Roch Castle Hotel: 21st-century flair in a 12th-century fortress

The surprise, with Roch Castle, is not that it exists. No retiring violet, it stands prominently out of the rolling patchwork of Southwest Pembrokeshire farmland whether you are approaching from the northeast (St Davids) or southwest (Haverfordwest). What is eye-opening is that an ancient, embattled stronghold like this could be so slick and contemporary within. And that you can stay there.  Why we love it… … Continue reading Roch Castle Hotel: 21st-century flair in a 12th-century fortress

Holier than thou: the Welsh, pilgrimage and why 2020 might be the time to make one to Wales

(6-minute read) In autumn 2019 the Welsh Government announced a new ‘Pilgrimage Trail’ linking 500 churches and chapels across the parts of Wales featuring on its cross-country touring route, the Wales Way. The project has yet to come into fruition but the fundamental elements of it, the holy buildings themselves, have been there for all to visit for one hundred years or more. One wonders … Continue reading Holier than thou: the Welsh, pilgrimage and why 2020 might be the time to make one to Wales

Cardigan Castle: staying over in the stately home of the original Welsh party

Cardigan does not, in fairness, much seem today like it ever could have hosted Wales’ biggest and best party. But back in 1176, the influential Lord Rhys, prince of most of South Wales, was at the zenith of his power and desired to host a cultural event to cement his status as the greatest Welsh ruler. And he chose Cardigan Castle as the venue. What … Continue reading Cardigan Castle: staying over in the stately home of the original Welsh party

Dryslwyn Castle: one of the greatest Welsh-built fortresses

Despite Wales’ likely status as the planet’s most densely castellated nation (only the Czechs and Slovaks can justifiably vie for this title), it is regrettably a myth that a fortress seemingly crests every hilltop, as some tourist-oriented merchandise intimates. Travelling along the fertile Tywi River valley between Llandeilo and Carmarthen, however, is one of those zones where the myth holds true. Dryslwyn Castle is one … Continue reading Dryslwyn Castle: one of the greatest Welsh-built fortresses

In the footsteps of the Physicians of Myddfai

Walk length: 8km. What do a succession of medieval medics often attributed with being the forerunners of the NHS, Prince Charles and a boutique range of Welsh toiletries have in common? The unlikely answer lies in  – or, rather, scattered around – the sleepy hamlet of Myddfai on the northwestern fringes of the Brecon Beacons. A history of herbalists hereabouts… Sleepy today, perhaps. But back … Continue reading In the footsteps of the Physicians of Myddfai