Llangollen – North Wales’ Hidden Gem

As part of our #AdeoOnTheRoad programme, we recently headed north from our native Cardiff up to the largely undiscovered area of North Wales.

Our base in North Wales was the stunningly beautiful and historic Ruthin Castle. Despite its rich history and atmospheric castle setting, our rooms were very modern and comfortable; typical of 4* quality British accommodation. The hotel also boasts excellent leisure facilities.

While up in North Wales, the team and I decided to take advantage of our picturesque surroundings and ventured up to the mountains of Snowdonia National Park where we were greeted by a thick blanket of snow – atypical of April but a stunning view nonetheless.

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Thomas in all his glory

After taking our snaps, we travelled to Llangollen – a quintessential and quaint Welsh market town in the heart of North Wales. To our surprise there was a special guest waiting for us at Llangollen Station – Thomas the Tank Engine himself!

After recovering from being star-struck, we became rather peckish and had food in a charming café named ‘Higgeldy Piggeldy’ where the service was fantastic and the food really hit the spot.

Next up on our itinerary for the day was to visit Plas Newydd – a beautiful gothic house fit with manicured gardens preserved since the 1800s; once home to two aristocratic women who received a stream of famous visitors over the years to their unpretentious home. The inside of the house was mostly untouched, except for insightful information documents that gave observers an idea of 17th century life in Llangollen and an insight in to the intriguing lives of the eccentric residents.

After a lovely day in Llangollen we retired back to Ruthin Castle and treated ourselves in the exceptional spa before a delicious 3-course meal at Manor Haus’ 5-star restaurant with rooms just a short walk away

Plas Newydd
Plas Newydd

(we also work with this property if you’re looking for something equally luxurious but a little more low-key than the castle accommodation) – after that it was safe to say we were ready for bed!

If you would like to experience Llangollen in all its glory, then be sure to enquire about one of our self-drive or coach tours featuring North Wales.

We hope to hear your very own North Wales stories soon!

Discover North Wales on the following tours:

Mountains and Medieval Fortresses (self-drive)

Wonders of Wales (small-group tour)

Castles, Coast and Celts (small-group tour)

Heart of Wales and England Tour (escorted coach tour)

Where To Stay In Edinburgh – #AdeoOnTheRoad

This week we flew up to one of our favourite Scottish cities, Edinburgh! This cosmopolitan capital city is a must visit for any visitor to Scotland. Edinburgh is packed with medieval history, surrounded by spectacular scenery and is also the leading festival city in the world.

We want our guests to have the best possible experience in all aspects of their vacation so we took the opportunity to inspect some of the hotels we send our guests to. Read on for the inside scoop on where you could be staying in Edinburgh if you book with adeo:

Braid Hills Hotel

Dating back to 1886 this hotel is full of classic Victorian character including turrets and stained glass windows. The wood panelling in the Edinburgh bar and 1886 restaurant will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time and the views are simply to die for.

You’ll love it if: You love traditional character and authentic Victorian charm.

The Bothy Restaurant and Drinkery at the Murrayfield House Hotel
The Bothy Restaurant and Drinkery at the Murrayfield House Hotel

Murrayfield Hotel

The Murrayfield is a hotel with community spirit! The Bothy Restaurant and Drinkery, the hotel’s stylish Scottish restaurant, is open to the public and fills up in the evenings with locals and hotel guests alike. Plus, its located right on the bus route from the airport to the city centre – what’s not to like?

You’ll love it if: You’re in search of an authentic local experience.

Thistle Edinburgh King James

This quirky hotel can be found inside a shopping mall! Its location directly opposite the train station makes it perfect for anyone arriving on a late night train.

You’ll love it if: You’re a shopaholic!

The Place's sunny terrace
The Place’s sunny terrace

The Place Hotel

This historic hotel is an oasis of calm in the centre of the city. Its unique terrace area with retractable roof is the perfect place to relax after a day of sightseeing whatever the weather. There’s also a contemporary bar with an extensive wine list and cocktail selection – yum!

