A Welsh weekend getaway

Read about Judes birthday get-away to the North Wales Coast. Traveling by public transport, camping lite with the aid of Platts Farm and with multiple sightings of a strangely familiar seagull. Jude gives the low down on great places to visit around Conway and Llandudno.

Day one.  Ariving at Llanfefechan

Another 365 days passed signaled the start of a lovely birthday getaway, this time it was to the  small Welsh town of Llanfefechan. We decided that camping would be a fun way to explore on a budget. After a train ride from the east midlands we arrived at Platts Farm and set up our tent in a secluded corner under a tree, a quick scout of the campsite facilities  and we were off in search of what the town had to offer. A short walk led us to the beach where we found a park with a duck pond that housed some beautiful swans.  Unfortunately it had begun to rain so an afternoon swim was out of the question. As we raced back to the campsite to avoid getting drenched we came across a quaint welsh pub and thought it would be welcome respite from the rain and a chance to experience a more traditional welsh drinking establishment. The staff were friendly and the house ale was excellent. However the weather was not. What was expected to be a five minute pub break turned into an hour of debating the logistics of running through the downpour without an umbrella in sight, let alone in hand. But in fairness I couldn’t have been happier to spend my birthday evening in a pub. Eventually we plucked up the courage to make the short dash back to the campsite, stocking up on supplies from the Co-op on the way. We took refuge in one of the barns on site to get our bearings then went to check on our tent. Luckily for us the aforementioned tree had kept the tent and it’s contents dry. We had not been so lucky. Easily remedied by a hot shower though, by this time we were just about ready to go to bed. A short prayer for a better meteorological fortune the next day and we were out like a light.

The Bunkhouse at Platts Farm Campsite
The Bunkhouse at Platts Farm Campsite

Day two.  Conway and Llandudno.

Highlights of Conwy and Llandudno
Highlights of Conwy and Llandudno

It seemed the gods were sated as we were awoken by a scorching sun, leaving no evidence of the previous nights rain. In good spirits we thought about a day trip. We settled on Conwy. A ten minute train ride away.  With no real goals in mind we ambled through the colorful seaside streets. Stopping for lunch in a coffee shop. A local couple recommended we visit the smallest house in Great Britain. Intrigued, this was an opportunity I refused to miss. The house did not disappoint and made even Lily look tall, an impressive feat. It wasn’t long before we stumbled across the polar opposite. A giant deck chair. Set overlooking the seafront, we sat for a while watching the world pass us by. Until a stray seagull took umbrage with our comfort and forced us to relocate.

So it was off to Llandudno next, a skip hop and bus ride away. While Lily admired the beautiful architecture of Conwy castle I looked up some Llandudno trivia. I’d found that Llandudno happened to be a holiday favourite of Lewis Carroll. It was easy to see why after we’d strolled through the colourful streets, spotting some statues depicting Alice in Wonderland characters we chose to follow the trail. We were lead to the promenade and strolled over to the pier.  The arcades were lively and the sea was calm. Stopping to admire the beauty of the Great Orme, falsely assuming that it just meant hill in Welsh. My Grandma later informed me that it actually derives from the Old Norse for sea serpent.  Fortunately the hill continued being a hill, the only nuisance animal,  fictional or otherwise, was a seagull harassing a lady for ice cream.  The seagull attacked and in one fell swoop the woman yielded.  Ice cream now sandwiched between the floor and a greedily eating gull ,we moved on. While I couldn’t verify the identity of said seagull I had my suspicions we’d seen him before. A final stop on the Alice trail found us overlooking the pier. Basking next to a stone circle and giant Cheshire cat  it was hard to believe we hadn’t actually been transported into wonderland, or at least Glastonbury.

Llandudno Pier and a strangely familiar seagull.
Llandudno Pier and a strangely familiar seagull.

All this walking and sunbathing had given us a chronic case of no ice cream, keeping our eyes peeled for potential ice cream thieves we indulged. Tired and full of dairy  we headed  back to camp,we chatted to fellow Platts farm residents.  As the day slipped away we began to feel hungry once more. Seeing as though it was our final night camping we  settled on cooking some less than traditional camp food, namely veggie noodle stir fry. Managing to do so with an improvised cooking set up, luckily for us Platts Farm had barbecues available. Co-op provided the fuel, and we borrowed some pans from our friendly neighbors. Ray Mears eat your heart out. Noodles were delicious, full again we settled down for the night. We decided to light a fire with the logs we had bought from reception. Staring at the fire it was hard not to wish the weekend to go on for a few more days. All good things must come to an end however. It had been a great weekend and I was not looking forward to leaving it all behind.  The break was one to remember.

Happy Valley in Llandudno and Veggie Noodles
Happy Valley in Llandudno and Veggie Noodles