24 hours in Wales #FindYourEpic

It’s a little known fact that I’m actually half Welsh. Thanks Dad!

Wales is somewhere I’ve grown up with, enjoying countless camping and caravaning holidays as a child. I have fond memories of castles, dragons, beaches and cable cars.

VisitWales.com got in touch recently and invited me to #FindYourEpic with 24 hours in Wales. As you know, I love a good challenge, especially when travel is involved.

horse drawn narrow boat wales

I headed to Llangollen, which is in Denbighshire, North East Wales.

Having only ever been to Llangollen as a child, I was amazed to find driving time was just over an hour from my house! It’s strange to think it’s so close, yet almost worlds away.

It happened to be, “The Legendary Llangollen Faery Festival” on the same day. It’d have been rude not to investigate one of the largest Faery Festivals in the UK, and it was rather magical. Lots of people dressed up, music, holistic treatments on offer, craft and clothing stalls to buy your faery gear, makeup and hair and even wing and wand making workshops for the kids.

(The use and spelling of Faery is the more inclusive term; encompassing all magical beings, not just the archetypal Fairy’s like Tinkerbell)

Spending a fascinating few hours here, I was fed and watered in the Fae Cafe. I had a delicious vegan burger and unlimited salad. I was also the only adult (maybe) that queued up with the kids to sit on a dragon à la Daenerys Targaryen, “Mother of Dragons” in Game of Thrones. (Keep your eye on Instagram for that photo!)

fairy faery fest llangollen #findyourepic visit wales

Llangollen sits underneath Castell Dinas Brân/Crow Castle. These ruins have many myths and legends that surround them, including ones with Faeries and even King Arthur. Wherever you go in Wales you wont be far from a castle, there’s 641 of them! Just think of all that history, all the stories that each one has witnessed.

crow castle wales find your epic in wales

Climbing up the hill is steep, but worth it for the incredible views you get at the top; you can see for miles. The sense of freedom and achievement I felt in reaching the summit was pretty good too. You can see the rain in the distance in some of the photos here. I got back down just as the shower started.

llangollen wales white water rafting river dee

The Corn Mill in Llangollen is an iconic pub right on the banks of the River Dee. After the walk up to Dinas Bran I’d worked up an appetite (and a thirst). The mill has been around for 700 years, its foundations built by Cistercian monks.

Structurally, the building has obviously had a few renovations as time has gone by, but it was still a working mill right up until 1974. It opened as The Corn Mill pub in 2000 after being derelict and earmarked for demolition.

The restoration is hugely sympathetic to its former days, and it even has the water wheel behind the bar.

On my list of things I wanted to do was to try some Welsh gin. The Cornmill came up trumps with Brecon Dry, I loved it! The gin is very aromatic, with notes of coriander, cinnamon and nutmeg. I’m adding this to my wish list for sure.

It was so relaxing sitting on the decks with my G&T. The River Dee fast flowing underneath and to the side of the deck. At times I was transfixed just by watching it, like the hypnotic qualities of watching an open fire.

#findyourepic visit wales llangollen river dee

Nature really helps me switch off and I felt like I’d been away from home for days, not hours.

Watching the sun go down across the river was certainly a special moment. It’s not surprising that this part of Wales is an official area of natural beauty.

Llangollen itself is a bustling town with some great little places. I must give a mention to Harley’s Vintage Boutique, choc full of great vintage clothes including loads of fringed jackets. I thought I was going to get lucky, but I didn’t find “the one“. Also worth a mention is a cute little cafe right on the platform of the steam engine train station called The Carriage Tea Rooms; yes it’s a vintage train carriage converted into a cafe! So cute!

things to do in llangollen vintage cafe

The Corn Mill Pub, photographed from inside the Carriage Tea Rooms

Next up on my Welsh adventure is a a World Heritage Site. Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is just a few miles away from Llangollen and it is truly mind-blowing to see this in real life. A genuine feat of world class engineering by Thomas Telford and William Jessop, it is the highest aqueduct in the world at 126ft.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct wales instagram locations

You can go on a narrow boat cruise along it which takes around 3-4 hours but walking across is free.

Making it halfway which was enough for me and my history with vertigo!!

virginia creeper erddig visit wales

Last but not least is a stop just outside of Wrexam, right on the borderlands area of where North East Wales meets England. A National Trust property called Errdig.

This a exceptional and awe inspiring place.

things to do in north wales wrexham erddig

It’s got to be the best National Trust property I’ve visited (and they are all pretty good!). The sheer scale and scope of Errdig has to be seen to be believed. It is huge and the story of the restoration and renovations is captivating.

Bereft by financial issues the house was neglected for many years. Ownership of the property moved through generations of family, each one inheriting bigger problems. At one point these problems even included coal being mined from underneath the building!

utility room erddig brooms white walls

It’s a engaging story and I’m obviously just skimming over it here but it truly is fascinating. The last family member to live there became a recluse and a hoarder, which allowed many things to stay intact.

The National Trust was acquired Errdig in 1973 and the story of how the house and gardens were renovated is one of the most evocative parts of this property. In some ways, it staggers belief when you realise how it was when the NT took it on.

erddig gardens national trust

I especially loved the gardens. Feeling like Alice in Wonderland wandering through, and half expecting to see some playing cards painting the roses red. This place is worthy of its own blog post. I certainly have enough photos!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my epic Welsh adventure, and I think it’s obvious that I found mine. Will you go and #FindYourEpic in Wales?