You’ll love it if: You’re looking for a restful retreat after your sightseeing.

The Mercure Princes Street

This hotel seems uninspiring from its main entrance but the hotel’s best feature becomes quickly apparent after climbing the stairs to the hotel’s reception where you can see through to the restaurant which features panoramic views of the majestic Edinburgh Castle.

You’ll love it if: You want a feast for your eyes as well as your stomach.

Classic oak panelling inside the Royal Scots Club
Classic oak panelling inside the Royal Scots Club

The Royal Scots Club

You’ll feel like royalty staying at this private members’ club in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town. Careful though, only members may use the main entrance; plebs like us have to enter through a side door. There’s also a strict ‘No Jeans’ rule for the Dining Room.

You’ll love it if: You want to feel like an aristocrat.

The Inn Place

It’s all about location, location, location at The Inn Place! The Place Hotel’s sister hotel is situated two minutes from Waverly station, just off the Royal Mile. You won’t get much of a view from your room but you couldn’t find a better location for sightseeing, shopping, eating and drinking.

You’ll love it if: You want to be at the centre of the action

The Roxburghe

The Roxburghe
The Roxburghe

You’ll feel relaxed the moment you step into this luxurious 4-star hotel featuring gorgeous, spacious reception rooms including a peaceful central courtyard. At the hotel’s Balance Spa and Leisure Club you can take a dip in the heated pool or treat yourself to a massage.

You’ll love it if: You’re feeling travel fatigued

 

 

 

If any of these hotels tickle your fancy just let us know and we would be happy to book it for your stay in Edinburgh! And why not travel to Edinburgh on one of our fully customizable Scotland self-drive or rail tours! I recommend Simply Scotland or Explore Scotland by Rail.

Walking in Shakespeare’s footsteps – 10 spots to explore the Bard in Britain

A visit to Britain is not complete without a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon. This quintessentially English town in the heart of the Cotswolds is most famous for being the birth place of William Shakespeare and literary pilgrims can visit The Bard’s birthplace and his wife, Anne Hathaway’s, cottage.Stratford-upon-Avon

But real enthusiasts may choose to travel further afield to follow in the Bard’s footsteps across Britain. Here are 10 places to explore the legend of Shakespeare in Britain:

 

  1. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London

The Globe Theatre in London has been linked with Shakespeare through 400 years and 3 buildings. The first building, constructed in 1597, burnt down in 1613 when a cannon set fire to the thatched roof during a performance of Henry VIII. The theatre was rebuilt, but in 1642 The Puritans banned all stage plays and the theatre was turned into tenement housing. In 1997 a faithful reconstruction of The Globe was built close to the original site in Southwark. You can visit the theatre, explore the Shakespeare exhibition and even see a performance.

  1. The National Portrait Gallery, London

The first acquisition of London’s National Portrait Gallery in 1856 was the ‘Chandos’ portrait of Shakespeare, attributed to artist John Taylor. It’s now considered the only representation of the writer that has any claim to having been painted from life.

  1. Hampton Court Palace, London

London - Hampton CourtIn 1603 Shakespeare and his players were summoned to Hampton Court to provide entertainment during the royal Christmas celebrations. They were lodged at the palace for three weeks and performed 7 plays in the Great Hall. So, if you’d like to stand in one of the only remaining theatrical spaces in which Shakespeare’s plays were performed during his lifetime, visit Hampton Court Palace.

  1. Windsor, Buckinghamshire

The historic town of Windsor is the backdrop for Shakespeare’s play The Merry Wives of Windsor. The events that unfurl take place in the town with many local landmarks featured in the play including The Castle, Frogmore, the Thames and the Garter Inn. It is likely that Shakespeare himself stayed at the Inn which has now been replaced by a hotel – stay here and you really will be following in The Bard’s footsteps.

