There are only five days left until Christmas. Yes, you read that right. Where has the time gone? If you’re anything like us, you’ve been holding out for the perfect Christmas gift. Waiting until you find the perfect present. And that’s great. It shows thought and commitment. But, it also means you don’t actually have a present and time is running out. Fast.

Not to worry though. Wales Tourists Online is here to save the day. We’ve scouted out some fantastic deals and have come up with a list of great cottages and hotels to help you give the perfect gift this Christmas – a holiday.

The Copthorne Hotel, Cardiff, South Wales

The Copthorne Hotel is the perfect getaway gift. After an indulgent Christmas you can begin your health boost by working up a sweat in the hotel’s modern health club, which comes complete with a gym and a 15 metre swimming pool. Once you’ve worked out, hit the sauna and steam room to unwind. Then, you can refuel in the hotel’s award-winning restaurant before heading into Cardiff for an evening of entertainment. If you’re looking for a spot of pampering, The Copthorne Hotel has an on-site hair salon. We can’t think of a better way to kick start 2016.

The Copthorne South WalesThe Copthorne Swimming Pool


St Mary’s Golf and Country Club, Bridgened, Glamorgan

With an 18-hole golf course, a stay at St Mary’s Golf and Country Club would make an excellent Christmas present for any keen golfer. The well-kept course is challenging, with an unusual water hazard and plenty of banks, bunkers, and mature oaks for you to manoeuvre.

Not only does St Mary’s Golf and Country Club have superb golfing facilities, it also has a restaurant that serves sumptuous meals and a well-stocked bar for relaxing in at night time. Plus, if you need a break from golf you explore the beautiful nearby countryside or visit one of the number of local castles, such as Coity Castle, the Llantrisant Castle and the Candleston Castle.


St Mary's Hotel Gol

St Mary's Hotel Golf and Country Club

The Old Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast, Dyffryn Ardudwy, Gwynedd

Overlooking Cardigan Bay, the Old Farmhouse oozes picturesque charm. With beams, one and a half acres of gorgeous grounds and a swimming pool, you couldn’t ask for more from a romantic getaway. Oh wait, yes you can – a hot tub. If that won’t put a smile on someone’s face this Christmas morning, we’re not sure if anything will. As well as superb facilities, the Old Farmhouse offers a hearty breakfast of locally sourced meat from the award-winning butcher. You can also enjoy fruit salad, cereals, croissants or toasts. If you’re going to be out enjoying the many nearby attractions for a day out, a healthy or unhealthy packed lunch can be prepared for you too for just £5.

The Old Farmhouse B&B

Rose Villa Bed and Breakfast, Pennant, Llanon

If the person in your life can’t bear to be parted from their pet, then you’ve just found the perfect solution – Rose Villa Bed and Breakfast. This pet-friendly B&B will welcome your pet with open arms and you’ll also be able to enjoy the B&Bs own animal menagerie. The owners have a visiting pair of Canadian geese, wildlife on their lake and often see pheasants and red kites. The owners also house chickens, croesfford texels (sheep) and horses. Oh and did we mention there’s even a model railway onsite? From just £30.00 per night, including a hearty Welsh breakfast with eggs laid by the chickens, a stay at Rose Villa Bed and Breakfast would be a charming and memorable Christmas gift.

Rose Villa

We haven’t got the decorations up at Wales Tourists HQ yet, but we’re definitely getting into the Christmas spirit. Today, over a mid-morning coffee break, we chatted about a few of our Christmas traditions. We thought you might like to know about the best suggestions.

So here’s a list of some of our favourite Christmas activities in Wales that you can do this December:

Ice skating at Swansea Winter Wonderland 2015 

First on the list had to be ice skating at Swansea’s Winter Wonderland. The Admiral rink is set in the heart of the fair and is a fantastic place to skate. Plus, there’s also a children’s rink. Apparently this is the only children’s rink in Wales.

Once you’ve finished skating you could also visit the grotto, ride the big wheel or try out the fun fair. And after all of that, refuel at the Alpine cabins with some hearty food and drink.