Have you been to any of the spots I’ve mentioned?

As part of this collaboration you have the chance to win an epic camera bundle with Visit Wales, so go and find your epic. Head over to the Visit Wales website to be in with a chance of winning the  Fuji X-T20, a stylish, 4K, mirrorless, lightweight camera to up your photography game and capture your own adventures.

flowers in anwelsh walled country garden wales

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In collaboration with VisitWales

31 Comments

  1. September 29, 2017 / 6:38 am

    Wow what a whirlwind adventure you had! Beautiful pics too!
    Best Ashley
    X

    • October 1, 2017 / 8:46 pm

      Ah thanks so much Ashley x

  2. September 29, 2017 / 7:58 am

    How exciting – what a wonderful trip. Your photos are gorgeous, I’ve bookmarked a few places! Thanks for sharing. x

    • October 1, 2017 / 8:44 pm

      Oh you’d love Wales! I’m guessing you’ve been?

  3. September 29, 2017 / 11:28 am

    Oh susie!!!! It’s just so beautiful! I’m so glad your shared your trip!!! I love the stone archway! How amazing!!!!!

    • October 1, 2017 / 8:47 pm

      It was quite a hike but worth it for the views!

  4. September 29, 2017 / 1:24 pm

    I’ve never been to Wales and am so tempted now. Can’t believe it’s an hour from your house! It’s beautiful. Totally waiting for that image on instagram now :0 X

    • October 1, 2017 / 8:48 pm

      Oh my Lucy! You and the family would love it!

  5. September 29, 2017 / 2:25 pm

    I love this! You were actually in my neck of the woods. Pretty much every day here is an epic 24 hours spent in Wales 😉

    • October 1, 2017 / 8:31 pm

      Ah I’ll have to call in next time!

  6. kate
    September 29, 2017 / 4:37 pm

    Looks like you had a wonderful time Sus, so many gorgeous photos here and now I’m itching to get out and explore for myself – there must be some great places in North Wales fairly accessible by train from Manchester, right? Or maybe I sneak into your car boot next time you go? 😉

    • October 1, 2017 / 8:27 pm

      Yeah!! Hehe! You can get right across the top of North Wales across to Angelesy if you fancied!

  7. September 29, 2017 / 5:44 pm

    Oh we do love a visit to Wales (especially as you said it’s so close) – it’s really such a beautiful country with fabulous shorelines! I’ve not been to Llangollen before or the surrounding area so definitely need to bookmark this post! Looks like a wonderful day out 🙂 xx

    • October 1, 2017 / 8:24 pm

      Yeah its so beautiful! Thanks for visiting

  8. September 29, 2017 / 9:12 pm

    What a lovely trip. Wales is really stunning. I took my girls there last year for a friend’s wedding and they loved it. My eldest still asks to go back to beautiful Wales. I really must plan another trip soon.

    • October 1, 2017 / 8:50 pm

      Yeah- its so magical! We went to a wedding an the woods a few years ago- amazing!

  9. September 29, 2017 / 9:15 pm

    Amazing places! Dream places! I would love to visit it!

    • October 1, 2017 / 8:22 pm

      Well worth a trip!

  10. September 30, 2017 / 3:36 pm

    such a fun and interesting post! i can’t wait too see the Game of Thrones photo! haha! I visit Wales a lot but i have never been to any of these places. Thanks for giving me somewhere else to visit x

    • October 1, 2017 / 8:51 pm

      It’s on my Insta now!

  11. October 1, 2017 / 12:19 pm

    This looks like a great 24hours, and so many lovely places to visit. I would love to tick some of the National Trust places off in Wales. This one looks stunning

    • October 1, 2017 / 8:20 pm

      I’ll be back again- its so close! Thanks for stopping by

  12. October 1, 2017 / 2:19 pm

    Love the photos, it looks like you had such a fun adventure. I haven’t visited Wales since I was little (which unfortunately I don’t remember too well) but I’d love to go back with hiking boots on and a good camera!!

    Madeline
    https://www.madelinesays.co.uk

    • October 1, 2017 / 8:16 pm

      Oh yes you must go back! Good luc if you enter the camera giveaway

  13. October 3, 2017 / 8:40 am

    Ooh this looks like a fantastic trip.
    Gin, vintage cafes and shops, wonderful walks *and* a National Trust property? Packing my suitcase already.

  14. Anna
    October 9, 2017 / 9:47 pm

    Lovely to see this-my dad was from Llangollen and as he died some years ago I haven’t been there for a long time. Can remember the mill which was derelict the last time I saw it. Would like to go back but is a long way from durham where we live.

    • October 10, 2017 / 12:56 pm

      It’s such a pretty place, thanks for stopping by x

  15. October 9, 2017 / 10:32 pm

    Ah my husband is from a town near Wrexham and we had our engagement photoshoot in Llangollen! I agree, it’s such a beautiful place ❤

    • October 10, 2017 / 12:55 pm

      Ah I bet you treasure those photos!

  16. October 10, 2017 / 10:52 pm

    Llangollen looks like a great place to visit, added to the list! x

    • October 11, 2017 / 7:28 pm

      Oh I think you’d adore it!

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