Monday, 21 December 2009

Oriel y Felin Gallery is moving to St Davids Pembrokeshire

Gallery is moving
Oriel y Felin Gallery and Tearoom in Trefin is now closed and will be moving into St Davids in March 2010. The new address will be Rhosson House, 5 Nun Street, St Davids, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire
SA62 6NS
Tel 01437 720386

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Abbey-Cwm-Hir Hall Powys

The Hall at Abbey-Cwm-Hir near Llandrindod Wells Powys is Grade 11* listed and is one of Wales` finest examples of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture.
The Hall is open to the public all year round and visitors are treated to a guided tour of all the rooms by the owners.From November until early January each room is decorated with elaborate Christmas decorations.Paul & Victoria Humpherston bought the hall in 1997 and have spent 9yrs restoring it to a building of gothic splendour: boasting stunning interiors & fascinating collections.They have also restored 12 acres of Victorian gardens set above the ruins of the 12th C 'Abbey of the long valley'. The hall has appeared on several t.v documentaries on historic houses & lifestyles. Their achievements have been featured on BBC 'Discovering Welsh houses', 'My Secret Wales', 'Wales Today', 'How the other half lives' & 'Great Welsh Roads'.
A visit not to be missed.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Plynlimon & Nant -y-Moch Powys

Nant-y-Moch Reservoir (In English:- the pig stream) is located on Plynlimon, the highest point in the Cambrian mountains.Not only is this area popular with cyclists all year round but it is also an important region for breeding, wintering & feeding bird fauna, particularly Hen Harrier, Merlin, Short eared owl and Red & Black Grouse.

Claerwen Dam,Elan Valley, Powys

The wild and wonderful Elan Valley, near Rhayader was pretty quiet today,although there were a few walkers scattered around on the white hillsides around the reservoir. It was mightly cold up there and the frequent snow showers were heavy.A working farmhouse sits right underneath the colossal looming wall,just yards from the huge mass of water being held back!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Colin Gronow's Wales

Those planning to holiday in south Wales may be interested to see Colin Gronow's website. Colin was born in Wales and has spent many happy hours touring in his beloved VW camper van, mostly in the south and west. His website is the result. It is packed with useful information together with many lovely photographs.

Staff and friends of Quality Cottages enjoyed their Christmas lunch at the welcoming Farmers Arms in Mathry, north Pembrokeshire. The fires were crackling as hot punch was served to warm our frosty fingers. Food and company was excellent. It was good to be all together, a rare event since the office works shifts.
Mr Rees our proprietor once again surprised and delighted us by showing off one more of his hidden talents. He is an excellent and jovial barman and host.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Walkers take note Pembrokeshire's Coastal Buses still run through the winter.

Four out of the five Pembrokeshire coastal buses run through the winter. A reduced service to reflect the demand at this time of year. Walkers can still walk their chosen section of the coastal path and then catch the bus back to their start point. The buses run in both directions along the path.

Poppit Rocket - between Cardigan and Newport, via Moylgrove On: Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays (Connects with 412 Fishguard bus in Newport)

Strumble Shuttle - between Fishguard – St Davids*, via coast road. *Including Whitesands On: Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Puffin Shuttle – between Haverfordwest – Milford Haven – St Davids, via coast road. On: Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays. Please note the 315 Puffin Shuttle bus actually runs from Haverfordwest – Milford Haven – Marloes, 6-days a week (Monday – Saturday).

Coastal Cruiser – between Pembroke – Angle – Bosherston - Stackpole - Freshwater East, Mondays – Saturdays

In addition to these buses there are local bus services that run all year round, with limited Sunday services in the summer.

For further information see the transport pages of

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Conwy Castle World Heritage Site

Conwy in North Wales has so much to offer from its walled town of little streets full of cosy pubs and tea shops, boutiques, crafts and local food produce to its collection of World Heritage Sites. Check out its calender of events including the Conwy River Festival and 700 year old Honey Fair and don't forget the Gwledd Conwy Feast but if you only have time for one thing then Cathy and Angelo recommend you visit the mighty Conwy Castle built in the 13th C by Edward I as part of his 'ring of steel' to subdue the Welsh population. You will find a warm Welsh welcome, magnificent views, 700 year old architecture and a compelling urge to visit again soon.

Caernarfon and the Celtic Heart of Wales

Built by Edward I to subdue the Welsh this magnificent military stronghold was a seat of government and a royal palace. Standing on the mouth of the Seiont river the castle still dominates and protects the walled town of Caernarfon in North Wales and is a World Heritage Site.

Explore the friendly town's shops full of traditional Welsh products, eat and drink in one of the many restaurants, cafes and pubs and listen to the Welsh language being spoken which still thrives today despite the efforts of Edward I so long ago.

