The Hop Garden: tapping into Tintern’s coolest brewery retreat

The ruins of Tintern Abbey stirred the soul of hopeless old Romantics like Wordsworth and Turner, and the ribs of its Gothic arches still enthral today – as does the thick woodland that rises like a mantle above the meandering River Wye. So far, so poetic. But how to escape the crowds that think likewise? Cue The Hop Garden, a serenely secluded retreat but a … Continue reading The Hop Garden: tapping into Tintern’s coolest brewery retreat

Bodysgallen Hall: National Trust-owned manor in the far north ensconced in exquisite gardens

Turning off the busy Conwy-Llandudno road and bumping over the cattle grid past this palatial property’s gatehouse, itself more lavish than many hotels, it becomes apparent that a stay at Bodysgallen Hall is a firm, fine waltz back in time to a picturesque, peaceful pocket of Wales where the clock stopped some time in the 19th century – or possibly even earlier. Thought to have … Continue reading Bodysgallen Hall: National Trust-owned manor in the far north ensconced in exquisite gardens

Up high, close and personal with Mark Bond, treehouse eco-stay entrepreneur

Eco-retreat creator Mark Bond built (with his business partner) the UK’s first rentable treehouses, the living-room treehouse experience, out in a wild, woodsy Mid Wales valley. We catch up with him up in the canopy to chat about what makes his arboreal accommodation special, about the Dyfi Valley’s long-standing reputation as a centre of eco-activity and about his plans to revolutionise the Wales hospitality scene … Continue reading Up high, close and personal with Mark Bond, treehouse eco-stay entrepreneur

The quirks and caves of Druidston Haven

On the jagged expanse of seaboard south of Newgale, the narrow coast-hugging road threads through the ‘Havens’, four seaside settlements known for their tawny sandy coves and beaches backed by craggy cliffs and a stupendous array of coastal geology. Because of how the maze of little lanes around here spread-eagles out, Druidston Haven is the one of the four you would bypass completely unless you … Continue reading The quirks and caves of Druidston Haven

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

Gliffaes: an elegant country escape in the Brecons

If you’re seeking a country escape in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park, Gliffaes is a class act. Framed by 33 acres of grounds that bristle with rare botanical species, this Italianate Victorian manor is old-school in the best possible way – whether you’re taking afternoon tea on the terrace or playing croquet on the lawn. Why we love it… Gliffaes still feels … Continue reading Gliffaes: an elegant country escape in the Brecons

Plas Bodegroes: to the Georgian manor born

On Wales’ Llŷn Peninsula, this Georgian manor could just well be the country escape of your wildest dreams, with its beautiful grounds, heartfelt welcome and outstanding local food.  Why we love it… How we wish our garden looked like this! Owner Chris Chown has a passion for all things botanical and it shows at Plas Bodegroes. When we stay at this restaurant with rooms in … Continue reading Plas Bodegroes: to the Georgian manor born

Through the grapevine: Llanerch Vineyard Hotel

Welsh wine has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years. And there’s no better proof of this viticultural coming of age than Llanerch, one of the UK’s first vineyard hotels, with its crisply designed rooms, restaurant dishing up season-driven food, and vineyard tours and tastings: deliciously rural and yet only a short jaunt from Cardiff. Why we love it… Sipping a glass of … Continue reading Through the grapevine: Llanerch Vineyard Hotel

Slebech Park Estate: the ultimate Pembrokeshire escape

This fine romance of a Georgian manor is one of inland Pembrokeshire’s greatest escapes, with wide-open estuary views to lift spirits, woodland trails to get lost on, nouveau-chic rustic interiors and more than 1000 years of history hiding in its vast grounds. Why we love it… Watching the sun set across the silver-gold waters of the Cleddau River estuary at Slebech is a moment we … Continue reading Slebech Park Estate: the ultimate Pembrokeshire escape

Bedding down in a revamped shepherd’s hut in Solva

Undiscovered places quite often happen to be ensconced in thick woods. Plonk a thick wood next to a sublime and lonely stretch of Pembrokeshire coastline between the pretty fishing harbour of Solva and the historic city of St Davids and you have one seldom-seen but perfectly-placed location for this secluded converted shepherd’s hut known as Fairy Bridge. Why we love it… It was the first … Continue reading Bedding down in a revamped shepherd’s hut in Solva