Mini Break to North Wales

One of my New Year Resolutions was to get away for three mini breaks in 2015.  We are getting off to a great start as here we are in January and we are spending three nights at the Quay Hotel and Spa in Deganwy, Conwy, North Wales.

View from hotel room

We had a pretty good drive, stopping off at an Ikea near Birmingham to break the journey up and so we could feed the little one.  We arrived in Deganwy around 3.30pm and checked in with no problems. It didn’t surprise us to see that our room was at the far end of the hotel, this seems to be a trend with us which we can only put down to the fact that we have a baby.  It doesn’t bother us and in this case we were shocked to see how big room 257 was, although we discovered an extra bathroom designed for disabled people.

There was no time to go out and explore as the weather was closing in and darkness was falling quickly.  In fact the weather was getting really bad and it was blowing a gale outside, which sort of reminded me of 1987 when I listened to that howling gale (!) in a little place called Touchen End in Berkshire.  Thankfully the little man didn’t notice the wind and he went to sleep as normal. Or so we thought as he was up at 2.30am and wouldn’t go back to sleep again until nearly 5am!

After a very restless night we were up, had a very light breakfast before going to the pool.  Even though the little man was a little tired, he still enjoyed his 30mins in the pool.  Afterwards we needed to get out into the fresh air before the weather turned.  It was a gentle 10min stroll into the centre of Deganwy, which doesn’t have much to offer apart from Antique shops and cafes.  After only a couple of minutes we had seen the entire village so we parked ourselves in a quaint little delicatessen called The Olive Grove Deli & Cafe.  It was a small establishment, but the staff were extremely friendly and the Bakewell Tarts were a delight.

Street Art near the Long Stay Car Park, Conwy

Our next stop was the short drive to Conwy as we wanted to visit Conwy Castle. The long term car park just around the corner was a bargain at £2 for 8 hours, and at £6.75 per person the Castle wasn’t too bad either.  Castles are not renowned for being pram friendly but Conwy was ok. A slope leads up to the main entrance and then you have about 6 steps and then you are in.  As long as your pram can deal with cobbles then you are fine once you get in. The odd step here and there but nothing too bad.  You are never going to be able to get up any turrets but you know this before going in.  We always take it in turns to go stairs to investigate the narrow passageways to see where they lead.

It was interesting to be in Edward I bedchamber (or what was left of it) and for some bizarre reason I was intrigued with his secret room used to watch the chapel service with its en suite.  I had a surreal moment as I sat on his private toilet and thought to myself that just over 800 years ago Edward I was sat on this very spot!

The little man was almost ready for a feed, so we had a quick walk around Conwy seeing the smallest house in Wales, possibly the UK, and it was pretty small and looked like it needed some extra TLC as it is looking somewhat dishevelled now, nothing like the red building that appears on google searches.  I am 6ft and I could just about see through the upstairs window.  Not sure I could lay down in that house!

Feed time and we stopped at the Time Cafe Bar for some late lunch.  This family run cafe is a real gem, with artistic clocks mounted on the walls that give a real sense of London chic.  There is a wide selection of homemade food on the menu, but ensure you check out the specials board as the fishcakes, salad and new potatoes and chicken & leek pie with chips and mushy peas that we both had was delicious.  Just a shame we couldn’t eat together, as the little one decided just as our food came out that he didn’t want to sit anymore and wanted to be held. Would certainly recommend a visit.

So concluded day one.

The wind was out again last night but the little guy slept through most of it and was wide awake by 5.30am.  The weather today was miserable so our sight seeing was going to mainly confined to the car.

Our first stop was at Betws-y-Coed to see the Swallow Falls.  According to Trip Advisor it was best to stop in the lay-by next to the Swallow Falls Hotel because then you do not have to pay for parking.  After getting dressed in my arctic gear, armed with camera and umbrella I made my way to the steps leading down to the falls.  Only to discover you had to pay to get through the turnstile! It would have been nice to see the falls but I am not paying to walk down some steps in the rain to see them.  We had just driven through Gwydyr Forest Park and with all this rain there are plenty of falls to see for free!

We needed to feed the little guy so a nice little cafe was required.  Looking at the map the small village of Llanberis looked as good as any.  After driving through the spectacular countryside with the rain blowing horizontal we discovered there really wasn’t very much in Llanberis when the weather is like this.  Thankfully the little guy had fallen asleep so we decided to push on to Caernarfon.

Parking next to the impressive castle I struggled up the hill because the wind was getting really fierce.  We found a little place call Y Gegin Fach or The Little Kitchen. The place was pretty empty but that was due to the weather.  The staff were extremely friendly the food was very tasty and piping hot.  Even the little guy made an impression on the staff.  Would highly recommend anyone to visit, although I hear this place is very popular so you would have to time you visit just right to get a table.

View from Penmaenmawr with the wind whipping up the sea

After a walk around the town, time was starting to be against us so it was time to head back, stopping of briefly at Penmaenmawr as we thought there was a spectacular long beach.  `Turns out there wasn’t, but there was some good views of the sea being whipped up by the strong winds.  So strong in fact that I was having difficulty standing at times.

Back in Conwy there was just enough time to have gelato at Parisella’s on the high street.  Couldn’t quite bring myself to try the ‘Blue Banana’, but judging by how empty the container was, this was obviously a local favourite.

So concluded day two.

When you thought it couldn’t get even windier, last night proved us wrong.  Unfortunately the little man had a restless night and we were up eight times.  On my fourth time of getting up we decided to put him in the bed with us and he then slept through until morning.

We had a great stay at the Quay Hotel and Spa, the rooms were spacious, the staff really helpful and between the two of us we used the spa, gym and swimming pool.  It was just a shame the weather wasn’t on our side.

Random Castle we passed

On our way home we travelled through the vast Snowdonia park, along the A55, A5 and A470 all the way down to Dolgellau.  We were going to stop for lunch here but as the little man was asleep we thought we would push on to Welshpool.  That wasn’t such a good idea and he woke up wanting to be fed and we were still some 30 mins away from Welshpool.  In the end we saw a place called Cann Office Hotel that was in a place called Llangadfan.  Just the right place at the right time and the little man had his lunch.

After 6 hours driving we finally arrived home. All in all this was a great three nights away.  We managed to see plenty of North Wales and if the weather had been kinder we would have seen plenty more.  Definitely worth a trip back again someday.

Where to next?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.