Cathy & Angelo

Bodnant Garden National Trust
The Bodnant Estate near Conwy in North Wales is a strikingly beautiful estate of hilly and wooded countryside in the lower reaches of the Conwy Valley. The world famous garden owned by the National Trust is at the heart of the estate with its spectacular Laburnam Arch, grand Italianate terraces, river streams and waterfalls and its National collection of plants including rhododendrons and magnolias. Unusual shrubs and plants are on sale as well as gifts and crafts at the Bodnant Garden Centre in the grounds.
Check for opening times
Angelo & Cathy

The Legend of Devils Bridge, Ceredigion

The picturesque village of Devils Bridge is divided by the Mynnach river over which three bridges have been built one on top of the other.

The present iron bridge was built in 1901, the stone bridge underneath was built in 1753. The bottom and original bridge 1075 - 1200  is said to have been built by the devil since in those days it was an impossible task for a mere mortal. In return for this service the devil demanded the soul of the first life to cross over.

A wily old Welsh woman threw breadcrumbs over the bridge. Her dog ran across after them and was therefore the first life to cross. The devil was so disgruntled at being tricked he left and never bothered the villagers again.

Angelo and Cathy can confirm that  Devils Bridge is indeed a peaceful, picturesque and fascinating place to visit. Why not go by steam train from Aberystwyth the journey passes through breathtaking scenery and the train will wait long enough for you to walk through outstanding natural beauty to the waterfall and punchbowl. There is time too to visit the shops and cafe.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Foggy afternoon in Mid-Wales

It may have been a foggy day last Friday but the trees in this copse in the Mochdre Hills above Newtown were truly atmospheric & dramatic.

December barbecue

It was the 12th of December and the weather was wonderful at Ynislas
beach, Borth on Cardigan Bay. We carried the barbecue stuff over the sand dunes and cooked sausages, bacon and fried onions in the winter sunshine.

Electric Mountain

Take a journey of discovery inside one of Europe's largest man made caverns in Llanberis, North Wales to learn how electricity reaches us when we most need it.

Rest and refresh at Esthers Cuisine, browse in the gift shop and let your children enjoy 'The Den' a soft play area for children up tp 12 years of age.
Cathy & Angelo

Mrs Vi Weston MBE Proprietor of The Olde Worlde Cafe, Bosherston, Pembrokeshire

Mrs Violet Weston 87 proprietor of the Olde Worlde Cafe in Bosherston has been awarded the MBE for her services to hospitality and tourism.. She has opened her cafe in Bosherston every day since taking over from her parents in 1952 and has no plans to retire.

See  February 1st Blog 'A Delightful Saturday Afternoon'

Mr Leonard Rees and all at Quality Cottages congratulate Mrs Weston and wish her all the very best for the future.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Walk Pembrokeshire's Coastal Path

From Amroth in the south to Poppit in the north the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path stretches 186 miles through rich and varied landscapes of constant breathtaking coastal scenery, rugged cliffs, ancient woodland, sandy beaches, secret coves and tiny harbours. Visit seaside settlements, sleepy towns, even the unique and captivating village city of St Davids with the magnificent Cathedral nestled at its heart. Rest and refresh at waterside taverns and cosy eateries. Wonder at the profusion of wild flowers and teeming wildlife. Take boat trips out to the offshore bird islands Walk as little or as much as you want. A regular coastal bus service designed for walkers will pick you up and drop you off all along the route.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Wales Ape & Monkey Sanctuary

The Wales Ape & Monkey Sanctuary is 14 miles north of Swansea in the upper Swansea Valley.
Visitors are welcome to see rescued animals and learn about the work done to improve their quality of life. The animals have come from zoos, laboratories and circumstances of mistreatment and deprivation world wide. They are unable to survive in the wild.

The centre is dedicated to improving the lives of these animals by making them healthy, comfortable, happy and stress free.
The centre is open 10.30 til dusk every day throughout the year.

Strawberry Shortcake Dining, Pembrokeshire Wales

Scott Davis innovative and creative chef has worked in London, New York and Wales gaining experience in Western, Thai, Japanese and French cuisine. He has now set up his own catering company specialising in private dining.
Whatever the occasion, no matter where you are or how many are in your party give Scott a call to help with all your catering needs. He will visit your holiday home and help to make your celebration even more enjoyable.

Manor House Wildlife Park, Pembrokeshire

Yvonne thoroughly recommends Manorhouse Wildlife Park in St Florence near Tenby as a great day out. The new owner
Anna Ryder-Richardson (of TV fame) and her family have embraced Pembrokeshire and the park, pouring their hearts and resources into the refurbishment.

"Not a huge collection of animals BUT very refreshing. It's for the benefit of the animals as well as the pleasure of the people who visit."

There is a walk through area to see wallabies including an albino one.

The resident gibbon once lived in a concrete room for several years. Now he has a lady friend in a specially designed outdoor area with an island.

" I saw him many metres up at the top of a tree. Wonderful!"

Rhinos are due to move in during 2010. Other animals in the park include tortoise, porcupines, kookaburras, lemurs, pygmy goats, mountain meercats, ponies, llamas, zebras, horses, camels, monkeys, emus and bison.