  1. Broughton Castle, Oxfordshire

Broughton Castle is a moated and fortified manor house in Oxfordshire. Built in 1300 and fortified by its then lord, Broughton Castle has stood the test of time, despite being captured during the English Civil War. You might recognise it as one of the locations in British film Shakespeare in Love.

  1. Milford Haven, Wales

This coastal town in Pembrokeshire, Wales was described by Shakespeare as ‘blessed Milford’, and is the setting for his play 1611 romantic play, Cymbeline.

  1. Glamis Castle, Scotland

Dundee - Glamis CastleShakespeare chose this castle with its dark and bloody history of murder and witchcraft as the backdrop for his darkest play, Macbeth. As Thane of Glamis, Shakespeare’s Macbeth resides in the castle and many believe it is where he famously murders King Duncan. Duncan’s Hall commemorates King Duncan’s death at the hands of Macbeth.

  1. Bosworth Field, Kent

The Battle of Bosworth, referred to in King Richard III, is where Richard III famously speaks the words ‘A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!’. The site can be visited by public footpath and the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre is well worth a visit.

  1. The White Cliffs of Dover, Kent

Dover - White CliffsShakespeare famously brought the cliffs to the attention of the nation in the play King Lear in which the climax takes place on and around Dover’s white cliffs. You can take a stroll along Shakespeare Beach which stretches West from Admiralty Pier to Shakespeare Cliff, Dover’s most impressive cliff.

  1. The Forest of Arden, Warwickshire

The ancient Forest of Arden is the setting for one of Shakespeare’s best-loved comedies, As You Like It. In the play, Rosalind flees to the Forest of Arden, likely based on Arden Forest which was situated near Shakespeare’s hometown in Warwickshire. The oldest oak in the forest has a girth of 9.2 meters and is estimated to be 1000 years old.

Follow Shakespeare’s footsteps through Britain with one of our self-drive tours like the English and Scottish experience or Castles and Manors of Britain.

Top Ten Visitor Destinations in Britain – Traveller’s Choice.

We’re often asked what Britain’s best visitor destinations are – but with three countries, dozens of bustling cities and expansive and contrasting areas of natural beauty to choose from, it’s not a question easily answered! So on this occasion we can dodge the question and look to you, the visitor, to answer it…

A major online review site has recently released their 2016 traveller’s choice awards – using a complex algorithm based both quality and quantity of local destination and attraction reviews by visitors over the last twelve months, Trip Advisor have compiled a top-ten list of UK destinations.  The list throws up some obvious choices, but also some real gems; so, as local travel experts, do we agree…?  Here’s the list, and our thoughts:

10. Manchester

Often overlooked by the international visitor, Manchester has so much to offer! Home to England’s leading soccer team (ManchesterUnited), the national soap opera (Coronation Street) and internationally renowned museums, shopping and nightlife, Manchester has something for everyone.

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  1. 9. Glasgow

Scotland’s second city was recently named as a top international destination for 2016, and with good reason.  A hub for modern Scottish culture, Glasgow also boasts grand Georgian architecture, world-class museums and hallmarks of Scotland’s industrial heritage.

8. Bath

One of our favourite spots in Britain and arguably England’s prettiest town, Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage city.  With elegant Regency architecture and a history which dates back to the Roman Empire, Bath is simply a must-visit for travellers exploring England.

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7. York

Another of adeo Travel’s choice destinations, set amidst the scenic Yorkshire Dales and Moors, York is simply packed with history – discover how the Vikings invaded, explore the cobbled Shambles, walk the medieval town walls & gates and visit Europe’s largest gothic cathedral at the masterpiece of York Minster.

6. Torquay

Possibly best known as the home of Basil Fawlty’s less-than hospitable hotel in John Cleese’s seventies sitcom, Torquay has experienced a resurgence in recent years; this pretty Devonshire harbour-town is at the heart of the “English Riviera” coastline and has the wild landscapes of the Dartmoor National Park on its doorstep.

