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Old 21 Sep 20, 02:20 PM  
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Join Date: Jul 05

tonymc's Reviews
Hotel Reviews: 4
Restaurant Reviews: 19
DIBB Villa Reviews: 1
A second unexpected staycation - Budapest to West Wales!

Like many others, our holiday plans have been somewhat disrupted by Coronavirus. We were fortunate to get away to Krakow in February, but our subsequent holidays to Madeira in May, Joanne’s to Italy in July, and another break to Budapest early this month all fell foul!

We were fortunate to get a four night break in Northumberland in July, and after cancellation of our Budapest break, we were more fortunate to find a reasonably priced accommodation for mid-September, at Gilfach Holiday Village, a few miles south of Aberaeron. I say fortunate, as most places we found that did have availability were looking at at least £120/night - no doubt due to demand from people unable or unwilling to travel outside of the UK.

Our first day (Monday 14th September) saw us setting off in brilliant sunshine via the Pontysllste Aqueduct on the Llangollen canal, somewhere Joanne had wanted to visit. The aqueduct is indeed an engineering marvel, being completed in the early 1800s by Thomas Telford. We enjoyed a stroll across the aqueduct and further down the canal before returning via a coffee stop from an impressively kitted out barge.

Our journey then took us via mid-Wales and spectacular scenery to Aberystwyth, where we did a “big shop” before the final 30 minutes to our home for the next four nights.
It’s probably fair to say it was a remote location, about 1-1/4 miles down a single track lane from the main road between Aberystwyth and Cardigan, but the view from our chalet was something special and it was soooo peaceful.
Having unpacked and dinner being courtesy of Morrisons, we enjoyed a short stroll in the evening sunshine up the track from our location, where we again enjoyed some spectacular views down Cardigan Bay towards New Quay.

Day 2 (Tuesday 15th September) sees us, after a leisurely breakfast outside in the sun, donning our walking boots for the (allegedly! ) short stroll along the Welsh Coastal Path to Aberaeron. Whilst not a particularly long walk as the crow flies, the ascent and descents over hills and river valleys made it a little more strenuous than we would have liked - we used the opportunities for photos a lot!

About an hour found us arriving, somewhat breathless, into Aberaeron where we enjoyed a coffee out in the sun overlooking the harbour. We spend a couple of hours wandering the area and enjoying lunch, before the joys of the return trip. If you recall the “road”from the A487 to our site, it wasn’t really worth us catching the bus and then walking this path... or so we thought! We did manage to make it back in slightly less time, aided by the cloud cover that took off some of the heat. This called for a rest, and the afternoon was spent lazing and enjoying the peace and spectacular view over the bay.

Following our experiences in Northumberland, we had again made dinner reservations several weeks before we travelled (all that practice with ADRs and Disney has not been in vain! ) at the Pepper Pot in New Quay. It was a pleasant drive, and a stunning entrance to the town down a steep hill to the car park.

The meal was very good - we shared a plattter of meat, cheese and bread, then a whole Lemon Sole for Jo and a rolled Lamb Shoulder for myself, with a shared toffee tart with honeycombed and caramel ice cream and a fruit coulis for dessert. A short stroll back around the town to walk off the food, followed by a brew back at our base outside whilst it was still fairly warm.

Day 3 (Wednesday 16th September) saw a change in the weather, with a sea mist having rolled in albeit still warm. Following breakfast, we then drove to the city of St Davids in the south-west corner, where we visited the cathedral and enjoyed a stroll around the city and a take-out lunch, plus a couple of ice creams!

Our return journey was broken by a diversion into Aberporth, where we managed to park up and enjoy a stroll along the beach. Another beautiful location, which did remind us very much of Cornwall where we visited last year, albeit the sun had still not broken through here.

Again, the usual ritual of a brew, this time with a couple of scones (just missing a tartan rug nowadays! ), and a restorative nap before making our way back to New Quay for a “chippy tea” (being Jo’s turn to pay! ), which we enjoyed sitting on the harbour wall with another spectacular view of Cardigan Bay (as the mist had moved on by now) and being watched very closely by a somewhat overweight seagull (although it was probably thinking the same about me! ).

Yet another stroll around a quiet New Quay before heading back to our residence.

