Monday, 25 April 2011

Blackpool - The Sea Front

For Alex's Birthday we decided to go to Blackpool for the weekend. Neither of us had been to Blackpool before and wanted to tick it off the list of places we had visited in the UK.

Our hotel

Blackpool is a town that seems to be starting to undergo some regeneration work especially on the sea front. The sea front hotels however were looking very tired and in need of a lot of work to the exterior to complement the work that was going on along the sea front.

We spent a lovely couple of days wandering the sea front and because it was off season there wasn't a lot of tourists or hen/stag parties which made it quite peaceful. We even braved going to the Blackpool Pleasure Beach even though neither of us are really rides people.

The Grand National

So many roller coasters

On the last day before returning to London we visited Blackpool Zoo and had such a lovely time and took so many photos that it is deserving of a post on it's own.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Wales Roadtrip

With The Bothered Owl going to Wonderwool Wales in Builth Wells, we decided to take the opportunity to visit a couple of places in the North of Wales. We picked up the car on Wednesday afternoon, and was much larger than we'd booked. We were upgraded to a Renault Espace.

The Renault Espace
We set off extremely early (4am) to get out of London before the traffic got too busy, as neither of us had driven in London before. Other than the size of the car, we had to get used to having an inbuilt sat-nav which was a little disconcerting initially, but very useful! We managed to get out of London and on the road north easily. The drive to North Wales was very smooth, the only hiccup being when Scott nearly fainted when he saw how much it cost to fill up the car.

The Menai Strait
Our first stop was to the Trefriw Woollen Mill. We found a sign for the mill on the main road and decided to have a look. We saw a demonstration of weaving on their looms (they were making bedspreads). They had some gorgeous items to buy in their shop but we were very restrained.


Outside of the Trefriw Mill was a lovely garden where the  the plants were labeled with their uses in textiles and dyeing.

North Wales was beautiful and the first place that we travelled to was Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch which is on the Isle of Anglesey. The name means "St Mary's Church (Llanfair) in the hollow (pwll) of the white hazel (gwyngyll) near (goger) the rapid whirlpool (y chwyrndrobwll) and the church of St Tysilio (llantysilio) by the red cave ([a]g ogo goch)". It was named in the 1860’s in order to have the longest train station name in the world. We had our pictures taken under the signs and had some lunch nearby. The station is not used very often and you have to hail the train if you want to board it. The third photo below shows a gentleman hailing the driver.

Afterwards we decided to head to Beaumaris Castle which is also on the Isle of Anglesey. Beaumaris Castle is one of the numerous castles that was built or partially built by Edward I when he twice went to war with the rebelling Welsh. The castle was never more than half built and fell into a state of complete ruin. Then during the Napoleanic Wars, when going on a Grand Tour of Europe was out of the question for English gentlemen, sites within the UK such as the Edward I castles became the destinations of choice, and a lot of restoration work was begun. 

Caernarfon was where we decided to spend the night and then the next morning as soon as Caernarfon Castle opened we were ready at the entrance to go inside and a have a look around. Scott was very excited to be visiting this castle as he had just finished reading a biography on Edward I and knew some of the history behind the building of the castle. Many of Edward's castles were built on the sea for ease of supply/deliveries. We climbed a number of the towers including going to the top of the Eagles tower and the turret that is highest point in the castle. Hopefully the photos will do the site some justice. Caernarfon is also the place where Edward II was born and was given the title of Prince of Wales. More recently Prince Charles was given the title Prince of Wales at this castle as well.






We then headed to Wonderwool Wales for The Bothered Owl and the blog post on the show can be found by clicking here. Our friend Martina and Oliver of Yarn to Knit had parked in the grass and the

First stop after leaving Builth Wells was Hay-on-Wye. This small town boasts some 40 secondhand bookshops. Heaven! We were very restrained though, and only bought one bag full of books.


We then headed south to visit Avebury Circle. This is a stone circle but although the stones are not as large as the ones at the more famous Stonehenge, it was an impressive sight indeed. We did not stay very long as we were absolutely knackered from the two days at Wonderwool Wales. 

Our final stop before heading was Polly’s Tea Room in Marlborough which was recommended to us by Eirwen of Knitwitches Yarns and we had a lovely cream tea here before making our final journey along the M4 and into London.

It was a lovely break and we ticked a few more items off of our to do list before we move home in August.