36 hours on the Isle of Anglesey, part one

[Originally posted on www.usa.visitwales.com on May 25, 2009] Welcome to today’s blog post; coming live from Anglesey…

Menai StraitAfter a long drive across the width of England and Wales, I was pleased to finally cross over the Menai Strait, arriving on the island of Anglesey. This is a beautiful part of Wales. The sun was shimmering across the narrow stretch of water dividing Anglesey from mainland Wales, and I immediately headed to a village with one of the longest place names in the world: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch – just to take a photograph of the railroad station name… cheesy photo opp’, I know, but a lot of fun. And it impresses my American friends that I can almost pronounce that place name!

Beaumaris CastleFrom Llanfair PG (as we like to shorten it to), I headed 15 minutes to the pretty town of Beaumaris. Perched on the the coast overlooking the Menai Strait and Snowdonia mountains in the background, Beaumaris is well worth a visit. Last time I was there, I missed the castle, so this time I head straight there for a walk around. I loved climbing the spiral staircase to walk along the castle wall overlooking the town. Beaumaris Castle is a “must see” on Anglesey – one of King Edward I’s castles, now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Edward had planned for his castles to conquer North Wales; this one started being built in 1295 and was never actually finished as he ran out of money and turned his attention to Scotland. However any attackers would have been faced with 14 obstacles and four lines of fortification.

Beaumaris Castle

Also in Beaumaris, the Gaol and Courthouse are well worth visiting. I only had time to drop by the Courthouse, which dates back to 1614 – – the oldest Courthouse in Wales, and where witches were trialed at one time.

Tre Ysgawen HallI’m staying at Tre Ysgawen Hall Country House Hotel and Spa (www.treysgawen-hall.co.uk). Most of the rooms are in the stately country house which dates back to 1882, so snag a room there and enjoy the high ceilings, Victorian elegance and modern luxury. The adjoining coach house and stables is now a contemporary spa and fitness haven, complete with an impressive swimming pool, sauna, steam room, gym and treatment rooms. The spa’s signature treatment is an exclusive Halen Môn Full Body Exfoliating Scrub which has been specially developed by the spa and Halen Môn – – we’ll get the lowdown on this unique treatment from the hotel’s spa expert in the future in another blog post.

What I love about Tre Ysgawen Hall, apart from all the celebrities that have been here such as Demi Moore, is the rural setting and gorgeous grounds. The hotel is surrounded by 11 acres of woodland with easy walking trails, as well as a walled garden where fresh herbs and vegetables are grown for the restaurant. You can explore the grounds to find yourself in a secret garden featuring sculptures and pretty bluebells. I also love the free wi-fi connectivity and, of course, the impressive menu choice in the restaurant which features local food including a delicious sea bass fished locally.

Tomorrow I’ll be visiting a few more places on Anglesey including Oriel Ynys Môn, Amlwch Copper Kingdom and Trearddur Bay – – check back for part two of my 36 hours in Anglesey blog!

>> See my set of Anglesey photos on Flickr

About Paul Chibeba

Paul Chibeba now lives in London and works for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew after having spent nine years living and working in New York City.
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2 Responses to 36 hours on the Isle of Anglesey, part one

  1. Jeannie Reynolds says:

    Paul –

    You’ve convinced us (Matt & me) to visit Wales in the future – maybe next year. What is the best season to visit? And where is the best location to bicycle? Loved the longest place name in the world!

    Happy Holidays!

  2. Paul Chibeba says:

    Hi Jeannie,

    That’s awesome. Wales is truly stunning 😉

    You should visit anytime April through early October. Spring is beautiful and so is Fall before the leaves drop towards the end of October. Hmmm but in Spring you’ll see gambling lambs and daffodils everywhere – perhaps the best time.

    I’d suggest cycling parts of the Lon Las Cymru trail – http://www.cycling.visitwales.com/server.php?show=ConWebDoc.1780

    My favorite part is the Mawddach Trail. Email me with your mailing address and I’ll send a cycling brochure and a main brochure and map so you can be persuaded to plan a trip 😉

    You’d ideally want to rent a car, although the trains are quite good across North Wales (from London and/or Manchester) and scenic down the west coast.

    Hope you had a great Holiday time.


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