Discover the beauty of Wales...
PUBLISHED: 17:13 10 December 2018
The clocks have gone back, the nights are drawing in and the central heating is on, which means if you are anything like me you are considering where to go on holiday next year.
The tourist hotspots of Devon and Cornwall are often the first idea, but would it not be great to have the same beautiful coastal views, wonderful activities to enjoy and tasty food, without the seemingly endless battle on the M5?
So, next year head west, not south.
Wales and The Gower is an often overlooked place to take a weekend or week’s break and it means you can have a more peaceful trip than you might elsewhere, and is only about 90 minutes away.
Welcoming villages will mean you will have a wonderful trip, wherever you may go.
In fact, one of the hardest decisions is narrowing down a good spot to stay, but you would be hard-pressed to find anything which beats the cottages at the King Arthur Hotel. Situated in Reynoldston, the cottages are immaculately presented and manage to combine the comforts of modern living, with the beauty of the village’s heritage.
The hotel owns four splendid one or two-bedroom cottages, which are fully equipment with kitchens, large bathrooms and living rooms with fires – perfect for a lazy morning or relaxing evening after a day of exploring.
The hotel next door has a further 18 bedrooms and it serves food seven days a week. The meals are plentiful and offer great British classics – it is a nice spot to enjoy a tasty bite to eat while you get your bearings for what else is close by. The adjoining bar also has a wide selection of drinks, with the local Gower Gold ale a particular favourite.
Although the rural landscape is a far cry from the madness of day-to-day city life, do not be mistaken for thinking there is not plenty to do around the Gower.
There are lots of activities centres within a 20 to 30-minute drive of Reynoldston, offering up everything from watersports to archery, no matter how old or experienced you may be.
One of the most enjoyable ways though to see some of the stunning views however is on horseback, and Clyne Farm Centre is one of the best places to get in the saddle.
Whether you are a complete novice, or a regular, the team will be able to take you on a fantastic ride, with its trails.
The views Clyne Farm Centre boasts over The Mumbles and Swansea Bay are absolutely stunning and it is a fantastic place to take the family for an adventure they will seldom get to enjoy.
If you prefer you feet to be on dry land or out of the stirrups, then fear not as there are plenty of other breathtaking views the Gower has to offer – it is not something Wales struggles to provide.
Within a 10 to 15-minute drive of Clyne Farm Centre – and while a car is not essential, it certainly makes travelling around significantly easier – there is the picturesque Oxwich Bay.
When the sun is out it is a truly stunning place to enjoy a stroll, with the sandy beaches popular with holidaymakers and locals. The stunning blue water is inviting, even in a late-autumn trip.
The Oxwich Bay Hotel has almost exclusive views of the beach and is a popular place to stay or hold a wedding.
If you are just visiting, there are gardens where drinkers can enjoy a glass of wine or two and an indoor restaurant serving up food throughout the day, and is designed in such a way you can still enjoy watching the waves roll up the shore. Everything from steaks and fish and chips to pasta and sandwiches is on offer.
For a beautiful walk and fresh air, then head along to Rhossili Bay. It has made the top four Britain’s Best Beaches for four years running, as voted by Trip Advisor users and it is easy to work out why.
Golden sands await and there are stunning coastal walks available too, thanks to the National Trust’s diligent work.
After a day by the beach or a hardy walk, then what better way to relax than with a tasty meal down a local pub?
The nearby Kings Head, in Llangennith, combines both pub and food brilliantly, and in a charming setting.
All the homemade food is from local Welsh producers, so you can guarantee a fine meal.
Alternatively, if you are looking for a less rural option, why not try heading to The Mumbles?
It has the charming nature of a coastal resort, while also having several well-known shops too.
The stand-out feature is the 19th century pier, and although the walkway is closed for restoration, there is plenty still to enjoy there.
The site includes an amusements arcade, a Beach Hut Café and a number of other attractions including a mini bowling alley, an XD Theatre and a Pirate Boating Lake.
But one of the crowning glories is the well-known Verdi’s Café. It provides everything you could want from sandwiches to main meals, but if you want to make the most of the trip, go for one of their incredible ice cream sundaes. With about 20 to choose from, you cannot be disappointed – and the Salted Caramel & Shortbread Sundae certainly hits the right spot.
And with the bridge tolls being scrapped from next month, it will soon be even cheaper to get there!
For more information, log on to www.visitswanseabay.com