train moves out along the Cob to enable the locomotive to change ends for the return journey.

Porthmadog harbour

We got out (you must, even if you are returning on the same train, which we were) and had a look at the locomotive, and watched the engineer filling the water tender.

Porthmadog

Now we set off back the same way – it’s funny, although the trip takes a good two hours either way, it doesn’t seem that long as there is so much to see.  They do have a buffet service, and you can have local lamb burgers and local beer, amongst other things, to keep you going!

The weather improved on the way back, and we had some lovely blue skies to enhance the mountain scenery.

Snowdon range

This is a marvellous journey, and well worth visiting for – not just for steam train buffs, the whole experience is great fun and the scenery unbeatable!

 

 

 

 

 

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We’re looking forward to the Snowdonia Arts Festival in Betws-Y-Coed from October 5th to 7th 2012.  In it’s third year, the headline event is Froncysyltte Male Voice Choir, who are performing in St. Mary’s Church.  This year there will be a marquee on Cae Llan with a programme of talks, workshops and performances.  There are exhibitions, musical performances and the ‘Walk of Art’  – a guided walk around some of the significant locations of the 1844-1914 artist’s colony in Betws-Y-Coed.  Check the details out online here: www.Snowdoniaartsfestival.org.uk

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Finally had a decent day for a walk last Thursday, and decided to set off up the recently-renamed Carnedd Gwenllian (formerly Carnedd Uchaf) which is one of Snowdonia’s 3000  footers.  We started in Llanbedr Y Cenin, a tiny village just ten minutes drive from us.  There is a carpark up a lane that’s not marked on the maps, but gives access to a little-used path up to Carnedd Gwenllian (most walkers access this area from Abergwyngregyn, off the A55).

Foal in the Carneddau

As we climbed, we came across one of the groups of wild ponies which roam the Carneddau. This one was led by a white stallion, and had several grey (white horses start out grey) foals amongst them.  Surprisingly these ponies look delicate rather than sturdy and the foals were charming.  As we walked on up the increasingly steep slopes of the mountain, the path pretty much vanishes and the walking gets progressively harder work through marshy uplands.

 

The only tree for miles....

Finally, after stopping for a breather and our lunch on a dry rock, we reached the top.  The views are totally amazing up here, with the southern peaks of Snowdonia stretching away in one direction and the whole  of Anglesey spread out beneath in the other. Along the coast, Llandudno was basking in the afternoon sunshine and the view stretched right up the coast to Rhyl and the wind farms out in the Irish Sea.

Me at the top of Carnedd Gwenllian - looking towards Llandudno

We headed along the ridge line along to Foel Fras and then Drum, and from there down the marshy slopes back to the car and a very welcome pint at the tiny village pub, The Bull Inn, in Llanbedr Y Cenin.

A lovely peaceful walk even in the height of the tourist season – we saw only one small group of other walkers on the top, and soon lost sight of them as we continued the ridge walk.  Keen walkers will enjoy these quiet alternatives to the honeypot area around Snowdon itself. Make sure to bring waterproof boots, and don’t forget your camera (we did, and had only a phone to take these pics on – would have been better with a decent lens!)

More ponies, this time on Drum

Cate Bolsover

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Last weekend we were lucky enough to arrive at Bodnant Gardens just at opening time on one of this year’s few beautiful sunny mornings.  The gardens looked absolutely magnificent in the still sunshine, with wonderful reflections on the lily ponds and the view from the top terrace was perfect.

  The hot border is the first area to greet you as you arrive in the garden, and it is currently looking the best I’ve seen it so far.  Great combinations of colourful plantings in reds, yellows and oranges.

  In contrast to the hot colours at the entrance, the plantings around the refurbished pergola are all pastel colours, and very pretty and light.  I love this particular view and the plantings here provide inspiration for anyone hoping to achieve a soft, summery border.

  The Pin Mill terrace and lily pond is perfect in the summer, with clouds of blue campanula in the borders alongside and lovely waterlilies in bloom.  The reflection was superb in the still morning.

I haven’t even mentioned the rose terrace gardens, and they are improving as the weather improves – roses don’t much like rain!

Bodnant Gardens are worth a visit at any time of the year, and now the summer is finally here (hopefully) it’s a perfect time to come and stay with us at Plas Celyn – we’re only 10 minutes away.  You could also visit the new Welsh Food Centre nearby – it’s brilliant to see all the local produce and there is a lovely cafe and smart restaurant to dine in – which is also open in the evening for dinner, and easily reached from here.

 

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