North Wales is a region of unrivalled and rugged beauty – a land of ancient culture, druids, legend, eisteddfods and song.
The Snowdonia National Park, covering 827 square miles, is the second largest National Park in the country, attracting 11 million visitors annually. It boasts no less than 17 National Nature Reserves – more than any other National Park – and 45 Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
A few of the area’s attractions:
Caernarfon is best known for its castle, built by King Edward I in the 13th Century. Portmeirion village and gardens – created by visionary Welsh architect Clough Williams-Ellis in the 1960s – became the setting for the cult television series The Prisoner. The Bala Lake Steam Railway has been transporting tourists for over 37 years. North Wales generally – though most famous for its many castles – also boasts several National Trust stately homes.
And there’s much, much more – to suit all ages, and appeal to all interests.
Set in hilly and wooded countryside in the lower reaches of the Conwy Valley, the Bodnant Estate is a large and strikingly beautiful agricultural estate, commanding spectacular views across to Snowdonia. Stone cottages and farm buildings have been restored using traditional materials and techniques, and the estate supports farming and encourages other rural activities. The Bodnant Garden has been voted the winner of the National Trust Gardens Award by NT members and visitors, and separately it was voted the Favourite Garden in the Country by Daily Telegraph readers.
Rural Retreats offers eight properties on the Bodnant Estate. Snowdonia may be on the doorstep, but there’s no shortage of things to do and treats to be had on the estate itself.
The estate’s Furnace Farm is home to Bodnant Welsh Food, where you will discover the delicious Hayloft Restaurant, producing rustic Welsh food with a modern twist; the Bodnant Tearooms, where you can enjoy freshly baked cakes while overlooking the beautiful Conwy Estuary and Carneddau Hills; and an adventure play trail for the children.
You can develop new culinary skills – or rediscover old ones – at the Bodnant Cookery School, with personal guidance from leading Welsh culinary experts. Whether you’re a complete beginner, a budding chef or an enthusiastic foodie, the state-of-the-art cookery school hosts a wide range of inspiring courses suited to all abilities.
There are more opportunities to indulge your inner gourmet at the Bodnant Wine Cellar, where you can enjoy a tasting event to please the palate, learn what goes best with what on An Introduction to Food and Wine-matching course, or simply browse the large selection of the finest Welsh and world wines.
And if you feel the need to walk of all that indulgence, Rural Retreats guests will enjoy access to many miles of private paths that run through woods and across farmlands.
Furnace Farm is also home to the National Beekeeping Centre, doing vital work to halt and reverse the declining honey-bee population. If you want to learn more about these fascinating creatures – or perhaps even become a beekeeper yourself – why not book yourself onto a course?
There’s plenty to please anglers too. Fishing permits can be purchased so you can spend a day in the heart of the estate trying to catch any number of fish: roach, tench, perch, eels and rainbow trout.
For the green fingered, why not visit Bodnant Garden Centre? The plants team are dedicated to providing good homes for high-quality plants and are always happy to provide help and advice.
Located next door is the new Craft Centre with a range of locally produced arts-and-crafts products.
To find out about availability of Rural Retreats cottages on the Bodnant Estate, click here.
You can also take a look at our full collection of over 400 holiday properties. Check the website here for all the UK-based locations.