Prices: Prices ranged from £5.50 to £9.00. You can get discounted tickets if you book in advance. Family passes are also available.

Fact: 43,000 people skated at Swansea Winter Wonderland last Christmas.

Santa’s Toy Mine at Rhondda Heritage Par

If you have small children or young kids in the family, Santa’s Toy Mine is a must-do activity for you this December. You’ll be invited to follow clues through the mine to find Father Christmas. During your festive adventure you’ll pass through the sweet mine and the ice cave.

The Toy Mine is held at Rhondda Heritage Park and is open until the 24th December 2015.

Tickets are £7.95 for children and £4.95 for adults

Fact: Until the mid-1800s, it’s thought that Father Christmas rode a donkey.

Mold’s Festive Market, 13th December

Whether you’re looking for handmade Christmas gifts for someone special or some traditional Christmas food, you’re sure to find it aplenty Mold’s Festive Market. As well as craft stalls, there will be performers, Christmas rides and inflatables, as well as a Santa’s grotto, a children’s treasure hunt and a Santa Dash race. So quite a busy day! This year the event is held on the 13th December between 9am and 2pm.

Christmas concert at St David’s, Cardiff, 18th December

Listening to beautiful voices is one of the best ways we know how to get into the Christmas spirit and we know the talent planned for this year’s concert at St David’s is bound to warm even though most Scrooge-like of folks. This year the line-up includes Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride and music from The Snow Maiden by Rimsky-Korsakov’s. Of course, you’ll also get the chance to get involved too during the sing-along sections. So get practicing.

Also taking part in the Christmas concert are: Edwin Outwater, the conductor, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the BBC National Chorus of Wales and the Caerphilly Children’s Choir. The concert takes place on the 18th of December and Tickets range from between £10 and £32.

Fact: The largest ever Father Christmas was a statue in Singapore. The Santa was 15.6 m high, weighed 2.5 tonnes and was in place for Christmas 1996.



How on earth is it half term already? It feels like only yesterday we were rinsing down the body boards and tidying up the buckets and spades. If half term has got you in a spin, don’t fret. We’re here to save the day (or in this case the week). Use our guide to make sure your October half term is fun-filled, exciting and doesn’t break the bank.

A leisurely walk around Hawarden

Hawarden at this time of year is beautiful. Blazing orange and red leaves, lots of winding paths to explore, an abandoned corn mill, stream, orchard and the odd cow and horse to meet along the way – what more could you want from a walk?

Make sure after all that fresh, healthy air you make your way to the Hawarden Farm Shop. Not only could you pick up some delicious foods for dinner from their deli and shop, they make heavenly cakes that are well worth trying.

You can find some routes here or just go for a wander. The paths are relatively well sign-posted. Being relatively flat for Wales, this is a nice one to do with kids or the more reluctant walker. But make sure you pack some wellies or suitable footwear as it can get muddy.

Big Bug Hunt, Erdigg

Not afraid of bugs? No? How about if the bugs are gigantic? Huge? Out-of-this-world ginormous? Still not scared? Okay, then the Big Bug Hunt at Erdigg, which is run by the National Trust, sounds perfect for you. A crafts person has created 10 big bugs and hidden them around the National Trust house. It’s your mission to find the bugs. This event is free, but normal admission prices still apply. If you’re keen to take part in this fun event, contact Susanne Gronnow: 01978 315160,

Dylan’s Big Birthday Bash, Swansea

You’ve been invited to a special party – Dylan Thomas’ 101st birthday celebration. With the promise of birthday cake, poetry fun and even some fanciful face painting, this is one party you’ll defineitly want to add to your diary. The event takes place on Tuesday 27th October at Somerset Place and is set to run from 12pm to 4pm.

Peppa Pig Surprise Show, Cardiff

Okay. We know you may not feel too warmly about Peppa Pig having watched more than you ever thought it possible to watch of one cartoon pig, but you’ll probably make your kids week if you took them along to the Peppa Pig’s Surprise live show at Cardiff.

