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After all the relaxation, what else could you do during the Christmas and New Year break?
You cross the Britannia Bridge; the landscape has already hit you and the festive season feels like it’s in full swing. You’re on Anglesey and you’re heading for the northern most point of the island.
The fire has been laid, awaiting your arrival. A few special treats have been placed in the kitchen and the hot tub is calling you even as the temperature drops.
It may just be one of the most picturesque places you could wake up on Christmas Day and as you usher in your New Year to the spectacular backdrop of Dinas Gynfor from the comfort of the sumptuous hot tub you just might think at that moment that life couldn’t possibly get any better.
While the big city is hosting thousands of revellers; the country, the serenity and your handful of family and friends will be cozied up and welcoming in the festivities in peace and style.
While you’re in the neighbourhood we thought, you’d like to know what other things the north of North Wales offers. Here’s a few things you could do over the festive season.
Fun fact: There are more castles in Wales (per square mile) than anywhere else on earth. With more than 600 castles, we are truly steeped in history. North Wales has three fine examples, all of them happen to be set in dramatic landscape with incredible views.
If you want a day trip from Llanlliana House you could go to Beaumaris Castle, Conwy Castle and Caernarfon Castle. The two latter castles are a bit of a drive, but the surrounding area and scenery is well worth a visit.
Are you a National Trust member?
We know people travel far and wide to visit National Trust properties and we have three stunning locations practically on our doorstep.
Plas Newydd is a manner house that boasts exquisite gardens and a remarkable panorama of Snowdonia. It is 15 minutes from the Britannia bridge and alongside the incredible landscape, there’s a stunning mural by Rex Whistler that delivers an optical illusion as you stroll by the painted panels.
Penryn Castle is full of wilderness, history (some of it dark) and den building, park running fun. The architecture is exceptional and the surrounding acreage beckons all ages to explore.
Bodnant Gardens offers a serene break from the cut and thrust of the other two locations. While children are still encouraged to explore, and interact with nature; there’s a somewhat calm atmosphere that radiates from the exceptionally well-managed and loved gardens.
If, after relaxing in the hot tub, venturing across the land at Llanlleiana and exploring the local villages, pubs and beaches you feel like spicing things up a little; there’s plenty nearby to get the blood pumping.
Bounce Below, Llechwedd Slate Caverns is a trampoline centre quite unlike any other. With a complex of interconnected large cargo nets suspended in mid-air in a cave, there’s nothing quite like bouncing five metres in the air then looking at the twenty metre drop below the net to shake off the Christmas cobwebs.
There’s also the Bear Grylls Adventure Rib ride based out of Holyhead and also with charters docking at Menai Bridge. You will be taken care of by consummate professionals in incredibly powerful boats as they take you on one of several thrill seeker packages. A taster would be under the two bridges and a brief run down on some local history (along with a look at Plas Newydd from the water).
Alternatively, you could go out to Puffin Island and to the open water, check out the local wildlife and return for a steaming hot chocolate and another dip in that awesome hot tub (you’ll need it after seeing the Menai Straits at a 45-degree angle from the rib doing doughnuts).
If you’re feeling particularly dangerous and want to know what it feels like to fly, try Zip World. Zip World boasts the longest zipline in Europe and the fastest zip line in the world. It is not for the faint hearted. In addition to the zip wire there’s a wonderful world of suspended cargo nets in Bounce Below that traverses the cave system so you and the kids can explore the underground like never before. It’s an otherworldly experience, trampolining on nets suspended 20 metres above ground.
Finally, as you’re on the way home, you could make a quick stop at the longest place name in Wales. Only ten minutes from the Britannia Bridge, LlanfairPG (as it is locally and affectionately known) is another little diamond among the ruggedness of Anglesey’s landscape. Why not take a last selfie for your FB profile?
The Year of Legends personified in a rural landscape that dates back to the iron age
From the tranquillity of the shingle cove of Porth Llanlliana, framed by Dinas Gynfor and the northernmost coastal path of Anglesey; Middle Mouse looks rather unassuming. Yet, there’s a sense that you are among the landscape of bards and legends.
The atmosphere is palpable, magic is in the ruffling hillocks and sea swept gorges and caves. The headland, Dinas Gynfor, sounds like a giant or wizard from a Tolkien novel. Middle Mouse, a name deriving from the shape of the island is like a superhero who suddenly changes from a humble rock to the birthplace of a legend when it’s Welsh name is revealed; Ynys Badrig. St Patrick’s Island!
The most northerly point of Anglesey, and Wales, is just over the hill from Llanlliana House. It’s history and myth has been cemented in Llanbadrig church, said to have been created by St Patrick himself in gratitude for having survived a tumultuous sea that left him first on the island then later holed up in a cave surviving on a source of fresh water.
The iron age hillfort, Dinas Gynfor, is quite a staggering site. Approach the headland in the spring and you’ll walk within the earthen ramparts along paths bordered with wildflowers. In the summer the heathers bloom and you’ll be treated to sightings of Choughs & Peregrine Falcons whilst Harbour porpoises feed in the swirling currents off the most northern point of Wales.
Descending to the shingle cove the headland raises up 200ft from the seafloor and the steep stepped walk will test the best willed cardio enthusiast.
A site that has gained interest for its geological treasures, the peninsula has exposed rocks dating over 490 million years old and gives a wonderful example of old and young rocks meeting from different time periods.
At the top of the climb you will have a stunning view from the Northernmost point in Wales, where an antiquated summerhouse has stood since 1901, a commemorative structure for Edward 7th’s coronation.
In addition to the most striking features of the landscape (beside Llanlliana House itself) there are a number of other historical aspects to explore when visiting Llanlliana.
The site of original nunnery is visible from the dining room of Llanlliana House and is the namesake of the house and area. Llan means “church” and lliana means “of the nuns”. The nuns would walk the coastal route to Llanbadrig (St Patrick’s church) for worship. You could also, while in the area, take a look around to see if you can find any of the other historical features of Llanlliana’s legendary landscape
Visiting Llanlliana really is like stepping into the past of Welsh legends, the land seeps atmosphere and the rugged terrain with hidden gems seems to whisper and invite on the sea breeze to discover the legendary past that lies in a contemporary setting.
Burn burn burn, the Ring of Fire
The grueling Ultramarathon, “affectionately” dubbed “The Ring of Fire” is a three day, 135 mile test of endurance for those among us who like to push their bodies to the breaking point and beyond; just to see what happens.
The first day of the run sees competitors starting their run in Holyhead and completing the first section of 35.7 miles in around 10 hours in Amlwch.
Ultramarathon running may sound like a challenge that only the fittest, bravest or perhaps more “loco” would attempt but really, it’s shouldn’t be as daunting as running a traditional marathon. Some things to note about ultramarathon running, as mentioned by some of the best runners themselves is:
It has been suggested by race organisers in the past that competitors say together in the spirit of the event and they do offer a place to stay after day one.
However, should you be running as part of a larger group or should you wish to have a cheerleading section will you on to the finishing line, we thought it might be of interest to you that we happen to have some wonderfully plump beds and a steaming hot tub that we’ve been told dulls even the weariest of legs.