Two Mini-breaks in Wales

We were determined to take some time off this summer and booked a number of mini-breaks to guarantee it. Most recently, we have been to two very different parts of Wales.

At the end of July we set off to Anglesey, spending a night in Beaumaris. We stopped off at Conway Castle on the way, a huge and largely intact 13th century defence. It is one of four castles which make up the UNESCO World Heritage site Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd.

Conway Castle

We arrived in Beaumaris late afternoon and the view across the Menai Strait with Snowdonia in the background was quite striking. The tide was out, giving the feeling that you could just walk across to Llanfairfechan.
Looking across the Menai Strait towards the mainland and Snowdonia

Next day we had a good look around Beaumaris Castle, another of the four UNESCO-inscribed castles - again, in a remarkably good state given that it is over 700 years old.
Beaumaris Castle

The impressive green moat

We went a few miles further up the coast to see the remains of Penmon Priory, including the two medieval crosses which spent centuries being beaten by the weather before being brought inside the church a few years ago.
Penmon Priory at te south-east tip of Anglesey

The two medieval crosses

The tide was in and the weather more hostile than the day before
Our second Welsh mini-break, this weekend, was to our old favourite: Hay-on-Wye, much further south and near the Brecon Beacons. The journey down through Cheshire, Shropshire and Herefordshire is always lovely and by the time we reached Hay we were already relaxed.

On the way we stopped at Stokesay Castle - described by English Heritage as 'quite simply the finest and best preserved fortified medieval manor house in England.' This is a very different castle, built by a 13th century merchant to show off his wealth, rather than to defend the nation.

The impressive Gatehouse, added in the 17th century

The Great Hall

Fire-place in the wood panelled Solar (private apartment)

The weather was fine so we ate lunch outside, next to the cottage garden

On our return from Hay we stopped off at Wroxeter, the excavated remains of the baths of a large Roman city. The remains include the tallest piece of Roman wall in the country which stands at 20 feet.
The tall wall segment, known as 'The Old Work'

The tepidarium

Looking across the caldarium and tepidarium to the Old Work which formed a wall of the frigidarium
The weather was a scorching 26 degrees and, especially without any form of shade on the site, we felt that we could have been looking at archaeological remains in Italy or Greece.

Two mini-breaks in as many weeks. Bridget Jones would be very impressed! Next stop: France.