During the performance you and your little ones will meet Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig, George and of course Peppa. This activity isn’t as budget-friendly as the other activities on the list, but it might make the perfect treat if you have young children.

Welly Week and a Halloween Party, Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan

Set within 55 acres Dyffryn Gardens boasts stunning lawns, a rose garden, elegant ponds, a glasshouse, a Pompeian garden and trees from around the world. If that wasn’t enough they’ve also got some fantastic events on for kids during October half term, such as Welly Week. If you take part in welly week you’ll be invited to go on a welly hunt around the gardens looking for hidden wellies. And remember to look out for the golden welly boot.

Also being held at Dyffryn Gardens is Apple Week and a Halloween disco. At the disco your children can show off their spooky Halloween costumes and their dance moves, as well as go on a walk and take part in the Halloween themed games and storytelling. Here’s more information about the events at Dyffryn Gardens.

At Wales Tourists Online HQ we love autumn – the crisp air, the incredible colours of the trees and, of course, the odd conker competition. To cap it all off, we get Bonfire Night on the 5th of November. An excuse for hot dogs, sparklers and maybe a pint or two of something warming. In today’s post we want to show you some of the best bonfire and firework displays Wales has to offer you this year (2015). Let us know where you head to and if you have any recommendations:

Beaumaris Bonfire Night, Anglesey, Saturday 7th November 2015

Kicking off our guide to bonfire night in Wales with a big, bright bang (pun fully intended) is Beaumaris Bonfire and Fireworks Night. For £4 (children are free though!) you’ll be treated to a firework display that will fill the sky and a bonfire on the beach. In 2014 the event expected 8000 people to attend, so you might want to think about parking and finding a spot sharpish. For photos and more information, you can check out the Beaumaris Fireworks Facebook page.

Fact: Did you know that the first ever known fireworks display in England took place at Henry VII wedding, way back in 1486?

Llandudno Firework Display, Llandudno, Saturday 7th November 2015

The Llandudno Firework Display will get you and your family ooohing and aaahing like you’ve never ooohed and aaahed before. Taking place on Saturday 7th of November the fireworks in this display are made the more spectacular by its pier setting. Watch the fireworks explode overhead and see their reflections in the waves below. Magnificent.

This event is free and is so popular it has its own Facebook page where you can find out more information ahead of the big event.

Here’s a video of last year’s firework display:


Ride the Rocket Firework Train, Llangollen, Sunday 1st November 2015

If you’re looking for an alternative bonfire night, something that’s slightly different from all of the events you’ve been to in the past, then climbing aboard the Ride the Rocket Firework Train might be just what you’re after. Yep, you read that right. A firework train.

For £16 (adult return) or £10 (child return) you get to board a beautiful steam train at Llangollen and then ride to Glyndyfrdwy. Here you’ll enjoy a stunning fireworks display. You can buy hot refreshments on board, as well as alcoholic drinks. If you fancy a firework display with a twist, book now. The train has been fully booked for the last four years. You’ve been warned.

The rhyme:

“Remember, remember

The fifth of November,

Gunpowder, treason and plot.

We know no reason why gunpowder treason

should never, ever be forgot.”

DIY bonfire night party

Don’t want to roam far this firework night? If that’s the case you could always host your own bonfire night party at home or have a little celebration in the holiday cottage you’re staying in. Although fireworks might be out of the question, indoor fireworks can be a good alternative. You could make your bonfire night bonanza extra special with apple bobbing, roasting marshmallows over a fire (a chimenea might work if you can’t have a full-blown bonfire in your back garden) and a big batch of pumpkin soup people can help themselves to. Ginger cake or parkin cake, spicy sausages and a cheese fondue are also great bonfire night party food options.

Fact: Did you know that on the 5th of November every year the men, women and children who live in St Ottery, Devon celebrate Tar Barrel Festival? The participants set light to barrels that contain tar and, with the lit barrels on their heads, run through the streets.

