Eat Out and then Roll Into Bed…

Make the ultimate foodie road trip to one of these stunning restaurants…

…and then stay the night in one of these luxurious hotels in North Wales.

You know what really builds an appetite? A long drive into the heart of North Wales.

You don’t need to stay for a whole week here to have a rewarding experience, especially if you choose to splash out on a fancy restaurant meal and a night’s stay in a quality hotel. Whereas some visitors have to fully immerse themselves in a foreign culture in order to enjoy their holiday, some (this writer included) just need a slap up meal, a few glasses of wine and a comfy bed to attain complete relaxation.

Whilst North Wales has recently been firmly placed on the map as a fantastic hub for extreme sports and activities, it’s easy to miss the waves being made by the fine-dining chefs in our region, not to mention the proliferation of high-class hotels dotted around the rugged landscape:

Menai Bridge

A meal at the Michelin star awarded Sosban and the Old Butchers is always an adventure, although it’s worth bearing in mind that this particular adventure doesn’t come cheap. At £40 for a sitting at lunch and £80 for dinner, the cost might be high but the reward is certainly worth the means. Once you’ve had your fill of exquisitely crafted, locally sourced fine dining food you can roll yourself into a bed at the Bulkeley Arms. Sip a night cap at the bar downstairs then lug yourself upstairs for a night’s stay in one of their cosy rooms.

Ruthin

Ruthin is certainly on the small side when it comes to Welsh towns, but that doesn’t mean that you should give it a miss, especially when that means missing the excellent grub at On The Hill. The variety on offer at this family-run restaurant has to be seen to be believed. Chef/Patron Rowan has been leading the charge here for a decade now and doesn’t pull punches when it comes to flavour. After such a decadent meal there really is no better place to get a night’s keep than the equally luxurious Ruthin Castle Hotel & Spa.

Caernarfon

Like a few other towns in North Wales, Caernarfon has been dominated by the 13th Century castle for hundreds of years; it’s an impressive sight that makes for dramatic viewing in the evening whilst you stroll on your way to Osteria, a hip Tuscan restaurant that specialises in tantalisingly authentic specials. The plates are stacked high with rich flavours here, making you appreciate the crisp fresh air during the Winter all the more, not to mention the pleasant walk to the Black Boy Inn, a top notch bar and cosy inn for the night.

Conwy

Only Conwy can rival the legendary Llandudno for the crown of quintessential seaside town. On a sunny day there a few things more relaxing than taking a stroll down its iconic promenade, only a meal at Paysanne could possibly improve your visit. This French restaurant has been a family affair for an incredible 30 years now and has recently started serving lunch on a Friday and Sunday – a perfect way of breaking up your day. A little further down the way you’ll find The Quay Hotel, a tranquil corner of paradise that promises expert treatments and a seductively luxurious night’s stay.

Four Peaceful Gardens To Relax In

Adventures in North Wales don’t have to be all about adrenaline rushes and safety harnesses!

Although North Wales has built up a reputation for being something of a one stop shop for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies, there are plenty of seductive corners of tranquillity to retreat to for a relaxing day off.

It can be possible to burn yourself out during a holiday, especially if you’ve committed yourself to a hectic schedule of activities and things to do. If you’re looking to plan a week long holiday in North Wales then you should consider slotting in at least one day where you and your family can actually relax. Pack a big picnic and bring a blanket along to enjoy a lovely breather in one of these peaceful gardens:

Treborth Botanic Garden

Set over 90 acres of land, Treborth Botanic Gardens is made up of 18 hectares of carefully managed gardens, six glasshouses of varying temperatures, 15 hectares of natural woodland and a 1 hectare orchard featuring a number of older trees and shrubs.

The land that the gardens currently sits on was the site of a number of developments including a 500-room hotel, a race course and even a Spa before being purchased by Bangor University in 1960. Today, it’s a quietly industrious research centre looking into everything from finding a Japanese knotweed remover to growing bigger apples!

