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Travel: A Trip To Wales…

My Nan and Grandad own a static home in the heart of the Welsh countryside, and Dougie and I have wanted to visit for quite some time. We finally made the trip!

We stayed in a resort called Tan Rallt, in North Wales. Whilst it’s something that’s in our family, I actually think non-owners can stay there, too – I’d really recommend you paying it a visit!

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Saturday

One of the main draws of the trip was, of course, the breathtaking views. On the drive up, you start to see the coast, but the place itself is situated deep in the mountains – all you can see are hills, fields and farms for miles around. It’s beautiful. Not one picture I’ve seen on the place does it justice, and yet I’ve tried to capture the essence. Unsurprisingly for me, my family had kept the place absolutely perfectly tidy, and so it was in pristine condition for our arrival.

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After having a quick nap (it was a long drive from where we live in Peterborough!), we decided to head on out to explore. Just a short drive from the park takes you to Colwyn Bay. Now, sadly the area is a tiny bit dated these days, so I probably wouldn’t go back to that specific town, but we managed to find a cute little place to eat some lunch. It was super cheap, but, in a town where most people are either old or on lower incomes, I guess that’s fairly typical.

We really could not stay there all day, so we decided that the Welsh Mountain Zoo was probably our best bet activities wise. After driving up some meandering pathways, and blagging our way in as students (sorry!), we pretty much immediately saw some grizzly bears on the path up to the car park. It was most definitely a good start! We saw them taking a little bath later as well – plenty of highlights!

I’ve visited this zoo quite a few times when I was little, but I wasn’t sure how well I remembered it. It’s smaller than Chester Zoo by quite a bit, but the intimacy actually gives it some serious brownie points. We saw plenty of animals; everything from monkeys, tigers, and snow leopards to sea lions, reptiles, and penguins. There’s even an adorable little petting zoo with chickens and bunnies. It’s the hands on approach that really sets it apart from other zoos I’ve been to, which makes it somewhat of a hidden gem. One thing Dougie and I would change, on a serious note though, is that some of the enclosures were bordering on what we felt was a bit too small…

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The staff are absolutely fantastic, though – their penguin show is perfect and gets you up close and personal with them, and the ladies spent ages afterwards telling us about the little creatures, some of which they’d hand reared themselves. It was clear from the fact that they knew all their names, and from the way that they spoke so passionately about them, that they really enjoyed their jobs and actually cared. It really came across when we watched the chimps get fed later on in the afternoon – those chimps knew and fully recognized the woman feeding them, no matter what anyone says. More intelligent than some humans, I’m sure!

The zoo is honestly fabulous, only really missing out on elephants. Considering they’re on the sign on the approach, I felt a little cheated. But, for £7.50, and, considering we’re not really students… I guess we’re even!

The evening brought us back to the resort and it was at this point that we decided to visit the lovely spa! With the same stunning views as we’d been treated to earlier; the hot tub was the ideal place to relax after a fun – but tiring – day.

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A quick shower and change brought us to dinnertime, which had been ever so thoughtfully paid for by my grandparents. We visited ‘The Cliffs’ Restaurant, and you can read all about it here!

Sunday

Having had a relatively early night the previous day, we woke up feeling pretty refreshed (as refreshed as I ever do, anyway!). I was treated to a breakfast in bed, courtesy of Dougie (he made me a bacon sandwich) and my Nan (she’d left the fridge fully stocked!).

After another little sleep (it WAS Sunday, after all…), we got up and visited the gym on site. Quite frankly, it made the one I’ve recently joined look like the worst thing in the world! This one, although small, was honestly so state of the art I didn’t have a clue what to do! With a running machine with movies stored on it, as well as little ‘challenges’ I couldn’t resist (I have ‘much to do’ in terms of fitness, apparently!), Dougie and I soon transformed the place into a filthy little rock haven by sticking on Scuzz. Not even sorry!

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After taking a shower, we headed on down to Rhos-On-Sea. Now, the last thing you expect to find in a quintessentially quaint-but-dead little town in Wales is an American smokehouse, but we did! I’ve written about our experience at lunch at Hickory’s here.

Feeling pretty full, we stumbled back to the car and drove along the coast. We stopped to take a peek over the rocks, and later, at a little pebbly beach. We tried to skim some stones into the sea, but it’s safe to say we failed!

So then we drove on down to Llandudno, along the beach and up the Great Orme, past the pier. We got out by the dry ski slope there, and took a wander to the cliff edge. Blessed with a truly sunny day; the views were absolutely out of this world. It didn’t feel like we were in the UK at all! We stayed there a while and then trekked back up the hill. The treadmill was right. I’m shockingly unfit. Oh well, there’s my exercise for the week done.

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We headed home soon afterwards, after going back to clean up the holiday home. We had a quick catch up with my mum, sister, grandparents, as well as an old friend, Katy (and her husky!), and headed back on the long three-hour drive back to Peterborough. So, so worth it though. Best weekend together in ages!