I admit I may be a tad biased, given I grew up there, but New Quay, Ceredigion, on the west coast of Wales really is the most beautiful place in the world.
When I was a teenager I bemoaned the fact that I lived in the back end of nowhere. I lived over half a mile from the nearest bus stop, the bus in to Aberystwyth (the nearest big town) ran just once and hour (only twice a day on a Sunday!), my primary school had less than 30 pupils in the entire school, and the county was ‘dry’ (no alcohol was sold on Sundays) well into the 90s. I basically grew up in the ‘olden days’. If I’d grown in up in sepia tones, it wouldn’t have made my existence much more nostalgic… So, it’s only since moving away, first to go to university and now to work in London, that I realise how lucky I was to grow up in the countryside, and how it has shaped my positive attitude to the outdoors and physical activity.
Over the Easter weekend I escaped the city and headed back home to my parents’ house. Without meaning to sound like a throwback to Holiday (anyone remember that travel show with Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen?), I thought I’d share with you what I got up to this weekend, and make the case for West Wales in the race to lure activity-seeking travelers and stay-cationing holidaymakers!
2. There’s real dolphins living in the wild!
Who needs Florida when you can hop on a boat and head out to into Cardigan Bay to witness our very own British dolphins? The bay’s waters are protected by a European ‘Special Area of Conservation’ measure, and witnessing unspoiled coastline and wildlife is really something special.
There’s a whole host of boat trips that cater to all timetables and purse-stings:
3. Get out on the water yourself
If all that dolphin watching has inspired you to take to the water yourself, why not do just that? I’m lucky enough to have my parents’ sea kayaks at my disposal, so I went for a jaunt around the bay this weekend. The local watersports centre hires kayaks and buoyancy aids, as well as offering tuition and equipment hire for loads of other watersports too! I’m planning to continue learning to windsurf this summer! YEEEEEW!!
4. There is a walk or hike to suit all abilities!
In recent years, local councils in Wales have worked together to invest time and money in opening the Wales Coast Path. This impressive public footpath runs the length of the Welsh Coast and is open to walkers all year round. West Wales, in particular Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, has some truly breath-taking stretches of coast. And if beautiful vistas are your thing, why not climb a mini-mountain whilst you’re at it? My friend Harry and I trotted up Cairningly mountain (read, big hill) this weekend, and felt wonderfully windswept and at one with nature for having done so – we even did a spot of yoga. Sort of.
5. Food. Of Course
After all that gallivanting, you’ll be in need of some good honest-to-god fare! There is something to suit all tastes in New Quay (of course there are other lovely towns, with other fabulous restaurants too!), from some of the best seaside fish and chips at the Mariner, to pub grub with a view at The Black Lion and The Penwig, to great value, high-end fish dishes and steaks at The Hungry Trout (this place also does a brunch that would rival even the trendiest of London eateries! I’d recommend the Blueberry Pancakes or the Eggs Norwegian any day.)
So, what are you waiting for? Take your next action-packed stay-cation in a Welsh Wonderland!