Remember to let us know how you got on if you go to a firework display this bonfire night in Wales! We love hearing about your trips and recommendations.

The Big Welsh Quiz

A fun quiz about our great nation. How much do you know?

How is it the 14th of August already? It feels as though it should be March. And if the year feels like it’s slipping by too quickly, how fast has this summer gone? Before long we’ll be huddling round a crackling open fire drinking thick hot chocolates. But, the summer isn’t over yet and before we descend into another very British winter, we thought we’d share some ideas and tips for surfing holidays in Wales.

Whether you’re a beginner to surfing or an absolute pro, Wales is a great place to go on a surfing holiday. Especially if you don’t fancy a long, long drive to Cornwall. As always, if you’ve got some surfing ideas or tips you’d like to share, we’d love to know. Feel free to add a comment to the bottom of this blog, or contact us via our Facebook page or by tweeting us @TouristsOnline.

Surf Snowdonia, Wales, Snowdon

Much anticipated, Surf Snowdonia is an inland surf lagoon that opened in August 2015. Since opening, it’s not disappointed. With breath taking mountain views of Snowdon’s mountainside, clean, clear water and the perfect, albeit orchestrated, waves, it’s a winning combination for any surfer.

There are several options if you want to surf. You can do free surfing, which means you are allocated a bay. There are three types of bay – beginner, intermediate and advanced. The waves within each bay are suited to your ability. Prices for free surfing sessions depend on your ability. Beginner sessions go from 19 for one hour, whilst intermediate and advanced free surf sessions go from £29 per hour.

If you’d prefer some guidance, whether you’re a beginner or just want to brush up on your surfing skills, you can also get lessons from Surf Snowdonia. Kids’ lessons go from £29 per hour, whilst adult lessons are from £39 per hour. Again, the price gets higher the more advanced a surfer you are.

There’s also a coffee bar, shops, glass viewing platform and a soft play shack for the kids, which makes Surf Snowdonia a practical and handy day out, as well as an exhilarating one.

Here’s a video to give you a taste of what Surf Snowdonia is all about:


We like our food here at Wales Tourists Online HQ. And, as proud foodies, we’re obviously big cheese lovers.

Thankfully, for cheese enthusiasts like ourselves, Wales has got a lot to offer. From its award-winning cheddars to creamy goats cheese masterpieces. Visit Wales have a good guide to the some of Wales’ finest cheeses.

However, not only are there plenty of great cheese producers in Wales, there are also some great cheese festivals, events and attractions. Here’s our guide for cheese lovers who want to holiday in Wales.

If you try any of our suggestions out, or you have some more ideas, please share them with us. We love hearing from you.


Wales gets a lot of things right – food, scenery and, of course, pubs. We like nothing better than sunning ourselves in a pub garden, eating home cooked pub grub whilst making sampling one or two of the local ales. Sounds like summer bliss to our ears. Or, if the weather turns a little inclement, then we wouldn’t grumble about putting our feet up in front of the well-stoked fire either. Whatever the weather, we always love heading to a Welsh pub.

In this blog post we wanted to share some of the best pubs we’ve come across. Mind you, if you think you’ve been to better then let us know. We’d love to have an excuse to conduct more thorough research to check that your claims are correct. Well, it’s all in a day’s work after all!

Groes Inn, Conwy

With views as good as its beer, Groes Inn had to make it onto our incredible pub list. Beautifully placed next to the Conwy Estuary this Conwy drinking hole has been serving pints since 1573. So, as you can imagine, it’s full of historical charm and character.

Everything about this traditional pub is of first-rate quality. The beers are local to the region and the pub even has their very own special blend of Groes Ale, which is brewed at The Great Orme Brewery. If you’re a foodie, then you’ll be pleased to hear that this pub’s two dining rooms serves award-winning food from local suppliers. Voted the best pub in the ‘AA Pub of the Year 2013/14′ this former coaching inn is a must-see.

