We had a wonderful opportunity to stay at an inn in Snowdonia, the section of Wales that hosts skiers in the wintertime. Tucked into the Conwy Valley, where three rivers come together, is Betws-y-Coed (roughly pronounced: bet-us-eh-ked), an absolutely charming and beautiful mountain village.
The accommodations we chose was the Pont-y-Pair Inn at the village end of the Pont-y-Pair Bridge, which is positioned over the Pont-y-Pair Falls. (Catching the theme, here?) It was in short distance of other restaurants, many shops, and easy walking paths, which we took full advantage of.
It all started when I wanted to eat dinner at a carvery, where they have several meats for you to choose from, sort of like a buffet, but the meats are really tasty and well-prepared. The only place in town that was serving this type of meal was the Pont-y-Pair Inn. So we ate, and realized they had rooms available, and so decided to stay. The breakfast was every bit as delicious as the dinner the night before.
Welsh for soup and sandwich.
The village itself was just adorable, with largely 19th century buildings. It would be fun to come back in the wintertime, just to experience the same in snow.
We stayed in the Grand Hotel, which was built in 1867, and had a wonderful view of the South Bay. The dining rooms, lounge, lobby, and private rooms all hearken back to a different time period, most ostensibly the 1920s.
If you were on the upper level, where the Grand Hotel was located, and you wanted to quickly reach the ground level, where the shops, restaurants, and entertainment was, you just took the funicular.
It’s so difficult to get to, I don’t know if we’ll ever return. But this was one of the top surprises in destinations we’ve ever hit in all our travels.
If you find the opportunity, GO. You won’t be sorry.
The lighthouse was getting a well-deserved make-over, but is still in use, over 200 years later.
The long pier offered a grand view of the town’s South Bay. We watched the tide roll in and roll out from a unique side-view of it all, parked on the pier.
The North Bay offered great views of the surfers.
We had outstanding seafood, in part no doubt to the local fisherman.
The funniest thing about the picture above? My grandma’s parents were a Scarborough and a Fletcher. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction….
Next up: Scarborough, Part IV – The Grand Hotel
An old ruin of an 11th century castle atop the hill overlooking the town confirmed Scarborough’s ancient history, which actually dates to the 10th century, with Viking ancestry.
The town afforded many different views of the castle from varying directions.
The Scarborough Faire, as it turns out, was a six-week festival that began in the mid-1200s, and ran for 500 years. That must have been a sight to see!
It must have taken place relatively near the castle, if not on the grounds themselves.
Next up: Scarborough, Part III – The Sea
and Scarborough, Part IV – The Grand Hotel
Scarborough is one of those truly out-of-the-way places that I have wanted to visit for awhile, mostly due to the song, “Scarborough Faire,” and the fact that my paternal grandmother’s name was Scarborough.
But it is located on the coast of England, in North Yorkshire, not on the road to anything in particular, and it just seemed too remote for us to travel to for some time.
Then we found ourselves with some extra days to take a road trip through part of England, and Scarborough was suddenly on our itinerary!
We had done no research ahead of time, preferring to discover the area as we went. We were absolutely unprepared for what we found.
For one thing, we had no idea this was a seaside resort, with shops and views of the fishing boats and wonderful details from several different eras in all directions.
Plenty of historic buildings at every turn. This next building I only saw because I had walked down the street to get a better look at something else. But on my way back, I spotted this:
The newer section of town was very eye-appealing, too.
Great views in every direction:
Also, evidence of a good sense of humor:
Next up: Scarborough, Part II – The Castle
Also: Scarborough, Part III – The Sea
and Scarborough, Part IV – The Grand Hotel.
As we headed towards Scarborough, England, we stopped at Bamburgh Castle, just south of Berwick-upon-Tweed. It is one of the best castles we have ever visited. Even better, it is apparently haunted!
On the ocean, overlooking the North Sea, Bamburgh Castle has been continually owned by family up until the present generation.
Some shots from inside the Great Hall….
…and other cool stuff.
I collect weaponry myself, so this was especially fun to see displayed.
Didn’t see a single ghost, though. Sigh.
There’s also a stone throne that faces out over the water that is surprisingly comfortable to sit in and survey the domain.
Definitely recommend this castle if you’re looking for out of the way places that reek of ancient times and royal strength through defenses.
Dunfermline Abbey features ruins from the 11th century, and a 19th century church with the tomb of Robert the Bruce. Many kings and queens were buried here, and Charles I, the last king to be born in Scotland, was born here in 1600.
The church was built over the ruins of the old nave (which explains how Robert the Bruce could be buried there, though dying in 1329.
The following pictures are the grounds and towers of the newer church. Note the words at the top of the square tower: they spell out Robert the Bruce.
Robert the Bruce’s tomb. His heart is buried at Melrose Abbey, but his body is here.
Part of the old church that is still standing:
The ruins of the original priory, where the friars lived and gathered for meals: