Our First Post-Lockdown Mini-break

As the end of the third lockdown (17 May) approached, we considered our options for a short break. Foreign travel would still be a no-no so we instead opted for a couple of nights in Beaumaris, Anglesey. Of course, even this simple arrangement had risks

- would we be allowed into Wales?
- would hotels in Wales be open?
- would restaurants in Wales be open?
- would we be allowed to return to England?
- how much money would we lose if either government changed their mind about lockdown?

In the end we made a cancellable booking at The Bull hotel and crossed our fingers. As the day approached we tentatively dusted off our overnight bags (unused for well over a year) and realised we'd forgotten how or what to pack.

Aerial view of Beaumaris, with its 13th century castle in the foreground and the Menai Strait behind

We suspected that we wouldn't be able to rely on the weather, and we weren't disappointed. Even the torrential rain which accompanied us on most of our journey didn't put us off: we had packed our best waterproofs and were determined to be spoiled for a couple of days. Once we arrived the weather improved and we enjoyed wandering round the little streets and along the promenade with its brightly painted town houses.

Even though hospitality in Wales, like England, only 'woke up' a couple of weeks before, our stay went (almost) without a hitch. We especially enjoyed eating in the hotel's excellent, modern restaurant with its imaginative menu.

On our return journey we stopped off at Llandudno, a bustling seaside resort a few miles along the coast. But we didn't go to lie on the beach. Instead we had two goals: first, to visit Madoc Books, one of the best antiquarian book shops we know; and second to drive up the Great Orme, a limestone headland which sits to the north of the town and from which you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views across the Irish Sea. On both counts we weren't disappointed: we picked up a handful of beautiful books and then enjoyed a half-hour walk around the Great Orme, breathing in the salty sea air between licks of ice cream.

Llandudno, viewed from the Great Orme

As we drove back to England and chatted about our stay, we reflected on what we'd been missing for the past year and how very 'normal' our couple of days in North Wales had felt. Of course, we're still looking forward to going further afield in due course but our first mini-break had certainly hit the spot.