There is a lot of walking so be prepared. Its not really suitable for wheel chairs. The shop sells unusual bits and pieces. The Manor Cafe and Snack Shack serve food made with natural ingredients locally sourced.
There is even a picnic area where you can set up your own barbeque.

Anna Ryder-Richardson

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Wales: 100 places to visit before you die.

Compiled by historian John Davies the list gives equal prominence to Wales' more traditional beauty spots and its industrial heritage all evidence of of the fruits of the labours of human beings

1 Mynydd Parys (Parys Mountain Anglesey)
2 The burial tombs of Stone Age Wales,
Barclodiad y Gawres and Bryn Celli Ddu, Anglesey
3 Beaumaris, Anglesey   
4 The Menai Strait bridges
5 Bangor
6 Caernarfon
7 The ancient hillfort of Tre'r Ceiri near Nefyn Lleyn Peninsula
8 Llanberis
9 Gwydyr forest, Snowdonia National Park
10 Bodnant Garden, Conwy
11 Conwy
12 Rhuddfan & Llanelwy, near St Asaph
13 Denbigh
14 Treffynnon, Holywell
15 Ewlo, Deeside, Clwyd
16 Mold, Flintshire
17 Gresford, Wrexham
18 Bersham & Erddig
19 Wrexham
20  Chirk
21 Pontcysllte
22 Llangollen
23 Ruthin
24 Bala & Penllyn
25 Blaenau Ffestiniog
26 Portmeirion
27 Harlech
28 Pennant Melangel, shrine church near Llangynog
29 Welshpool
30 Montgomery
31 Newtown
32 Centre for Alternative Technology
33 Aberystwyth
34 Aeraeron
35 Strata-Florida Abbey
36 Llananno, Powys
37 The Pales
38 resteigne
39 Talgarth
40 Llangorse
41 Tretower Castle Powys
42 Brecon
43 Garn Goch & Castell Carreg Cennen
44 Llandeilo
45 Cardigan
46 Moel Drygen, Cambrians
47 Pentre Ifan
48 St Davids
49 Haverfordwest
50 Pembroke
51 Lamphey & Manobier
54 Carmarthen
55 National Botanic Garden of Wales
56 Llanelli
57 Swansea
58 Mumbles
59 Morriston
60 Swansea Valley
61 Neath
62 Margam Park
63 Kenfig & the dunes
64 Ewenny
65 Llantwit Major
66 Barry
67 Old Beaupre Castle, Vale of Galmorgan
68 Bridgend castle
69 Cathays Park
70 Cardiff Bay
71 Llandaff
72 St Fagans
73 Castell Coch
74 Caerphilly
75 Pontypridd
76 Rhondda Heritage Park
77 Rhondda townscape
78 Aberdare
79 Aberfan
80 Merthyr Tydfil
81 Dowlais
82 Butetown
83 Tredegar
84 Brynmawr
85 Middle Newport
86 Fringe Newport
87 Gwent plains
88 Caerleon
89 Cwmbran
90 Pontypool
91 Blaenavon
92 Abergavenny
93 Llanthony
94 The Teirtref
95 Raglan
96 Trelech (Trelleck) Monmouthshire
97 Tintern
98 Caerwent, former Roman city
99 Second Crossing across Bristol Channel
100 Chepstow


The Really Wild Farm Shop Pembrokeshire
The Really Wild Farm Shop at Nant y Coy Arts, Treffgarne opened in November.

Locally produced food, meat, seasonal vegetables & fruit, cheeses and other quality products are on sale.

'With free parking and friendly personal service you'll find it easier to stop and easier to shop'.

The Really Wild Food & Countryside Festival takes place in St Davids on the fiirst weekend in September every year.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Llechwedd Slate Mines

industrial heritage
train ride
food & drink

Take an underground tour to experience the life of Victorian slate miners, Llechwedd Slate Mine, Snowdonia

Stroll around a Victorian mining village have a drink in the Miners arms and buy sweets in Ffestin Morgan's sweet shop.
There are seasonal events throughout the year.
Santa will be visiting throughout December.

Kathy & Angelo

Porth Dinllaen, Lleyn Peninsula

food & drink

The small coastal village of Porth Dinllaen owned by the National Trust is nestled along a two mile stretch of magnificent natural harbour which includes Nefyn and Morfa Nefyn on the Lleyn Peninsula. The village pub the Ty Coch Inn is rated by many as the best pub in Wales for its location, views, ales and good lunch time menu.
Vehicular access is restricted to residents only. Visitors must park and walk, either across the beach or across the golf course.
Jet Skis photo by Kirsty of
Angelo & Cathy

Friday, 27 November 2009

Late night Christmas Shopping Cardiff

Late night Christmas shopping Royal Arcade Cardiff will be held 3rd December between 5pm - 8pm.
Melin Tregwynt (the mill shop) will be open. Its a great place to find unique Welsh gifts including blankets, throws, nursery stuff, outdoor stuff, gifts, accessories and lots more. The mill is in Pembrokeshire. Do visit when you are in the area.