After leaving Hawkstone Park, we began the drive to Tremadog, where we’d be staying for two nights in Wales. On the way, Jayne and Ian decided to stop in at the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct (YOU try pronouncing that!). Completed in 1805, it’s a World Heritage Site and the longest and highest aqueduct in Great Britain.
Just a couple weeks before our trip to the UK, Andy and I saw a show about the vast canal networks in England and Wales, and this one was featured. I remember saying, “Wow! I’d love to see that.” I couldn’t have been happier to see that this stop-off was the very same aqueduct.
Imagine being on a canal boat traveling across it with this view!
At 38 meters (126 feet high), it’s no wonder the views of the countryside are stunning on all sides.
As we made it to the far side of the aqueduct, the rain that had been threatening for some time began to come down in buckets.
Between every shot, I had to wipe off my lens to prevent shots blurred by rain droplets. I took one last one before stowing my precious camera away under my rain jacket.
We stopped for some hot coffee before venturing back to the car, past the parked canal boats. One day, I’d love to travel the UK on one of these!
We piled our soggy selves into the car and continued on towards Tremadog. The drive through Snowdonia National Park was mostly through the clouds, but the lonely windswept rocky peaks were gorgeous even without the valley views.
When we neared Tremadog, on the coast of Wales, the rain began to taper off. Here it is on a map for perspective:
Anywhere with “dog” in the name is fine by me.
We continued up a small country road to our destination, Plas Tan-Yr-Allt. Again, good luck pronouncing that! I struggled enough with Tremadog.
Plas Tan-Yr-Allt in its current incarnation dates back to the 19th century, but a house of some sort has stood on the property for centuries prior. The writer Percy Bysshe Shelley even lived here for a short time in the early 1800s. Needless to say, this place was incredibly impressive!
When looking out the window, I actually had to ask Andy, “Is this real life?”
As you’ll have seen in the first picture, there was a fainting couch, so of course I had to do this:
Please, someone give me some smelling salts!
We had a nice leisurely afternoon at our historic B&B before walking into Tremadog for a delicious pub dinner and a couple pints. Afterwards, we all relaxed on the house’s porch and played some games before Andy and my jet lag again kicked in and we went upstairs to bed.
The next day, Jayne and Ian had planned a visit to a place called Portmeirion in the afternoon, which I was expressly forbidden from Googling to maintain an element of surprise. This left the morning open, so we made our way to the coastal Welsh town of Criccieth, which is also home to a castle.
I was immediately taken by the town’s colorful row-houses. Even on a grey day, they’re outstanding!
We made our way towards the beach to have a wander before the castle opened for the day.
There were colorful houses aplenty along the seawall!
Here’s the view looking up towards Criccieth Castle.
As we walked back towards the castle entrance, we came across a house with amazing tile flooring out front. The tiles were all organized in colorful patterns and seemed to have come from all over the world.
We paid our entrance fee and began the short climb up to Criccieth Castle. Dating back to the 13th century, it’s mostly a ruin at this point, but stunning nonetheless.
The views from the castle were just as impressive as the castle itself.
I lost Andy for a little while, but before long, came across this sight:
We wandered around the castle ruins with the place almost entirely to ourselves. The overcast weather only added to the atmosphere of a place that has stood the test of time through centuries of sieges and sea winds.
The turquoise waters off the coast reminded me more of New Zealand than something I expected to see in Wales. I was constantly surprised on this trip, though!
We enjoyed the views before heading back down as the rain began to pick up.
We stopped at a lovely tearoom in town that seemed almost as old as the castle itself. It was a great cozy spot to have a little break from the rain.
Next on the agenda, Portmeirion (so much easier to pronounce!). Now don’t go Googling it before then. Promise?