Wandering in Wales - A trip to Wales from London

Tripoto
30th Mar 2018
Photo of Wandering in Wales - A trip to Wales from London by Shruthi

What do you do when you are a travel enthusiast and you are given a visa? You find out how many places you can go to on that visa of course!

The UK visa enables its holders to visit England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and for the 1st long weekend after we came to the UK (Easter weekend), my husband and I chose to spend it in Wales(North).

Wales is a very diverse land with the north adorned by the Snowdonia National park, a vast stretch with walking trails, water falls and railway ruts up to the Mount Snowdon; Mid Wales is famous for the Brecon Beacons National Park and the southern park of Wales is famous for coastlines.

Getting There

Though hiring a car and driving from London is the best option to travel around wales (I'll get to why later), we booked ourselves the virgin trains to travel to Snowdonia.

Here are a few points that would help you book a train trip:

1. Get a rail card (Thanks to my friend from Tripoto for this tip) - Rail cards allows you to get around the UK by train on a reduced fare (1/3rd fare off). There are several categories for the rail card and you can choose the best suited one from https://www.railcard.co.uk/

2. Get a Nectar Card - This is a free loyalty card programme in the UK and helps you collect reward point from multiple partners (https://www.nectar.com/) and Virgin Rail is a Nectar partner so you see where I am getting here.

3. Install the train line app - The trainline app is an easy app using which you can book train tickets in the UK. The bar codes of the tickets are saved in the app itself so that you do not have to bother about carrying print outs. The bar codes are usually scanned in the train by the conductor.

Accommodation

During recent times, Airbnb has become our official accommodation partner. We found this beautiful place called Trem Gwydir (For £50 a night) with an amazing view of the Conway river and the iconic landmark, Pont Fawr Bridge in Llanrwst which is why decided to make Llanrwst as our base for the duration of our trip.

Pont Fawr Bridge

Photo of Trem Gwydir Holiday Village, A470, Llanrwst, UK by Shruthi

Trem Gwydir is a complex of furnished 1 or 2 bedroom appartments complete with cooking appliances, utensils and a refrigerator so the guests could cook if need be (there is a small SPAR store nearby for groceries). The best part is the bench behind the apartments where guests can relax and enjoy the beautiful lake view and the fresh mountain air.

The Bench

Photo of Wandering in Wales - A trip to Wales from London by Shruthi

Getting Around

To visit the tourist attractions from Llanwrst, you would have to relay on the 19 or X19 buses or train to Llandudno junction (Pronounced as Andundo) and then take connecting buses from there. All the tickets have to be taken by paying exact amount in cash to the driver(cost close to £3 per person to most of the tourist friendly places). The bummer here is that the bus frequencies are very less during the weekends and bank holidays in Llanwrst and there are no trains from the Llanwrst station on Sundays which is why I mentioned earlier that driving would be the best option to visit these parts.

Another thing about the buses in Llanwrst is that they are not very in sync with google maps, so if you have been standing in the bus stop for a while and haven't seen the bus go past you, then it is highly likely that the bus is late and hasn't crossed your stop even though google maps would say otherwise!

Llanwrst is a beautiful and quite place in the foothills of the Mount Snowdon with its green meadows and soft fluffy sheep grazing in peace. When we made our bookings for this trip in frosty February, we were expecting the weather to be nice and warm by March but because of the 'Beast from the East' (wind from Siberia), it was rainy by the day and snowing in the night when we were at LLanwrst.

Most of the people we met in Llanwrst were old but extremely helpful. There was this old man we met on the street who took the trouble of walking with us till the nearest bus stop because we weren't sure where it was (tough google did lead us to the correct place, we were confused because there was no waiting shed or any other apparent sign of that place being a bus stop) and then we met this old lady who waited with us till the bus we wanted to take arrived and then confirmed the destination with the driver before we boarded.

Because we visited during a bank holiday plus weekend, most of the restaurants were closed but there was this Bangladeshi cuisine restaurant, Asha Balti (http://www.asha-balti-house.co.uk/) with very friendly staff who even gave us more food than we asked for!

There is a small castle in Llanwrst called the Gwydir Castle in Llanwrst that houses beautiful peacocks (5 mins walk from Trem Gwydir) . But the highlight of the area is the little tea room and gallery called Tu-Hwnt-I'r Bont, just by the Pont Fawr Bridge, which serves melt-in-the-mouth home made cakes and delicious hot tea - a places we visited everyday of our stay.

Tu-Hwnt-I'r Bont

Photo of Tu-Hwnt-I'r Bont, Llanrwst, UK by Shruthi
Day 2

The Conway castle which looks like one of the buildings right out of the Stronghold games is around an hour from Llanwrst (Bus 19 from Walting Street stop- but please confirm with the driver first). The top part of the castle has been removed off so that the visitors can enjoy a birds eye view of the castle from all sides. The castle has 8 tall towers that offers a great view of the sea and green landscape surrounding the castle from atop.

The area around the castle is filled with restaurants and souvenir shops in case you need to while away some time waiting for the bus.

Chapel in Conway Castle

Photo of Conwy Castle, Rose Hill St, Conwy, UK by Shruthi

Glass Painting in the Chapel

Photo of Conwy Castle, Rose Hill St, Conwy, UK by Shruthi

view from one side of the castle

Photo of Conwy Castle, Rose Hill St, Conwy, UK by Shruthi
Day 3

Betws-y-Coed is a bit more bustling when compared to Llanwrst especially on a Sunday when Llanwrst is quite and deserted. Connection bus services (Number S2) can be found to many of the beautiful places around mount Snowdon like the Swallow Falls (£1.5 for entry), the ugly house and Pen-y-Pass from Betws-y-Coed train station stop.

Photo of Betws-y-Coed, UK by Shruthi

Swal

Photo of Betws-y-Coed, UK by Shruthi

After a 'kissed by the nature' experience we returned to London and back to the rushing crowd and tube stations!

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