5. Blackpool

Not one often requested by our international guests, Blackpool is a seaside resort on Northern England’s Lancashire coast. Home to an annual coloured lights festival, donkey-rides on the beach, traditional games arcades and the famous tower ballroom there’s no doubt the town holds a certain nostalgia for Briton’s and their childhood seaside holidays.wales_llandudno

4. Llandudno

A picturesque Victorian seaside resort on the North Wales coast, Llandudno boasts a beautiful sweeping bay, historic pier and elegant promenade not to mention Britain’s only cable-hauled tramway (which dates back to 1902) and the Great Orme headland and nature reserve.  And just a stone’s throw from Conwy Castle and the Snowdonia National Park, Llandudno is definitely one we’d recommend.

3. Liverpool

The home-town of the World’s best known pop group, the wealth of Beatles’ related cultural sites is enough to put Liverpool on the map; but the city has much more besides including two magnificent cathedrals, dozens of listed historic buildings, the famous Albert Docks and a rich maritime heritage.

2. Edinburgh

Scotland’s enchanting capital, Edinburgh offers architectural beauty, an ancient history, major Scottish political and heritage sites and a leading international cultural festival. The must-see Scotland destination and gateway to the renowned Scottish Highlands, Edinburgh deservedly holds the second spot of this top-ten.

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  1. 1. London

Britain’s top-rating location, incidentally, London also tops the list of international destinations.  A thriving metropolis, the English capital leads in terms of sport, politics, commerce and culture. Playing host to a wealth of historical and heritage landmarks, recognisable the world-over, London is truly a global destination and unsurprisingly features at the premier position of Britain’s top-ten visitor destinations.

Discover any of the above Britain destinations on one of adeo Travel’s self-drive tours or rail tours which can be entirely customised to suit your travel requirements and preferences.

Lakes, Waters, Tarns and Snowy Mountains #AdeoOnTheRoad

This weekend an unseasonal late winter snowfall tempted me and some of my mountain-mad mates to make the 5-hour journey from South Wales to the Lake District for a spot of ice climbing and winter walking.

Can you believe this was taken with an iphone?
Can you believe this was taken with an iphone?

The Lake District is undoubtedly my favourite spot in England. For starters, the scenery is incredible: from the tops of the majestic, craggy peaks you are treated to stunning views over the glacial ribbon lakes that give the region its name. The Lake District is also home to England’s highest peak: Scarfell Pike and is a popular destination for hiking, climbing, mountain biking and kayaking.

We drove up late on Friday night, arriving late at the four-bedroom cottage where 35 of us would be staying…what can I say, it seemed like a good idea at the time! That is until 35 people wanted to use the loo in the morning…

The next day dawned foggy and snowy. The mountaintops were covered in thick white clouds which didn’t look too fun but we were determined to a spend as much time outdoors as possible during our weekend away so we slogged up High Street, named after the Roman Road which once ran over its summit. We spent most of the day stuck in the clouds, which was a good excuse to treat ourselves to a pub dinner that evening!

The next day we were karmicly owed a good day and we were rewarded with possibly the best conditions I have ever had in the Lakes. The sky was clear and blue, the snow was crisp and the wind had dropped. Perfect. We returned to Glenridding, on the banks of Ullswater, to begin a hike up Helvellyn, the third highest point in

That's me with the red bag!
That’s me with the red bag!

the Lakes after the twin peaks of Scafell Pike and Sca Fell. We decided to approach the peak via a short but tricky scramble up Swirral edge which meant crampons on and ice axes out! After jogging down the mountain and just about catching our train on time, we eventually arrived home, tired, achy, soggy and happily planning our next trip!

 

Most of our guests and the several million other tourists who visit the Lakes annually don’t end up scrambling up mountains in the snow! For the less adventurous the Lake District still has plenty to offer: check out the adeo Travel destination pages for more ideas of what you can get up to on your holiday to the Lake District!

You can visit the Lake District with adeo travel by car, coach or train. Visit our website or drop us an email enquiry to find out more!