Day 4 (Thursday 17th September) had us booked on a dolphin spotting trip out of New Quay at midday, so we enjoyed a lie-in and leisurely breakfast before heading south yet again. Parking, incidentally, was free throughout Ceredigion in the council’s car parks, maybe as a result of people not having change for the machines with most transactions now being cashless. We had time for a coffee and a look in some of the shops before our departure time.

It was an enjoyable hour, and although we saw a couple of seals, unfortunately no dolphins, but as it was noted, they do have an erratic timetable those dolphins! Naturally, being at sea had made us hungry, so a couple of large pasties were enjoyed sitting on the rocks overlooking the smaller beach - sometimes the simple things in life are the best.

An ice-cream later, we return to our accommodation to enjoy the afternoon sun, before our “ADR” at The Cellar in Aberaeron. When we had a brew here on Tuesday, we asked if we could be sat in the marquee on the harbour side, and we were indeed able to do so. We enjoyed chicken and a bowl of mussels for starters, then loin of cod for Jo and Pork Belly for myself. Very good portions, and excellent quality, washed down with a pint of local bitter and a glass of the house white.

With no room for dessert, we had a last stroll around the town before heading back to the Gilfach metropolis! As we arrived back, we notice that the clear sky gave us a spectacular display of stars, and indeed, we saw what we can assume was a shooting star. Usually, with living a few miles from Wigan and a retail park light pollution doesn’t give much chance of seeing this.

Incidentally, we had commented on the colours that the houses were painted in both New Quay and Aberaeron. It turns out that this is a legacy from centuries ago when fishermen would be away from home for long periods, and not having house numbers, the houses were painted in different colours so they could identify their own. Have to say that most of the properties were immaculately painted, and looked very picturesque from a distance.

Our final day (Friday 18th September) being our check-out day sees us getting up at the ungodly (for this week anyhow!) time of 08:00. Having stripped the beds and packed the cases, we enjoyed our final breakfast outdoors in the sun. Today, we were visiting Portmeirion (of The Prisoner fame) up near Porthmadog, a 75 mile journey. I had also booked us in for lunch at the on-site Castell Deudraeth restaurant, the price of which included afternoon admission into the village itself.

One thing we learned is that the journey along the A487 and A470 is not a speedy one! Despite our sat-nav predicting a 1 hour 45 minute journey, it took us almost an hour longer, due in no small part to the numerous sets of roadworks, and a hay truck that caused a 15 minute delay turning into a narrow farm entrance - good job we left at 10:00 for our 13:00 reservation!

The restaurant is about 1/2 mile from the village itself, and is a much more dressed up affair than our usual lunch time stops. We were warmly welcomed by our host, and we were lucky to get a table right in the corner of the conservatory, overlooking the grounds and Afon Dwryd estuary.

The meal was a very high standard, with service to match. We both enjoyed the smoked duck starter, with Jo having Pork Belly with potatoes and red cabbage, whilst myself, having had pork the previous night, went for the Steak and Ale pie. Both as may be expected were excellent, and were accompanied by a glass of Rose Prosecco for Jo and a Diet Coke for the designated driver. Needless to say, we were both too full for dessert.

For anyone considering visiting Portmeirion, the lunch menu was very, very good value at £20 for 2 courses (or £25 for 3 courses) as this also included admission to the village which itself is £13 - the cost of the meal was effectively £7 each, only a shade more than the cost of a sandwich inside the village.

On entering the village, my first impression was we had been teleported to Italy in EPCOT! With it being a sunny day, it was all too easy to think we were abroad!

So after a pleasant few hours, it was then time to head for home, which was via Betws-y-Coed and the A548 to Abergele, then A55, M56 and M6, the 115 miles taking us less time than our journey this morning.

All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our short stay, no doubt helped very much by the fantastic weather we had.
Link to all trip reports here
2021 now 2022 Long Haul to Aus & NZ - Thanks Amex & Avios!, 2020 A second unexpected staycation - Budapest to West Wales!, 2019 It’s Disney... but not as we know it!,2017 CA Possibly, Maybe, Definitely..,2016 Economy and a Studio Just Isn't Good Enough! 2015 East AND West is Best Take 2: Canada...
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