Unfortunately, this video has no sound, but the photos show off some of Groes Inn’s best bits so we thought it worth sharing with you:

Black Boys Inn, Caernarfon

Black Boy Inn is a welcoming and homely family run business that’s always worth a visit. The pub always serves local brewers and has an excellent range of cask ales, bitters and craft lagers on draft.

If you’re after food then whatever meal you’re after – breakfast, lunch or dinner – Head Chef Marius Cepoiu (who’s French trained!) is happy to oblige. The menus are varied and updated regularly. You can opt for something traditional and warming, like lobscouse, or something a little fancier, like scallops and black pudding. Our stomachs are growling as we write.

You can also stay at the Black Boy Inn. There are ten types of rooms at the Inn, from suites to single beds, so whatever your needs you should find something.
In 2015 Black Boy Inn was awarded bronze in the National Tourism Award for Wales and in the same year was awarded a Certificate of Excellence by Trip Advisor. Learn more about the Black Boys Inn by watching this video:

Ty Coch Inn, Porthdinllaen, Wales

Voted as one of the top 10 beach bars in the world (Cheap Flights) Ty Coch Inn is truly incredible. Built in 1823 and originally used as a vicarage, the pub is situated on a beach – yes, you read that right – which makes Ty Coch’s scenery utterly unique.

The pub, which you can only access by foot, is based at one end of a curved, sandy bay. The bay is overlooked by cliffs and, when you sit outside the pub, drink in hand, you can see both Yr Eifl and Snowdonia. Stunning.

Water sports is popular on the beach and there’s also a golf course behind the pub, so there’s plenty to keep you occupied in between rounds and lunch!
Here’s a video that shows off the Inn’s perfect location:

Food is often the topic of conversation at Wales Tourists Online HQ and we’re often overheard discussing (read squabbling) over what we think are the best food festivals and restaurants around. Out of those conversations the idea for this blog post was born – the ultimate summer foodie list. We’re rounded up some of the best Welsh food festival events you can attend this summer. We hope you enjoy.

And remember, we always love hearing from you. Tell us about the food events you love and let us know if you can recommend some to us. You can share your recommendations via Twitter or Facebook, or feel free to comment on this post.

Abergavenny Food Festival, 18th – 20th September 2015

With more chef headliners than you can shake your fork at, Abergavenny Food Festival is the type of star studded event food lovers dream of.

Exhibiting over 200 food and drink producers, this year’s award-winning festival has attracted Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge, as well as the famous sister duo Hemsley + Hemsley. You can also watch food writer and stylist Olia Hercules as she takes you on an taste bud adventure as she talks about her favourite Eastern European recipes.

Finally, as if that wouldn’t keep you busy enough, if you want to get your children to follow in your foodie footsteps remember that kids have their very own Food Academy at Abergavenny Food Festival. That means you can kick back and enjoy your gourmet cheese nibbles whilst they’re kept busy learning new skills and rustling up something delicious in the kitchen. Bliss.

Ticket info – you can book your tickets here!

Wristband prices* 
Saturday Adult: Advance £9.00 / On the day £12.00
Sunday Adult: Advance £7.00 / On the day £10.00
Weekend Adult: Advance £14.00 / On the day £18.00
Group discount: Advance 10% / On the day n/a

Under 16s get in free with a paying adult

To give you an idea of what a day out at the festival is like, here’s a video of the festival from 2012:


Neath Food Festival, 2nd – 4th October

The fact that the organisers of Neath Food Festival have had to extend the event from a two-day festival to a three-day festival is proof enough that this festival is not to be missed.

Set nearby to Swansea, the Festival has a friendly and welcoming market-vibe and last year you could enjoy a ridiculously wide range of food, from crusty artisan breads to mouth-wateringly good Louisiana burgers.

Here’s a video of last years’ event – it makes us hungry just watching it:

Neath Food & Drink Festival 2014 – Promo from Silver Coyote Films on Vimeo.

Hamper 2015, Llangollen Food Festival, 17th – 18th October

For just £5 you’ll get to sample products from Wales’ finest food producers, see live cooking events and try out fun workshops at Llangollen Food Festival this autumn.

