A UK Christmas

cardiff

Well Christmas has come and gone, and it has certainly beena busy one for us. We headed up to friends in Oxford for a traditional British Christmas day and I can honestly say turkey does taste better in winter!

Since we were UK bound for the Christmas break, we thought that Wales would be a fabulous spot to visit. After careful deliberation, we selected a route and decided to focus our attention on the north before heading down to Cardiff for New Years Eve, where something just a little exciting was to take place.

​Read on…

Llangollen

Northern Wales

We stayed in a room right on the river and enjoyed some lovely walks. They’d recently opened the dam, so the water was high and flowing fast. Some daring people were even taking to it in kayaks, which was a sight to see. Next we headed off to Porthmadogg a 45-minute drive away through Snowdonia National Park. Although it was the wrong time of year for ascending Mount Snowdon, we enjoyed the rain cascading down the mountains in mini waterfalls and a vintage train ride from Porthmadogg to Ffestinog.  After a cosy night at a small boutique hotel, we drove another 45 minutes north to Caernarfon.

In true Laura spirit, I left the Wales guidebook Pete got me for Christmas at home on the coffee table as we were leaving, but none the less, Caernarfon Castle was one of the gems we ‘stumbled upon’ should we have used the guide book to plan our journey.  It was also in Caernarfon I realised I’d left my bathers behind which were going to be essential in a few days time in Bath…. things were going well.

Blanau Ffestinog

Caenarfon

We had a fabulous time exploring the castle in Caenarfon and a deluxe birthday dinner at a gastro pub. Our B&B was wasn’t very busy, so we got pick of rooms and chose an apartment style room with a large bathroom featuring a claw foot bath. It was absolute bliss and a fabulous way to spend a birthday. The following morning, I ticked trying Welsh rarebit (fancy welsh cheese sauce) on toast off my list before we said goodbye to our host and buckled in for the journey to Cardiff.

Cardiff

After a few days in the country it was nice to see the city. We had great views of the river, park and castle from our hotel and were walking distance from everywhere. We had no set plans other than Cardiff Castle and ice-skating, and enjoyed our time exploring the city and having a cheeky cocktail or two. The city itself is quite small, but very pretty and features some sites such as the church that Roald Dahl was baptised in. It was definitely worth a visit and the behind the scenes tour of the castle lead us to some spectacular rooms.

New Years Eve

On New Years Eve, we had a lovely pub meal before heading out to Winter Wonderland for a midnight skate. Whilst the rink was crowded and bumpy, we enjoyed watching the fireworks and ringing the New Year on the ice. Not long after the clock struck twelve, Pete proposed and brought in the New Year in the most wonderful way.

Cardiff castle

Bath

A little tired after new years, we spent New Years Day driving back into England to explore Bath. Because of the public holiday, the thermal baths for swimming were closed, so I booked us into a hotel with thermal baths inside of them.  Because of the new year, we had unrestricted access to the Turkish Baths. The baths included plunge pools, infrared and traditional saunas, a steam room, a thermal pool with water fountains to massage you, and the one thing I couldn’t get over … an alcove with a lion in it that had lavender scented ice coming out of it’s mouth into a glass bowl so you could cool yourself down post steam room. 

​If that wasn’t enough you could have a cool floral water or cup of thick chocolate to drink whilst you did the ‘circuit’. I think I’ve told Pete I want to go back about 50 times since! It was the most relaxing experience and the hotel itself was stunning with a giant king size bed so high you almost had to climb up into it … amazing.

Aside from the luxe hotel, we both loved Bath. The ancient Roman baths were a site to behold and the site was amazingly restored. It was incredible to see such clever ideas being implemented so many years ago. Visiting places such as this as special to us because they are so different to anything we have in Australia and it is amazing to take a journey back in time.

The round up

Lately we: Got engaged, visited Wales, visited Bath, became addicted to Turkish Baths, visited A&E, had an engagement photo shoot in Brighton, planned a wedding in a month, took a camera on holidays without a battery in it, hit my head on a stair case in a castle, soaked in a claw foot tub, cooled myself with lavender ice that came out of a stone lion’s mouth, took a quick detour to Stratford Upon Avon (Shakespeare’s Birthplace), ate the last of our Tim Tams! ​

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