Bodnant Garden

There are only a handful of gardens in the UK that have been given the illustrious Grade I listing and Bodnant Gardens is one of them. Now owned by the National Trust, these gardens are a thing of beauty all year round but are arguably most eye-catching at the peak of Summer.

During these warmer months the five formal Italian terraces (designed at the turn of the 20th Century) are adorned with a mass of English Roses. Visit between July and October to see the floral displays at their very best, but bear in mind that the garden will be busier during this time. Entrance is £13.20 for adults and £6.60 for children.

Plas yn Rhiw

The history of this quaint 17th century building is quite the story. Plas yn Rhiw started out as a humble abode for John Lewis (whose family had descended from 9th century royalty), but over the centuries, passing through the descendants, it has turned into a grand manor house exhibiting architectural features going back over 300 years.

It’s thought that the bountiful gardens here were established in 1874, but it wasn’t until the arrival of the Keating sisters in 1939 that significant work was undertaken on both the house and the land. Their memory lives on in the carefully presented home that remains.

Erddig

Fans of television series such as Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey will find the dramatic history of Erddig simply irresitible. This 18th century manor hour and garden has been continually looked after for the last 250 years leaving it in the resplendent state that you’ll find it in today.

Whilst you’ll be able to delve into a rich family history indoors, the 18th century landscaped gardens provide a bit of fragrant respite for families and couples alike. Due to the popularity of the estate the National Trust are now running a timed-ticketed service, so it’s a good idea to to arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Good Time Music Festivals

Have you heard of all of these North Wales music festivals?

Book tickets at one of these excellent music festivals to turn your North Wales adventure into a sonic pilgrimage:

Hard Rock Hell

More than 50 bands from all over the globe travel to North Wales each year to play at Hard Rock Hell, a festival that has been running for over a decade and prizes community spirit and good times above all else. Whilst this festival hasn’t quite built up the reputation of rival Download Festival yet it consistently sells out year on year and continues to attract increasingly prestigious names in Rock’n’Roll its 9 stages.

When is it? 8th-11th November Where? Hafan y Môr Holiday Park, Pwllheli

Festival No. 6

Portmeirion is a place like no other and an attraction unto itself. Designed in the style of a bizarro Italian-village by legendary architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975, it exists today as a tourist attraction and venue for this one-of-kind festival. Cutting edge alternative and classic acts take the centre stage here, with a focus on the unusual and the unprecedented. The festival will be taking a break next year, so buy a ticket this year unless you want to wait!

When is it? 6th-9th September Where? Portmeirion

Sesiwn Fawr

Dolgellau is often overlooked as a tourist town, but with over 230 listed buildings and a truly rich historic heritage it’s an ideal location for a music festival that celebrates Welsh culture in all of its forms. For one weekend in July dozens of comedians, musicians and writers descend upon the idyllic market town to perform and speak to hundreds of people. This is an understated affair that is less mud and wellies, more reading glasses and chin-stroking.

When is it? 20th-22nd July Where? Dolgellau

Llandudno Jazz Festival

Now 4 years old, the Llandudno Jazz Festival has brought big band music and shuffling drums back to one of Wales’ quintessential seaside towns. Essentially two festivals in one, visitors can purchase a Fringe ticket on top of a Main Stage pass to gain access to the entire event for £165, or you can buy afternoon/evening/day tickets if you’d like to pay a little less. This is the perfect excuse to visit a wonderful seaside resort in the height of summer – not to be missed!

When is it? 27th-29th July Where? Llandudno

Bangor Music Festival

If you’re looking for a comfortable seat and some truly mind-expanding music then you should make a beeline for the Bangor Music Festival, an event that celebrates the very best new music and sounds. Each year the organisers set a theme and task composers to create new works around it. In 2018 the theme was Space and brought a piano masterclass from renowned performer Zubin Kanha, a star gazing experience with a university professor and a sound installation from the late David Bedford.

When is it? 2nd-3rd February Where? Bangor