In 2014 there were over 100 exhibitors showcasing their best produce, from chocolate to coffee and lamb to cheese. And if you were feeling curious, you could even sample some chocolate and fudge sausages from local farm, Abbey Farm.

Ticket information – you can book your tickets here!

Standard: £5.00

Concessions (65+): £4.00 plus £2.25 handling fee per order.

Happy eating everyone!

Not planned your summer holiday yet? It’s not too late. In this blog we’re rounded up some fantastic summer holiday options for you, from a Bed and Breakfast in the Brecon Beacons (that’s a lot of Bs) to a canal boat break along one of Wales’ best-loved canals, you’ll find something that ticks all of your holiday-checklist-boxes.

If you’d like to find out more information about any of the properties listed on Wales Tourists Online or if you want to share where you are heading for your summer holiday this year, you can Tweet us @TouristsOnline or visit our Facebook page.

Arfyn House at Llwyn Onn, Brecon Beacons

What better place to spend your summer holiday than the Brecon Beacons National Park? It’s one of our favourite Welsh destinations.

And this rural idyll can only serve to make your trip to mid-Wales even better. Set within stunning gardens, Arfyn House offers two modern, high-quality bedrooms, which can accommodate up to four people. Each bedroom has access to a stylish en suite. After a restful night’s sleep, you’ll wake up to a fresh and healthy breakfast. Choose from cereals, homemade fruit compote, yoghurt,  toast and homemade jam. Delicious.

Once you’ve refuelled, you can pop into the local town of Brecon, or head to the popular Llwyn Onn reservoir. You can also visit the nearby waterfall walk at Ystadfellte, the Brecon Mountain Railway or the red kite feeding centre. For those looking for an active holiday, there’s fishing, mountain climbing and Bike Park Wales to keep you entertained. We feel out of breath just describing what’s on offer!

In the evening, you can enjoy the eateries in Brecon, catch a show at the theatre or a film at the local cinema.

If you’d like to stay with owners Alun and Sally at Arfyn House, prices vary depending on the season. Double or twin en suite rooms go from £70 per night.

Arfyn House

Arfyn House


Cambrian Cruisers, canal boat holiday along the Monmothshire and Brecon Canal

“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” The Wind in the Willows

We have to agree with The Wind in the Willows author Kenneth Grahame when he wrote about spending summers days on boats. Bliss.

Cambrian Cruisers can offer you the perfect Wind in the Willows inspired retreat. If you hire a boat you’ll be able to chug down the 35-mile long Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal, taking in the fabulous sights of the Usk Valley and Pontypool along the way.

There are just six locks to operate along the course, which means you’re trip will be a relaxed and carefree affair.

If you’re keen to climb aboard and experience a different kind of holiday, prices vary but tend to be from £749.00 per week. You’re fuel is free though and you’ll be welcomed with a free bottle of wine on arrival. Perfect.
Cambrian Cruisers

Cambrian Cruisers

Bodfan Farmhouse, Isle of Anglesey

Some of our fondest memories of holidays as children centre on those moments when you and your family arrived at your destination and when it comes to this all-important moment Bodfan Farmhouse does not disappoint.

Having travelled down the beautiful tree-lined drive, you’ll catch sight of the home – a traditional white farmhouse that sits proudly in a lush green field, surrounded by trees. Once inside the 5 bedroomed farmhouse the views don’t disappoint either. You can see Snowdonia in the distance and endless green fields.

As well as the normal mod cons, such as WiFi, the farmhouse also has a library, extensive gardens to explore and storage for cyclists.

Although the farmhouse is a self-catering holiday home, for a little extra you can have a meal and a cake waiting for you on arrival. Just let the owners know – they’ll be more than happy to help.

Depending on the time of year, the prices for Bodfan House vary. Prices tend to start from £515 per week however and rise to £1100 in the peak season.

Bodfan Farmhouse

Bodfan Farmhouse