Wales – a land of rugged mountains, sparkling lakes and magnificent beaches – is the perfect pick me up any time of year: a world away from the stresses of the everyday, yet easy enough to escape to, thanks to the principality’s great road network – and Travelodge’s judiciously placed hotels.
This Father’s Day (June 15) why not treat your Dad to a weekend break in ‘the land of my fathers’.
The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is Britain’s only coastal park – and encompasses breezy cliff top walks, stunning shell-sand beaches and welcoming towns: such as the pint-sized city of St Davids. Take a walk around the National Trust-owned Bosherston Lily Ponds – resplendent at this time of year – and treat Dad to a pint of local brew, Brains SA, in Bosherston’s snug inn, St Govan’s. Then stroll off the calories with a walk to mysterious St Govan’s Chapel – tucked into the cliff face, down a vertiginous seventy stone steps, before heading back for a well earned soak at your Pembroke Travelodge!
Once a bustling harbour, taking Snowdonian slate from the mines of Blaenau Ffestiniog to the rooves of the world, now Porthmadog is a gentle town nestled in some of the most sublime coastal country North Wales has to offer (and that’s saying something!). Take a stroll inland, towards the mountains – crossing the River Glaslyn at Llyn Bach, and on to the harbour-side footpath. From here the views across Traeth Mawr (the Glaslyn estuary) are magical. And if you see the sunlight glinting extra brightly off the shingle, there’s a good reason: the river still transports tiny flecks of rare Welsh gold out into the bay. You, however, might find the stunning backdrop of the Cambrian hills to be all the treasure you need. Enjoy a well earned pint in the Spooner’s Grill, at the harbour railway station before your return to town, and your return to Porthmadog Travelodge.
They call the trim town of Merthyr Tydfil the ‘gateway to the Beacons’ – the rugged National Park of the Brecon Beacons easily explorable for those who make the town’s Travelodge their base. There’s a fairly challenging 12 mile walk you can take from town to the foothills of the Brecon Beacons via a ruined castle, returning along the handsome Taff Trail. En route you’ll pass rushing rivers and waterfalls, Iron Age settlements and bluebell-splashed woodland. The route’s fairly level, taking the course of an old tramway, but eventually it traverses open moorland, meadow and a disused quarry. The views, across the mirror-calm Llwyn Onn reservoir, are sensational. Handily, about half way around the route you’ll come upon the Aberglais Inn at Pontsarn: just in time for a well-earned refuel!
You’re never too far away from glorious beaches in Anglesey – but take in a bigger view and tackle the relatively easy contours of Holyhead Mountain – as you climb, you’ll be rewarded with magical views over to South Stack lighthouse.
You’ll start your walk 4 km west of Holyhead town centre, and your Travelodge hotel, in a small car park. From here a well signed path heads cliffwards – stopping off at the Seabird Centre, should you wish to find out more about Anglesey’s feathered residents. En route you’ll pass the lonely tower of South Stack lighthouse before climbing up to the summit of Holyhead Mountain – in fact only 220 metres above sea level, but still the highest point on the island.
Back in town, the Harbourfront Bistro is a maritime-themed bar overlooking the beautiful Newry Beach in Holyhead Harbour. Enjoy a man-sized portion of fish and chips, and a refreshing pint: after all, you’ve just climbed a mountain. Sort of.
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