COSY PLACES TO VISIT IN WINTERY WALES
Whether you’re after a festive day out or a warm winter getaway, Beth Goodwin has the lowdown on where to go.
BRYNARTH COUNTRY GUEST HOUSE, ABERYSTWYTH
Situated under the Cambrian Mountains and a short 25-minute drive from charming Aberystwyth, this cosy little B&B cottage comes complete with a roaring inglenook fireplace and fully licensed bar, perfect for canoodling with a loved one on a chilly winter’s eve. With excellent walking opportunities in the surrounding area and breakfast included, this B&B has scored the coveted five-star “excellent” rating on notorious nitpicker network TripAdvisor, so it must be something special. Additionally, when in Aberystwyth, be sure to visit local cafe Sophie’s for indulgent “freakshakes” and hot chocolates. Because what is winter about, if not gorging on the calorific content of a small chocolate factory?
Info: 01974 261367 / www.brynarth.co.uk
THE PEN & WIG, CARDIFF
Located down a quiet road on the edge of Cathays, the Pen & Wig attracts a variety of clientele, from office workers to students and locals alike. What draws this diverse crowd is undoubtedly its large outdoor garden area, complete with twinkling fairy lights, heaters and blankets. With decently priced beer, a central location and a great atmosphere, this pub is easily in the running as one of the best in Cardiff. Whilst visiting, why not check out the other yuletide activities Cardiff has to offer? The ever-expanding Winter Wonderland gives London’s Hyde Park a modest run for its money, with ice skating, rides and obligatory mulled wine bar.
Info: 029 2037 1217 / www.classicinns.co.uk/penandwigcardiff
NO SIGN WINE BAR, SWANSEA
In terms of nightlife, Swansea often lives in the shadow of that bigger, flashier capital city located 40 miles east – but it can more than keep up with Cardiff when it comes to cosy little drinking holes, like this unique bar on Wind Street. Snug yet classy, it’s not just wine on the menu. With a variety of cocktails, food, live music and a decked-out terrace area, this quirky venue has plenty of little nooks and crannies to sip a beverage and get to know someone a little better, or gather with old friends and cwtch over a glass of Pinot – black or white, that’s your choice. It’s all on offer here.
Info: 01792 465300 / www.nosignwinebar.com
STABLES RESTAURANT, TENBY
Perhaps no inter-Wales travel piece would be complete without a mention of iconic little Tenby, the town whose reputation precedes it, but so often lives up to expectation. Avoid the summer tourist crowds by heading to the harbour town in deep mid-winter and see a different side to this quaint little place. Stables, rated as one of the best restaurants in town, offers atmospheric candlelit dinners in a stone-clad venue. On the menu, classic warming winter favourites are available, from baked camembert to Welsh lamb. Expect a fine dining experience with prices to match, as main course dishes start around the £18 mark.
Info: 01834 843318 / www.stablestenby.co.uk
LIVING-ROOM TREEHOUSE EXPERIENCE, NEAR MACHYNLLETH
These rustic wooden treehouses have various claims to fame, featuring on George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces and Lonely Planet. See what all the fuss is all about for yourself and book a few nights stay in these cosy little pods of tranquillity in the trees. Seamlessly blending into the woody surroundings with rushing streams underneath, you’ll truly feel as if you are a part of nature. Each treehouse comes complete with wood-burning stove, blankets and a selection of books to curl up with. So, if you’re looking for something a little different this winter, this promises to be a truly special experience. Prices start at £379 per couple for a two-night stay, or £399 for a family.
Info: 01650 511900 / www.living-room.co
THE BEAR HOTEL, CRICKHOWELL
Whether staying the night or just looking for a quiet pint, this old coaching inn is brimming with character and atmosphere. With vintage wood furnishings, a warm and intimate barroom, and an open log fire in winter, The Bear is a fine establishment to rest after a brisk winter walk in the Beacons.
Info: 01873 810 408 / www.bearhotel.co.uk